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For immediate release
October 30, 2002
NPR: Laura Gross

NPR Covers the West in November Programs and Events to Celebrate NEw West Coast Production Center

LOS ANGELES-Special events and unique broadcast features will accompany the Saturday, November 2, launch of NPR West, NPR's newest and largest production center outside of Washington, DC. The festivities begin in Beverly Hills, with the staging of an original radio comedy I'd Rather Eat Pants, starring Edward Asner and Anne Meara. The new facility will formally open the following evening with a celebration that includes NPR executives and on-air staff, as well public radio supporters from the Hollywood community and around the country. Shortly after, the new center will be used as the West Coast hub for NPR's comprehensive Election Day coverage. The week following the elections, programming on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation will pay special attention to issues and perspectives of people living in western states.

I'd Rather Eat Pants
On November 1, Morning Edition from NPR News will stage two performances of an original radio miniseries, I'd Rather Eat Pants, at The Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills. Written by playwright and screenwriter Peter Ackerman for NPR and produced by L.A. Theatre Works, it stars the legendary Edward Asner, comic and actress Anne Meara, Ed Begley, Jr., Dan Castellaneta, Jonathan Banks, Clea Lewis, Emily Bergl, Kendall Schmidt, and Derek Cecil from ABC's Push, Nevada. The five-act radio comedy, directed by award-winning television director Gordon Hunt, is a hilarious story of an elderly couple's trek from New York to Los Angeles-on a young slacker's motorcycle-to find fame, fortune and a whole lot more. NPR personalities Susan Stamberg and Bob Edwards also have roles. "I'd Rather Eat Pants" will be broadcast in five segments on Morning Edition the week of December 16 on 577 public radio stations.

NPR West Opening
NPR completes a major step in its expansion on November 2 with the grand opening of NPR West, its new L.A.-based multimedia production center. NPR West, a 25,000 sq. ft. creative space of offices and studios at 9909 Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City, CA is the first large-scale production center NPR has established outside of Washington, DC since it's founding in 1970. NPR West will eventually accommodate up to 90 employees, including NPR's Los Angeles News bureau, the staff of The Tavis Smiley Show and other new programs.

Election 2002
On Tuesday, November 5, Election 2002 will originate from NPR's headquarters in Washington and studios in Los Angeles for extensive, coast-to-coast, election night coverage. Weekend Edition host Scott Simon and Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan will anchor the coverage live from Los Angeles. They will join NPR senior national correspondent Linda Wertheimer and All Things Considered host Robert Siegel in Washington.

Upcoming Programming
NPR West will debut with a variety of special NPR News presentations on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation.

Starting Monday, November 11, Morning Edition will air Profiles of the West, a series that will examine the lives of five westerners. From the Patagonia Company and a Latino politician to a writer and a chef, NPR correspondents will tell us what life is like for those who live and work in this region of the U.S.

During the week of November 11, All Things Considered will focus on California's Central Valley, the fastest growing region in the state and home to the state's biggest industry, agriculture. However, as the population of the valley's cities grows, the agriculture industry is struggling to keep its place in the identity of the area. From pressure to limit the use of pesticides to the demand for organic farming and the struggles of illegal immigrants, this All Things Considered series will report on the state of the region and its future.

Talk of the Nation originates from NPR West the week of November 11, focusing on Western subjects and speaking with in-studio guests from the region. Host Neal Conan will explore a number of topics for the week including a review of legal and social trends that began in California and a look at how and why they have replicated across the country; the state of the Northwest Economy; and a discussion about the proliferation if ethnic media. On Tuesday November 12th, Conan will chat with Margaret Cho, the West Coast comedian who's brand of raw, honest stand-up has hit a national nerve. On Thursday November 14th, Conan leads a conversation with members of the California based theatre troupe Culture Clash about community-based theatre, Latino culture and politics.

Beginning the week of November 18, All Things Considered will present a weekly five-part series airing every Monday, Educating Latinos. Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the U.S., based on school-age population. However, in many schools Latino students lag far behind their white and Asian-American peers in nearly every measure of student achievement and their dropout rate is the highest of any ethnic group. NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez will present the various challenges facing this group, such as the shortage of Spanish-speaking teachers, and potential solutions, such as English-only classrooms.

NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.