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This American Life MONDAYS at 2 PM on KFCF 88.1 FM

Ira Glass is one of America's premiere storytellers and his show "This American Life" can be heard on KFCF Mondays at 2:00 PM.

This American Life

Need to Know Basis March 30 @ 2 PM
Even when you're not trying to get one over on someone, it can be useful to keep the truth to yourself. Or conversely, to not know why people are lying to your face all the time. This week we'll tell you the whole truth about not telling the whole truth. Including the story of a guy who learned to lie for the first time in his life at age 29

This American Life's staff has a problem: describing the show. After a few episodes, we're sure you'll figure it out. Or, if you're looking for a written introduction, here goes:

One of our problems from the start has been that when we try to describe This American Life in a sentence or two, it just sounds awful. For instance: each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. That doesn't sound like something we'd want to listen to on the radio, and it's our show. So usually we just say what we're not. We're not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. We're not really formatted like other radio shows at all.

Instead, we do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun.

Each episode has a theme. That's mostly because a theme makes it seem like there's a reason to sit and listen to a story about a contest where everyone stands around a truck for days until only one person is left on their feet...or a grown man trying to convince a skeptical friend that not only has he heard the world's greatest phone message, but that it's about the Little Mermaid...or a man who's obsessed with Niagara Falls, lives minutes from the Falls, writes and thinks about the Falls all the time, but can't bring himself to actually visit the Falls because, as he says, "they've ruined the Falls." If you're not doing stories about the news, or celebrities, or things people have ever heard of elsewhere, you have to give people a reason to keep listening. The themes make it seem like you should.

We view the show as an experiment. We try things. There was the show where we taped for 24 hours in an all-night restaurant. And the show where we put a band together from musicians' classified ads. And the show where we followed a group of swing voters for months, recording their reactions to everything that happened in the campaign, right up through their final decision. And the show where we had a story for each of the Ten Commmandments. Or the one where our producers all collected stories for a weekend at the same rest stop. We also occasionally do our own versions of stories that are in the news, including award winning economics coverage that spawned another entire program called Planet Money. We think of the show as journalism. One of the people who helped start the program, Paul Tough, says that what we're doing is applying the tools of journalism to everyday lives, personal lives. Which is true. It's also true that the journalism we do tends to use a lot of the techniques of fiction: scenes and characters and narrative threads.

Meanwhile, the fiction we have on the show functions like journalism: it's fiction that describes what it's like to be here, now, in the world. What we like are stories that are both funny and sad. Personal and sort of epic at the same time. We sometimes think of our program as a documentary show for people who normally hate documentaries.

A public radio show for people who don't necessarily care for public radio.

Some of the writers whose work has been on the program: David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Russell Banks, Dave Eggers, David Rakoff, Tobias Wolff, Anne Lamott, Michael Lewis, Michael Chabon, Nick Hornby, Alex Kotlowitz, Dan Savage, David Foster Wallace, Spalding Gray, Gay Talese, Aimee Bender, Lydia Davis, Junot Diaz, Mike Birbiglia and Shalom Auslander.

This American Life started in 1995 in Chicago. It went national in early 1996 and in the years since, it's won a lot of awards—the Peabody, the duPont-Columbia, the Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club, to name a few. Ira Glass, the host of the show, was named best radio host in the country by Time Magazine and received the highest individual honor in public broadcasting, the Edward R. Murrow Award. The American Journalism Review declared that the show is at "the vanguard of a journalistic revolution." The program is produced by Chicago Public Media and airs on more than 500 public radio stations across the country.

PRX The Public Radio Exchange delivers the show to stations. They say 2.1 million people listen to us on the radio each week, which sometimes is hard to imagine. It's probably airing this weekend on a station near you. Most weeks This American Life is also the most popular podcast in the country, with around one million weekly downloads. In 2014, This American Life launched its first spinoff show, a podcast called Serial that follows a single story over multiple episodes.


Thanks for your support.

We're overwhelmed by the support we recieved from listeners during the Winter 2015 Pledge Drive. Thanks to everyone who helped by pitching, answering phones or by calling in a pledge.

Planetary Radio

Sundays at 6:30 PM

Bill Nye

March 29: Senior Editor Emily Lakdawalla has returned from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas with the latest revelations about our solar system. She shares them in an extended report. Bill Nye is back at home, too. He attended the fifth White House Science Fair, where he shared some thoughts with Charles Bolden, the NASA Administrator. Bruce Betts and Mat Kaplan get serious—or is that Cereous?—about the new space trivia contest on What’s Up


Dear listeners to my monthly radio show "Down in the Valley." I will be off the air until later this year while I tend to some health problems. Lloyd G Carter

This program was recorded live at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on October 28, 2014.

Leave a Legacy

Remember KFCF/The Fresno Free College Foundation in your will/estate. Include language such as the following in your estate planning:

"I give and bequeath unto the Fresno Free College Foundation/KFCF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, Taxpayer ID 23-7071044, with its principal office in Fresno, California, the sum of $_______________ to be used to further the work of the foundation." (If you do not wish to specify an amount, you may use a residuary bequest that is stated as a percentage of your estate.) For more information, contact the station at 559-233-2221. Remember KFCF/The Fresno Free College Foundation in your will/estate. Include language such as the following in your estate planning:

Another option is making KFCF/FFCF the beneficiary of your 401(k)or 403(b), IRA, Roth or Keogh retirement plan. The designee should be the "Fresno Free College Foundation", Taxpayer-ID 23-7071044. KFCF/FFCF can get your pre-tax contributions TAX FREE. For more information, contact the station at 559-233-2221.

