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NPR legend Diane Rehm coming to WMU

Feb. 21, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Diane Rehm, host of a popular National Public Radio talk show that attracts the world's top newsmakers, will give a free public lecture at Western Michigan University at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 2, in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center.

Rehm's talk show, which airs internationally and is heard by an estimated 1.65 million listeners each week, has been described by Newsweek magazine as one of the most interesting talk shows in the country. Guests on "The Diane Rehm Show" routinely include leading authors, artists, and politicians of the day.

Named by Washingtonian magazine as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women" in the nation's capital, Rehm is known as much for her signature voice and interview style as she is for the caliber of her show's guests. Recent guests have ranged from Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Sandra Day O'Connor, Hillary Clinton and Desmond Tutu to Julie Andrews, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie and Maya Angelou.

Rehm's visit to Kalamazoo is sponsored by the WMU Graduate Student Advisory Committee. She plans to speak about her background and career as a homemaker and mother; her 25 years as host of a daily NPR talk show; the political, foreign policy, economic and medical issues of the day; her voice difficulties; her views on graduate education; and her take on the Kalamazoo Promise.

She is expected to take questions from the audience as time permits. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

"We are thrilled that Diane has accepted GSAC's invitation to come to WMU," says Rosana Alsaud, chair of GSAC. "Given her experience in public radio broadcasting and her intimate knowledge of the American political scene, we believe that she will excite both the academic community here at WMU as well as her listeners in the Kalamazoo community."

Rehm's show began in 1979 as a local morning talk show on NPR member station WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., where Rehm herself started out as a station volunteer. The program was launched nationally by NPR in 1995, and in 1996, Rehm became the first broadcast journalist ever to win the Betty Furness Media Service Award from the Consumer Federation of America. She also is a 1995 recipient of the Radio Leadership Award from American Women in Radio and Television.

In addition, Rehm has established herself as a writer, with two autobiographies to her credit. One is "Finding My Voice," which recalls her struggle with spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition that causes strained, difficult speech. The book is now in its fourth printing. Diagnosed in 1998, Rehm became a public spokesperson for the rare condition and has been honored by medical and support groups for her efforts.

Additional support for Rehm's visit is being provided by WMU's School of Public Affairs and Administration, the School of Communication, the Department of Political Science, the Lee Honors College, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Faculty Senate, the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies, as well as Tiffany's Wine and Spirit Shoppe.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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