Ira Glass

On this date in 1959, radio personality Ira Glass was born to Jewish parents in Baltimore, Md. While in college he interned at National Public Radio, where he worked after graduating from Brown University with a degree in semiotics in 1982. Glass worked as a production assistant for “All Things Considered” and then as a reporter for National Public Radio, spending a year in a high school and a year in an elementary school reporting on education.

In 1989 he moved to Chicago to co-host a show called “The Wild Room.” In 1995 the radio program “This American Life” debuted, produced and narrated by Glass. By 2016 it was reaching over 4 million listeners each week. In 2013 the WBEZ board voted to raise his salary from $170,000 to $278,000 but he asked for it to be lowered to $146,000 the next year, calling the original sum “unseemly.” He supplements his income with speaking engagements.

Glass says that his family was always secular and that he stopped believing in God soon after his bar mitzvah at age 13: “I found I just didn’t believe in God.” (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 14, 2000.)

Glass married writer and editor Anaheed Alani in 2005. “We have the entire Middle East crisis in our house,” he joked. “Her mom is Christian and her dad is Muslim, from Iraq.” They divorced in 2018. He has won numerous industry awards and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2014.

PHOTO: Glass at the 2013 Peabody Awards.

Freedom From Religion Foundation