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A Glass full of stories

Ira Glass will perform "Radio Stories and Other Stories" at Centennial Hall Saturday.

Ira Glass will perform "Radio Stories and Other Stories" at Centennial Hall Saturday.

Ira Glass – creator, producer and host of public radio’s “This American Life” – has plenty on his mind. That’s a good thing, because his program thrives on stories.

Lately, it’s been the crashing economy.

“Weirdly, with all the reporting on the economy, we found a niche that no one else was doing,” he says. “We are explaining in depth, in normal language, just what the hell is happening. We stumbled on that. Every time we explained the mortgage crisis, and we hear from a guy who made all the horrible loans, and what was going on inside his head, the audience asks for more.”

And so Glass gives it to them.

On Saturday night, he’ll face his audiences directly with a live show at Centennial Hall in Tucson.

Glass is one of public radio’s big stars. His show – heard in the Old Pueblo at 3 p.m. Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays on KUAZ-FM (89.1) – is carried on 500-plus stations, with an audience of 1.7 million listeners. Glass covers a wide variety of topics in a recent interview.

On finding ways to explain the economy that aren’t boring:

“Part of the challenge is finding people inside the financial industry who don’t talk like financial robots. And who you can relate to. That is the first step. And there is so much jargon. It’s like a magic trick. Now we explain what it means.”

On keeping his show fresh:

“It’s the main problem. By the end of the week, people have heard so much, it puts a huge burden on us to find a new way (to tell a story) in a way that will seem fresh. I get fatigued. Sometimes, I am on the verge of giving up on a story.”

On deadlines:

“This week’s show is a rerun. (Last week’s program) we finished minutes before the feed to the satellite (at 8 p.m. Fridays). It’s like working on a newspaper. I was a daily news person on ‘All Things Considered’ (NPR’s evening newscast). Everything was finished minutes before it went on the air. I am the guy standing there ready to roll the presses and the guy writing the story.”

On the death of radio legend Paul Harvey:

“That guy started talking, and you could not turn off the radio. He was a real master of taking a news story and telling it as a fable. He understood how to use silence. There was a reason he was No. 1. He understood how to tell a story the old-fashioned way.”



What: Ira Glass, “Radio Stories and Other Stories”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd.

Price: $15-$38

Info: 621-3341, uapresents.org

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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