Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Amy Walter
WNYC Studios and Public Radio International (PRI) deserve high praise for bringing Amy Walter to public radio as the new Friday host of The Takeaway [link].  She has the perfect combination of an inquisitive mind, literate sensibility and a voice/style that makes ear buds smile. 

Consider her new assignment to be a vote for the future of public media. Walter starts her new gig this coming Friday, June 1st.

Over the past 19 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst, reporter and commentator. Walter is probably best known for her day job as the National Editor of The Cook Political Report [link]. She also a regular panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS' Face the Nation, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and PBS NewsHour.  

You can learn more about Amy Walter on her personal website [link].


This is at least the third incarnation of The Takeaway since the program was launched in March 2008. John Hockenberry was the original host. The show was co-created by WNYC and PRI with the intention of competing with NPR’s Morning Edition, a truly foolish idea.

Despite the presence of Hockenberry, virtually all of the top NPR News/Talk stations refused to carry The Takeaway. By 2012 carriage of the program had dwindled, CPB funding ended and observers speculated that the program was near its end. But the producing partners persevered.

In September 2012 The Takeaway was quietly re-launched as midday program.  Production costs were cut when the program became a one-hour show with one daily feed at 9:00am ET. (More feeds have since been added.)

The gamble worked and soon The Takeaway was on news/talk stations in many of the top markets. The upward momentum continued until unforeseen problems arose in 2017.

Hockenberry retired just before his interpersonal problems became public. Todd Zwillich became the interim host until early May 2018.  By all accounts he did a terrific job.  Carriage continued to rise.

Tanzina Vega
On May 7th Tanzina Vega became the new host of The Takeaway. 

On June 1st Amy Walter will become the Friday host

Walter’s presence on The Takeaway is seen as a signal that the producing partners are gearing up coverage of policy issues and politics as the midterm elections get closer. 

This turn to harder news should make The Takeaway an even more popular choice for NPR News/Talk stations.

KEN SAYS: We have the greatest respect for the way WNYC and PRI didn’t let The Takeaway fade away. Now they have the chance to establish The Takeaway as a “must have” show, a counterpoint to 1A, the biggest public radio hit in the past five years.


Sofi Tukker
Okay, it is true confessions time. I spent most of my early career in music radio.  First was Top 40, then “underground” rock and “big tent Album Oriented Rock. These were some great days (and nights). In my heart, I feel like I am home with noncom Triple A.

As the years have gone by I have spent less and less time listening to music.  I have become so analytical and clinical that sometimes I worry about the lack of magic in my life.  To me, music is my magic and I’ve got to get it back. Does anyone else feel that way?

So, my secret is that I now regularly check NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing [link]. The format of Heavy Rotation is simple and direct. Ten DJs involved with public media each suggest a current favorite tune.  NPR Music assembles the list including video and audio clips.

I like this approach because each monthly batch of tracks blurs rigid genre lines and introduces me to new artists and sounds.  When I find something I like, I can dig deeper.

This is how I became familiar with Sofi Tukker [link]. Sofi Tukker is a New York-based male/female duo consisting of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern. Some people call their music “house music” or electronica.  I call them creative, raw, sensual and a connection to our collective unconscious. In some ways they remind me of The White Stripes.

You likely will be hearing more about Sofi Tukker because their song Best Friend is the soundtrack for a commercial released during Apple's unveiling of the iPhone X.  Here it is:

 If you like that track, check out their new release Baby I’m a Queen, a song I found on NPR Music:

1 comment:

  1. Sofi Tukker may have that appeal at Triple A and more so at Alternative, but even that is turning me off. The new Electronic Music overall turns me off.