91 EpisodesProduced by Lea ThauWebsite

This show will return late summer 2019. Subscribe to receive new content the moment it is released. Enjoy the archive in the meantime and thank you for your immense patience during my hiatus! Strangers features true stories about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer… read more

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March 27th, 2018


15 minutes of life Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Isn’t It Nice

December 12th, 2017


We bring the year full circle with a new story about Jared in St George, Utah, who was the subject of our very first episode this year. We reflect on …

Go, Kalan

November 21st, 2017


The story of a young man who decided to say yes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Do You Like My Little Lie?

October 12th, 2017


It’s the time of year when skeletons come out of the closet. We honor the dead, as we get ready for holidays among the living, where secrets will be …

Jack Be Nimble, Part 2

August 18th, 2017


Ladies and Gentlemen: Jack, Part 2, in which there will be guns and fear and roses and magic. There will be frat boys and homeless ladies, sweet clowns, and sad selves. Above all, there will be Jack. He will be nimble …

Jack Be Nimble, Part 1

August 5th, 2017


A run-down trailer in small town Texas, Sunday mornings with Charlie Chaplin, heroine-dazed zombies, fighting off dragons, and narrowly escaping real life monsters — this was Jack’s life when she was a little girl. It …


July 21st, 2017


A couple of weeks ago we got an email from Sam in Australia about his podcast Human/Ordinary. We liked it so much we decided to share it with you. Here’s an adapted version of his 10th episode called Headstone: Breath …

Franky Carrillo: Life Now

July 12th, 2017


We check in with Franky who did 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit (listen to our original Franky Carrillo episode “Life” for the backstory) and find out how he’s doing now and what he’s been up to for the …

Franky Carrillo: Life

June 8th, 2017


Franky spent 20 years in prison for a crime he had nothing to do with. This is his remarkable story. We first published this story four years ago and are rerunning it this week as part of the network-wide Radiotopia …

Dear Diary

June 1st, 2017


This is not another Trump voter conversation. It’s not an end-point or a neat conclusion to the series. This is Lea crying into her iPhone at 10pm on a Tuesday because she doesn’t know what to conclude, how to mend, …

Lea in Trumpland #2: Eugene

May 12th, 2017


This is where the gloves come off. In this episode, Lea travels to New York to talk to a Trump supporter who defies a lot of the stereotypes: he’s coastal, young, urban, educated, Jewish, an immigrant… But man oh man do …

Lea in Trumpland: Alicia

April 29th, 2017


Lea has been traveling around interviewing Trump supporters and she’s tried to do it differently. She’s gotten drunk with them and high with them, she’s road-tripped with them and stayed overnight in their kids’ …

Kugel vs Khaled

April 16th, 2017


In this episode we revisit the story of Alaa Khaled AKA Alec Ledd and ponder life’s big questions, such as kugel, identity, celebrity, and how far we will go to please Barbara Streisand or compete with a more-famous …

Claire Obscure

March 11th, 2017


It starts with a murder and ends with new questions. In between there’s Claire’s story. That’s not her real name. It’s neither her old name, nor her …

12 Years On

February 25th, 2017


In August 2004, a Somali refugee family arrived in Vermont. It was the beginning of many good things. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Pabba’s 32nd Year

February 10th, 2017


Imagine if your parents had access to your online dating profile. That happened to Pabba. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Two Men and a Baby, The Final Episode

January 27th, 2017


For nearly three years, we’ve been following Patrick and Steve and their attempt to adopt their foster daughter, and no other story we’ve done has …

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

January 13th, 2017


It’s a new year, a time for hope or worry, for regrets or new plans, a time to count our blessings or pick up the pieces. Last year around this time, as 2016 was just beginning, Jared and Sharry in Utah were …

Eleven Up

December 12th, 2016


Today’s story is about two families trying to become one family. One set of parents is white, one is black, one lives in Portland, OR, the other in Miami, FL, one is Canadian/American, the other is Haitian/American. So, …

The People Next Door

November 24th, 2016


Three stories about Mexican immigration, showing us that there are two sides to the border fence, but many sides to the story. On this episode, we find some unlikely bedfellows among liberals and conservatives, even …


November 11th, 2016


When you start to think your own child might have a propensity for violence, what do you do? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

The Truth

October 28th, 2016


Ashley’s husband, Corey, is accused of the worst thing imaginable. What follows sends the family on an ever darkening journey, swinging between …

I’m an American

October 12th, 2016


Lea recounts the personal journey that led her to become an American citizen this summer. It starts in Sweden in 1945…. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Me For Mayor?

