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StoryCorps: Ten Years Of Getting Choked Up Listening To Public Radio

Harvey Wang
StoryCorps Founder, David Isay.
StoryCorps: Ten Years Of Getting Choked Up Listening To Public Radio
GUESTStoryCorps' founder, Dave Isay

StoryCorps
"Ties that Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude" is a compilation of some of the best stories from the StoryCorps collection.
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Anyone who has listened to public radio has heard of StoryCorps. It is almost quintessential public radio: intimate conversations that get to what really matters in life in a couple of minutes, by recording honest questions and answers between two people who matter to each other.

Over the last 10 years more than 100,000 people have participated in StoryCorps, making it the largest single collection of human voices.

A new book, "Ties that Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude" is a compilation of some of the best stories from the StoryCorps collection.

David Isay, the creator of StoryCorps, was about to start medical school back in 1988, when he stumbled quite by chance into a project for public radio that would change his life.

Isay said he met a couple who ran a 12-step store in New York City's East Village. He was drawn in to the store, he said, because the way they designed the store windows was beautiful. The couple were both recovered heroin addicts who were HIV-positive. They told Isay they had a dream, and took him to the back of the store to show a model to a museum of addiction that they wanted to build.

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Isay said their story was filled with grace and spirit like many of the StoryCorps stories we hear today.

He called broadcasters around the city offering their story and only a local community station was interested. The woman at that station, Amy Goodman told Isay, 'Why don't you do the story yourself?'

Isay said it was right then that he was bitten by the public radio bug.

Now, 10 years later, Isay said, he often hears StoryCorps participants say that the 40 minutes people spend in recording booth were some of the most important times of their lives.

KPBS television will be airing the first StoryCorps animated special "Listening Is an Act of Love" on Thanksgiving night.