Staff

Ira Glass
Host and Executive Producer

Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR's headquarters in DC. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He spent a year in a high school for NPR, and a year in an elementary school, filing stories for All Things Considered. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995.

Alex Blumberg
Producer

Alex Blumberg is a former This American Life administrator who, prior to rejoining us as a producer in the summer of 1999, worked as a freelance radio reporter, contributing to TAL, the Savvy Traveller and Chicago Public Radio. Lately Alex has been focusing on economics reporting via Planet Money, a collaboration between This American Life and NPR. He also teaches at Columbia University in NYC.

Ben Calhoun
Producer
Ben Calhoun joined the show as a producer in April 2010. Before that, he was a reporter who contributed to most every major public radio news entity heard in the country—including Radiolab, NPR, the BBC, and Marketplace. Ben worked in WBEZ’s newsroom for eight years, where he reported on politics and did documentary work.
Emily Condon
Office Manager

Before joining the TAL staff, Emily Condon ran the Oak Street Cinema, a single-screen revival movie theatre in Minneapolis, and earned her Master's degree in nonfiction writing from The New School. She writes for several publications, including Reverse Shot and The Onion A.V. Club.

Jane Feltes
Producer

Before her internship with us in 2002, Jane Feltes was programming director for The University of Illinois at Chicago's student radio station. She became a producer in spring 2004.

Jessica Hopper
Music Consultant
In addition to helping select music for TAL, Jessica Hopper is a music journalist and author. Her work is routinely found in The Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune and SPIN. She is also the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking and the co-host of WBEZ's Hit it or Quit it podcast.
Sarah Koenig
Producer

Before joining the show as a producer in January 2004, Sarah Koenig was a political reporter at the Baltimore Sun, and before that at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire. She also lived in Russia for three years, working first for ABC News and then for The New York Times.

Seth Lind
Production Manager

Before joining the show as production manager in 2006, Seth Lind managed all things technical at The Radio Foundation. He also produced a few radio pieces, directed the short documentary film Barbara Leather, and shot and co-produced Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth, a film about the genius keyboardist of Parliament-Funkadelic. Seth performs improv comedy with the group Thank You, Robot and hosts a live monthly storytelling show called Told.

Adrianne Mathiowetz
Web Manager

Before joining TAL in November 2007, Adrianne worked as site editor and podcast host for the Public Radio Exchange. She has been a contributing writer/producer for Love and Radio, and spends her spare time tinkering on a blog.

Lisa Pollak
Producer

Lisa Pollak joined the show as a producer in April 2004, after seven years as a features writer at the Baltimore Sun. She's also worked as a reporter for the News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) and the Charlotte Observer. As a print reporter she won the Pulitzer Prize in features writing and the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing. 

Robyn Semien
Producer

Before becoming a producer in June 2007, Robyn Semien was an associate editor on the first season of TAL television.

Alissa Shipp
Producer

Alissa Shipp joined This American Life in the summer of 2006 from Warner Brothers Pictures, where she served as TAL's executive liaison. She's also worked as a book scout and as an associate with literary agent Nicole Aragi. Alissa handles film rights, development, and production for TAL, and also looks for literary material for the show.

Julie Snyder
Senior Producer

Prior to joining our staff, Julie Snyder was a reporter for WGN radio in Chicago, and also was news director at KZSC, Santa Cruz's public radio station.

Nancy Updike
Producer

Nancy Updike is one of the founding producers of our show. Her stories appear in "Sissies," "Crime Scene," "24 Hours at the Golden Apple," and other episodes. Her hour-long Iraq story, "I'm from the Private Sector and I'm Here to Help," won the Edward R. Murrow Award for best news documentary and the Scripps-Howard National Journalism Award in radio. She was nominated for an Emmy for her story "God’s Close-Up," from the first season of the TAL TV show.

TV Staff
Adam Beckman
Director of Photography

Adam Beckman is a freelance cinematographer based in New York. He got his start shooting music videos in the late '80s for groups like Run-D.M.C., Green Day, and Radiohead. In the years since, he's photographed movies, documentaries, and lots and lots of TV commercials. Adam met the staff of This American Life in 2001, when he reported and wrote the story “House on Loon Lake,” produced by his wife, former TAL staff producer Wendy Dorr.

Killer Films

Founded in 1995, Killer Films is run by Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler, and Katie Roumel. Recent productions include I'm Not There with Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, and Heath Ledger; Savage Grace with Julianne Moore; and Then She Found Me, co-written and directed by Helen Hunt. Prior films include Far from Heaven, which received four Academy Award nominations in 2002; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo with Robin Williams. This American Life is Killer's first foray into episodic TV.

Left/Right Productions

The two founders of Left/Right, Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman, have worked in every conceivable corner of non-fiction television, from documentaries about first-time political candidates to a reality television series starring Mr. T. Their hit series Growing Up Gotti was rated one of the ten best shows of 2004 by the New York Times—the only unscripted series to make the list.

Chris Wilcha
Director and Co-Executive Producer

Chris Wilcha is the only living person who's directed both Ira Glass and Mr. T. He's also directed promos, pilots, and short films for MTV, PBS, Sundance Channel, and TV Land—including The Social History of the Mosh Pit, Second Hand Stories, and, with the aforementioned T., I Pity the Fool. His first-person documentary The Target Shoots First won lots of awards at film festivals and was broadcast on both Cinemax and Sundance Channel.