Robert Siegel to leave NPR

The sudden infusion and meaning of a more youthful sound on NPR in the last few years couldn’t really be ignored, especially if you still have one foot in the iconic past of public radio. Time cannot be stopped. We knew what was coming.

New hosts were introduced in late 2015 providing for more diversity. Four hosts meant less time for All Things Considered host Robert Siegel and it was only a matter of time before he stepped aside.

NPRToday, NPR announced that Siegel’s 30 years as host of All Things Considered is ending. His last day on the job will be next January.

“This is a decision long in the making and not an easy one. I’ve had the greatest job I can think of, working with the finest colleagues anyone could ask for, for as long a stretch as I could imagine,” Robert says. “But, looking ahead to my seventies (which start all too soon) I feel that it is time for me to begin a new phase of life. Over the next few months, I hope to figure out what that will be.”

This is the reality of the working world and particularly so in the news business. One day you wake up and you’re the oldest person there.

The new hosts and youthful faces of NPR are as talented as they come, offering a new perspective and fresh voices that NPR — public media — desperately needed.

But they’re not Siegel. Not yet, anyway.

Siegel is old school. He doesn’t vote in primary elections, for example. He will only vote in general elections.

“While one of the functions of journalism is to reach out to people who might not bring their curiosity with them at full bore, we also should accept that some people really don’t care about these things,” he lamented in 2014, sounding as if he feared for the future of his industry if it began to cater to those people.

Change is good, of course. But so is a little sameness and dependability and the wisdom of institutional memory. We’ll miss the avuncular passenger on the ride home each afternoon.

There’s something about a radio station that connects you, Siegel said of his industry. That something is someone like Siegel, with whom we shared the daily triumphs and tragedies.

In time, we’ll look at the new generation of radio companions the same way. But it’ll never be quite the same once the people who built NPR move along.

Man, we had it good.