This American Life

November 11th, 2007 by

If you enjoy listening to This American Life on NPR and don't find their weekly free podcast enough, here's a little script to download all of their old episodes. It probably isn't condoned, but I figure that if I had listened to the show from the start and taped them off of the radio they wouldn't have minded, so trying to charge listeners to dip into past shows seems pretty arbitrary. I'd rather just donate to NPR as a whole. I adapted some code from here so that it works on any system with python installed . Here are step-by-step instructions for MacOSX/Linux/whatever:

  1. Copy and paste the code below into a file called '''download.py'''. Save it in your home directory.
  2. Start up the terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app), type '''python download.py''' and hit enter.
  3. All of the shows (up to #342) will be downloaded to your home folder. Shows #5 and #8 don't seem to exist.
#!/usr/bin/env python
from urllib import urlretrieve
import urllib2
for i in range(1,5) + range(6,8) + range(9,389):
urllib2.urlopen("http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse/ismymamashouse/%d.mp3" % i)
urlretrieve("http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse/ismymamashouse/%d.mp3" % i, "%d.mp3" % i)
print "Succesfully downloaded %d.mp3" % i

Update (Sept 12, 2009): I verified that the script still works and it goes up to episode #389 now.

8 Responses to “This American Life”

  1. Evan Says:

    Nice! Downloading as I type this. But you forgot the first line:
    #!/usr/bin/env python

  2. joey Says:

    good call, thanks!

  3. Qatar Boy Says:

    i am a TAL big fan, this is sgreat… cheers, qb

  4. Jason K Says:

    Hello – I am having problems accessing the following path: “http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse” – I am getting an error no matter what option I select? Any thoughts?
    Thanks, Jason K

  5. Club Penguin Cheats Says:

    I am having problems accessing the following path: “http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse” – I am getting an error no matter what option I select? Any thoughts?
    Comment again!!
    Plzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Help““““`

  6. jcdoll Says:

    There shouldn't be a line break after “jomamashouse”, i.e. it should be hitting “http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse/ismymamashouse/389.mp3”, not “http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/jomamashouse”. I verified that the script still works.

  7. david Says:

    doesn't appear to be working anymore, sadly.

  8. ellebee Says:

    Still seems to work! I'm surprised that TAL hasn't figured out this loophole yet, but I'm happy to take advantage of it!
    will be giving a small donation to chicago public radio once the download is finished, to help pay for the bandwidth. if you love it, you gotta pay for it

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