October 3rd, 2016


Have you ever had the fantasy that a chance encounter with a stranger could tell you who to be? Karin Gutman was working as an assistant when a …

Blue Astringent Blues

September 23rd, 2016


A wanna-be artist finds himself in a dual-life dilemma. Can you be the next Bukowski and the king of high-end skin care — at the same time? When push comes to aftershave, which do you choose? Brian Finkelstein tells …

Matjames Returns: Scenes from Yellow Springs

September 2nd, 2016


Three years after Tyler issued a dare for Matjames to return to Yellow Springs, and 26 years after he fled, Matjames finally makes the trip. For optimal enjoyment of this episode, please listen to the first story about …

Matjames and Tyler: Flee, Flood, Float

August 26th, 2016


This is a rebroadcast of a story we produced three years ago. It’s a story we’ve always really liked, and we’re sharing it with you this week because we’ll have an update on the story next week. So be sure to check this …

Love Hurts — Two Years Later

August 16th, 2016


Lea revisits her own love life. Two years ago, Lea produced “Love Hurts,” a series about her ill-fated adventures in online dating throughout the 4 years since she’d suddenly found herself single with an infant in her …

The Bus & The Duff

July 22nd, 2016


Two stories from two stages of love about chance encounters, bold moves, tough luck, predictable fights, unlikely angels, and those unavoidable …

Not By Accident

July 8th, 2016


So you’re 37 and single….  On this third installment of our “Summer of Love” series, we explore the singles’ experience with two intimate stories from the lovely podcast “Not by Accident” by Sophie Harper. Learn more …

Jo & Fayaz

June 25th, 2016


Fayaz asked Jo to marry him after they’d spent just one week in the same place. Here’s how that worked out. This story is the second installment in …

As Far As You Can Get

June 10th, 2016


Welcome to our new series, “Summer of Love,” inspired by this quote from a Danish newspaper: “For decades women seem to have been asking themselves …

The Son, The Goddess, and Leopoldo

May 30th, 2016


Born in a coven of lesbian witches in a Haight-Ashbury commune after the fall of Saigon, young Joshua Safran soon hit the open road with his single mother, Claudia, and things only got stranger from there. A word of …

Outside In

May 13th, 2016


One day when her daughter was 1 month old, Nanna Balslev took the elevator to the top floor of one of the tallest buildings in Copenhagen. Here’s …

Dumb Sh*t We Do #3: Stow Away

April 29th, 2016


Wanna go to Europe? Got no cash? Why not stow away? Well…. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Dumb Sh*t We Do #2: Rob Banks

April 15th, 2016


We feature the story of Joe Loya’s bank robbing career by producer Ben Adair of the podcast “First Time Last Time,” along with a follow-up …

Dumb Sh*t We Do #1: Fib

April 1st, 2016


Melia Mills was working as a lobby-greeter at a hotel, when one day Dave Chapelle came to stay…This is the first in our April mini-series “Dumb Sh*t We Do.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Worth Saving

March 18th, 2016


Annie Bradley was raised to believe that women shouldn’t have opinions or make decisions. But what happens when her life depends on a radical …

Elizabeth and Mary: The Aftermath

March 4th, 2016


Do altruists make us uncomfortable? Hell freakin’ yeah. Or so it seems. The most generous person we’ve ever profiled became the center of a social media storm. Lea called up some of the harshest critics to find out, eh, …

Elizabeth and Mary, Part 3

February 27th, 2016


So did this transplant happen? Is Lea going to give away a kidney? Are you? Tune into this third instalment of Elizabeth and Mary to find out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Elizabeth and Mary, Part 2

February 12th, 2016


This is the second installment in our series about Elizabeth and Mary. On this episode, we play some of the strong reactions we received from listeners to the first installment, and dive deeper into why Elizabeth …

