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Ira Glass appearance to benefit WYSO

Ira Glass

On Saturday, September 10, Ira Glass will be in Dayton - mixing stories from his life and career live onstage at Schuster Center. In this interview, WYSO’s general manager, Luke Dennis, talks about the creator, producer & host of This American Life - including his influence in the development of the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices.

Luke Dennis: Live and in person on the stage of the Schuster Center at 7:30 p.m. on September 10th. All tickets are $20. The guy is a legend. If you missed him in 2011, he hasn't been back since then. So really hoping that a lot of people want to fill every seat at the Schuster Center for this event.

Kenney: That 2011 appearance was really nice in the way that I was totally surprised by the way he uses technology in his performance, but it's got soul.

Dennis: A lot of soul, right? I mean, he really cares about lifting up the voices of the people featured in his stories. And from the beginning, he's been defining the path forward for what really good audio storytelling sounds like. Right? So yeah. Don't picture a dry and boring lecture of him standing at a lectern on the stage, he's working with... he's carrying a laptop around the stage and he's firing audio from it. There are video elements that are there being incorporated. It's a very entertaining show about how they make This American Life. So, if you love that show, it's a true behind the scenes journey into that show that's been on the air now since, what, 1996 right here on WYSO. We picked it up right when it started.

Kenney: Yeah, I think so. The live appearance, the live performance is so well-produced that I would just imagine something like that would have to have some editing done, you know, some post editing after the event but the way he was firing off those, those the audio and visuals as he was speaking was very well done.

Dennis: I mean, there will be a three-hour tech rehearsal that afternoon. So, it's it's very carefully orchestrated. He's very good at what he does, and he only does he only travels once a month to a station that invites him. Right. So, we've we got on the list a long time ago. I wrote him a letter. I said, please come back to Dayton. You know, we'd love for you to meet again with our Community Voices class. It was so inspiring when you visited us in 2011. Will you come back? And we are one of the stations that he selected for this year to visit, and it's been rescheduled because of COVID but we're still on his list.

Kenney: And correct me if I'm wrong, but some of his thoughts were instrumental in the creation of the Center for Community Voices.

Dennis: Yeah, so Community Voices was Neenah Ellis' idea in 2011 and, you know, nobody knew how it was going to grow and evolve. I was in that first class in 2011 before I worked at the station, and at the end of the year she made this announcement like, well, we're putting together a little masterclass, you know, Ira Glass is going to come and talk to you guys about your stories. And Neenah sent Ira rough cuts of everyone's feature story that they were working on for Community Voices and I thought, oh, you know, he won’t talk about it but a little bit, but he's going to talk about his own work. He came in and spent a couple of hours with us and spoke with every student about their story. He completely transformed my story. He gave me an edit that was so perfect for what I was trying to do. He's just a very generous giving guy. He wants to see public radio be strong and successful all over the country. So yeah, I mean, his ideas, his model for what great storytelling looks like has informed Community Voices from the beginning.

Kenney: So, the event is September 10th, 7:30 p.m. at the Schuster Center. How can people grab some tickets?

Dennis: The easiest way would be to go to the Dayton Live website. You know, they operate the Schuster Center, they have a ticketing service, and you can find the show at DaytonLive.org, and buy a ticket. And I'm telling you, it's really unusual that every ticket is $20. I mean, the front row tickets are $20. Ira and WYSO agreed on that price because we want it to be accessible to anyone who wants to be there.

Kenney: That's great. We hope to see you there. Luke, Dennis, thanks so much.

Dennis: Jerry, thank you.

Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.