Built around the innovative personal vision of host Ira Glass, "This American Life" has pioneered a new kind of radio. The weekly program explores a theme - fiascos, conventions, frenemies - through a mix of documentaries, radio monologues, investigative stories and occasional fiction. Usually the program applies the tools of journalism to everyday life. But sometimes it tackles news stories, leading to some of its most distinctive and acclaimed show. The stories can be engaging, intimate, surprising, funny, disturbing and bittersweet.