Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Marcia Froelke Coburn’s excellent interview of "This American Life" creator and host Ira Glass in the March issue of Chicago magazine opens with an intro that really rankles -- because it's total BS: “Ten years ago, in the first interview of his career, Ira Glass, a producer and on-air reporter for National Public Radio’s idiosyncratic news and features program "All Things Considered," sat down and told me about the idea he had for a new kind of radio program. It was going to concentrate on everyday life, with fiction or poems sandwiched between strangely ordinary people telling strange stories. Glass wanted to apply novelistic techniques to radio reporting.”

Actually, Glass’s first professional interview dates back to at least November of 1993, when I, Satya Cacananda, interviewed him for my first Illinois Entertainer media column. It was a piece on the WBEZ program "The Wild Room", a then-new kind of radio program that he co-hosted with NPR producer Gary Covino. “I like to think of it as the only show on public radio other than ‘Car Talk’ that both [NPR news analyst] Daniel Schorr and Kurt Cobain could listen to,” Glass told me. He added, “I think it’s appropriate that the show [which aired on Friday evenings] is on a station that most people don’t listen to at a time when most people won’t hear it. And the fact that public radio never puts a new show on the air or takes any off is definitely to our advantage.”

The latter is no longer true and Kurt Cobain is long dead. But the interviews went so well I became a guest – Gary’s guest – on the show several times. And I found the apartment where I still live through Ira – who last year loaned his own pad to The New Orleans Evacugees for a few months. And now he's moving to NYC (to which Covino fled before fleeing to Massachusetts), making Chicago yet again fall short of its pathetic, longstanding boast of being a world class city.


Sadly, the above photo is what you get when you do a Google image search for "Wild Room."