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For immediate release
October 2, 2000
Laura Gross, NPR
202-414-2300
lgross@npr.org

Time to Choose, A Live Broadcast Originating from Five Local Public Broadcasting Stations, Premieres November 1 on PBS and NPR
The NewsHour's Jim Lehrer Anchors Electronic Voter's Guide from Washington, D.C.

(Washington, D.C.) -- Time to Choose - A PBS/NPR Voter's Guide, a live, three-hour broadcast originating from five public broadcasting stations around the country, airs Wednesday, November 1, at 8:00 p.m. ET, on PBS and NPR stations nationwide (check local listings). The program, part of PBS's Democracy Project, will examine the critical issues and questions that determine each voter's decision in this November's presidential election.

Time to Choose - A PBS/NPR Voter's Guide, an unprecedented partnership among four public broadcasting entities, is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, in cooperation with PBS, Frontline and National Public Radio (NPR). In addition, the broadcast will be available on the Time to Choose Web site at www.PBS.org/timetochoose or www.NPR.org/specials/timetochoose, with six hours of live webcast coverage beginning at 8:00 p.m., ET. The program is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Dan Werner, president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, is executive producer for the broadcast; Mike Mosettig is producer.

Time to Choose - A PBS/NPR Voter's Guide brings together Public Broadcasting's award-winning news and public affairs programs -- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Frontline, and Talk of the Nation from NPR News. Jim Lehrer, The NewsHour's executive editor, will anchor the broadcast from Washington, D.C., and will be joined in Washington and from remote locations by a group of veteran political journalists from PBS and NPR, including NewsHour senior correspondents Gwen Ifill, Elizabeth Farnsworth, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner; NPR political correspondent Elizabeth Arnold; Juan Williams, host of Talk of the Nation from NPR News; and Phil Ponce, former NewsHour correspondent and host of Chicago Tonight on WTTW.

This unique broadcast will be produced for television viewers, radio listeners and online users. The correspondents will report live from public broadcasting stations in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. Live studio audiences representing an accurate sample of the voting population will participate in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. In New York and Washington, panel discussions with senior campaign advisors and political analysts will take place. Documentary footage of voters' comments and key issues of the campaign, produced by Frontline, will be featured throughout the broadcast. In addition, NPR correspondents Tom Gjelten, Julie Rovner and John Ydstie will contribute pre-taped reports on specific issues related to this campaign season.

"We're delighted to bring NPR, Frontline, The NewsHour and PBS together for the first time to create this electronic voter's guide six days before the election," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of PBS. "This unparalleled combination of journalistic resources will provide voters with information they need to make an informed choice on the presidential election."

"NPR is pleased to be part of this national effort to bring the issues people care about to a wide radio, television and internet audience," said Kevin Klose, president and CEO of NPR. "By bringing our resources together for this unique program, we will offer voters a deeper understanding of the candidates and the issues facing this country."

Joining Lehrer in Washington will be NewsHour senior correspondents Margaret Warner and Ray Suarez. Warner will moderate discussions with campaign representatives, policymakers and analysts. Suarez will serve as the Web correspondent and will moderate the online discussion on the Time to Choose Web site, which will allow viewers and listeners to respond to questions immediately as they are posed during the program and for three additional hours following broadcast. Juan Williams will broadcast from New York where he will be speaking with opinion leaders and political thinkers who bring a diverse spectrum of ideas to the hot issues being debated this year.

Additional components of the Web site include diaries of undecided voters from St. Louis County, MO; quizzes to help match users to a candidate based on their position on the issues and character traits; and information on all third party candidates including: biographical profiles, issue positions, voting records, and public statements. The site will also enable users to create personalized voter portfolios that will link them to fellow citizens who might share similar beliefs.

Using documentary reporting produced by Frontline, Time to Choose will present the issues in the presidential campaign - both large and small - that are important to voters. Frontline's segments will include "Interviews 50," with NPR correspondent Alex Chadwick polling people about whom they are considering voting for and why, and 10-minute mini-documentaries on key issues of the campaign. Time to Choose will enable a national conversation and lively discussion of the issues among citizens, key campaign advisors, journalists and opinion leaders.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org.

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week via more than 644 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwidesm, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable. Learn more about NPR at www.npr.org.

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions produces programming for PBS, cable and commercial broadcast network television, including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, which is seen five nights a week on more than 330 public television stations across the country. M/LP also produced PBS's coverage of the 2000 Republican and Democratic National Conventions and will produce PBS Debate Night, scheduled to air on October 15, 2000. Other recent M/LP productions include Empire of the Bay, the history of the Hudson's Bay Company, narrated by Robin MacNeil, and David Hare's Via Dolorosa, both of which aired on PBS; and Shoot Not To Kill: Non-Lethal Weapons for the Discovery Channel.

As PBS's premier public affairs series, Frontline is the recognized leader in producing compelling programs that explore the stories and issues of our times. Now beginning its 19th season, Frontline has established a solid record for accuracy, objectivity and integrity unmatched by any television news program. That reputation for sound editorial judgment and intelligent journalism has earned the series critical acclaim and countless broadcast journalism honors.