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This Is NPR
Fri September 20, 2013
Host ProFile: NPR Was Like A Secret World, A Home For Intelligent And Witty Discourse
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:40 am
Perhaps you heard last Sunday when NPR mainstay Jacki Lyden passed the baton to our newest host, Arun Rath. Starting tomorrow, he'll be at the helm of All Things Considered every weekend as the show begins broadcasting from its new home at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. In addition to catching some extra rays, Arun and the show team will soak up a west coast view of the world's news and culture, and bring it to you each Saturday and Sunday. Arun is no newcomer to NPR - he worked his way up the ladder from intern, to temp and eventually to show director, and his big love for the NPR Library team proves he's NPR to the core. Get to know more about our new host here, and as Jacki said, "Arun, welcome. It's so great to have you here."
My name... Arun Rath
Public radio employee since... I was an intern with Talk of the Nation when I was in grad school in 1994 and started temping with NPR a couple of weeks after the internship ended. I never finished grad school, but within a few years I was directing Talk.
I worked on various NPR programs through the mid-90s jumping over to PBS to make documentaries for Frontline. Even when I was doing TV as my day job, I never went more than a few months without doing something for the radio. Weirdly, reporting on camera led me to realize I wanted to report on the radio — previously I'd primarily been a producer/editor.
Public radio listener since... I discovered it at 19 when I was spending a lot of time in my car delivering pizzas. I didn't have a tape or CD player, and the only stations available in the beach town where I was working were top-40 pop, religious stations and NPR.
I split my time between the religious stations and public radio.
Even though we were a big news-consuming family—and I listened to the BBC World Service on shortwave as a kid— I had no idea NPR existed, and boy was it a revelation. It was journalism as deep and broad as you'd find in the best newspaper, but the stories came alive on the air in a way even the Beeb couldn't match. I don't want to sound goofy, but it was like a secret world opened up to me, a home for intelligent and witty discourse. It was kind of weird having that punctuated by dropping off pizzas at drunken frat parties, but I'm kind of used to that kind of cognitive dissonance in my life.
My job is... brand new Weekend Host, All Things Considered (my dream job).
The thing I've missed most about NPR is... the music and reference library and librarians. And all the great people. But seriously, the librarians.
The one word I always stumble over on air is... 'criticism.' Try to find a way to fudge in 'critique.' 'Particularly' is also a problem.
When I go on air, I always have... a roadmap. Even if it becomes irrelevant, something to clutch and scribble on is an immense comfort.
I've learned the most about radio from... Neal Conan. My first paid job in radio was as a production assistant for Weekly Edition, a 'best of' NPR show, back before the internet let anyone create their own 'best of NPR' show. We would sift through a week's worth of great NPR pieces and make an hour-long show from the best, with Neal hosting—listening to the pieces with Neal was like a learning lab for radio. I couldn't believe I got paid for it, when I had friends who paid to go to journalism school.
The Newscast headline reporting the last year in my life would be... "Six Trips to Cuba without Leaving America." (I've made a bunch of trips to the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo, which is totally cut off from Cuba)
In my suitcase, you'll find... migraine medicine. Never know when I'll need it, but when I do it's like magic.
I make it a point to never miss... South Park.
If I could share a coffee with anyone, it would be... Beethoven. And could we have tea instead?
I wanted to be... a comedian or a neurosurgeon ...when I grew up.
I always smile when... I watch my kids sleeping.
One thing everyone should know about me is... I'm almost impossible to offend, so say anything.
Caitlin Sanders contributed to this post.