Retirement ahead for another public radio pioneer

She doesn’t have the visibility in this neck of the woods as other public radio staples like Keillor or the Car Talk guys, but another pioneer of public radio is about to call it quits.

Diane Rehm, operating out of Washington’s WAMU, has been a signature voice on public radio for 37 years and next year will be her last, the Washington Post reports.

Her daily talk show is significant for one other reason: She’s one of the few people on the radio with a condition that affects her voice. She has spasmodic dysphonia, which causes involuntary spasms of voice muscles.

In the buttoned-down world of radio, that’s the sort of thing that can make a talk show unlistenable even with an outstanding interview ability. And yet, Rehm was heard by more than 2 million people each week.

She got into some trouble earlier this year when she lobbied for right-to-die laws. Her husband starved himself to death after battling Parkinson’s. She eventually dropped her plans in the face of criticism from NPR.

Among the recognizable names mentioned as a Rehm replacement is NPR correspondent Melissa Block.