Ira Glass Is Establishing His Radio-Podcast Empire

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Ira Glass in TCD, Dublin, Ireland
Photo: Mark Doyle -/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

At least in the public-radio world, Ira Glass now officially qualifies as a capitalist pig: He has just taken full ownership of his brainchildren, "This American Life" from WBEZ Chicago. His new company will also control "Serial," though co-creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder will own part of their podcast*. WBEZ’s parent company, Chicago Public Radio, turned over their stakes in both programs to Glass this week, reports Robert Feder. As part of the deal, WBEZ will still share in profits from "TAL" and "Serial*," and you’ll still hear "brought to you by WBEZ Chicago," so nothing will really change for listeners. Glass said that after 20 years with the station, “I wanted the freedom to be able to make some things without WBEZ." "TAL" has more than 2 million radio listeners and 1.6 million weekly podcast downloads, and "Serial" remains the most popular podcast ever. But none of this, apparently, will free you from Glass’s attempts to guilt-trip you during annual pledge drives.

*This post originally stated that Glass had full ownership of "Serial." We apologize for the error.