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All Things Considered

Robert Siegel on being 30

May 3, 2001 -- Thirty years to the day after All Things Considered debuted, Robert Siegel hosts an hour-long ATC exploration of what it means to be 30.

Siegel's experts: a rainbow cast of 30-year-olds, from a wide range of backgrounds and a handful of U.S. cities (Boston, Atlanta, Denver, New York, Pittsburgh). In a special hour of ATC, they tell Siegel about the experiences that have shaped them, the issues that concern them and the memories that stir them.

Exclusively on, hear these three reports:

Listen to Teshima Walker When today's 30-year-old African-Americans began watching television, they saw only limited stereotypes, like the family in the housing projects on Good Times. Then the picture improved: Network TV's The Cosby Show offered a new view of a black family, and cable allowed Black Entertainment Television to flower. Teshima Walker, of member station WBEZ in Chicago, chronicles how today's black 30-year-olds have seen themselves reflected on television.

Listen to Beatrice Chow "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?" Most any 30-year-old can (and can sing that theme song from memory). Beatrice Chow watched Sesame Street as a child; now, at 30, she does international marketing for the show. Chow talks to Siegel about growing up on Sesame Street, and aging into MTV.

Listen to The Apples in Stereo Do the math: Being 30 means spending most of your childhood in the '70s. Robert Schneider and Hillarie Sidney -- members of the indie rock band The Apples in Stereo ( -- talk about growing up in that distinctive decade.


Hear ATC's May 3, 30th anniversary reports:

Astro Teller
Astro Teller

Listen to Astro Teller Dot-com CEO Astro Teller ( talks with Siegel about how growing up in economic good times has shaped 30-year-olds' attitudes toward their jobs.


Listen to Three Rivers Stadium Some things don't make it past 30. Siegel reports on Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium; it lasted three decades, only to be torn down last February to make room for a new, retro-style ballpark.

Listen to Technology They've come of age in the tech revolution: A cast of 30-year-olds talks about a lifetime packed with high-tech changes.

Listen to Saturday Mornings Most 30-year-olds grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons -- and "Conjunction Junction," and "How A Bill Becomes A Law." Siegel talks to the erstwhile students of Schoolhouse Rock.

Listen to the Age of AIDS The men and women turning 30 this year were the first generation to learn about AIDS at same time as they were learning about sex. With NPR's Jason Beaubien, four 30-year-olds from the Boston area discuss coming of age in the shadow of AIDS.

Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco


Listen to Ani DiFranco Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco is 30. Her commentary includes a song off her new album, Reckoning/Revelling, about living the last 30 years.


Listen to News from the Past What news events do 30-year-olds most remember? A chronicle, with recordings from the NPR archives and commentary from 30-year-olds.

Listen to Divorce Between 1965 and 1975, the divorce rate doubled. For 30-year-olds as for no generation before them, to be a child of divorce was not unusual. Siegel reports on how the experience influenced 30-year-olds' childhoods, as well as the choices they make as adults.

Listen to '80s Music For today's 30-year-olds, the music of the 1980s was the soundtrack of their teen years. Joshua Levs, of member station WABE in Atlanta, reprises the music he and other Gen-Xers listened to in the '80s.

Silas House
Silas House


Listen to Star Wars Many 30-year-olds cite one movie as the most influential of their childhood: Star Wars. Novelist Silas House explains how Star Wars changed his life.


Listen to Television From The Brady Bunch to The Love Boat, 30-year-olds talk about the television shows they remember best.

Listen to Race Race relations issues loom large in society -- and in the lives of 30-year-olds. They talk to Siegel about their experiences of race in childhood, and about valuing diversity as adults.

Read Robert Siegel's bio.