Neal Conan, Speaking (and Listening to) the Nation on NPR, Dies at 71

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

As for himself, he said, even after nearly 5,000 hours on the air, “there’s still a lot to talk about, but that’s enough.”

Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday”, said of Mr. Conan in an email: “There are thousands of people and millions of listeners he’s interviewed or answered questions about. A direct, personal memory of his kindness, intelligence, and eagerness to hear what he has to say. It’s just a growing legacy. ”

Mr. Conan performed in almost any capacity on NPR from 1977 to 2000, which he described as a midlife crisis.

He said “I ran away with the circus” wavelength“I took my radio with me,” NPR’s magazine wrote in 2013.

The “circus” in his case meant the opportunity to broadcast live, individual radio broadcasts of baseball games. He correctly reasoned that taking on Aberdeen Arsenal’s second division would require the same speaking skills that he applied so effectively in describing national political traditions.

He was finally freed from 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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