Winner 2010

The Moth Radio Hour

The Moth, Public Radio Exchange, Atlantic Public Media

On the face of it, there isn’t much to The Moth Radio Hour—just a bunch of true stories told live, on stage, without notes. But as the program and its parent organization The Moth (a society dedicated to the promotion of storytelling) remind us, in life, the story is really all we have. When those stories are as rich, funny and heartrending as those collected on The Moth Radio Hour, that’s not a bad thing at all. The program’s “tellers” range from famous comedians like Colin Quinn and Mike Birbiglia, to writers like Jonathan Ames, to ordinary people discovered at The Moth’s open-mic “StorySlam” events. For each, though, the story exists as a living memory of a turning point in their lives. Quinn humorously recalls a low point “hell gig” performing at Robert De Niro’s birthday party, writer Dan Kennedy probes the ins and outs of therapy through a harrowing ordeal with his psychiatrist, poet Al Letson examines the pain and guilt of losing a child, and Daisy Rosario recalls the first time she met her brother—at her father’s funeral. The show boasts a barebones structure, hosted by The Moth’s production staff, and seamlessly weaves from one tale to the next—the saddest stories unexpectedly funny, and the humorous ones unexpectedly touching. By recording seemingly every one of its live events, The Moth is able to cull material from its archive into an incredibly vibrant hour of radio. For its reminder of the richness of the simple narrative beautifully told, The Moth Radio Hour receives a Peabody Award.


Executive producers: The Moth; PRX, The Public Radio Exchange; Atlantic Public Media Producers: Jay Allison, Catherine Burns. Directors: Catherine Burns, Jenifer Hixson, Sarah Austin Jenness. Cast: Jay Allison, Josh Axelrad, Daisy Rosario, Colin Quinn, Mike Birbiglia, Jen Lee, Ernesto Quinonez, Dan Kennedy, Jenifer Hixson, Al Letson, Jeffery Rudell, Catherine Burns, Tony Hendra, Bokara Legendre, Jon Levin, George Dawes Green, Jonathan Ames, David Carr, Audrey Ellen Pleasant, Sarah Austin Jenness.