â€œUnfortunately our audience is jaded when it comes to our government’s over-reaction to the war on terror.â€
-Ross Reynolds, host of KUOWâ€™s â€œThe Conversationâ€
Hi, Aaron Henkin here, your host for the NPR Station Showcase with PRXâ€¦ Each week on this podcast we crisscross the country and tune in to the excellent stories, essays, and interviews that air locally at hundreds of public radio stations across the US. This week, our travels take us to Seattle, Washington, where KUOW broadcasts a daily news-talk program called â€œThe Conversation.â€ KUOWâ€™s Ross Reynolds has hosted the show for the past eight years, and he recently interviewed a public defender who has seen first-hand what can happen when US intelligence operations are allowed to go unchecked. Steven Wax has compiled his legal experiences and research into a book called â€œKafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror.â€ Here are a few words from Ross Reynolds about his talk with Mr. Wax and the history behind his program, â€œThe Conversationâ€â€¦
Mr. Wax made some pretty alarming and disturbing observations during your conversation… what kind of feedback have you gotten from listeners since this segment aired?Â
None. Unfortunately our audience is jaded when it comes to our government’s over-reaction to the war on terror.
Tell us a bit about the work you do at KUOW… was this segment with author Steven Wax part of a regular local talk program?
I’ve been hosting The Conversation, a daily one hour news-talk show for eight years. Until the last few years we did a single topic in each hour. But lately we’ve been adding newsmaker interviews and author interviews like Steven Wax, along with a major call-in segment. The Steven Wax interviewed aired in the last 18 minutes of the program.
What sort of a range of locally produced conversations are you hosting?
Very broad. We try to cover topics that contain a question which reasonable people can disagree upon, topics that callers have not just an opinion, but a story that informs the opinion.
As a host and interviewer, what’s the most rewarding part of the job for you?
Three experiences I love: 1. Asking the tough, fair question and hearing delicious pause as the gears turn in the interviewees, 2. laughing with a caller, like the guy who feared that test tube meat would become conscious and attack humans, 3. hearing an intensely personal story. We did a program asking “Do you believe in God?” A vet called with a horrendous account of finding a butchered baby. With anger burning in his voice he told us how that experience turned him away from faith.
What’s the toughest part of the job?
Finding the time with our limited staff to add the production grace-notes which can elevate a live program: that extra guest, the perfect music, the vox pop.Â
You can check out more original productions from KUOW online at The Public Radio Exchange. Thatâ€™s where producers from around the world share their work. Log on, write your own reviews, and have a say in what ends up on the radio at: www.prx.org.