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Next Week: More for 'Tell Me More'

Michel Martin poses with Kojo Nnamdi of WAMU-FM's The Kojo Nnamdi Show following a recent interview. Courtesy of The Kojo Nnamdi Show hide caption

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Courtesy of The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Sorry to have to be so brief but I raced out of here midday to join my new WAMU-FM 88.5 colleague Kojo Nnamdi on his daily public radio program. As we've mentioned, we are very excited to be joining WDET-FM 101.9 in Detroit and WAMU in Washington as of Monday, September 17.

I'm sorry to sound like an idiot, but this really is exciting.

I love all my stations, but going up to WAMU yesterday as part of the team...I can't describe it. Here's what comes close: Have you ever heard of an athlete who played a sport in college, and then got to play in the pros in the same town? Or, got to be a sportswriter covering the teams he once watched as a kid? It's something like that. It's just a feeling of...I don't know...having graduated somehow.

Maybe because Diane Rehm, host of the The Diane Rehm Show, was the first news-talk program I followed when I came to Washington and started reporting as a little baby journalist. Of course, having grown up in New York, I've listened to some great radio personalities...Vy Higgenson at WBAL, William B. Williams at WNEW-FM 102.7 (My dad's favorite — heavy on Sinatra and Johnny Mathis, you know the deal.) But Diane Rehm was the first host who I actually felt a connection to ...Is it because she is a woman? Because she's a newswoman? I don't know. But I do know that when I listen to her, she always makes me feel as if she's talking to me, not at me...or down to me.

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When I was a White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, she even asked me to be on her show a couple of times. I don't remember much, except I know I was lousy — talked too fast, nervous as hell. Same with Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I was on her show, too, during the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings and I was so bad, some random voice coach called me up and offered to assist me. I swear!

But, hey, there are second acts in American life, right? Thank heavens...(maybe I still need that coach?)

Anyway, I don't want to reveal all but, since then, Diane (and Terry) have been kind enough to offer me some professional mentoring, which I really appreciate.

And Kojo, what can I say about Kojo? So professional, so accessible, so on top of his game...so in touch with the city. Our show will follow Kojo's in the program lineup and he wanted to introduce me to his listeners. It's a call-in program so I had a chance to engage with some of the listeners directly. My favorite moment...one of the callers ("William") said he's always liked the fact that I wear my hair natural. He went on to make a more profound point — about his sadness that so many African American public figures don't seem to feel they can be more explicit about their blackness (which I would debate). ...But then Kojo paused to say, "did you notice I've always worn my hair natural?"

I loved it!!! Thank you, Kojo! He even gave a shout-out to the Barbershop (go Jimi, Ruben and the crew!!!).

So it was a good day...a busy day...crazy busy. We raced back here to interview a music figure of some note for next week's program. She has a new album coming out. We had to do it that way to accommodate her schedule.

Are you intrigued?

Here's a hint: U-N-I-T-Y...

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