All Things Considered Debuts 1971

All Things Considered (ATC) is the flagship news program on the American network National Public Radio. It was the first news program on NPR and is broadcast live worldwide through several outlets. All Things Considered and Morning Edition were the highest rated public radio programs in the United States of America in 2002 and 2005. The first broadcast of ATC was fed to about 90 radio stations on May 3, 1971.

The first show, as described in an article by Hal Klopper for the Fall 2006 newsletter of the Carnegie Corporation of New York

The inaugural broadcast included a report on a 26-year-old woman’s attempts to deal with heroin addiction; a report from Ames, Iowa, on a novel means of supplementing business at a barbershop (shaving women’s legs); a discussion with two NPR reporters and a correspondent from the Christian Science Monitor regarding that day’s massive protest in Washington, D.C., against US involvement in the Vietnam War; the reading of three antiwar poems; and a conversation between the poet Allen Ginsberg and his father about the legality of drugs.

The show began, though, with a remarkable and dramatic 20-minute sound montage of the demonstration in Washington introduced by All Things Considered’s first host, former New York Times staff member and NBC correspondent Robert Conley.

From the show’s website

On May 3, 1971, at 5 p.m., All Things Considered debuted on 90 public radio stations.

In the 40 years since, almost everything about the program has changed, from the hosts, producers, editors and reporters to the length of the program, the equipment used and even the audience.

However there is one thing that remains the same: each show consists of the biggest stories of the day, thoughtful commentaries, insightful features on the quirky and the mainstream in arts and life, music and entertainment, all brought alive through sound.

All Things Considered is the most listened-to, afternoon drive-time, news radio program in the country. Every weekday the two-hour show is hosted by Robert Siegel, Melissa Block and Audie Cornish. In 1977, ATC expanded to seven days a week with a one-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays. Arun Rath hosts on the weekends.

During each broadcast, stories and reports come to listeners from NPR reporters and correspondents based throughout the United States and the world. The hosts interview newsmakers and contribute their own reporting. Rounding out the mix are the disparate voices of a variety of commentators, including Sports Commentator Stefen Fatsis, Poet Andrei Codrescu and Political Columnists David Brooks and E.J. Dionne.

All Things Considered has earned many of journalism’s highest honors, including the George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the Overseas Press Club Award.

Weekday hosts through the years

Robert Conley (1971)
Susan Stamberg (1972–1987)
Bob Edwards (1974–1979)
Sandy Ungar (1979–1982)
Noah Adams (1982–1987, 1989–2003)
Renée Montagne (1987–1989)
Robert Siegel (1987–present)
Linda Wertheimer (1989–2002)
Michele Norris (2002–2011)
Melissa Block (2003–present)
Audie Cornish (2012–present)

NPR’s ATC webpage


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