Tuesday, August 05, 2008

An Unusual Day at the Office

This is starting to filter out now so I figure I should mention it here. It was announced today that I will be the new host of Weekend America, starting with the August 16th show. The show has been based in L.A. and St Paul but it was decided that we would consolidate operations in St Paul. From a hosting perspective, that means that Bill Radke who has been hosting the show from there will no longer be with the program. Meanwhile, Des Cooper who has been hosting the show from St Paul along with Bill will become a Sr. Correspondent based in Detroit where she lives (she's been commuting between Detroit and St Paul for the last year). So we'll have one host and it will be me.

I haven't known Des all that long but have come to deeply admire her journalism chops, her storytelling, and her work ethic. Plus she's a heck of a friend. I've known Bill Radke much longer, as anyone who knows my radio career will realize. He helped break me into the radio biz ten years ago when I started writing for his show Rewind on NPR. Then he hired me as a staff writer on that show and allowed me to guest host when he was absent. Later, after he got hired on the show that would become Weekend America, he recommended me there as well and after some freelancing I came aboard full time. With no Bill Radke, there's no me on the radio. He, also, is a heck of a friend. Nicer people don't roam the earth and rarely does someone's brilliance match their niceness as is the case with Bill.

When I moved to St Paul, I hoped that I could one day host a national show. Had no idea it would happen so soon. And it's making me rethink my opposition to Jimmy Fallon taking over Conan's spot on NBC. I mean, sure, I don't think he's ready but I haven't seen him host a show before and just because Conan was/is so great, doesn't mean that Fallon can't be okay. Fallon probably sees the task as daunting, sure, but I bet he's also really excited about the opportunity. And he was pretty funny as Barry Gibb.

Anyway, yeah, so...that. Now you know.

_

25 comments:

Suz Broughton said...

Good for you.

Jennifer said...

Congratulations, John! What great news. I am very proud of you and how well you have done at this. It will be a pleasure to spend my Saturday mornings with you.

Amanda from Michigan said...

Congratulations. You'll do well.

Scott Chicken said...

So what you're saying is that you are the Jimmy Fallon of public radio?

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Kudos to you! And people say Liberal Arts Degrees are worthless!

That'll show 'em!

Andy Joe said...

Just don't make the NPR equivalent of "Taxi"

Kimm said...

Congrats - I realize it's an odd position and I'm sure you'll navigate those waters fine, with plenty of grace and aplomb.

As for the Fallon reference, it reminds me a bit of when Jon Stewart joined The Daily Show - at first, we in our household wondered how well that would work. We weren't at all sure back then it would be a good fit. Needless to say, we don't wonder anymore; in fact, Stewart is (IS is - not even just 'basically is') synonymous with TDS these days.

My guess is you'll have every opportunity to truly own this show too. And the others will have every opportunity to go create something totally new and different (quite possibly even better to boot) with their lives and careers.

Good luck to you all.

Kimm

Bruce Harrington said...

Congratulations John. I've particularly enjoyed your segments of Weekend America and I'm sure you'll shine at the helm.

Amy said...

Good Luck John! You totally deserve this job.
It's got to be so tough the Bill Radke angle of this though. I feel for you. And Bill.
Here's to your success!

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

1st: "the Jimmy Fallon of Public Radio..." that made me laugh.

2nd: Loosing Bill and Des... Well, at least the show didn't go the route of "the Bryant Park Project." Or didn't it. Oy. Harbingers. Let's see; any similarities?

A show that "isn't the stodgy NPR your parents listened to."
A show that lost one or more of it's hosts, only to be replaced by someone equally entertaining.
A show that utilizes plenty of interactivity via the web.
A show wherein the staff seems to be having some fun.

Hrrmmmm... better get something on the back-burner Jon.

Keith said...

Congratulations, John! I've been keeping up with you on the radio since you left the online retail biz. Nowadays I have to listen to the podcast of WA on our Tivo because we too have left Seattle. Sometimes I think of Bill Radke and John Moe are our two last connections to that city, and both of you have left, too.

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