November 17th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In today's first hour on Talk of the Nation, author Emily Rapp discusses raising her son who suffers from a terminal illness. At the demise of the hour, DJ Christine Pawlak on the end of rock on FM radio. In the second hour, behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil and advice for flying with kids.
NPR logo November 17th: What's On Today's Show

November 17th: What's On Today's Show

Flying with kids this holiday season? You'll want to tune in. hide caption

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Flying with kids this holiday season? You'll want to tune in.

Raising a Terminally Ill Child
Like most prospective parents, Emily Rapp and her husband spent much of her pregnancy poring over parenting guides, weighing choices about breast feeding and looking forward to shaping their child's future. But when their son Ronan was nine months old, he was diagnosed with a terminal, genetic disease. All of their plans and decisions suddenly felt inconsequential and they refocused their lives on the limited time they had left with their son. Rapp speaks with NPR's Brian Naylor about her experience parenting a terminally ill child, and with Jan Wyss, a registered nurse and manager for San Diego Hospice's Partners for Children Program, about the needs of families like Rapp's, and the resources available for support.

The End of Alt-Rock Radio
Rock music on FM radio faces more competition than ever. With iPods, satellite radio and online streaming, a number of companies have given up on rock music and sold or changed the format of big city rock stations in an effort to boost ratings and bring in more ad money. FM stations in Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C., recently shifted to all-news formats. In an article on, former Q101 Chicago DJ Christine Pawlak argues that there will always be an important role for rock on the radio. While technology will change the way we listen to music, she says, "the need to connect with each other through stories and songs won't." Guest host Brian Naylor talks with Pawlak about the demise of rock music on FM radio.

Behind the Scenes of Cirque du Soleil
Since Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1984, it has grown from a troupe of street performers in Montreal, to a billion dollar entertainment industry with over 5,000 employees from over 40 countries. Quidam, which debuted in 1996, is one of the company's 22 shows. In the midst of the high-flying acrobatics, colorful costumes and makeup, mind-boggling jump-rope acts, and live music, lies the story of a young girl named Zoe on the search for the meaning of life. Performer Mark Ward, who's been with Cirque du Soleil since 1993, and Fabrice Lemire, the artistic director for Quidam, join guest host Brian Naylor to talk about their reinvention of the circus and give insight into these remarkable performances.

Advice on Flying With Kids
Flying with kids can be a nightmare for everyone: Parents, children, fellow passengers and crew. And as airlines cut back on amenities and pack more passengers on planes, flying as a family has grown more and more difficult. Michelle Higgins, who writes the New York Times' Practical Traveler column, compiled a list of family-friendly airlines and tips and tricks for surviving a flight with kids. With two of the busiest travel days of the year approaching, guest host Bryan Naylor speaks with Michelle Higgins about what advice she has for travelers with kids.