There are so many great new things going on at NPR, it’s no surprise that the old has to make way for the new. Today will be the last time that my very favorite NPR show, Talk of the Nation will be on air.
Neal Conan’s voice got me through college and graduate school. It kept me company when I was sick. And it sure as heck always made me smile when combined with Ken Rudin’s voice during the political junkie segment. Wednesdays will just never be the same without that goofy political sound montage.
Before blogs, before forums, before commenting, call-in talk radio shows were the the first form of interactive news outside of sending a letter to the editor. They brought the audience into the discussion in real time and gave them a bigger platform to share their stories.
It saddens me that those discussions will now be relegated to local radio stations rather than having a nationwide conversation. Not that local stations don’t have value (love ya WUNC), but what I loved about Talk of the Nation was the logical flow, the polite discourse, and Neal’s ability to facilitate conversation about even the most controversial topics between people with different backgrounds and beliefs.
In this world of screaming pundits and twitter explosions, there are few who match the class of Talk of the Nation and it’s venerable host.
Neal and crew, I’m glad that I got to meet you all in person during my fellowship at NPR. I’m grateful that you all let me sit in the booth and watch your show unfold, simply because your studio was right next door to my desk. I’m impressed to no end with your ability to do an entire show live as well as your ability to round up material then integrate seamlessly when a guest goes missing. I always loved watching y’all work.
There is no doubt in my mind that with your many gifts and talents, all of you will land on your feet and find a new home.
Still, and I’m sure y’all agree with me, I’m really gonna miss this one.