In the 1970s, Dave Kestenbaum's cousin Dan Weiss got promoted from stocker to gift shop manager at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. It was a good job... except for the fact that the place was bleeding cash because of apparent embezzlement.
Last summer when Nancy Updike was reporting in Iraq, Sarah, an Iraqi woman in her 40s, was her interpreter. But it wasn't the first time Sarah had had that gig.
Host Ira Glass spends time in perhaps the toughest room on earth, the editorial meeting at the satirical newspaper, The Onion, where there's one laugh for every 100 jokes.
Producer Sarah Koenig tells the story of Duke Fightmaster, who refused to give up his simple dream: to replace Conan O'Brien.
Host Ira Glass Host talks to Paul Gereffi, a letter carrier in Ft. Lauderdale who helped save the life of a stabbing victim who saw Gereffi's mail truck and flagged him down.
Sarah Koenig tells Raucci's story—the story of a virtuoso tyrant and bully, a man who made himself feared and untouchable, in a place where no one thought to look for a tyrant.
Sarah Koenig's story continues. This is the 'fall' half of the rise and fall of Steve Raucci, including secret recordings of the man himself.
Ira with Planet Money economics correspondent Adam Davidson on why—even after everything President Obama has done to save Wall Street, actions which have led to record profits and bonuses—Wall Street seems ungrateful. Adam and producer Jane Feltes head out to a Wall Street bar where they're told by three finance guys that there's no reason to thank the President for saving their jobs. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News.
For 17 months, New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded himself and his fellow officers on the job, including their supervisors ordering them to do all sorts of things that police aren't supposed to do. For example, downgrading real crimes into lesser ones, so they wouldn't show up in the crime statistics and make their precinct look bad.
Patrick Wall was a special kind of monk. He was a fixer.
The rise of NUMMI, or how one of the worst auto plants in America started producing some of its best cars, thanks to lessons learned from the Toyota production system.
Why did it take so many years for GM to begin implementing the lessons of NUMMI across the company? NPR Automotive Correspondent Frank Langfitt continues his story.
Host Ira Glass remembers one of his favorite jobs, as a temp typist working at night in New York City. And we hear from a group of teenagers who create unique fun during the middle of the night when none of their classmates are awake.
Adam Davidson and Chana Joffe-Walt from Planet Money head to the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx, a bustling area of vegetable and fruit commerce that only comes alive at night. Planet Money is a co-production of NPR News and This American Life.
Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson recount how four accidental steps led to enacting the very questionable system of employers paying for health care.
We replay sections from the original "Giant Pool of Money," in which This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson to tell the story of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened.
We catch back up with the people we met in 2008, to see how they've fared over the last 18 months. We talk to Clarence Nathan, who in 2008 received a half million dollar loan that he said he wouldn't have given himself; Jim Finkel, a Wall Street finance guy, who put together and managed complicated mortgage-based financial securities; Richard Campbell, the Marine who was facing foreclosure; and Glen Pizzolorusso, the mortgage company sales manager who led the life of a b-list celebrity.
Host Ira Glass describes scenes from a rest stop on the New York State Thruway, the Plattekill Travel Plaza, and the kind of people you might meet if you ever stayed long enough to talk with them. These include Robert Woodhill, the general manager, who needs a good sales day so he can beat his friend Andy, who manages a rest stop in Maine, in their weekly competition.
More stories of travelers and workers at a highway rest stop. The competition between Plattekill and Maine continues.
Stef Willen tells Ira about a time that she took matters into her own hands, even though she was only a lowly production assistant on a reality show.
One day in January Alex French got a call from his mom, saying that she'd been laid off. A few hours later she called to say that so had his dad.
NPR reporter and Planet Money contributor Chana Jaffe-Walt reports this story of what it really looks like when a bank fails and is taken over by the FDIC. She talks to the former employees and a handful of FDIC staff about the Friday night when the Bank of Clark County was interrupted and closed by 80 FDIC employees, who had every step of their secret operation down to a science.
We hear 5 employees of different Circuit City store locations read their accounts of what it was like when the largest electronics chain in the US had less than 2 months to liquidate its entire inventory and close its doors.
For NPR's Adam Davidson, dropping out of college is the worst thing any young person can do in this economy. So when Adam's favorite cousin DJ does just that, Adam brings in a professor of economics from Georgetown University to help persuade DJ to get back on the right track.