'The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel'

Sep 4, 2020

Studs Terkel
Credit Radio Diaries

In the early 1970s, author Studs Terkel went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. The result was a book called "Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do." The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical – something rare for an oral history collection. "Working" struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated.

But until now, few of the interviews have ever been heard. For decades, the tapes were packed away in Studs’ home office. Radio Diaries and partner Project& were given exclusive access to those recordings and spent a year combing through them to produce a new series for NPR. People Studs interviewed more than 40 years ago were also tracked down.

"The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel" features interviews with a telephone switchboard operator, a hotel piano player, a Chicago police officer, an auto factory work, an advertising executive and more. Listen Sunday, September 6 at 7 p.m. on WRVO, on-air and online.