Remember in 2000 when Governor George W. Bush became the Republican nominee and Dick Cheney was given the job ofvetting possible running mates for Bush? Alone one day in his office, Cheney conducted a room-wide search and found the perfect guy for the job—himself.
Not to compare my good friend Robert Siegel to Dick Cheney, but he did something similar. It happened in 1987 when Robert was the NPR news director.
The story begins in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Garrison Keillor had become a celebrity way beyond his comfort level. A local paper published his address, and he was getting drive-by attention that he took to be a major invasion of his privacy. Garrison decided to drop his fabulous program, A Prairie Home Companion, leave St. Paul, and have a major-league midlife crisis. Minnesota Public Radio replaced Garrison’s program with Good Evening, hosted by Noah Adams, who had my old job as cohost of All Things Considered. So who would replace Noah on ATC? I thought it should be me.
I went to see the news director, Robert Siegel, and told him I wanted to return to my former post. Who could do that job better than one who had performed well in that position for five years in the seventies? It would reunite the old team of Susan Stamberg and Bob Edwards. I’m sure I suggested it might be a little reward for having established Morning Edition, which was then in its ninth year. I had paid my dues—now