Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: March 29, 2013

Neal Conan, long time host of NPR's Talk of the Nation and frequent guest of WOSU in Columbus. Photo: NPR

Neal Conan, long time host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation and frequent guest of WOSU in Columbus. Photo: NPR

Like most of America, public radio stations learned this morning that the over two-decade run of Talk of the Nation will end in a few months. 

NPR is encouraging stations to replace it with an expanded version of the Here and Now public radio program that will be produced as a collaboration between WBUR Boston and NPR. WOSU will be considering all options in replacing Talk of the Nation, which airs from 2-4 pm daily on 89.7 FM.

As many of you know, WOSU Public Media has had a special relationship with host Neal Conan and his regular guest, the “political junkie,” Ken Rudin. We were so pleased to host both of them in Columbus prior to the November elections last year in a packed auditorium at the Fawcett Center. Neal has also served as host of a series of WOSU public forums called ‘Controversies in Science’ produced in collaboration with Ohio State.


    The premise is faulty. NPR does not depend on federal funds. Local stations depend on federal funds and that’s where federal funds go. Each local station is governed by its own local community and provides programming for its local community per its local board policies and its community advisory boards, based on local needs and interests. Each station chooses to buy, or not buy, programs from individual production companies and producers, for example, American Public Media, Public Media International, NPR, Association of Independents in Public radio, etc. Each station also produces its own programs. Some local stations, mostly in rural and smaller communities, depend on federal funds for up to 50% of their budget. Stations in the larger markets may get less than 5% federal funds. So to cut federal dollars is to prevent the smallest communities the opportunity to have locally controlled public media. Based on the facts, the discussion is very different from the one being presented.