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NPR Shakes Up Middays: "Talk" Going, "Here & Now" Expanding

By Rich Heldenfels Published: March 29, 2013

Considering that one local radio station carries "Here" but not "Talk" and another has the opposite plan, this will mean changes locally, too. The official word: In response to growing demand for news programming throughout the broadcast day, NPR is forging a new relationship with Boston-based public radio station WBUR to expand its mid-day news program Here & Now from a one-hour to a two-hour program updated for different time zones across the country. The expanded program will provide a total of four hours of news programming, 12 noon- 4 p.m. ET, and serve as a bridge between NPR’s signature news magazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

NPR will contribute its editorial muscle to the expanded program. Here & Now's daily lineup will include interviews with NPR's bloggers, reporters and editors. The program will also showcase selected reporting from other NPR News programs. The expanded Here & Now also will enhance NPR's capacity to provide breaking news every weekday from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET.

Here & Now is currently hosted by Robin Young, a gifted journalist who has carried the program for more than a decade. When the expanded program launches July 1, she will have a co-host, Jeremy Hobson, currently host of Marketplace Morning Report. Hobson began his career in journalism at the age of 17 as an intern on NPR’s  All Things Considered and since then has gained deep experience as a producer, reporter and now host. Meghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s Radio Boston, will be the program’s primary back up host.

“Here & Now is a smart, well-produced news program,” said Kinsey Wilson, Chief Content Officer, NPR. “This collaboration allows us to deliver compelling news and cultural coverage throughout the day and keep listeners tuned to public radio. In WBUR we have a strong editorial partner.”

NPR and WBUR will also invite other public radio stations across the nation to contribute to the show.

“WBUR is pleased to forge this unique relationship with NPR, redefining how the network and a public radio station can work together to better serve listeners," said Charlie Kravetz, General Manager, WBUR. "We are exceedingly proud of Robin Young and the entire team at Here & Now. It is their exceptional work that has created the opportunity for WBUR and NPR to collaborate on this new venture.”

The station has a long history collaborating with NPR, and is one of the more prolific producers of national programming in public radio, including Car Talk, On Point and Only A Game.

Here & Now has been produced by WBUR since 1997 and became a national program in 2001. The show is currently aired on over 180 stations, including eight top-25 market news stations (WBEZ Chicago, WHYY Philadelphia, KJZZ Phoenix, KPBS San Diego, KOPB Portland, WFAE Charlotte, WESA Pittsburgh) and has had steady growth in audience and station carriage.

As part of today’s announcement NPR said that it will stop production of Talk of the Nation at the end of June and that Neal Conan, one of the organization’s most distinguished journalists, will step away from the rigors of daily journalism after 35 years at NPR, including 11 years at the helm of Talk of the Nation.

“Neal brings extraordinary depth and insight to every story he touches,” said Margaret Low Smith, Senior Vice President of News, NPR. “He connects deeply with the audience and will leave a legacy of excellence, having skillfully carried NPR, our Member Stations and the nation through some of the most important news of the last decade, setting the standard for high quality call-in talk programming.” 

NPR’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow (http://www.sciencefriday.com) will continue to provide listeners the chance to hear from scientists, innovators, and educators each Friday from 2-4 p.m. ET and Here & Now listeners can expect science coverage to be a regular part of Here & Now each week.

 

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