NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” Wins Peabody Award

in News Releases, WBUR
April 10th, 2008

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

(Boston) – National Public Radio’s extremely popular news quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” was recently named a winner of a George Foster Peabody Award, the oldest and most prestigious achievement in broadcasting. Conceived by former WBUR Executive Producer for News and News Director Doug Berman, the irreverent and oddly informative show is heard by over 2.6 million listeners on nearly 450 NPR stations nationwide, making it one of the most prominent programs on National Public Radio.

“It’s one of the most popular programs broadcast on WBUR,” said Sam Fleming, the station’s managing director of News and Programming.

Heard locally at noon each Saturday, “Wait Wait” — developed 10 years ago by Berman, a Cambridge resident — just surpassed over one million pod cast downloads monthly.

The 67th annual George Foster Peabody Awards, announced on April 2, will be presented at ceremonies in New York on June 16. The judging committee characterized “Wait Wait” as a “zippy update of one of broadcasting’s long-ago staples, this live quiz show reminds listeners of the week’s news even as host Peter Sagal and various panelists make witty sport of it.”

“Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” taps current news stories — from the global to the silly — for questions and comedy. The show’s “Not My Job” segment, when famous people are quizzed on subjects about which they know absolutely nothing, has attracted such names as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Tom Hanks, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Joey Harrington, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and comedian Drew Carey.

Margaret Low Smith, NPR’s vice president for Programming, said of Berman, the show’s executive producer, “he continues to keep its energy and brilliance at the same standard a decade later.”

Berman joined the WBUR news team in 1986, and the following year, he launched the hit comedy show “Car Talk,” which has grown to become a NPR powerhouse. Heard on more than 585 stations by an audience of more than 4 million listeners each week makes “Car Talk” one of public radio’s most successful shows ever. In 1992, he left WBUR to become chief executive officer of Dewey Cheatham & Howe, the Cambridge-based spin-off production company that now produces all “Car Talk” ventures.

One of New England’s leading sources of news and information, WBUR 90.9 FM, Boston’s NPR news station, is owned and operated by Boston University. WBUR also broadcasts a selection of BBC programs and locally produced programs such as “Here & Now,” “Only a Game,” “On Point” 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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