Search form

Scroll To Top
News & Opinion

EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Broadcaster Studs Terkel in Conversation with LGBT Historian Jonathan Ned Katz

Photo Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

A new project aims to archive Terkel's groundbreaking interviews that span 45 years.

With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, the legacy of Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning oral historian and broadcaster, will be preserved and made accessible to the public on an online archive. The project is being lead by the WFMT Radio Network, which Terkel called his professional home for 45 years.


Photo Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

Steve Robinson, the general manager of WFMT and the WFMT Radio Network, reflects fondly on Terkel's work:

"We cannot afford to lose the priceless history, insight, and intelligence that Studs Terkel captured from his studio in Chicago over the course of nearly 50 momentous and turbulent years. Studs was always one step ahead of everyone else both in introducing audiences to the leaders and uncelebrated people who were changing the world and the arts, as well in pushing the boundaries of modern broadcasting."

Terkel interviewed some of the 20th century's greatest thinkers, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Janis Joplin, Tennessee Williams to James Baldwin, among many other icons. Terkel's show aired from 1952 to 1997, with 5,600 interviews and a total of 9,000 hours of recording. He died in 2008 at the age of 96.


Photo Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

Terkel is thought by many to be the forefather of today's storytelling and podcasting. The Kickstarter campaign, which launched today, aims to take 1,000 of Terkel's most notable interviews and archive, transcribe, and upload them. Topics include civil rights, labor rights, literature, and music. "There's such a sense of drama and history, and also the sense that what he's doing is creating an archive," said Ira Glass of This American Life. "He's making it for the future."

In an exclusive archived clip, Terkel interviews renowned same-sex historian Jonathan Ned Katz, a conversation that was recorded in 1977, just four years after Katz founded the Gay Academic Union. Terkel discusses Katz's revolutionary book, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A, which quickly developes into a progressive dialogue on the existence, history, and future of LGBT people.

Listen to the interview below and consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Jesse Steinbach