For immediate release
February 24, 2000

NPR's Talk of the Nation Explores "The Changing Face of America"

First Nationwide Town Hall Meeting Will Be Broadcast Live From Prince George's County, Maryland

NPR's midday call-in program Talk of the Nation is traveling to cities and towns across America for monthly radio town hall meetings before live audiences. The town hall meetings, which will be heard coast-to-coast over more than 150 NPR member stations, will focus on how Americans are dealing with rapid changes in society and culture as the United States enters the 21st century.

Entitled The Changing Face of America, the NPR News series is supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and will be linked to issues, themes and subjects through NPR news magazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition, in addition to Talk of the Nation.

On February 24, in his debut as new host of Talk of the Nation, Juan Williams and a distinguished panel of community leaders, will discuss the growth of the African-American middle class in Prince George's County, Maryland. The lively discussion will focus on what these changes mean for the county's economic development and how change affects the many challenges Prince George's County faces as it reforms and attempts to improve its schools.

Prince George's County is not only growing and growing richer; but it has been transformed over the last 20 years from largely white, rural and low-income to black, middle-class and upper middle-class. It is the only black majority suburb in the country, says Wall Street Journal writer Leon Wynter. When I first left Prince George's the black people I knew we're stuffing envelopes and looking over their shoulders. The black folks today are close to controlling their own community. Wynter's unique look at the changes to Prince George's County will air on NPR's All Things Considered on February 23.

Congressman Albert R. Wynn (D-MD) will join Leon Wynter at the Prince George's town hall meeting. I see this as an exciting opportunity to discuss the real concerns of the residents of Prince George's County, says Wynn. I look forward to an energetic exchange.

Other guests include Joe James, president and CEO of Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation; Jim Henderson, chairman of the Prince George's County School Board; Iris Metts, superintendent of Prince George's County Schools; Leon Wynter of the Wall Street Journal; Andre Gingles, spokesman for the National Habor; and Edythe Flemings Hall, Prince George's County NAACP.

The town hall meeting will also include a live audience of approximately 200 Prince George's County residents and opportunities for listeners to call in from around the country.

In the months to come, Talk of the Nation town hall meetings and The Changing Face of America series will examine many diverse issues.

What is the future of health care in America? says Greg Allen, executive producer of NPR's Talk of the Nation. What are some of the new technological innovations and how will they impact the workplace and our homes? These are the types of things we will explore over the next several months. The demographic, physical and economic changes sweeping many parts of the country provide an opportunity to frame the upcoming election in meaningful and personal terms, he added.

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of 14 million Americans each week via 620 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwidesm, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable.