Sunday, June 30, 2013

'Night Is Crept Upon Our Talk'

Talk of the Nation was one of my favorite public radio programs, even before I started working at NPR. After a 21-year run, the show's final broadcast aired last Thursday.

For Neal Conan, June 27 also was the last day of a 36-year career at NPR, more than 11 of which he spent hosting Talk of the Nation. He signed off with this call to action for public radio:

"[I]n a minute or so, I will go back to where I started in public radio. I will be one of you again, a listener. Yes, a listener-sponsor, but a listener-critic, too. I will cry and laugh and yell at the radio. And we listeners have a vital function. It is our job to hold member stations and NPR accountable. 
"So right here, I form my own private compact with NPR and my member stations. I will listen and, yes, I will open my checkbook, but I need some services in return. Go and tell me the stories behind everything that happened in the world today. Explain why it happened, and how it affects our lives. Do it every day. Tell me what's important, and don't waste my time with stupid stuff."

Here's Neal's full farewell:

NPR's Kainaz Amaria took the photo of Neal hosting Talk of the Nation's final show that appears atop this post. I'm using it here with her permission. And the headline for this post comes from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare:

The deep of night is crept upon our talk, 
And nature must obey necessity; 
Which we will niggard with a little rest.
There is no more to say?

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