Elizabeth and Mary, Part 1

January 29th, 2016


Would you give a kidney to a stranger? Inspired by a previous episode of Strangers, Elizabeth decided to do just that. This is Part 1 of the story …

The Waxing Virgin — Then and Now

January 15th, 2016


Four years ago, we met Becca, a virgin in her 30s who waxed genitals for a living. On this episode we play her original story, along with an update about what Becca has been up to since then… Learn more about your ad …

A Special Broadcast From Strangers

January 4th, 2016


Two of our favorite stories in one radio hour. With Henry & Jane Evans and Lyena Strelkoff, produced for KCRW.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Left Right Black White

December 4th, 2015


A stereotypical, Whole-Foods-shopping, NPR-listening liberal finds herself in an alliance of Republicans. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

November 6th, 2015


Sometimes you get in a rut as a creative professional, wondering if you’ll ever be a professional, creatively, or if you’ll be forever stuck in some dead-end day job that’s designed to pay the bills but barely does. And …

My Father’s Bones

October 9th, 2015


One day when Susan was five, her father came home and nailed her bunk bed shut. That was the beginning of a long strange journey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Jenni, Remembered

September 12th, 2015


In the Strangers community, we’ve lost one of our own: Jenni Rowell, 33, has passed away. In this episode, with the help of her family and friends, we rejoice in her life and everything she gave us, and we mourn what we …


August 19th, 2015


What exactly does a sex surrogate do? Meet Kendra Holliday to find out. Warning: This content is not suitable for children.     Learn more about …

Love Hurts – One Year Later

August 1st, 2015


One year ago today, July 31st, Lea went to interview Robert, a guy she’d dated, about why he’d turned her down. That became the first of a series of …

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read

July 11th, 2015


John Corcoran graduated from high school and college and then spent 17 years as a high school teacher without knowing how to read or write. How on …

American Mormon — International Mr. Leather

June 27th, 2015


A new – and improved! – version of an old Strangers story: A Mormon boy grows up to become “International Mr. Leather,” which is the “Miss Universe” …

Like a Pizza: Two Men and a Baby – the Follow-Up

June 13th, 2015


In 2014 Patrick and Steve received a surprise delivery…and it was a newborn, whaa! A story ensued, which became the episode Two Men and a Baby. Now, …

Adrian’s Race 2

May 30th, 2015


This is the second installment in our series about Adrian Wagner, who at 25 is losing his eyesight, and who is in a race to try to locate his birth parents in time to qualify for upcoming clinical trials, which might …


May 15th, 2015


This is a story of mothers, love, regrets and redemption, and of secrets from many years passed that cast long shadows in our lives. It’s about how …

The Cruellest Month?

May 2nd, 2015


April is the cruellest month. At least it can be. If you are depressed or heartbroken, there is nothing worse than the thaw and the blossoms and the girls in short dresses and the lovers on park benches licking melting …

Adrian’s Race

April 17th, 2015


Adrian is 25 and losing his eyesight. He’s in a race against time. He’s also in a battle between humility and pride. When is it stubborn, perhaps …

Jenni, Now

March 27th, 2015


We revisit Jenni Rowell from the episode “Life, Interrupted” to see where things stand, and learn some sh*t about life. Get the full story here. …

And Justice for All?

March 13th, 2015


A booker for TV court shows shares highs and lows from the merry-go-round of daytime justice… Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad …

Love – Good and Bad

February 13th, 2015


For Valentine’s Day we return to the theme of love, with a story about someone else’s heartbreak for a change. As for Lea’s heart, well, you’ll see… …

A Father’s Story – Then and Now

January 17th, 2015


To mark the three-year anniversary of Strangers we share with you the very first story ever featured on the show, about Stephen Rochelle and his son Matthew, and we return to Stephen to see how they’re doing now, three …

Love Hurts — The Follow-Up

December 19th, 2014


Lea received hundreds of messages in response to her raw, personal four-part series, “Love Hurts.” In this follow-up episode, she strings together …

The Mind Shaft

December 5th, 2014


Greg O’Brien was in his late 50s when strange things started happening… Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Alaska Bingo

November 7th, 2014


Sam Feirstein takes a broken heart to Alaska and finds surprising kindness in “enemy territory.” Also, producer Lea Thau takes a broken heart to India and has a “stranger” experience that inspires her to create this …

