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The 2002 TCF Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: Studs Terkel (INC)

The Third Coast Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (now the Audio Luminary Award) is presented annually to an individual who is greatly admired for his or her significant and ongoing contributions to the field of radio. Hats off to the 2002 recipient, Studs Terkel.

Lifetime Achievement2002 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition

2002 / Studs Terkel / Third Coast Festival, USA

The Third Coast Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (now the Audio Luminary Award) is presented annually to an individual who is greatly admired for his or her significant and ongoing contributions to the field of radio. Hats off to the 2002 recipient, Studs Terkel.

Radio veteran and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oral historian Studs Terkel was on the radio for nearly 60 years, first as an actor in soap operas (he played a gangster!), then as disc jockey playing his choice of jazz, blues, and opera music. After a short stint on television in 1952, Terkel began working for Chicago's fine-arts station, WMFT. He began in the familiar role of DJ, but soon started inviting musicians and authors into the studio to talk about their craft, beginning his illustrious career as a consummate interviewer. In conversations with everyone from Tennessee Williams to Mahalia Jackson to Woody Allen, Terkel brought to bear his knowledge, his wit, and his voracious curiosity.

Studs Terkel was also a master documentarian, and through the years captured the sounds of America in transition. For example, in 1963 while riding the train from Chicago to the civil rights march in Washington, D.C., Terkel gathered the voices of anger, joy, and ultimately optimism from people making that historic trip. In nominating him for this award, Sydney Lewis, author and longtime assistant to Terkel, wrote "Anyone fortunate to catch him on the air was forever hooked, educated, entertained, moved, and in some way changed." Neenah Ellis, writer and radio producer, wrote, "Studs Terkel is a certifiable national treasure and, miracle of miracles, he is also one of us."

We're pleased to present Studs Terkel's acceptance speech, delivered at the 2002 TCF awards ceremony, in the player above. To hear the aforementioned documentary, "This Train," check out the Extras section below.


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