NPR Cancels ‘Talk of the Nation’
Update: Neal Conan’s conversation with Michel Martin on his 11 years of hosting the show and his 36 years at NPR will be posted online around 3 p.m. PT.
NPR announced on Friday morning that it will cancel “Talk of the Nation,” the call-in talk show at the end of June. The show airs on KQED at 11 a.m. on weekdays.
In its place, NPR is offering “Here and Now” a “daily news magazine” program developed by WBUR in Boston, which mixes interviews and prepared stories.
“We’re considering a variety of programming options” to replace “Talk of the Nation” in the KQED lineup, said Jo Anne Wallace, KQED Public Radio General Manager. “We will take time to consider all the news and information needs of our audience before making any decisions about what schedule changes to make in light of the ‘Talk of the Nation’ cancellation. We expect to make an announcement regarding a new schedule later in the sping.”
More from Wallace about “Talk of the Nation”:
It has been a significant part of the KQED broadcast schedule since its launch in 1992, and over time, the program has helped us build audience for the KQED news and public affairs program service. [NPR President] Gary [Knell] mentioned that KQED has Talk’s largest audience in the nation. And we all will remember the hosts of Talk of the Nation — John Hockenberry, Ray Suarez, Juan Williams and Neal Conan — and appreciate their daily work in news and intelligent conversation with the public radio audience.
Why the change?
David Folkenflik and Mark Memmott had this to say in the NPR blog “Two Way“:
NPR executives said public radio has a glut of vibrant call-in shows involving national issues — and that they sought a newsmagazine with a mix of interviews and prepared stories to bridge the hours between Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
NPR managers say “Here & Now” will keep listeners up to day on the news throughout the day:
Here & Now is a smart, well-produced program that enables stations to meet the growing demand for news and information programming in the hours between Morning Edition and All Things Considered. In its expanded form, the program will feed five days a week from noon to 2 p.m. ET (9-11 a.m. PT) and will be aggressively updated until 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT). With that schedule, NPR – with WBUR – is now in a position to provide stations with live, updated news coverage 17 hours a day.
But NPR managers also offered words of praise for “Talk of the Nation”
Over its 21-year run, Talk of the Nation has made a powerful contribution to public radio and set the standard for high quality call-in talk programming. The show also created a model that spurred many stations to launch their own call-in shows.
These newer call-in shows are part of the reason for the change, NPR Executive Vice President Kinsey Wilson said, according to Two Way:
In the 20 years that it’s been around, and had a very successful run and become the No. 1 one call-in talk show on public radio, there’s been a proliferation of other call-in talk shows — some of which we carry — like On Point with Tom Ashbrook, like Diane Rehm. [Those are] very successful in their own right [and] remain a vibrant part of what we do. This is really an opportunity for NPR to pivot a bit and to make sure we’re investing in the things that are not as commonly done across the system — and that is providing solid news coverage and strong storytelling across all day parts.”
“Talk of the Nation’s” host, Neal Conan, will step down from daily broadcasting, the NPR executives said:
After 35 years at NPR, 11 of them at the helm of Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan, has decided to step away from the grueling world of daily journalism. He hopes to write a book and spend more time in Wyoming. We look forward to his future reporting contributions from wherever he lands. Neal is one of NPR’s most distinguished journalists and brings extraordinary depth and insight to every story he touches. He will leave a legacy of excellence, having skillfully carried NPR, our Member Stations and the nation through some of the most important news of the last decade.
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