When I first arrived in Washington D.C. nearly a decade ago, one of the first things I did was find my local NPR affiliate. I’d grown up on KQED in the Bay Area, and needed my daily fix.
WAMU is just as great, and I quickly grew to love all of the local anchors and reporters, and especially the Kojo Nnamdi Show. The show’s motto, “connecting your community with the world,” is a great philosophy for any local journalists.
So I was super excited when Kojo’s producers first asked me to appear on his show to discuss my beat at the time: Virginia politics.
Over the years, I’ve been a guest talking about hot races in Virginia, but also about the national political landscape, the presidential election and Congress. But something really exciting happened when I came into the studio on about two hours of sleep the day after Election Day in 2012. After our post-game analysis of the results, Kojo’s producers asked if I’d ever consider filling in for him when he’s on vacation. Um, would I?
The day finally came this spring. I sat in as guest host for Tech Tuesday and Food Wednesday and had a complete blast. Kojo always makes it look so effortless, but I can report back that it’s not easy to balance multiple in-studio guests, a hotline full of callers, notes on several segments and hitting your station breaks just right. Thank goodness Kojo’s team of producers and engineers are such pros. They made me feel right at home.
The first day, I talked with two experts about staying connected at 30,000-feet and on the go when you’re traveling, and then learned a ton about the blossoming concept of community funded development — which allows you to buy shares in local real estate projects.
Day two went a little more smoothly, and we had three segments.
My favorite examined how local governments are trying to boost voter turnout, including efforts to allow 16-year-olds to cast ballots. A longtime subject of my stories, Charlie Comfort, even called in to share his experience of being a young person involved in Iowa politics.
Then I interviewed D.C.’s archaeologist, and had a discussion about Mexican food with Pati Jinich.
I’ll be back in Kojo’s seat on July 9, July 10 and July 11. Listen here from noon to 2 p.m.