Well, we finally got to Pakistan, but it wasn't as easy as we had hoped.
We wanted to bring you several perspectives from people living in a country where there's been a wave of bomb attacks. We finally managed it. Trust me when I say there was no shortage of people willing to talk to us, but for some reason we had a very hard time coming up with a broadcast quality phone line where there was not too much static and you could hear everyone clearly without straining your ears to make out words and phrases. And we, of course, needed them to hear us.
We had planned to have several voices on today from a variety of backgrounds. Our producers found two people with connections to two of the targets of suicide attacks. We tried and tried to connect one of our overseas phone calls. We were getting heavy static, the line dropped repeatedly — finally, we made a decision - we had to be satisfied with one person on the ground in Pakistan, not two. We had whole lists of other folks we had reached out to but either had the same problem or we could not get through in time for the broadcast.... Such is life ...we just want you to know that we recognize there is almost always a WIDE range of views on any given topic and we rarely feel that one voice sums up the whole...but in this case we had to go for quality over quantity.
Speaking of voices, and quality over quantity ... I am losing mine. I am not sure whether it's allergies or a cold (we've had some crazy weather here in D.C.; unseasonably warm some days and chilly the next), so I am going to step out of the chair tomorrow and try to rest my voice.
Those are producer's orders. (Apparently, they don't think my voice sounds as sexy as I do.)
You'll be in the capable hands of NPR's Jennifer Ludden, who was nice enough to fill in for me last August. I hope to be back with you on Wednesday.
P.S. Earlier today, I misspoke and called Lahore Pakistan's second largest city after the capital of Karachi. While it is TRUE that Lahore is the country's second largest city after Karachi - Karachi is NOT the capital that would be Islamabad. BRAIN FREEZE. I apologize for the error which was all mine. I certainly know the capital I just got twisted up. So, we have already fixed the error for the stations that take the program in the early afternoon and early evening but those that heard me early this morning got to hear me be dumb. Sorry about that.