Money Talk

Episode 84

Diane Rehm

Host Ed Sutkowski talks with Diane Rehm an author, and the host NPR/WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show.

Diane Rehm is a native Washingtonian who began her radio career in 1973 as a volunteer producer for WAMU 88.5, the NPR Member Station in Washington, D.C. She was hired as an assistant producer and later became the host and producer of two health-oriented programs. In 1979, she began hosting WAMU’s local morning talk show, Kaleidoscope, later renamed as The Diane Rehm Show in 1984.

More than 2.4 million listeners across the country tune in to her show, which has grown form a local morning call-in show to one of public broadcasting’s most popular programs. The Diane Rehm Show was recognized for achievements in social media; its Twitter account (@drshow) won a 2010 Shorty Award for best producer of short, real-time content in news.

The Diane Rehm Show was named to the Top 10 list of the most powerful programs in public radio for 2007 and 2008. In 2010, Diane won a Peabody Award, widely considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media, for her more than 30 years in public broadcasting.

Many of the nation’s prominent newsmakers, journalist and authors have appeared on her show, including then-Sen. Barack Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice President dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Sen. John McCain, Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, and Photographer Annie Leibovitz. In 2000, Diane became the first radio talk show host to interview a sitting president in the Oval Office when she interviewed President Bill Clinton.

In 1998, Diane’s career nearly ended because of spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological voice disorder that causes strained, difficult speech. She sought and ultimately received treatment, returned to the show, and called attention to her condition. The National. Council on Communicative Disorders recognized her work with a Communication Award. ABC’s Nightline, with Ted Koppel as the host, devoted an entire program to a conversation with Diane about her disorder. In 2011, she was awarded the voice Education Research Awareness Award from The Voice Foundation for her sustained contributions to the field of voice communication.

She is a successful author of three autobiographical books: Finding My Voice (Knopf, 1999), in which she describes her childhood, marriage, career and voice disorder; Toward Commitment: A Dialogue about Marriage (Knopf, 2002), a deeply personal book co-authored by her husband, John; and her most recent book written about her beloved dog, Life With Maxie (Gibbs Smith, 2010).

Diane has been named “Washingtonian of the Year” and one of the “150 Most Influential People in Washington” by Washingtonian magazine. She has also been included several times on the magazine’s list of the “100 Most Powerful Women,” most recently in 2011.

The Diane Rehm Show is produced at WAMU 88.5 and distributed by NPR, NPR Worldwide and Sirius XM satellite radio. It can be heard on more than 170 stations nationwide. The program is also broadcast in Germany, Japan and Finland. It can be streamed online at

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