RADIO programs & PODCASTS
In the early 1980s one of the country’s leading public radio stations, Boston’s WBUR-FM, invited me to contribute commentaries, skits and stories to their “NPR Morning Edition” broadcast. I wanted to give listeners an experience that would last all day.
CREAM OF KAHN
Soon after my Morning Edition pieces started airing, Boston public radio’s WBUR-FM offered some of my zanier pieces into a fund-raising gift album, called “Cream of Kahn.” I’m told that parents found these skits especially effective at amusing their kids during long car rides. Much of the work you do in public radio reaches people in automobiles; I feel privileged to have done my bit for highway safety.
In 1997, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts funded my three-hour long NPR docudrama series, “Blacklisted,” a re-enactment of the cold war reign of fear in this country that threatened families, destroyed careers, and undermined fundamental American freedoms and principles. ”Blacklisted” is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when it premiered.
TONY KAHN’S JOURNAL
After “Blacklisted” aired in 1997, I anchored a national daily news program called “The World” for several years.. Produced by the BBC world service and distributed by Public Radio International, “The World” covered international developments for the American audience. The stories that interested me most were often about the impact of big events on the lives of everyday people behind the headlines.
In 1998, a producer named Richard Sher invited a half-dozen colleagues and friends, myself included, to take part in an experiment. “You love cracking each other up,” he said, “let’s turn that into a program on NPR.”
In October, 2004, “WGBH Morning Stories” became public radio’s first podcast and one of only about twenty others then in existence. When the iTunes store opened its podcast division, “Morning Stories” became an editor’s choice and we welcomed hundreds of thousands of new listeners from around the world.
When I was at Harvard College, exchanging stories with my classmates about what it was like to be on our own in such an intimidating and impersonal educational institution was not on the curriculum. For our 50th reunion in 2016, I got in touch with some of them to find out what being there then looked like to them now.
VOICES OF ZIMBABWE
A retired Brooklyn school teacher, Mark Grashow, and his wife Sheri Salzberg, decided to collect desperately needed supplies for the schoolchildren of rural Zimbabwe — and those kids needed everything, from books to pencils to shoes — and ship them in big containers overseas. A few years after the shipments began, I got a chance to visit some of those students and to get them to tell me about their lives, in their own, inimitable words.