David Isay

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David Isay
Born David Avram Isay
(1965-12-05) December 5, 1965 (age 52)
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Radio producer
Known for Founder of StoryCorps
Website storycorps.org

David Avram "Dave" Isay (born December 5, 1965) is an American radio producer and founder of Sound Portraits Productions.[1] He is also the founder of StoryCorps, an ongoing oral history project.[2] He is the recipient of numerous broadcasting honors, including six Peabody Awards and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He is the author/editor of numerous books that grew out of his public radio documentary work.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews with 100,000 participants. Each conversation is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is the largest single collection of personal narratives ever gathered, and millions listen to StoryCorps’ weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and visit its website, www.storycorps.org.


David Isay grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and Manhattan, New York. He is the son of the psychiatrist Richard Isay.[3] and book editor and author, Jane Isay.[4] He graduated from Friends Seminary in 1983[5] and New York University in 1987.[6]

Isay produced a wide variety of programs for NPR, including the Yiddish Radio Project with Henry Sapoznik, salvaging recordings of Victor Packer.[7] He also produced "The Execution Tapes", nineteen recordings of the 23 electrocutions carried out by the state of Georgia since 1984.[8]

Isay received a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship as a radio documentary producer before he started StoryCorps.

In 2003 Isay set up an oral history recording booth at Grand Central Station, in New York City.[9] He recruited oral historian Studs Terkel of Chicago to cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of StoryCorps' first booth.[10] Today, StoryCorps has recording booths in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco [11] and in 2005, StoryCorps converted two airstream trailers into a MobileBooth traveling recording studios, launching its first cross-country tour. In 2010, StoryCorps began animating a selection of their interviews with the Rauch Brothers, thus making the leap from radio broadcast to television on shows like PBS’ POV and online animated videos.




  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ News, A. B. C. (December 15, 2005). "Person of the Week: David Isay". ABC News. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Dr. Richard Isay, Lover and Fighter, Dies at 77 - Gay City News - Gay City News". gaycitynews.com. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Jane and Dave Isay: Role Reversal - Bookreporter.com". www.bookreporter.com. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Our Mission". www.friendsseminary.org. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  6. ^ http://news.rutgers.edu/medrel/news-releases/2010/05/storycorps-founder-d-20100506
  7. ^ "Television/Radio; Pulling in Signals From a Lost World", The New York Times, JULIE SALAMON, March 17, 2002
  8. ^ "Sounds of the Georgia Death Chamber Will Be Heard on Public Radio", The New York Times, Sara Rimer, May 2, 2001
  9. ^ "Oral History Project Wants Nation of Interviewers; Public Recording Booth at Grand Central Aims to Democratize Chroniclers Art", The New York Times, Michael Brick, May 7, 2003
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ "Announcing our TED Prize 2015 winner: Dave Isay of StoryCorps". November 17, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  13. ^ "David Isay". United States Artists. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 

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