I knew nothing about National Public Radio when I began working there, but I knew the reality of my situation. My severance money from Mutual was just about gone and I needed a job. I opened the phone book and called everything that had the word radio in its name. Just before I got to radiology and radio repair, I called NPR and talked to a producer named Rich Firestone. Rich said that the news director, Cleve Mathews, had a few projects in mind and I should talk to him. In fact, Cleve had just fired his newscaster and was just as much in need as I was. I made a tape for Cleve, and he told me to come back the next day and sit in with Bill Toohey, the New York reporter serving as temporary newscaster. Bill explained the format and had me do the 8:00 pm newscast. It was February 15, 1974, and I had a new job.
When radio began, all stations were noncommercial. They stayed that way in most countries and might have remained commercial-free in the United States if the government had resisted pressure from big business. Most of radio quickly became a new advertising medium, but some stations were licensed to schools, churches, libraries, labor unions, and other nonprofit groups. They were called educational stations until the 1960s. A few of the stations in the Midwest earned a following by providing information to farmers. In other places, such as my hometown, educational stations were the only source of classical