Popular Radio Program "This American Life" Visits Penn State

Megan KlockContributor INovember 21, 2009

Last weekend Penn State got a very special visit from the staff of “This American Life,” a very popular radio and television show that revolves around stories of everyday people. 

I had the advantage of meeting Ira Glass, the host and executive producer of the show, who contacted me earlier in the week to see if I would be interested in meeting him and giving him an idea of what life as a PSU student is like.

The staff of the radio show came to Penn State to experience what it’s like to be part of one of the best football programs in the country. 

Each reporter had separate assignments that ranged from following around freshman girls for a weekend and visiting frat parties. 

Ira’s main focus of our interview was to talk to passionate student fans and get an idea of what makes the football program here so special from others. 

On the Friday night before the Indiana game, Ira stopped by my apartment to conduct an interview between me and two of my friends, Mike and Zach, who are current students. 

Equipped with a recorder and microphone, Ira talked to each one of us about what its like to attend games, tailgates, funny stories, and why Penn State football meant so much to us. 

After spending almost two hours chatting about everything Penn State football from a student’s perspective at my kitchen table, we realized that we could have spent more time explaining to this outsider why we were so proud to be a Penn Stater.  

The next morning I met up with Ira outside of my apartment and took him downtown to give him a better glance at what game day is like in State College.

After taking a stroll down College Ave, he had the opportunity to get a better glimpse at the familiar scene of a typical game day in Happy Valley.

A sea of blue and white flocked the streets and fans lined up outside of clothing stores to get their last minute gear. 

Fast food stops such as Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds were packed with people who wanted a quick breakfast on their way to the stadium, and a live polka band entertained passers outside the student bookstore.

On our way to the stadium, Zach and I took Ira through the tailgating fields where he got to see what goes on at the pre-games. 

Luckily he was able to sit in the student section with us, which turned out great because he got to be part of the excitement of the student section. 

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t too exciting in the first half, but we gave Ira a play-by-play during the game and told him about things such as the chants and opinions that we had about the performance of the players. 

Although the beginning of the game turned out to be a bit of a slow start for the Nittany Lions, they pulled through with a win against Indiana. 

I think it was safe to say that we showed Ira a good time during his visit to State College and hopefully the other reporters from the radio show had a great experience as well. 

Be sure to check out the interview on the weekly podcast of “This American Life” in the next upcoming weeks!