Gird those tote bags, change-adverse public radio listeners. Ira Glass now owns all of This American Life, having bought out Chicago Public Media and WBEZ’s stake earlier this week. Both CPM and WBEZ will still benefit from This American Life, having agreed to kick over their shares in exchange for a portion of future profits from both TAL and Serial. In turn, all 22 employees of This American Life will become Glass’ employees.
In a statement, Glass said he’s never had any quarrels with WBEZ, but that he’s been making This American Life for 20 years and he “just want[s] to be in the position to decide what I want to do, and not have to clear it with the board or anybody else.” (It’s worth noting that several other popular public radio shows, including Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion, are also run as independent companies.)
An average 2.2 million listeners a week hear This American Life over 500 different radio stations. An additional 1.6 million people download the podcast regularly.