Alternative Radio

Wednesdays at 11 AM

April 1 - Marjorie Cohn - Death from Above: Drones

2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, which established the founding principle of modern law: presumption of innocence. Today that principle is largely a casualty of the so-called war on terrorism. Trials, evidence, juries. Who needs them when we have an Oval Office assassination program carried out by drones? These pilotless aircraft have become the weapon of choice for Washington. They are efficient machines killing not only their intended targets but also whoever happens to be nearby. Collateral damage in Pentagon-speak. Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani teenager who was honored with the Nobel Prize, told Obama when she met him that the drone strikes in her country were "fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people." The official White House statement released after the meeting did not mention her comment.

marge cohn

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. She is the former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of many books and she is the editor of Drones and Targeted Killing. Cohn is a recipient of the Peace Scholar of the Year Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

  • April 1 Marjorie Cohn - Death from Above: Drones
  • Apr 8 Chris Hedges - Moral Imperatives
  • Apr 15 Wes Jackson - Taking Care of the Land
  • Apr 22 Robert Fisk / Araxie Barsamian - The Armenian Holocaust
  • Apr 29 Paul Cienfuegos - The Community Rights Movement
  • In memory of Les Kimber

    les kimber

    KFCF honors the memory of Les Kimber, who served on our Board of Directors from 1970-1979, and was Vice President of the FFCF from 1973-1979. He was part of the board that worked to get KFCF on the air. Les was founder of The California Advocate, A Fresno City Councilman and active in civil rights, helped organize the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March in Downtown Fresno, and a leader in Fresno's African American community. Les Kimber was a guest on Valley Views on The Law on KFCF last year. That program can be heard here: San Joaquin College Of Law Multi-Media Page LINK

    Democracy Now! Newsfeed

    Heard weekdays at 6 AM and 9 AM on KFCF
    » Democracy Now!

    Pacifica Evening News - Evenings at 6 PM on KFCF

    PGE Fine Hike Supported by San Bruno

    The city hit by a deadly gas pipeline explosion in 2010 is supporting a tougher penalty against PG&E. The mayor of San Bruno is calling for the California Public Utilities Commission to approve a proposal to hike the fine by 200 million dollars, along with requiring new oversight by independent monitors to improve safety and end what the city calls a “culture of corruption” in the relationship between the utility and regulators. Christopher Martinez reports from San Francisco.

    Bernie Sanders Explores a Run for President


    Aaron Peskin Announces Bid to Run For San Francisco City Supervisor

    Longstanding San Francisco resident and former city supervisor Aaron Peskin announced today that he planned to run for his old seat in the upcoming city elections, hoping to oust incumbent and ed lee appointee Julie Christensen. Scott Baba filed this report.

    Undocumented Asians - Too Few Sign Up for DACA Program

    A federal appeals court has announced it has set a hearing for April 17 on whether a temporary hold on President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions should be lifted.

    Obama's executive actions, could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people - one and a half million of them in California. Last month a federal judge in Texas blocked Obama's actions.

    The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a large population of undocumented immigrants from all over the world and in a new series, Pacifica KPFA reporter Saadia Malik will be profiling some of the communities which would be affected by President Obama's executive actions. Today's report looks at the experiences of two young undocumented Asian immigrants and the particular challenges they and families like them are facing.

    O'Shaine Evans Family Files Claim Against SFPD for Fatal Shooting

    The family of a young black man shot dead by a San Francisco police officer in October filed a claim against the city and the police department. Gabriela Castelan has more.


    Free Speech Radio News Weekly News stories are featured on KFCF during newscasts

    Estates, Trusts and Wills Workshop

    Thanks to all who attended the workshop on Sat. July 26th. The Audio is at :

    KFCF Volunteer Opportunities

    KFCF is looking for the following: a webmaster to update and maintain the KFCF website; and someone to help with light janitorial services at our studios. We also can occasionally use volunteers for other things, too. If you can help, send an email to or call the station at 559-233-2221.

    LA Theatre Works

    Sundays at 7 PM


    FFCF Board of Directors Meeting

    The Board of Directors of the Fresno Free College Foundation holds its regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month. The meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. at the Fresno Center For Non Violence/Peace Fresno at 1584 N Van Ness Avenue Avenue in Fresno.

    The next meeting is scheduled for

    Winter 2015 Pledge Drive
    Jan 27 to Feb 13

    A number of people have contacted KFCF saying they want to directly donate to KFCF. If you want to donate, you can send your contribution to KFCF, PO Box 4364, Fresno, CA 93744-4364, or donate/pledge online by clicking one of the buttons below. If you're interested in a premium, you can donate via KPFA's web page or during a pledge drive call their toll free number, 1-800-439-5732.

    If you wish to enter a recurring monthly pledge, click the "Monthly Pledge" button.

    To make a single payment, click the "One Time Payment" button.

    Please note that only individuals who donate a minimum of $25 per year to KPFA by calling 1-800-439-5732 or via the website are eligible to vote in KPFA elections. Potential members who want to donate more than $25 have an option of donating this $25 amount to KPFA (a portion of this donation returns to our local affiliate) and the balance of their intended donation directly to KFCF. All donations of at least $25 to KPFA qualify individuals to vote in KFCF (local) and KPFA (Berkeley) elections.