Kicking off Pride month with Lily Tomlin

All month long, we’ll be posting about programs that feature guests from the LGBTQ community.  This week, we’re featuring a 1988 interview with Lily Tomlin.


It’s really just our common humanity that means anything.

~Lily Tomlin

Studs didn’t choose his guests based on gender identification or sexual orientation, just as he didn’t choose them based on race, religion, profession, or any other form of identity.  He was interested in all of those things, but he saw them as connections and potential bridges between people, not as walls to erect out of fear and hate.

That being said, the LGBTQ experience is rarely spoken of directly in the archive.  (Although you’ll be hearing this month from one of the exceptions, Quentin Crisp, who speaks very candidly about his experience as a gay man.)  During the 80’s, Studs did speak to a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, and in the 80’s and 90’s, he did five programs on HIV/AIDS.  But out of 9000 hours of audio, this isn’t much.

This small number isn’t surprising, considering the years in which he was broadcasting.  Homosexuality was a topic that was rarely discussed, let alone broadcast on the radio.  Even if he couldn’t ask directly about the LGBTQ experience, the way he could ask women about disparity in the workplace, or African Americans about civil rights protests, this didn’t stop him from bringing talented and interesting members of the LGBTQ community into his studio on a regular basis.  And if you listen between the lines, it’s quite clear that he is offering his guests an opportunity to speak indirectly about their experiences, such as in his conversation with James Baldwin about Another Country.   Continue reading →


Bob Dylan and other news

Instead of sharing a program with you this week, we have lots of news to share.  Everyone who supports our Kickstarter campaign by Sunday, February 21 gets exclusive access to interviews with beloved icons Bob Dylan, Mel Brooks, and Lily Tomlin and her collaborator and wife Jane Wagner.  Hear Studs draw out their thoughts and stories as only he can.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan


Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin


Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks







We talk a lot about the famous people Studs interviewed in his studio.  People like Bob Dylan, Mel Brooks, and Lily Tomlin.  But his guests, famous or not, were often activists, advocates, and working to change the world for the better through their everyday choices and actions.  Studs spoke with feminists, peaceniks, Holocaust survivors, Native Americans, and union activists.  The stories his guests tell are as relevant today as they were when they were first recorded, and to honor their voices we are celebrating Studs’s commitment to social justice this week from Thursday through Sunday.  Check out our Facebook page for more information, starting tomorrow.

You may remember that the theme of last year’s Third Coast Festival ShortDocs competition was Studs’s radio programs.  Tonight the compilation show will be on Chicago’s WBEZ at 10:00pm, or you can listen here.

And finally, we had a lovely endorsement from David Harrington of Kronos Quartet that we’d like to share with you (and my apologies if you’ve already read this on our Kickstarter update, and in that case, thank you for your pledge!).

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive is one of the most inspiring and diverse mosaics of American culture ever made. Studs’ energy and his spontaneity, his inimitable voice and his timing, his intense interest in people’s stories and in celebrating the pageantry of our society makes The Studs Terkel Archive my favorite body of work. That this archive will become more available means that future generations of listeners can revel in the fun, the probing questions and the magnetism of Studs Terkel. I always feel better after hearing Studs’ show.  Please join me me in supporting The Studs Terkel Radio Archive.
Kronos photographed in San Francisco, CA March 26, 2013

Kronos photographed in San Francisco, CA March 26, 2013


Pledge here!  Thank you!


Photo credits

Brooks: By Towpilot (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Dylan: By U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service. (ca. 1953 – ca. 1978) This image was made by Rowland Scherman on assignment from The US Information Agency, 1963. – This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier (National Archives Identifier) 542021.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.English | Español | Français | Italiano | Македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | Polski | Português | Русский | Slovenščina | Türkçe | Tiếng Việt | 中文(简体) | 中文(繁體) | +/−, Public Domain,

Tomlin: By U.S. Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Kronos: ©Jay Blakesberg

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