NPR’S “On Point” to Broadcast Live from China

in News Releases, WBUR
April 4th, 2008

Contact: Phil Gloudemans, 617-353-6546 | philipg@bu.edu

(Boston) – “On Point,” NPR’s fastest growing news/call-in show, will originate its broadcast from Shanghai, China, for a week-long examination and conversation about the world’s rapidly emerging economic superpower, April 14-18.

The first major American radio program to broadcast a live “call in” from China, “On Point” – hosted by Tom Ashbrook and heard on more than 110 stations nationwide – will explore the ideas, culture and political leadership driving the Asian juggernaut, on pace to surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy in as few as 20 years.

Ashbrook is a former Boston Globe correspondent and editor who spent a decade earlier in his career as a foreign correspondent in East Asia near and inside China. He returns 25 years later to a country with skyrocketing exports, a vast labor force, and a powerful will to grow, all of which will be probed through 10, one-hour broadcasts mixing live and pre-recorded programs.

“The rise of China will be the biggest story of the 21st century,” said Ashbrook. “As the country bursts upon the world’s consciousness in the year of the Beijing Olympics, ‘On Point’ delves into China today, what it will become, and its looming global impact.”

“On Point” broadcasts live each weekday from 10:00 a.m. to noon, ET, from WBUR, 90.9, in Boston, and the show is rebroadcast at various times around the country. During the week in Shanghai, the first hour will be live with the phone lines open to U.S.-based callers, and the second hour will be pre-recorded in Shanghai.

For what is likely to be the first time ever, “On Point” will provide a platform for prominent Chinese voices to discuss with American callers China’s prolific growth and its potential impact domestically and on the rest of the world.

The week’s topic schedule and guests (to date) include:

•China & the Olympics
David Westendorff, founder of UrbanChina Partners, a Shanghai-based management consulting firm
Jing Jun, Sociology professor, Tsinghua University; AIDS awareness advocate
Melinda Liu, Beijing Bureau Chief, Newsweek
Huang Yan, “the face of the Olympics” heads Beijing’s Municipal Commission of Urban Planning

•Chinese students
Anita Wang, sophomore, majoring in electrical engineering at Fudan University
Henry Fu, third year of five at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade
Zhang Ying, master’s candidate in Public Administration at Tsinghua University; joining Citigroup in July

•American business in China
Tom Doctoroff, Northeast Asia Director & Greater China CEO of ad & marketing agency JWT
Tang Jun, president of Shanda, a $340 million entertainment media company and former president of Microsoft China
Malcolm Riddell, president of Boston-based investment bank RiddellTseng, specializing in foreign direct investment in Chinese real estate

•Chinese filmmakers
Joy Le Li, former producer and researcher for NBC News, CNN & PBS’s “Frontline”
Chen Xihe, deputy dean, School of Film, Television Art & Technology, Shanghai University

•China’s new politics
Fang Xinghai, director general, Office for Financial Services, Shanghai Metropolitan Government
Wang Hui, author & Tsinghua University professor espousing “New Left” belief that Communist leadership can transition to a market economy
Mark Leonard, executive director, London-based European Council of Foreign Relations, and author, “What Does China Think?”

•City life—Rich, Poor and Middle Class
Hong Huang, CEO of China Interactive Media Group

•China’s Environmental Crisis
Yang Fuqiang, VP, Energy Foundation
Qi Ye, Professor of Environmental Policy & Management, Tsinghua University
Zhang Jingjing, China’s Erin Brockovich

•Human Rights & Dissent
Leu Siew Ying, covered grassroots protests for S. China Morning Post

•The Week’s News through China’s Eyes
Gordon Fairclough, Shanghai correspondent, Wall Street Journal
Willy Lo-Lap Lam, author and former editor at AsiaWeek, South China Morning Post, Asia-Pacific CNN

•The U.S. & China in the 21st Century
Sun Zhe, Director of the Center for U.S.-China relations at Tsinghua University, Beijing
Huang Renwei, vice president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
Dan Guttman, visiting professor at Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Public Management

“On Point” in China is funded in part by a grant from The Henry Luce Foundation, established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China.

Like China, “On Point” is experiencing a tremendous growth spurt, now airing on 114 NPR stations. In the most recent ratings survey (fall 2007), “On Point” grew 26 percent over the previous year, by far the largest increase of any NPR-distributed call-in program nationwide. According to the fall 2007 Arbitron rankings, among Boston-area adults ages 25-54, “On Point” is the most listened to news and information program in its time slot.

A hybrid of a talk program and a news magazine, “On Point” puts each day’s news into context and provides a lively forum for discussion and debate with newsmakers and thinkers from around the world. Ashbrook is an award-winning journalist brought to radio by the attacks of September 11 after a distinguished career in newspaper reporting and editing. More information on “On Point” can be found online at http://www.onpointradio.org/.

One of New England’s leading sources of news and information, WBUR is owned and operated by Boston University and is a member of National Public Radio. WBUR also broadcasts a selection of BBC programs and locally produced programs such as “Here & Now,” “Only a Game,” and “Car Talk.” WBUR has won more than 100 major awards for its news coverage, including several George Foster Peabody Awards, the Associated Press News Station of the year for 2003-05, and three prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards in the 2007 Radio-Television News Director Association’s (RTNDA) annual national electronic journalism competition.

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