For immediate release
September 16, 1999


WASHINGTON - Ray Suarez, host of NPR's® afternoon call-in program Talk of the Nation®, has been named Senior Correspondent for public television's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Suarez begins work with NewsHour on October 4. His last day on Talk of the Nation will be September 23.

"Ray is among the most talented and distinctive voices working in journalism today. This is a tremendous opportunity and we wish him well," said Kevin Klose, President and CEO of NPR. "We are pleased that Ray will remain a vital presence in public broadcasting."

Suarez joined NPR as host of Talk of the Nation in 1993. During Suarez's tenure, Talk of the Nation's audience has nearly doubled. It is now heard by approximately two million listeners each week on 148 stations nationwide. It can also be heard internationally. In 1994, Talk of the Nation won the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award for its groundbreaking coverage of South Africa's first all-race elections, which was simulcast in both the U.S. and South Africa. The following year, Suarez shared in another Silver Baton Award for NPR's coverage of the 104th Congress.

After Suarez's departure, NPR's Melinda Penkava, an award-winning reporter and the regular substitute on Talk of the Nation, will host the program on an interim basis. A nationwide search is underway for a permanent replacement. The show's ambitious lineup of remote broadcasts and popular town hall meetings will continue as scheduled. "Talk of the Nation is blessed with a very talented production team," said Jeffrey Dvorkin, Vice President of NPR News. "Ray leaves with the program in capable hands. Talk's high standards will be maintained through this transition and beyond. Talk of the Nation will continue to set the standard for what a news talk program can be."

A veteran of nearly 25 years in the news business, Suarez previously served as a reporter for NBC affiliate WMAQ in Chicago and as Los Angeles Correspondent for CNN. He has also worked as a producer for the ABC Radio Network in New York, a reporter for CBS Radio in Rome and a reporter for various American and British news services in London. Suarez's recently published book, In the Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration, has been a critical and commercial success.

National Public Radio®, a membership organization of 608 public radio stations across America, is radio's leading provider of high-quality news, information and cultural programming. NPR is the producer and distributor of such noted programs as Morning Edition®, Talk of the Nation®, Performance Today® and Car Talk®.