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Neal Conan (1949–2021), longtime host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation”

by Linnea Crowther

Neal Conan was a radio personality who was the longtime host of the National Public Radio (NPR) show “Talk of the Nation.”

Talk of the Nation

Conan joined NPR in the 1970s, in the network’s early days. He was a producer for “All Things Considered” and provided Washington DC coverage for NPR before beginning to host “Talk of the Nation” in 2001. The show focused on current events, often bringing in guests to discuss top national stories. He was the show’s senior host until it was discontinued in 2013. In 2014, Conan became a news analyst for Hawaii Public Radio, hosting “Pacific News Minute.” He also hosted the podcast “Truth, Politics, and Power.” In 1988, Conan was written into the X-Men comic books as a character in their storyline “The Fall of the Mutants.”

Conan on his introduction to public radio

“I stumbled across this unbelievable conversation where people were telling really bad jokes and were laughing. You heard women’s voices (very unusual in those days). You heard Midwestern and Brooklyn accents, people with passion who cared about what they were doing and wanted to involve me. What I heard was the first public radio fundraiser.” —from a 2007 interview for Wavelength

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Tributes to Neal Conan

Full obituary: NPR

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