Well, outside the recent distractions, we do one thing. We cover the news. As I write, we have reporters in Japan covering the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in memory. But we also have correspondents in Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Wisconsin, and dozens of other hot spots around the world.
And that brings me to our program...
This is our staff meeting Wednesday morning.
It is on Wednesday morning where our weekend program begins to take shape. Our challenge is formidable. Our main competition is the day. Each Wednesday, we ask ourselves how we can compete against good weather, errands, the challenges of parenting, or TV sports or other news programs to convince you to listen to your radio on Saturday and Sunday.
The clock begins ticking Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. Right
now, this is what the show looks like (see photo to the right).
Our small staff will throw out all kinds of ideas. The left hand column is the shell for Saturday's program. The right hand is Sunday's show.
On Saturday, we expect to lead the "A" segment--so the first 11:29 of the program--with Japan.
One of the ideas that came up was to talk with the writer Pico Iyer about how Hiroshima and Nagasaki factor into the Japanese national consciousness. We are scheduled to talk with him Friday. We are also batting around the idea of speaking with someone who promotes small-scale nuclear reactors--reactors that would only power a community or even a neighborhood.
Obviously, our "A" segment will change as we get closer to airtime.
The top of our "B" segment on Saturday will include a conversation with Jim Fallows. Jim's take on the news is always surprising. I always learn something new from Jim's perspective on what is happening around us.
We have 17:19 for that segment so for the moment, we are
considering whether to run a story I reported this past week on the city of Compton. Compton
is a place made famous by NWA and Tupac. But its also a place where ordinary things happen--things far, far away
from the caricature. In Compton, we came upon a community of urban
farmers who raise cattle, chickens, goats, even llamas!
This story may be bumped to next week because I'll be in New York all day Thursday with our producer Phil Harrell to meet with a local historian who has traced the history of one city block of Manhattan--a place that was a swamp, a Dutch settlement, an Irish speakeasy, a tenement and today, an Apple store.
We will also interview the physicist Michio Kaku about his new book. Finally, we will round out the Saturday program with the frontman from Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor. I interviewed him last week about his Academy Award-winning score for the film The Social Network.
As always, this board you see will change depending on the news and on the other interviews that come through.
Between Wednesday and Sunday, I will do about 17 interviews. Our small team of eight people will help me with research and ideas.
Somewhere in between, my wife and I will give my son dinner, give him a bath, and put him to bed.
After he falls asleep, we are both back at our computers until about 1:00 a.m. She will do her work (she's a lawyer) and I will do mine (reading, researching, writing scripts.)
It's a labor of love.