Staff

Ira Glass

Host and Executive Producer

Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR’s headquarters in D.C. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995.

Elna Baker

Producer

Elna Baker is a writer and comedic storyteller. She’s appeared on This American Life, A Prairie Home Companion, The Moth Radio Hour, BBC Radio 4, All Things Considered, WTF with Marc Maron, and Studio 360, among other shows. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, and she published a memoir called The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance.

Sona Banker

CFO

Sona joined This American Life and Serial as CFO in 2016.  She provides strategic and financial guidance to start-up and high-growth businesses as Founder of Banker Financial Consulting. Prior to that, she spent eight years at Goldman Sachs Group. Sona is a CFA charterholder and received a B.A. from the University of Chicago, where she also ran cross country and track. She’s completed three NYC marathons and the Boston Marathon.

Susan Burton

Managing Editor

Susan Burton is writing a memoir, The Invention of the Teenage Girl, to be published by Random House. Her work has appeared in the The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Slate, and others. She has contributed to the show since 1999.

Ben Calhoun

Producer

Ben first joined the show in 2010. He was a reporter and producer on the team that created our "Harper High School" episodes, which won a Peabody Award. He also, questionably, won a James Beard Award for this story. Before all that, Ben started in the WBEZ newsroom, and went on to do stories for Radiolab, NPR, Marketplace, and others. In late 2014, Ben left us to serve as vice president of content and programming for WBEZ, where he grew audience, co-authored the station’s new strategic plan, and expanded the station’s content operation. Ben returned to the show in 2017.

Zoe Chace

Producer

Zoe joined the show in 2015. Before that, she was a reporter for NPR’s Planet Money team, as well as an NPR producer.

Dana Chivvis

Producer

Dana joined This American Life as the fellow in 2013. Before that, she covered education at NBC News and was a photo editor at National Geographic. She also works as a producer on Serial.

Sean Cole

Producer

Sean contributed to the show on and off starting in 1999, and then came on staff in February 2014. He’s also worked as a producer at Radiolab, a regular contributor to Marketplace, and a freelance reporter for lots of other shows and podcasts including Studio 360 and 99% Invisible. His career started at WBUR in Boston where he was a news-writer, engineer, announcer, field-producer, reporter and, finally, a correspondent for the station’s award-winning documentary unit Inside Out.

Emily Condon

Managing Director

Over the many years that Emily has worked for This American Life, she’s performed a multiplicity of duties, from screwing together furniture to building and launching shows, and most everything in between. In her past life she ran the Oak Street Cinema, a nonprofit, single-screen revival movie house in Minneapolis, and she's married to TAL regular and host of the podcast Heavyweight, Jonathan Goldstein. 

Whitney Dangerfield

Digital Editor

Whitney works on editorial projects for the website, including the new redesign, and does the same for Serial and S-Town. Before joining the show, she was a senior staff editor in the Opinion and Sunday Review sections of The New York Times and also a writer/researcher at National Geographic magazine. 

Neil Drumming

Producer

Neil Drumming is a journalist and filmmaker who has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Gawker. His feature film debut Big Words was released in July 2013.

Stephanie Foo

Producer

Before joining This American Life, Stephanie helped create Snap Judgment. Her work has been featured on shows like Reply All and 99% Invisible. Stephanie is the project lead for This American Life's sharing tool, Shortcut, and has also produced an Emmy-winning video for the show. 

Cassie Howley

Finance Manager

Cassie joined This American Life as Finance Manager in 2018.  As a Certified Public Accountant, she has focused her career on helping mission-driven companies grow stronger financially.  When she’s not behind a computer screen, you might find her behind a sewing machine.

Chana Joffe-Walt

Producer

Chana won a Peabody Award for her coverage of education and our shows on school segregation. Before joining the show, Chana reported on schools, health care and global economics for NPR, where she helped create NPR’s Planet Money

David Kestenbaum

Producer

David came to This American Life from NPR where he was a reporter for 18 years covering science and eventually economics with the Planet Money team. He has a Ph.D. in particle physics.

Seth Lind

Director of Operations

Seth joined This American Life as production manager in 2006. As director of operations, he heads up sponsorship, partnerships and distribution. He is also co-creator of the improvised science fiction podcast Mission to ZyxxIn 2015, he created and hosted the podcast festival Cast Party, beamed live into 500 movie theaters. 

Anna Martin

Fellow

Anna Martin comes to This American Life from The Moth, where she traveled around the country producing live storytelling shows and co-managed the story-submission Pitchline. Before that, she was a student at Brown University, where she threw a lot of murder mystery parties.

Miki Meek

Producer

Miki Meek interned and freelanced for the show before joining the staff in December 2012. Previously, she worked as an online producer and editor at National Geographic and The New York Times. Miki has won two Emmy Awards for new approaches to documentary programming.

Brian Reed

Senior Producer

Brian first came to This American Life as an intern, rejoined the staff as a producer in October 2011, and became senior producer in 2015. He has created some of the program's most ambitious stories, including “The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra, an investigation into the Federal Reserve that inspired hearings in the U.S. Senate, and “What Happened at Dos Erres,” which earned him a Peabody Award and the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage On Trauma. Brian is also the host and co-creator of our podcast series S-Town

Nadia Reiman

Producer

Nadia Reiman has been making radio since 2005, when she started covering Capitol Hill with a minidisc recorder and no journalism experience for a small Spanish-language politics show. She then worked for many years at StoryCorps, where she and other team members won a Peabody Award for their 9/11 coverage.  Nadia was also the Senior Editor at NPR's Latino USA, where her work received the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Ñ Award, among others. She's also written about music for online publications and has translated both fiction and nonfiction. 

Robyn Semien

Producer

Before becoming a producer in June 2007, Robyn was a film and TV picture editor. She has won a handful of awards for her work on the show, including two Peabody Awards— one for being a producer on the “Harper High School” episodes, and another for producing and reporting “Anatomy of Doubt.”

Alissa Shipp

Producer

Alissa has been a producer at This American Life since July 2006. She handles film and television adaptations, and rights, for the show.  She most recently produced, for Netflix, the movie Come Sunday, which was based on the 2005 episode "Heretics."  She also occasionally works on stories for the radio show.  Prior to This American Life, Alissa worked as a production executive at Warner Bros., and at a number of film and publishing jobs. 

Lilly Sullivan

Associate Producer

Lilly joined the show as a fellow in 2015 and has since worked with both This American Life and Serial Productions. Before coming to TAL, she worked with Radiolab and as a traveling facilitator with StoryCorps. She used to work with literature as an online editor. 

Frances Swanson

Office Manager

Frances joined This American Life as the office manager in 2018. She also works as a freelance stage manager for various theater companies around NYC. 

Christopher Swetala

Fact-Checker

Christopher Swetala joined the show as the head of fact-checking in 2015. He’s written about his job for transom.org

Matt Tierney

Technical Director

Matt joined This American Life in 2015.  For much of his career prior to that, he worked nationally and internationally as a theatrical sound designer.  He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2014.

Nancy Updike

Producer

Nancy Updike is one of the founding producers of This American Life.

Julie Whitaker

Digital Manager

Julie helps run all things digital for This American Life: Facebook, the newsletter, the website, etc. Before joining the show, she worked on the social media team for the Hillary Clinton campaign. She has also worked at WNYC, BuzzFeed, and Doctors Without Borders. 

Diane Wu

Associate Producer

Diane comes to This American Life from Gimlet Media, where she was an intern at Science Vs. Before that, she was a scientist.

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