Why is Diane Rehm still on the air?

I don’t expect this to get much interest–and if it does it’ll be negative, but around lunch time every day I’m usually driving and my default station on Sirius is always the public radio channel which typically airs Diane Rehm’s show around this time. She has interesting guests that discuss interesting topics, but the problem is Rehm has had some vocal problem for many years that means she speaks with a shaky, unsteady voice and takes forever to ask a question or say anything.

I feel bad that she has this problem, but this is radio. I wouldn’t expect to stay as a player on the New York Knicks if I became paralyzed from the waist down so I don’t really get why NPR keeps producing this show with a host that is frankly, horrible to listen to for any length of time. I typically always turn the channel to something else after a few minutes of her because I just can’t stand her voice. It’s reminiscent of my great-grandmother talking when we went to visit her in her nursing home 50 years ago in my childhood.

It just seems bizarre to me that in a field where your voice is supremely important, Rehm is still on the air. Are there actually people who like Rehm and have no problem with the fact that she can barely speak while on the air? :confused:

I assume it’s a combination of Diane Rehms with spasmodic dysphonia is still better than most hosts at her particular brand of intellectual inquiry and no one wants to be the asshole who gets rid of the sickie.

She still does a fine job and I don’t think most people are overly bothered by her voice.

Luckily we don’t have her program on our local NPR station, but I do get to hear her show when I’m visiting family in St Louis. I find her difficult to listen to. She sounds like that Droopy Dog cartoon character.

Eh, I think you’re overstating her vocal issues. Her voice is certainly far from melodious, but she seems to talk at a normal rate (or at least, normal for NPR), and I don’t have any problem understanding her.

(I don’t really like her show, which seems to be on more or less constantly around here, so I wouldn’t mind if they booted her for someone else, but I don’t think her illness is really that big an issue).

My part of the country didnt air her show so I wasnt familiar with her until I moved to the DFW area where I thought she must be local and that was why they kept her on because I wondered the same thing! I finally looked her up and I figure that because of her career span and the names she attracts to her show, she remains on the air. Three years later, I’m used to it and it doesnt throw me off.

I can’t listen. I have to change the station immediately. I’d probably like the program, but with her voice, I just can’t.

I think she’s smart as hell and an outstanding interviewer. I’ve grown not to mind her voice, but yeah, it is initially very hard to listen to.

Not only is your voice important, what you do what that voice is important. She’s an excellent interviewer. And as others have said you exaggerate her difficulties speaking. It’s not mellifluous but it gets the job done.

BTW, I heard an interview she gave where she said in no uncertain terms that she hates the sound of her own voice and would do anything to change it. But it really doesn’t interfere with her basic job - interviewing people and running a radio show.

She’s not on the local NPR station so I used to just hear here when out east for work. But now I have satellite in the car and she seems to be on constantly.

Before I knew she had medical issues her voice drove me batty. It still drives me batty but I’m more forgiving about her staying on but I do tend to change the station when she comes on. Sounds too much like my great grandmother in the last years of her life. I feel bad about that since it is completely out of her control (and felt really bad when I was listening for a few minutes and she had to run a clip from an interview 20 years ago and mentioned how much better she sounded then), but not enough to force me to listen to something I find mildly unpleasant. Though I’m sure if I did, eventually I’d acclimate to it and be fine with it.

I do not, however, have any trouble understanding her or think she talks all that slowly. Is it just the voice. And I don’t find what she does with her interviews or topics to be so unique that I need to stick it out.

I’ve been listening to Mrs. Rehm since I was a child here in the DC area (mid-late 70’s). She was actually off the air for a bit in the late '90s as she dealt with the problem and got some physical/occupational therapy to help her control it.

She is a highly respected intellectual, and I have always appreciated the tone she requires of her guests - no one is allowed to harangue, yell over, intimidate, or misquote anyone else on her show. If you’ve ever tried to watch the Sunday morning political debates on TV here, you’d know that’s an extremely rare and precious attitude. Most “Hosts” do not take responsibility for seeing that the truth is the final message of their broadcasts.

In short, we don’t listen to her for the beauty of her voice, but for the strength of her ethics and intellect.

She’s a fantastic interviewer, and she has impeccable timing. By that I mean that she knows she talks slow, so she starts talking as soon as possible and makes her questions extremely concise. She’s efficient with her words in a way that’s refreshing. Diane Rehm asking a question, even with her slow speech pattern, takes no more time than Terry Gross blundering her way through an interview. Less, in fact.

I listen to her frequently. The woman is smart. Much smarter than many of her contemporaries. I can easily listen past the odd diction for the informed and well thought out questions.

I do love her style, and I’ve gotten used to her voice, but I do wonder about it all the time. In radio, time is money, and she definitely does take longer to ask a question than another interviewer would. But I’ve also considered that her voice may trigger some sympathy in the interviewee, however unconscious, and that might allow her to get away with asking tougher questions than another interviewer would.

I would get rid of some others before I’d get rid of Diane Rehm if we’re going solely by their voices and ignoring their abilities. Bob Oakes is the most annoying. He reminds me of the Kennedy clan (JFK, Teddy, etc.) in that he has vocal affectations that nobody else anywhere has. I would also get rid of Marco Werman. He sounds like a robot. In fact, I would not be surprised to find out that he’s not a real person and they have been having Dragon Naturally Speaking reading copy on-air under the name Marco Werman.

Inertia seems to be the only answer.

While she does have some interesting guests on occasion, her questions are often only slightly better than the “Do you like puppies or kitties?” crap that you can get elsewhere. I’ll admit that I have been listening to Internet radio and audiobooks for the last six months , so I haven’t heard her recently. However, I can hear her voice in my head while I’m typing this and it doesn’t bring back fond memories.

One of the major problems with NPR is that they really need to bring in some new talent , but they seem to be afraid of alienating their core audience. Unfortunately, I lump Terry Gross in with this as she also should call it a day,IMO.

NPR is the only radio station I can get over the air in my office for some reason so I listen to her and the rest of them every day, most of the day even though I am not a huge NPR fan in general. I got used to Diane’s voice after all about a month and do not even notice it anymore. I used to have a boss that sounded like a more extreme version of Diane because of a similar condition and I loved her so maybe that has something to do with it. Her show is like the Mr. Roger’s show of NPR to me once you get used to her voice. You can put it on in the background and everything stays nice and calm. It makes good background noise that I can easily work through without any distractions.

I’ve never listened to her because I disliked her voice so much. I’ll give her a try now, since many of you speak so highly of her. Thanks.

I’m a huge fan. I like the Friday News Roundup most of all. I don’t mind her voice at all. She has very good guest hosts as well.

She recently replayed an old interview with Shirley Temple Black. At the time of the interview her voice was normal. Quite a difference but she still sounded like Diane Rehm.