Selecting the correct gear by Paul McNally


You have to begin with “Why?” Why does this show need to exist? What purpose does it serve? Believe me, there are many reasons not to launch a radio program, and if you can’t come up with some overwhelming reasons to do it, it is far easier to keep doing what you’re doing.

J.J. Sutherland via

Ira Glass: The Man Who Launched a Thousand Podcasts by Paul McNally

In November 1995, Ira Glass quietly launched the first episode of This American Life. The rest, as they say, is history. Today his show is a colossal success and Ira Glass is a household name. But in the intervening two decades, Ira has left an indelible mark on the industry by helping to shape hundreds of podcasts and as well as hundreds of podcasters—including Alex. On this episode, Alex sits down with his mentor and former boss to talk about the early days at This American Life, what Ira taught Alex, and how being a good boss means learning to set people free.

Without Fail is hosted by Alex Blumberg and produced by Molly Messick and Sarah Platt. Devon Taylor and Alex Blumberg edited this episode. The episode was mixed by Jarrett Floyd and Peter Leonard. Music by Bobby Lord.