June 1, 2010
Emerson Brown, NPR




After 20 years of being the voice of Sunday morning for NPR audiences, Weekend Edition host Liane Hansen will leave her position in May 2011. Hansen shared her decision with listeners this weekend on the program.

Hansen will continue to host Weekend Edition over the next year. Once she hosts her last program in May of next year, Hansen will continue working with NPR as a freelance journalist as well as other opportunities outside of radio.

In a letter to listeners broadcast on Sunday, Hansen described her decision to move near the beach, and what listeners can expect of the show in the coming months: "I've made the personal decision to move to where I have always wanted to live – by the ocean. Over the next year, you'll hear a number of voices in front of this mic while I have the chance to visit as many public radio stations as possible to meet and to thank you and the station people who have trusted and supported me all these years."

Hansen boasts an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter and on-air host at both the local and national level. Her career in public broadcasting began at WSKG in Binghamton, New York, where she co-hosted a daily newsmagazine. She began at NPR as a production assistant for All Things Considered in 1979 and then served as host of the weekend version of All Things Considered, regular guest-host of Fresh Air and host of the classical music program Performance Today, before becoming the Sunday host of Weekend Edition in 1989.

As host of Weekend Edition, Hansen interviewed major figures in politics, science, business and the arts. When not in the studio, she captured poignant portraits from around the world, including the slums of Cairo, Egypt; workers in Houma, Louisiana’s struggling oyster industry after Hurricane Katrina; the “Yooper” culture of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Awards Hansen has received during her tenure are a 2001 National News and Documentary Emmy Award as the narrator of "She Says/Women in News," and the James Beard Award won by Weekend Edition Sunday for best radio program on food, for a report on SPAM.

Every week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings audiences developing and breaking news in combination with colorful arts and human-interest features, a popular weekly puzzle from Will Shortz and the sound bite review of the week “Voices In the News.” The two-hour broadcast is heard by more than three million listeners on nearly 600 NPR Member stations nationwide; for local stations and broadcast times, visit www.npr.org/stations