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A Passing Of The Torch: Arun Rath Signs Off, As Michel Martin Steps Up


My next guest will be my last. Sorry, that sounds ominous - my last guest for this show. After tonight, Michel Martin takes over as the new weekend host of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, a post I've held for two wonderful years here at NPR West. Michel will also be bringing the show back to Washington, D.C. So let's bring her in. Hi, Michel. Welcome.

MICHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: Hi, and thanks for having me.

RATH: Congratulations.

MARTIN: Well, thank you.

RATH: So I know a lot of NPR listeners remember you as the host of the midday program Tell Me More. That went off the air about a year ago, but since then, you've been traveling the country, hosting these amazing events. Tell people what you've been up to.

MARTIN: Yes, that's true. I've been traveling a lot. We've done all kinds of conversations about all kinds of things. We've talked about diversity in theater in New York. We've talked about immigration in Miami and football in Dallas. And we talked about community policing in Los Angeles. And at every turn, we've tried to make it kind of an interesting experience where people could, you know, hear some things they hadn't heard, say some things they hadn't had a chance to say and, you know, just see what happens when you get people in a room together. It's been a really interesting experience. And now I'm looking forward to both continuing that series - we already have six planned for the coming season...

RATH: Nice.

MARTIN: ...Including one in Des Moines, Iowa, in November - but also taking on this new responsibility.

RATH: Excellent. And can you talk a bit about what you have in store for ALL THINGS CONSIDERED? Are you going to be bringing back any of the old favorites from Tell Me More?

MARTIN: Well, I think we're going to be doing a lot of things. I mean, we're going to be building, of course, on the great record that you established. There are a number of features that you pioneered that I think a lot of people really enjoyed. And we're certainly interested in continuing those, like the My Big Break series. Obviously, all of us at NPR love books and music. We're going to continue to do a lot of books and music. And, of course, we love the news, and that's always our priority. But, yes, we might have a few things from Tell Me More that loyal listeners will recognize and appreciate. And I don't want to spoil it, but yeah, we have a few things. You'll have to tune in to find out.

RATH: Well, could I put in a request, though, for the Barbershop?

MARTIN: You can.

RATH: And maybe if you need a Hindu in the Barbershop, maybe you could give me a call sometime? (Laughter).

MARTIN: A Hindu and a great journalist and a funny guy who's read a lot of books and done a lot of good news - yes, absolutely. That's not your only credential, but we'll take you.

RATH: That's your new weekend host for ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Michel Martin. She starts next weekend. Got to tune in. Michel, thank you and good luck.

MARTIN: Thank you so much.

RATH: And before we say goodbye for the last time from NPR West, we need take a moment to acknowledge the people who worked so hard to make this show what it is. Two years ago, NPR moved WEEKEND ALL THINGS CONSIDERED out here, and a team of journalists packed up their lives to move west and re-create an NPR News show outside of Washington.

These producers threw themselves into their new mission, professionally and personally. They didn't just create better coverage on big issues, like the drought, homelessness and immigration. They brought in broader perspective, a more diverse range of guests and voices. The latest audience numbers show you appreciated it.

For me, personally, it has been extremely gratifying to work with this team, to see them grow and share our work with you every weekend. A deep thank you to everyone, and a special thank you to my family. We've been on separate coasts for most of the last two years. It's been hard, but it would've been impossible without the love and support of Raney, Arjun and Mira.

Not long ago, we bade farewell to supervising senior editor Mathony Maturi (ph) and executive producer Steve Lickteig. They managed this West Coast transformation. The show was edited this week by Tom Dreisbach and produced by Phil Harrell. Our production staff includes our core - Rebecca Hersher, Becky Sullivan, Priska Neely, and Daniel Hajek. We couldn't have done it without help from Liz Baker, Denise Guerra, Julian Burrell, James Delahoussaye and Carla Javier. Some of them will be staying with NPR. Others are moving on. But I guarantee you'll be hearing great work from all of them in years to come.

There's also an incredible team here at NPR West that made all of this possible. At the operations desk, Angie Hamilton-Lowe. NPR West production manager is Norb Gallery. Our IT guru is Brian Derby. Our technical director is Patrick Murray with help from Marcia Caldwell, Leo Del Aguila and Theo Mondle. And Quinn O'Toole is the managing director of NPR West.

We can't thank you enough for welcoming us with open arms and the guidance you provided along the way. And for one last time, I'm Arun Rath. You'll be hearing me reporting from Boston in the near future. Join Michel Martin here next weekend, and have a great week. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
Beginning in October 2015, Arun Rath assumed a new role as a shared correspondent for NPR and Boston-based public broadcaster WGBH News. He is based in the WGBH newsroom and his time is divided between filing national stories for NPR and local stories for WGBH News.