To the people who make NPR

There’s been a really great hashtag campaign on Twitter this week (#WeMakeNPR) as the people who work at NPR tweet about what they do and how it is they came to do it.

For many people, radio is a voice, but the reality is the heart and soul of a radio network and radio station are the staggering number of people behind the scenes.

We’re not sure what’s behind the hashtag campaign — in the past it’s had to do with stalled union contract negotiations — but we’re the beneficiaries of the emotional connection journalists have to the job.

Barton Girdwood is an NPR producer — I’ve written about those people before — whose tweet thread today is a good example.

There are other tweets just as poignant in the campaign.

Tamara Keith revealing she read bedtime stories while working.

Sarah Handel, a Weekend Edition producer, noting that something’s got to give when you make the radio stuff.

And Sam Sanders showing us how the sausage sometimes gets made.

Someday, robots will do all of the work. But for now, radio remains the voice of humanity.

  • KariBemidji

    Every once in awhile Tamara Keith talks about her kids on the NPR Politics podcast, especially during the ‘Can’t Let It Go’ section at the end. I do think about her and her family as she’s in some far flung location giving me the news.

    And a few weeks ago, I had Almanac on and both my husband and daughter walked into the living room and asked “who’s that? I know that voice!” Of course, it was Cathy Wurzer who is the background voice to our mornings. I didn’t grow up as an NPR/MPR family. I don’t think my parents or siblings know where to find it on the dial. But I am raising an NPR/MPR family – especially my daughter who said after I offered her music rights on the way to school ‘No, I like this. We can keep it on.’ Thank you.

  • Al

    Now if only we could make people appreciate government workers in the same way… #WeMakeMN

    • Jerry

      For some reason the only government workers people appreciate are the ones who carry guns. The ones who help people find healthcare, the ones who work to keep our waters clean, the ones who fight fraud? They are just meddling bureaucrats.

      • kevins


      • Al

        Shucks, thanks. Though I have been known to wield research studies like weapons. #pewpewpeerreview

  • joetron2030

    I found MPR/NPR on my own when I finally got fed up with Tom Bernard in the mid-90s during my commutes to work newly out of college.

    • Rob

      Good decision, IMHO!

      • joetron2030

        Best decision I certainly ever made.

    • Jay T. Berken

      When Bernard ranted on about being the victim of what Senator Wellstone did to him at the time Wellstone died, I was done with him. If you like Wellstone or not, he was our sitting Senator. Show respect at least for some time after a person dies.

      • joetron2030

        I got fed up with the racist BS he constantly got a pass on.

        • Al

          He’s a dinosaur, and that’s not just my millennial showing.

  • lusophone

    Definitely a backseat baby here. Hadn’t read or heard that name before.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I discovered public radio while working Pennsauken, NJ at a place that was in the shadow of the Betsy Ross bridge. We listened to WHYY out of Philadelphia. Classical music in the morning and an interesting afternoon talk show called Fresh Air. (This was in 1984 to early 1986 before the show went network.)

  • KTFoley

    Can’t consider myself a backseat baby for news. We were more a newspaper family … which both led to and stemmed from all five of us kids having paper routes at one time or another. My own appreciation for radio news came much later.

    Public radio meant classical music in our house; my mom turned on WQXR (NY Public Radio) as a respite from the aforementioned five. That stuck for decades. When WSHU (CT Public Radio) changed its format from all music to music & news, my mom protested in classic senior citizen fashion: she quit volunteering during pledge drives. The rest of the family learned of this when the station’s giveaway CDs stopped showing up as stocking stuffers for Christmas.

  • Jeff C.

    I discovered public radio when I was in college in upstate NY and looking for something to listen to while I was studying. I found Music Through the Night with Arthur Hoehn. My clock radio was tuned to that when I fell asleep which meant that the radio would wake me up with Morning Edition. When I transferred to a college in MN, my friends and I did Gary Eichten impersonations. I don’t think they grew up listening to public radio either.