Ira Glass (born March 3, 1959) is a public radio personality, best known as host and producer of the radio show This American Life. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he is the son of radio announcer/accountant Barry Glass and psychologist/infidelity researcher Shirley Glass. He married Chicago editor Anaheed Alani in August, 2005. He is a second cousin to the composer Philip Glass. He attended Northwestern University but became frustrated with students who were "only interested in getting graduate degrees and making money," and shortly transferred to Brown University, where he majored in semiotics.
Glass has worked in public radio for over 20 years. He started out as an intern at National Public Radio. He was a reporter and host on several NPR programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Glass wrote, "The very first national public radio show that I worked on was Joe Frank's. I think I was influenced in a huge way... Before I saw Joe put together a show, I had never thought about radio as a place where you could tell a certain kind of story."
Since 1995 he has hosted and produced This American Life, from WBEZ. The show became nationally syndicated in June 1996 and is distributed by Public Radio International. It reaches over 1.6 million listeners weekly.
On November 17, 2005, This American Life celebrated its 10th anniversary. The following week, as a special show celebrating the anniversary, the first episode (entitled "New Beginnings") was re-broadcast. Until the re-broadcast aired, the first episode was never heard outside of Chicago. When the first episode was broadcast in 1995, the show was known as Your Radio Playhouse. That first episode includes interviews with talk-show host Joe Franklin and Ira's mother (Shirley Glass), as well as stories by Kevin Kelly (founding editor of Wired magazine), filmmaker/performace artist Lawrence Steger, and more.