Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NPR Host Speaks to UIS community

By Courtney Westlake

Supporters of public radio came together on Wednesday to celebrate WUIS-FM radio station and listen to the thoughts of a highly-regarded National Public Radio host.

University of Illinois at Springfield staff and faculty and members of the community took part in a luncheon focused around a lively discussion between Rich Bradley, news director of WUIS, and Liane Hansen, who has been the host of National Public Radio’s award-winning program called Weekend Edition-Sunday since 1989.

Hansen, who hails from Massachusetts, first began in public broadcasting as a co-host for WSKG in Binghamton, New York, before coming to the NPR as a production assistant for the program All Things Considered in 1979.

Hansen has filled a variety of hosting roles for NPR shows, included Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Weekend All Things Considered and Performance Today. As a seasoned radio host, Hansen said she has many lessons about telling the true story.

“Every news story involves human beings – this affects someone’s life,” she said. “I’ve realized it’s more important to be right than to be first.”

In between discussing personal experiences as a host, Hansen fielded questions from audience members. Though she was playfully boo’d for admitting to be a Yankees fan, Hansen received applause as she discussed some of the things she has experienced and enjoyed in Springfield, including the Dana Thomas House and Cozy Dog drive-in restaurant.

When asked about her format for interviewing guests on the air, Hansen emphasized that she believes in drawing her audience into the guests’ stories, not her own words.

“It’s not about me; it’s not about how much I know or don’t know,” she said. “You really want to hear the person being interviewed. It’s my job as a host to get them to tell their story to you.”

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