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Neal Conan, Who Talked (and Listened) to the Nation on NPR, Dies at 71

Neal Conan, Who Talked (and Listened) to the Nation on NPR, Dies at 71
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Neal Conan, Who Talked (and Listened) to the Nation on NPR, Dies at 71

Neal Conan, Who Talked (and Listened) to the Nation on NPR, Dies at 71

In his final show on NPR, Mr. Conan said he would continue to listen to the network and support it through contributions. But he added: “I need services in return. Go tell me the stories behind everything that happened in the world today. Explain why this happened and how it affects our lives. Do it every day. Tell me what’s important and don’t waste my time with stupid stuff.

As for him, he said that even after some 5,000 hours on the air, “there is still so much to say, but it will have to be enough”.

In an email, Scott Simon, host of NPR’s ‘Weekend Edition Saturday,’ said of Mr. Conan: “There are thousands of people he has interviewed, or responded to. questions, and millions of listeners, direct and personal memories of his kindness, intelligence and eagerness to hear what they had to say. It’s the kind of legacy that just keeps growing.

Mr. Conan played in virtually every role at NPR from 1977 to 2000, when he experienced what he described as a midlife crisis.

“I ran away with the circus,” he told NPR magazine Wavelength in 2013, “and took my radio with me.”

“Circus” in his case meant the opportunity to do live radio broadcasts of baseball games. He thought – rightly so, as it turned out – that covering minor league Aberdeen Arsenal would require the same conversational skills he had applied so effectively to cover domestic political conventions.

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Finally, he could get rid of the burden of journalistic objectivity, as he explained in “Play by Play: Baseball, Radio, and Life in the Last Chance League” (2002).

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