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Joshua Johnson
Stephen Voss / NPR

 

After a 37-year run, Diane Rehm is retiring.

She’d served notice to her legions of loyal listeners that she would see out the election and then step away from The Diane Rehm Show.

Much as Garrison Keillor hand-picked his successor Chris Theil for A Prairie Home Companion, Rehm personally selected her own: radio journalist Joshua Johnson.

Johnson sat down with us today to talk about how he plans to follow in Rehm’s shoes and what he plans to do with his new show, 1A.

Devin Pedde

 

A new season, a new host for A Prairie Home Companion.

After 42 years, Garrison Keillor has retired. He chose his first successor, who will bring us his very first show this Saturday night, live from The Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He’s a mandolin virtuoso, he’s won many Grammys, and he leads the Punch Brothers.

David Gilkey, right, pictured with NPR translator Zabihullah Tamanna.
Monika Evstatieva / NPR

NPR photojournalist David Gilkey, who won wide acclaim for his work chronicling major conflicts and disasters around the world, died Sunday in Afghanistan after the Afghan unit he was traveling with was hit by rocket-propelled grenades in an apparent ambush. NPR's Afghan interpreter, Zabihullah Tamanna, was also killed in the attack, as was Afghan soldier at the wheel of their vehicle. Gilkey was 50 years old, Tamanna 38. 

NPR described Gilkey's body of work in its release confirming his death:

It is fair to say that David witnessed some of humanity's most challenging moments: He covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He covered the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. He covered the devastating earthquake in Haiti, famine in Somalia, and most recently the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. 

Gilkey previously worked for the Detroit Free Press, and was considered one of the country's best photojournalists in his time there, and was part of the team that won the paper an Emmy for Outstanding Current News Coverage for Broadband for the video series "Michigan Marines: Band of Brothers."

He also won a George Polk award for NPR in 2010, and the White House Photographers Association named him Still Photographer of the Year in 2011. 

Gilkey was the first non-military U.S. journalist to die in Afghanistan since the latest conflict there began in 2001.

Greg Oberle

A few established Michigan musicians and public radio nerds have joined forces to start a new band called Public Access.

They’re releasing an album today and every track is named after a public broadcaster.

There’s Jack Speer, Dave Mattingly, Ira Glass and Michigan Radio’s own, Jennifer Guerra!

The instrumental songs kind of represent the broadcaster’s persona or the sound of their name.

Here's my review (listen below). 


Hazen Schumacher. / Michigan Radio

Sad news for jazz lovers this weekend. 

Radio legend Hazen Schumacher died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Michigan broadcaster was known nationally as host of the "Jazz Revisited" program.

Jarl Mohn (left) and Lester Graham in the studio at Michigan Radio
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

NPR’s new president Jarl Mohn visited Michigan Radio this week. He joined us on the show.

Before NPR, Mohn managed MTV, VH1, E! Entertainment Television and several other media outlets.

Mohn said public radio had done a great job building an audience, but he is hoping to turn that into a solid business model.

Mohn worked as a radio disc jockey during the first 19 years of his career. He said his previous work with a public radio station rekindled his love for radio.

“This is the only thing on the planet that I would have gone back to work for,” Mohn said.

* Listen to our conversation with Jarl Mohn above.

Confessions of an 'NPR conservative'

Jul 3, 2012

“NPR Conservative.” 

To some, that term might sound like an oxymoron straight from the writing staff of The Colbert Report.

It happens to be me.

WBUR

In my large Irish family, our stories get better with age. It’s not that we lie about what’s happened to us, but when we get together for holidays or family events, we usually tell the same stories and they get better every time.

They start out as true of course, and the people, places and events all stay the same, but over time the funny parts get a little more funny, the dialogue a little more snappy and clever, and the reactions from onlookers a little more outrageous.

“Well it’s been a quiet a week in my hometown…”

Fans of A Prairie Home Companion will recognize those words as the opening to Garrison Keillor’s weekly monologue about the fictional town of Lake Wobegon. But this week the real life of Garrison Keillor was probably more exciting than the tales from “the little town that time forgot,” because this week, Garrison Keillor hosted a fundraising event for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

user: Beverly & Pack / flicker.com

The White House has announced President Obama will make a statement shortly. We expect the president to address the downgrading of US credit. Click the "listen live" button above, to stream special coverage from NPR. 

