NPR logo Farewell to Rachel Martin

Inside The BPP

Farewell to Rachel Martin

For this edition of the "BPP Picture Show," our weekly behind-the-scenes feature, we say farewell to our host Rachel Martin. Rachel leaves us to join ABC News as a DC-based weekend correspondent. We'll miss you, Rachel. All our love, and best of luck.



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"Rachel leaves us to join ABC News as a DC-based weekend correspondent."

No-one told us that!!!! "WEEKEND CORRESPONDENT"!!! That means she can still do BPP weekdays.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 1:45 PM | 6-28-2008

1) Mint juleps clearly don't have many calories. Get that Mark Garrison to the gym!

2) Solo Pesca?????? Noooooooooo!!!!!!! I free the future.....

Sent by Marc Naimark | 1:50 PM | 6-28-2008

It's all the Burbank kid's fault!

If evil Luke hadn't gone back to Seattle to be with his daughter, then Rachel would have remained happily ensconced in her news booth, and would never have gained the visibility obtained as co-host.

The Burbanks must pay!!!!

Sent by Marc Naimark | 1:53 PM | 6-28-2008

re Karaoke farewell... glad you had a karaoke party, and loved the Neil Diamond. Suggest ending each week with a singalong. Listeners would vote on the song.

Sent by Marc Naimark | 3:34 PM | 6-28-2008

Rachel, I miss you already! All the best with your new position!

Sent by Phil | 4:10 PM | 6-28-2008

I'm not sure what causes me more unease. Rachel leaving the show or the knowledge that now we get who knows how many weeks of undiluted, full-strength, industrial Pesca.

Something has always intrigued/bothered me about the BPP. Other NPR programs make it very clear who the hosts and guest hosts are. You can go to the website and see who is who. If someone steps out for a while they announce on the air how long it is going to be and who is going to be filling in. The BPP is way more loosey, goosey. We listeners just tune in and hope for the best. This leads to a distinct lack of continuity. The website is never of any help. Heck, none of the fine behind the scenes staff except Matt even gets a mention on the "People at NPR" page. You should totally get this fixed. Are we supposed to believe that NPR functions with 392 on-air people and 6 off-air? I don't think so.

I'm a fan of Allison, but I don't know if or when she's coming back. Fans of Mike don't know how long he's going to be around. Would knowing this help maintain or increase the listener base? I don't see how it could hurt. I think this topic stands out because in so many other ways the BPP is very forthcoming with its audience. We not only know most of the staff, we know what they sound like and look like. I think I even spotted the elusive Minoli Weatherall through the glass one day. The collaborative feel of the BPP is one of the things that makes it truly special, but the inconsistent hosting undermines this.

I know you guys demure on all personnel questions. This is probably right and good. And maybe my current funk is largely due to barely having time to get used to three hosts only to have them lose orbit. I'm not after a sense of permanence about any particular host. Right now I'd just settle for a sense of extended temporariness. Then again I suppose there is a chance that you guys are even more disoriented by the rapid turnover than your audience is, and I should cut you some slack.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 8:15 PM | 6-28-2008

Awww crap...

Now, I want to work for the BPP.

You guys rock!

Sent by Historian | 12:23 AM | 6-29-2008

Good luck @ABC Rachel.

ALISON, keep enjoying Maternity Leave, and we'll be happy when you return to the BPP. Just stay upbeat as always, where ever you are.

MIKE PESCA has been a great fill-in host, and he'd make a great permanent co-host for when Alison returns. At first I didn't "get" him, but now I think he is a really good fit for "BPP" and unbelievably smart.

Lastly, please always have Dan Pashman around for "THE MOST." No - we don't know each other. But his laugh cracks me up + makes me smile.


Sent by Andie H Lise | 5:34 AM | 6-29-2008

Mike Pesca is The Duke of New York, A # 1.

Sent by Dan M. | 10:09 AM | 6-30-2008

I love the BPP, and am relieved to finally know what is going on with the hosts. I agree with Dave Wiley--we could use some extended temporariness. It's nice to be in the loop.

Pesca is growing on me (which sounds gross, but you know what I mean) but part of what initially drew me to the show was that it was hosted by women. So I will look forward to Allison's return to see how the chemistry develops.

I love my BPP podcast on my way to work every morning, so keep up the good work! Best of luck to Rachel!

Sent by Deb V. | 11:52 AM | 6-30-2008

I hope Mike Pesca stays on the show permanently!

Sent by J | 12:23 PM | 6-30-2008

Rachel, we will miss you. I am in DC, so I have to say I am a little bit happy to hear the news. Go celebrate your new gig at Off the Record.

Sent by Liam | 1:56 PM | 6-30-2008

Mike Pesca is great. Hopefully his genuine weirdness and, dare I say it, maturity, can rub off on the BPP. I agree with previous posters, the false transparency of this show is sneaky and off-putting. If you are going to pretend to pull back the curtains then the audience will expect full and timely disclosure of relevant information. As it stands we are "the kids" and you are pretending like we can't handle the truth.

Sent by bingo | 2:16 PM | 6-30-2008

so is the empty cube where the interviews were shot used to belong to rachel? will miss you and best of luck at abc!

Sent by AM | 2:36 PM | 6-30-2008

Ian Chillag is my hero! Good luck, Rachel!

I have to disagree with some of you. I initially liked Mike Pesca, but as the weeks go on, I find him kind of annoying. Maybe things will be better when Alison returns. Maybe if he toned it down a little, I could tolerate him better... Pesca Light. Less interruptions during The Most, less inane, humorless jokes during interviews, less rambling introductions to the ramble... less is more.

Like the Brad Pitt character in 12 Monkeys, I just want to yell at him, "Focus, focus, focus," while making emphatic hand gestures.