Screaming with Professionals

October 30th, 2014


For Halloween, we give you a ghost story of sorts. Not in the traditional sense, but we think you’ll know what we mean when you hear it. As a little boy, Bill Ratner experienced a series of tragedies. Then he learned to …

Falling Slowly

October 24th, 2014


Strangers, at its core, is about the beauty and the struggle of human connection and what happens in those moments when we get closer to someone else, or, say, further removed from ourselves. Often that change is subtle …

Big Jim & Smokey Joe

October 14th, 2014


A waitress, a former bomber pilot and a retired railroad engineer embark on the adventure of a lifetime. A version of this story was previously …

Love Hurts 4

October 9th, 2014


In this final installment of Love Hurts, Lea talks to a guy SHE turned down. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Love Hurts 3

September 17th, 2014


On this episode, Lea seeks dating advice from two experts…and lets it all hang out. “Love Hurts” is a series in which Lea investigates why she is …

Love Hurts 2

September 3rd, 2014


Lea continues her quest to discover why she’s been single for nearly four years. She interviews yet another guy who turned her down to find out why he didn’t want to date her, and tells stories of her past loves and …

Love Hurts

August 15th, 2014


While doing a story about online dating, Lea gets her heart broken (yet again). Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Kenna Fisher: Renaissance Woman

July 11th, 2014


Kenna, formerly known as Ken, came out 5 years ago. This her story. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Two Men and a Baby

June 15th, 2014


Two young men receive a surprise delivery.  And it’s a newborn. Whaaa! Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

The Long Shadow

May 17th, 2014


Murder, music, mystery. A controversial event in 1997 changed the fate of two band mates. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. …

Cora Leighton: The Gift

April 17th, 2014


A stripper and a tattoo artist have a fateful encounter. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Jenni Rowell: Life, Interrupted

March 14th, 2014


Imagine waking up every morning and seeing a stranger in the mirror… Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Liz Fletcher: Little Orphan Edie, a Valentine’s Story

February 11th, 2014


A tale of true love spanning four decades, two countries, and classic racial divides… Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. …

Born Rich (or Poor): Moby, Jamie Johnson and Others

January 16th, 2014


Just how fabulous is it to be fabulously rich? 4 stories of wealth–inherited and earned.   Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad …

Anniversary Episode: Strangers Revisited

December 13th, 2013


An online dater finds love after 16 years, and an exonerated prisoner goes to see the former District Attorney. Get the full story here. Learn more …

Alfredo Corchado: Midnight in Mexico

November 15th, 2013


An immigrant boy receives an offer he can’t refuse. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Andrew and Akina Cox: Meet the Moonies

October 18th, 2013


A hip young artist couple find themselves in an arranged marriage. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Andrea Askowitz: Be My Baby

September 20th, 2013


A woman finds her way to the all-american, suburban, lesbian life. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Terry’s Treasure

August 30th, 2013


Producer Lea Thau embarks on a strange online dating adventure. Get the full story here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Matjames and Tyler: Flee, Flood, Float

August 15th, 2013


A story about the places we go and the people we find. (Sorry we don’t want to give it away, just listen, please.) Get the full story here. Learn …

Henry and Jane

July 16th, 2013


A 40-year-old stroke victim demonstrates that a sense of humor can be the last thing to go. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad …


June 14th, 2013


Does true altruism exist? Here are three stories that say yea, nay, and just maybe… Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Gay Talese: Committed Voyeur

May 9th, 2013


Legendary non-fiction writer, Gay Talese, discusses his marriage, his work, and the scandals that have made waves in both. Get the full story here. …

Franky Carrillo: Life

April 11th, 2013


A man spends 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but comes out ahead… Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Alec Ledd, Moby: A.K.A.

March 15th, 2013


Moby shares moments with strangers, Alec Ledd goes Jewish for Barbara Streisand. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Lauren Whaley, Jake de Grazia, VS. Dobbs: Love

February 14th, 2013


Three stories of heart break and true love. Get the full story here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

David Terry: Jesus

January 11th, 2013


The son of missionaries is taken to Greece and returns to the U.S. in the 8th grade with a mullet and a Jesus shirt. Get the full story here. Learn …

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