NPR has announced it will no longer produce the popular political call-in show Talk of the Nation. St. Louis Public Radio, along with other member stations, will be replacing this program with an expanded version of WBUR Boston’s Here and Now, an afternoon ‘magazine-style’ news broadcast show.
Talk of the Nation’s host, Neal Conan, will depart after more than 30 years with the network and over 11 with the show. Conan’s past positions with the network include NPR’s Bureau Chief in both New York and London, as an editor, producer, and news director.
In an interview with St. Louis On The Air’s host, Don Marsh, Conan shared his thoughts on some of the changes that will take place.
“What’s missing is the opportunity for people on a national basis to call in and tell stories of their lives,” Conan said. Conan went on to explain that the magazine format is “not conducive” to allowing time and nuances to come forth from individuals “because magazine formats, by their nature, are dense.”
“That hour, every Wednesday, has been the best hour of my week, I can guarantee you that,” Conan said.
Science Friday, NPR’s weekly science talk show with host Ira Flatow will continue to be produced, however, it will leave the schedule of St. Louis Public Radio.
The programming change is a product of discussions that began more than two years ago between NPR and some of its biggest member stations. Citing an excess of vibrant, national call-in shows such as On Point and The Diane Rehm Show, NPR executives said the move was made in order to bring more local stories to the national conversation that may otherwise have gone unheard outside their local regions.
Here and Now will work in partnership with NPR to expand from one to two hours beginning July 1. Host Robin Young will be joined by Jeremy Hobson, formerly of Marketplace Morning Report.