I guess my dream team of Alison and Bill Wolff will never happen. Sigh.

Sent by April | 4:12 PM | 6-30-2008

@April: "I guess my dream team of Alison and Bill Wolff will never happen..."

Think big, April. Wait a few years and maybe we'll get Alison, Bill, and Ike.

Mike is a polarizing figure. A surprising number of people around here like his style. I chalk it up to a big city behavior: everyone talking loudly and at the same time. I grew up in a small city in a small family, and it just comes across as rude. I would think it would have a similar affect on your average NPR listener. Then again the BPP is not your average NPR show. Maybe Pesca's style (George Will meets The Morning Zoo) hits the BPP's desired demographic.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 5:38 PM | 6-30-2008

This video was great, I've never seen you guys though I listen to your voices everyday. On that note, I really like Mike Pesca as the new host and after seeing the video I am glad to know that he will not make the move to TV :) Anyways best of luck Rachel, I know you will do well and I can't wait for the first time I see you on the tube.

Sent by Jamie Mahaffey | 7:17 PM | 6-30-2008

Where has Rachel Martin gone? Not ABC weekend news! Instead, she has been moonlighting as a makeover consultant for French TV channel M6, under the pseudonym "C??cile":

Sent by Marc Naimark | 4:51 AM | 7-1-2008

@Dave- thanks for keeping the dream alive! ;)

Maybe you're right- we're a little more laid back here in Denver. I don't know... we don't even get the BPP on my local NPR station, so maybe I'm not part of the demographic out here in the West (besides being a 30 year old nerd wearing a Threadless t-shirt).

I like your assessment of Pesca's style.

Here's my problem- I love the BPP... the format, the Ramble, the Most, all of the staff who talk about things on the show. I like to hear from Ian, Dan, Laura, Trisha, Matt, etc. This show offers all the great things about NPR (interesting interviews, quality news reporting), but mixes it up with that special je ne se qua.

Unfortunately, weeks of Mike have been grating on my nerves... if he could just reel it in a little. I don't find most of his jokes funny and he makes so many of them! I could handle one bad joke an hour, but not consistently throughout the show. He seems like a good guy and he's smart... there's potential... I'm just no feeling it at the moment.

Sent by April | 10:41 AM | 7-1-2008

yep, I tried to resist Pesca, but he is funny, off kilter, and smart.

Sent by Erin | 11:01 AM | 7-1-2008

I like Mike. But, damn, I miss Alison. Let's see, Ike was born on May much longer do y'all think her maternity leave will last?

Sent by Cinder Conlon | 11:52 AM | 7-1-2008

@April: "Maybe you're right- we're a little more laid back here in Denver"

It might a Colorado thing. I'm up in Longmont. I don't think there's a snowball's chance that KCFR would ever carry the BPP. To squeeze it in they might have to run Colorado Matters once less each day. The horror. KUNC or KGNU might be tempted to pick it up, but I'm not sure they have the resources. Just in case though I'm bugging them all.

"Unfortunately, weeks of Mike have been grating on my nerves... if he could just reel it in a little."

I hear you. I've started streaming just a few stories a day: The most, The ramble, and another segment or two that seems particularly interesting. This is about all I can stand. It's kind of odd, but I find everyone involved in the show these days very interesting and entertaining except for the host. I'm deeply conflicted between what I know is really good for a newborn babe and an intensely selfish desire to have Alison return the mic as soon as possible.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 12:18 PM | 7-1-2008

Hey again - daily listener since day one...
Rachel, you are terrific and deserve every prop sent your way.
As to BPP - My sense is that the "feel" of bpp happens during The Most and The Ramble - when the family are all (is all?) there chiming in. Like Thanksgiving. Or Purim. I laugh, I cry. It's all groovy.
AND --- I'm looking forward to the day we have the women back! The women! No kidding, smarter, funnier, more droll when appropriate. How 'bout it Tricia - get on-mike!

Sent by Glenn W | 12:27 PM | 7-1-2008

@Dave- Yay! Colorado represent!

Yeah, KCFR loves the Colorado Matters... why does it seem like every time I turn on NPR in my car, I'm listening to Colorado Matters? I hate to say it, but ever since I got my iPod, I don't listen to KCFR as much. Sadly, since KCFR fell short on fundraising this year, I doubt we'll see the BPP any time soon.

I totally agree with you about Alison.

Sorry, Ike, we want your mom back!

Sent by April | 2:52 PM | 7-1-2008

I'm an out of the demographic daily listner. Can't make up my mond about Pesca. Some days I don't think I can take another day of him and on other days, I think he's brilliant. But I too am an Allison fan. All the way since ABC overnights. I await her reappearance and always check whether she's still listed as host on the webpage.

Sent by Larry E | 3:03 PM | 7-1-2008

Has no one from BPP (like whoever is approving comments) had the curiosity to look at the Rachel Martin (aka Cecile) video?? She even raises her eyebrows!

Sent by Marc Naimark | 11:44 AM | 7-2-2008

I have to agree with the poster who is not looking forward to several more weeks of "undiluted, full-strength, industrial Pesca." After listening to his solo gig on the BPP this week, I can only say that this is *way* too much Pesca! Get that man a co-host and fast!

As for Rachel, perhaps it is not so surprising that she left. Although she took over the co-host role admirably and appealingly when Luke Burbank left, she was always just listed as "newscaster" on the BPP home page. And when Mike Pesca was brought in as the substitute co-host, he completely dominated all the conversations and apparently no attempt was made to rein him in.

Let's hope Alison returns soon and a worthy [permanent] co-host can be found!

Sent by Louise | 10:28 PM | 7-2-2008