ALBANY, N.Y. — WAMC Northeast Public Radio is pleased to announce that Person Place Thing, a new one-hour interview program hosted by Randy Cohen, will debut Friday, February 17th at 1 p.m. Its initial season will air monthly through July. Production support for PPT comes from the New York Council for the Humanities.
Hosted by the Emmy-winning Cohen, who wrote “The Ethicist” column for the New York Times for a dozen years, PPT reinvents the one-on-one interview around the premise that people reveal themselves most intimately when speaking not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Guests come prepared to talk about a person, and a place, and a thing that are important to them, allowing them to tell stories they never have before.
“I’ve been enthusiastic about PPT from the start, but you don’t really know if an idea will work until you try it. I say with giddy (and I hope not too braggy) delight: it works. It was enormously gratifying to find that our PPT format does what we hoped,” Cohen says. “Plus I had the pleasure of uttering more than one sentence I never thought I’d have occasion to use in my lifetime, like, ‘So, Sir Roger, what is your thing?’ or ‘We’ll have one of each from Rickie Lee Jones and Ed Koch.’ Who gets to say things like that as part of their working day?”
Initial guests Dick Cavett and Jane Smiley will be followed in future episodes by Susie Essman, Dave Cowens, Michael Pollan, John Hockenberry, Rickie Lee Jones, Ed Koch, Samantha Bee, R.L. Stine, Dan Savage, and Sir Roger Bannister. Each show also features an opening vignette from Cohen and a listener contribution. Shows, podcasts, photos, and extras are available at personplacething.org.
“WAMC is delighted to be the producer of Person Place Thing,” says WAMC President and CEO Dr. Alan Chartock. “Randy Cohen is amazing and has a huge following, and we are glad to work together.”
The program is available for syndication free of charge via the Public Radio Exchange, Content Depot and FTP.
In addition to providing production support, the New York Council for the Humanities has created PPT Conversation Toolkits, which provide all the resources necessary to host the type of engaged, in-depth, and surprising conversations that are the hallmark of the PPT radio program.
Each toolkit focuses on a particular PPT episode and includes questions for at least one of the guest’s three audio segments (person, place, or thing), as well as tips for creating engaging conversation and resources for further reflection. New York State community organizations, libraries, and classrooms that host discussions using the Conversation Toolkits are eligible to receive a small honorarium from the Council. Toolkits and more information about receiving the honorarium can be found on the PPT website.
About Randy Cohen
Randy Cohen was born in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. He attended the State University of New York at Albany where, in 2011, he was granted an honorary doctorate. He received an MFA in music composition from the California Institute of the Arts.
His first professional work was writing humor pieces, essays, and stories for newspapers and magazines (The New Yorker, Harpers, the Atlantic, Young Love Comics). His first television work was writing for “Late Night With David Letterman” for which he won three Emmy awards. His fourth Emmy was for his work on Michael Moore’s “TV Nation.” He received a fifth Emmy as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it. He was the original head writer on the “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” for which he also co-wrote the theme music. In 2010, his first play, “The Punishing Blow,” ran at New York’s Clurman Theater.
For 12 years he wrote “The Ethicist,” a weekly column for the New York Times Magazine, an experience he drew on to write his first ethics book, “The Good, the Bad and the Difference.” His new book, “Be Good: how to navigate the ethics of everything,” will be published by Chronicle in September 2012.
WAMC Northeast Public Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day with information and cultural programming from stations reaching parts of seven Northeastern states. WAMC is an award-winning producer of regionally based programming. WAMC is a member station of National Public Radio and is affiliated with Public Radio International and American Public Media. http://www.wamc.org/
WAMC-FM 90.3 FM, Albany; WAMC, 1400 AM, Albany; WAMK 90.9 FM, Kingston; WOSR, 91.7 FM, Middletown; WCEL, 91.9 FM, Plattsburgh; WCAN, 93.3 FM, Canajoharie; WANC, 103.9 FM, Ticonderoga; WRUN, 90.3 FM, Remsen-Utica; WAMQ 105.1 FM, Great Barrington, MA; 93.1 FM, Troy; 99.3 FM, Oneonta; 97.1 FM, Hudson; 107.1 FM, Warwick; 107.7 FM, Newburgh; 103.9 FM, Beacon; 96.5 FM, Ellenville; 106.9, Middletown; 102.1, Highland, NY and 90.9 FM, Milford, PA.; 97.3 FM, Cooperstown; WWES 88.9, Mt. Kisco and online at http://www.wamc.org/.
About the New York Council for the Humanities
Founded in 1975, the New York Council for the Humanities is the private 501c3 partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities in New York State and the sole statewide voice for the public humanities. The Council’s mission is to help all New Yorkers become thoughtful participants in our communities by promoting critical inquiry, cultural understanding, and civic engagement. The Council provides production support for Person Place Thing because the show promotes key skills of reflection and discussion, building people’s ties with each other and their communities as they continue the conversation. www.nyhumanities.org