On what it means to fail:
"Killing [a story that's] mediocre is a triumph. Dragging something mediocre over the finish line and making it decent is really hard ... it's not that fun."
"You need to experiment ... interview people and have it not go well. You need to run at a lot of stuff to make the stuff that's great."
On taking a risk with radio:
"My colleagues are always thinking experimentally, it certainly was empowering and emboldening ... they'd been talking about trying something new for a while, they'd keep their expectations low as to what the listeners would be, and just thought of it as an experiment ... and so I think it was very emboldening to just be able to trust ourselves when it came became time to think of the next experiment."
"I was like to Julie [Snyder], I don’t know what else to do besides go down [to S-Town]. Do you think it's worth it?'
"We often do that with stories, where we don’t quite know ... but part of it is trusting your gut."
“If there had been a murder, maybe it could have been contained in one [This American Life] episode."
“If we take a tangent, we'll sometimes literally and very crudely say we're about to take this long tangent but trust us it's worth it and we're going to come back to the story at the end ... we'll actually say that on the air."
"Please listen. This isn’t a bad story about your town. It's a sad and somewhat, I hope, beautiful story about your town and a guy who lived there, and I hope you appreciate it."