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For immediate release
June 16, 2003
Rick Fredericksen

Laura Gross

NPR News and WOI Radio Group Sponsor Radio-Only Debate With Democratic Presidential Candidates
January 6, 2004

DES MOINES, IOWA-It seems unheard of in this day and age - removing the television cameras from a presidential debate and allowing candidates and voters to concentrate on substance and ideas. NPR News and WOI Radio Group will do just that when they co-sponsor a radio-only debate with the Democratic presidential candidates on Tuesday, January 6, 2004. The forum, to be held in Des Moines, Iowa, will come just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

NPR's Neal Conan, host of NPR's Talk of the Nation, will moderate the presidential candidate forum. It will be heard over at least 236 public radio stations around the country and across the crucial caucus state of Iowa. There will also be coverage on Invitations to participate have been issued to all nine candidates and currently six have accepted.

"Without the intrusion of cameras, a debate can focus on ideas instead of style and presentation," said debate moderator, Neal Conan. "Radio is an intimate medium, not just because people sometimes listen in the solitude of their kitchens and cars, but because there is nothing between the speaker and the listener. Radio cannot be set aside for later, it gets in your head and lets you think about what is being discussed."

Conan is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of news and radio experience. He is familiar to many Americans as host of NPR's Talk of the Nation, the national news-talk call-in program with a weekly audience of nearly three million listeners. He also hosted hours of live coverage after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the most recent Iraq War. Talk of the Nation is one of 31 programs produced and distributed by NPR, whose overall audience has grown substantially over the past five years, from 13 to 21 million listeners - a gain of 56 percent.

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 21 million Americans each week via more than 730 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information.