Out Of The Mouths Of Hosts, Oft Times, Come Flubs

Jul 2, 2011

I have sympathy for anyone who says something stupid into a microphone — any politician, pundit or nervous best man who makes an inane wedding toast.

Been there. Done that.

Mark Halperin, Time magazine's senior political analyst and a frequent commenter on MSNBC, was suspended by the cable network this week for using a locker-room profanity to critique President Obama's latest press conference. The hosts of the Morning Joe program assured Mr. Halperin that a seven-second delay switch would delete any coarse assessment that he wanted to make.

Gaelan Kelly

Who doesn't wonder what public radio hosts actually look like?

Gaelan Kelly, an artist, went ahead and took a stab at making portraits of various hosts.

Here's the description from Kelly's website:

Well I'm sure we all do this with the voices on the radio, we (for some reason or other) get a mental picture of that person and it sticks.

The shock is when we actually end up seeing the face behind the voice and our mental image is shattered forever!

Essential Vs. Not: Which Jobs Wouldn't Shut Down?

Apr 7, 2011

In Washington, D.C., and at federal agencies across the country, the big question employees are asking on the eve of a possible government shutdown is: Am I essential or not? Workers and agencies that are deemed essential will be kept on the job if a shutdown occurs.

US Congress

The bill to "defund NPR" passed the House mostly along party lines. Most republicans voted "aye" and all Democrats voted "nay" (seven Democrats are listed as "not voting" on the bill).

Seven Republicans voted "nay" and one voted "present."

Michigan Republican Justin Amash was the lone member who voted "present" on the bill.

He explains why on his Facebook page:

David Berkowitz / Flickr

Update 10:53 a.m.

The second hour of the Diane Rehm Show will focus on what the departure of NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller will mean for the network, and federal funding for public broadcasting.

The program starts at 11 a.m. on Michigan Radio.

10:29 a.m.

This news came from the NPR's news blog this morning:

NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller has resigned, NPR just announced.

This follows yesterday's news that then-NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was videotaped slamming conservatives and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding during a lunch with men posing as members of a Muslim organization (they were working with political activist James O'Keefe on a "sting.")

NPR's Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of NPR. Chairman Dave Edwards released a statement to staff and member stations. In the statement, Edwards said Schiller resigned:

It is with deep regret that I tell you that the NPR Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO of NPR, effective immediately.

The Board accepted her resignation with understanding, genuine regret, and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years.

But NPR's media reporter, David Folkenflik, says that's not the case. This from NPR news:

NPR's David Folkenflik talks with Renee Montagne about the latest developments, saying CEO Vivian Schiller was ousted in the wake of the controversy over News Analyst Juan Williams' firing last year and gaffes by an NPR fundraiser that came to light Tuesday in a secret video.

Folkenflik said the latest development, the secret filming of a top NPR fundraiser making disparaging remarks about conservatives, was the last straw for NPR's Board.

You can hear the interview with Folkenflik here.

In case you missed it...

Jan 28, 2011
C.P. Storm / Flickr

Michigan Radio broadcasts hundreds of stories, interviews, and commentaries every week (anyone care to tally them up? - my guess is around 600 pieces in one week).

Whether these pieces come from our local reporters, NPR's reporters, NPR shows, shows from American Public Media, Public Radio International, or the BBC, it's impossible to keep up with ALL the stories coming over the airwaves.

Jacques Coughlin / for NPR

National Public Radio released two statements this afternoon.

One statement is about the independent review of the firing of NPR news analyst Juan Williams (ABC News did an interview with Williams after he was terminated).

The other is about the resignation of NPR's Senior Vice President for News, Ellen Weiss.

The two appear to be linked. Weiss was the NPR staffer who fired Juan Williams over the phone.

NPR's Planet Money's toxic asset creature
NPR's Planet Money

The team at NPR's Planet Money has come up with another way for us to understand the financial crisis. They bought a pet.