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Getting to know Joshua Johnson, the host of '1A' and successor of Diane Rehm

Joshua Johnson is the host of the new nationally-distributed public radio show 1A.
Stephen Voss | WAMU
Joshua Johnson is the host of the new nationally-distributed public radio show 1A.

We’re building this program as a safe place to be heard: a place where everyone is treated with respect and empathy, even as we discuss (or argue about) the major issues we face. If you’re tired of bracing for discussions with clenched fists and sharp elbows, then you’ll love 1A. We’re more of an “open arms” show. And we’ll talk about solutions, not just problems.

So begins Joshua Johnson’s introduction to 1A, a new nationally-distributed show from WAMU, which will soon air in the place of the The Diane Rehm Show on St. Louis Public Radio. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Johnson joined host Don Marsh to discuss his approach and goals for the new show, which premieres on Monday, January 2, 2017

“I’ve wanted to create and host my own show since I was five years old,” Johnson said. “This is a dream come true. My one life dream is happening.”

Johnson began his career in Miami, launching a partnership between Florida’s NPR station, WLRN, and the Miami Herald. He then worked for five years as the morning newscaster for KQED in San Francisco.

Johnson said he was not so much trying to think of the show as “the new Diane Rehm Show,” but more as the show’s successor, saying Rehm has taught him a lot about the craft of hosting.

The show, which will continue to air on St. Louis Public Radio from 9-11 a.m. M-F, will be divided into two hours. Within those hours, there will usually be three segments. The first segment will deal with breaking/pressing news of the day. The second and third segment will be deeper dives. Johnson said the show is still open to doing some programs for the whole hour.

And, prompting a sigh of relief from long-time Diane Rehm listeners, Johnson said the show will still have the beloved Friday news roundup, though likely in a slightly different form.

In addition to taking calls, Johnson also said that he will incorporate social media, email, voicemails and other methods of engagement for listeners to participate on the show—even if they’re unavailable to listen at exactly the 9-11 a.m. hour.

Listen as Johnson discusses the kinds of guests 1A is looking to have on the program, how he will hold politicians accountable and how he’s planning to engage listeners:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.
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