David Isay

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David Isay
David Avram Isay

(1965-12-05) December 5, 1965 (age 57)
OccupationRadio producer
Known forFounder of StoryCorps

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[citation needed] and New York University in 1987.[5]

Isay produced a wide variety of programs for NPR, including the Yiddish Radio Project with Henry Sapoznik, salvaging recordings of Victor Packer.[6] He also produced "The Execution Tapes," nineteen recordings of the 23 electrocutions carried out by the state of Georgia since 1984.[7]

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 inside Grand Central Terminal, in New York City.[8] He recruited oral historian Studs Terkel of Chicago to cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of StoryCorps' first booth.[9] Today, StoryCorps has recording booths in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco.[10] In 2005, StoryCorps converted two Airstream trailers into traveling recording studios—its MobileBooths—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.

Isay is also a member of the Peabody Awards[11] board of directors, which are presented by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.




  1. ^ "About Sound Portraits". Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  2. ^ "Person of the Week: David Isay". ABC News. December 15, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  3. ^ "Dr. Richard Isay, Lover and Fighter, Dies at 77 - Gay City News - Gay City News". gaycitynews.com. July 4, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  4. ^ "Jane and Dave Isay: Role Reversal - Bookreporter.com". www.bookreporter.com. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  5. ^ "StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay Receives 2010 Ambrose Oral History Award". news.rutgers.edu. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  6. ^ "Television/Radio; Pulling in Signals From a Lost World", The New York Times, JULIE SALAMON, March 17, 2002
  7. ^ "Sounds of the Georgia Death Chamber Will Be Heard on Public Radio", The New York Times, Sara Rimer, May 2, 2001
  8. ^ "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
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 19, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "StoryCorps | Recording Locations". Archived from the original on November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  11. ^ "Who We Are". Grady College and University of Georgia. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  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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