For your weekend listening pleasure and information, courtesy of the good folks at Chicago's WBEZ public radio station, a 3-part podcast series titled "Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution," which serves as an audio history that tells the behind-the-scenes story of Oprah Winfrey's iconic TV talk show, starting with its scrappy roots in Chicago, its rise to daytime dominance, and the influential powerhouse that Winfrey came to be not only in America, but around the globe.
Airing last month over 3 days, the 3-part series (each episode is an hour long, prefaced by a 5-minute preview) includes contributions from Oprah Winfrey herself of course, as well as producers, staffers, TV executives, her early ratings rival, Phil Donahue, and others.
It's hosted by Jenn White, and produced by Colin McNulty.
All 3 parts of "Making Oprah: The Inside Story of a TV Revolution" follow after the preview immediately below, each with a brief description of what period the episode covers.
-- First, here's the preview:
-- Ep 1: No Strategy, No Plan, No Formula
In the first of a three-part podcast series, Oprah and former producers talk with WBEZ's Jenn White about the early, scrappy days of the program. Phil Donahue reflects on Oprah's entry into the daytime talk landscape that he once dominated. Plus, the podcast revisits milestones from the 1980s, like the show's national debut, and some mixed feelings over the show's highest-rated episode ever.
-- Ep 2: Skinheads And Scented Candles
The second episode explores how the "Oprah Winfrey Show" elevated itself out of the heap of trash TV and into a show that intentionally embraced spirituality and positivity. The early years of Oprah’s show often relied on sensational, tabloidy topics – cheating husbands, sexy clothes, and murderers. It was not yet the "Live Your Best Life" Oprah we would come to know and love.
As the show reached maturity, the program conducted the on-air experiments that would allow it to become something more than a talk show.
-- Ep 3: YOU GET A CAR!
In the show’s final decade, Oprah and her team staged massive spectacles of increasing grandiosity, from the infamous car giveaway to a 21,000-person flash mob that shut down part of Chicago. This final episode looks at Oprah living life at the top, pushing the boundaries of what could be done with the world’s most powerful talk show, and examining why it all had to end after 25 years.