|For immediate release
September 20, 2001
|Contact: Jessamyn D. Sarmiento,
Neal Conan is Named New Host for Talk of the Nation®
WASHINGTON, DC - Award-winning journalist
Neal Conan will become the new host of Talk of the Nation, the national
news-talk call-in show from NPR News, effective immediately. Conan has
served as acting host of the program since September 3, 2001. Conan brings
25 years of news and radio experience to the show, which reaches more than
2.2 million listeners a week on 180 NPR member stations.
"Talk of the Nation is a news show, but it
is also a national conversation. Each day our goal is to create a show where
both of these elements combine," said Conan. "Talk will be intellectually
agile in exploring the world of ideas with the leading thinkers,
policymakers and creative artists. The show will live up to its name by
bringing to the air the issues, events, concerns and fascinations of
Conan is well known to public radio
audiences. He has been a regular substitute host for NPR's newsmagazines, as
well as Talk of the Nation, and also filled in on other NPR-distributed
shows including Fresh Air® with Terry Gross and The Connection. He also was
the first host of Weekly Edition: The Best Of NPR News®. Over the past days,
Conan has played a major role in anchoring continuous live coverage of the
terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, and their aftermath.
His broadcasts have been marked by their clarity, accuracy and eloquence.
"Neal brings tremendous strengths to the
show," said Bruce Drake, Vice President for News and Information. "He is a
versatile and engaging host. As a reporter, he's covered just about
everything there is to cover. And as a former producer, he has an instinct
for what a show's sound and feel should be."
"Talk's audience reached a record high
during Juan Williams' tenure, and we're determined to see that growth
continue," said Drake.
Conan frequently has been called on to
anchor special coverage of major breaking news stories, such as the
impeachment proceedings against former President Clinton in 1998-99. Conan
was one of the principal correspondents in NPR's 1991 Gulf War coverage that
won the prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award. He reported
from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, and during one of his assignments in
Iraq, was captured by the Republican Guard and held hostage for about a week
along with three-dozen journalists.
Conan's other awards include the 1987
Armstrong Award for his coverage of U.S. military actions in the Persian
Gulf and two Citations of Excellence from the Overseas Press Club (for his
1972 reporting on Northern Ireland and for 1980 coverage of events in
Afghanistan). During his tenure as producer and executive producer of All
Things Considered, the show won numerous awards, including the Washington
Journalism Review's Best in the Business Award.
Last year, Conan took a leave of absence
from NPR News to work as the radio announcer for the Aberdeen Arsenal, a
baseball team in the independent Atlantic League. During the season, he
filed a series of commentaries on life on the fringe of professional sports
for Morning Edition® with Bob Edwards. A book based on his experiences,
Play by Play: Baseball, Radio And Life In The Last Chance League, is
scheduled to be published by Crown Books in April, 2002.
Conan started his career as a freelance
reporter and writer in New York before joining NPR in 1977. He was born in
Beirut, Lebanon, in 1949.