All Things Considered

All Things Considered
All Things Considered
Genre News: analysis, commentary, features, interviews, specials
Running time 135 minutes weekdays;
50 minutes weekends
Country United States
Home station National Public Radio
Hosts Robert Siegel
Michele Norris
Melissa Block
Guy Raz
Creators Robert Conley
Air dates May 3, 1971 to present

All Things Considered (ATC) is the flagship news program on the American network National Public Radio. It was the first news program on NPR, and is broadcast live worldwide through several outlets.[1] All Things Considered, and Morning Edition, were the highest rated public radio programs in the United States of America in 2002 and 2005.[2][3]



ATC programming combines news, analysis, commentary, interviews, and special features broadcast live daily from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (20:00 to 23:00 UTC), and is re-fed with updates until 10 p.m. ET (02:00 UTC). Broadcasts run about 105 minutes with local content interspersed in between to complete two hours. In 2005, ATC aired on over 560 radio stations and reached an audience of approximately 12 million listeners each weekday, making it the third most listened to radio program in the United States after The Rush Limbaugh Show and Morning Edition.[2] In September 2010, All Things Considered had an average quarter-hour audience of 1.8 million.[4] ATC is co-hosted by Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block.

The first broadcast of ATC was fed to about 90 radio stations on May 3, 1971, with host Robert Conley. The first story was about Washington, D.C. and the growing anti-Vietnam War protests taking place there.[5] NPR chose to place its inaugural daily newscast at the afternoon commute timeslot instead of the morning, because many of its affiliates at that time did not sign on for the day until mid-morning or afterward.[6] It was not until 1979, by which most affiliates had expanded their broadcast days to begin at 6 a.m. or earlier, that NPR premiered Morning Edition.[citation needed]

Weekend All Things Considered (WATC) is a one-hour version of the show that premiered in 1977,[7] with host and NPR Founder Robert Conley, and is broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays. Guy Raz is the current host.

ATC was excluded from the NPR deal with Sirius Satellite Radio so as not to compete with local stations airing the show.[8]

To coordinate the choice of interview partners in cultural coverage between ATC and other NPR shows (as of 2010: Morning Edition, the weekend editions, Talk of the Nation, and Tell Me More), NPR set up a "dibs list" system around 2005, whereby the first show to declare interest in a particular guest can "reserve" that person.[4]


The format is less rigid than that of Morning Edition, with a wider array of type and length of stories. The length of stories tends to be greater than Morning Edition, with some stories lasting for almost 23 minutes. Certain types of personal interest stories are almost always covered within this limit; those relating to hard news or entertainment tend to last the standard three-and-a-half to four minutes.

The program begins with the familiar Don Voegeli theme song[9] under a one-minute billboard of the stories to be covered during the hour. Then the standard five-minute NPR newscast is delivered from one minute to six minutes past the hour. The newscast offers a cutaway after three minutes (at four minutes past the hour), allowing stations to cover the last 2.5 minutes with evening rush-hour news and traffic reports. For those stations that run the newscast untouched, a thirty-second music bed follows instead.

The first, or "A" segment, begins at 06:30 after the hour. It features important news stories, although not necessarily the most important news stories of the day. Often it is here that the most significant interviews or developing stories are placed. Segment A runs 12:28 in duration, and closes out at nineteen minutes after with a ninety-second station break.

At 20:30 past the hour, ATC picks back up with Segment B. This segment, which runs 7:48, features more news and analysis, and often contains lighter stories and commentary. Segment B breaks for the half-hour at 28:20 past. The program goes into a local break until half past.

At the bottom of the hour, ATC resumes with a "host return". In the thirty-second return, the host or hosts discuss what's coming up in the remaining half-hour and intro the news. 30:30 brings a four-minute newscast followed by a sixty-second local break.

Segment C kicks off at 35:30 past the hour, and runs 12:58. Long feature stories are heard here, or as many as four shorter stories or commentaries may be heard as well. The last four minutes of the second hour Segment C (beginning at 44:30) is a designated cutaway for stations to run local commentary or features. Segment C ends at 48:30 after the hour, and another ninety-second break ensues. Occasionally, the show will "break format" and place a long, 23-minute story in the "C" and "D" segments with no local break at all.

Segment D starts at 50:00 after, and concludes the hour. Unlike Morning Edition, there is no set format for this segment, although usually the second hour will contain an arts, culture, or lighter news story in this segment. Other times, hard news otherwise not fitting in the program may be placed here.

Stations receive a preliminary rundown before each broadcast (usually a few minutes before 4:00 p.m. Eastern) denoting the timing and placement of stories so they can schedule local content as appropriate. This rundown is updated as stories change until the feed ends at 10 p.m. ET. As with Morning Edition, two hours of content are scheduled for each program. After 6 p.m. Eastern, the feed repeats the earlier hours for the Midwest and West Coast, although information is updated through the evening as appropriate.


Major awards won by the show include the Ohio State Award, the Peabody Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the DuPont Award, the American Women in Radio and Television Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. In 1993, the show was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the first[10] public radio program to be given that honor.

International Broadcasts

ABC NewsRadio in Australia broadcasts a continuous hour of selected segments from each days program between 12.00 and 13.00 Australian Eastern Standard Time Monday to Friday. A to D segments are edited together omitting local NPR news inserts.


Weekday hosts

Weekend hosts


Featured series

From time to time, NPR produces and distributes short series of radio pieces. Series that have aired during the show include:

  • "All Tech Considered"
  • "The Changing Face of America"
  • "Lost & Found Sound"
  • "The NPR 100" (stories behind 100 important 20th century American musical works)
  • "Prison Diaries"
  • "Teenage Diaries"
  • "The Yiddish Radio Project"
  • "This I Believe"
  • "In Character"
  • "Three Books"
  • "You Must Read This"
  • "Three Minute Fiction"


  1. ^ "NPR Worldwide". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2007-03-06. 
  2. ^ a b Freedman, Samuel G. (2005-07-17). "'Listener Supported' and 'NPR': All Things Considered". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-17. "National Public Radio alone reaches more than 20 million listeners, and its daily newsmagazine shows, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, attract a larger audience than any program except Rush Limbaugh's." 
  3. ^ "NPR Programs Attract Record-Breaking Audiences Public Radio Listenership at All-Time High". National Public Radio. 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-17. "Reflective of the intense news cycle following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., NPR's newsmagazines and talk programs increased audiences across the board. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2001, Morning Edition with Bob Edwards jumped from 10.7 to 13 million listeners; All Things Considered grew from 9.8 million to nearly 11.9 million; Talk of the Nation rocketed 40.8 percent to 3 million listeners; Fresh Air with Terry Gross grew 25.4 percent to nearly 4.2 million and The Diane Rehm Show grew 38.6 percent to nearly 1.4 million. Growth in the NPR news/talk audience outpaced similar gains realized by commercial news/talk radio." 
  4. ^ a b Harry Shearer and NPR: The Big Uneasy : NPR Ombudsman : NPR
  5. ^ "30th Anniversary Celebration of All Things Considered". National Public Radio. 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  6. ^ Conflicting Communication Interests in America: the case of National Public Radio, Tom McCourt, Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 1999., p. 45.
  7. ^ "About Weekend ATC". WLRH public radio. 2000. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  8. ^ Clemetson, Lynette (August 30, 2004). "All Things Considered, NPR's Growing Clout Alarms Member Stations". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-15. "NPR has a contract to program two Sirius channels, NPR Talk and NPR Now. But Mr. Klose said there were no plans to add the top-rated news programs to its satellite lineup against station wishes. We will respond to the will of the system, he said." 
  9. ^ All Songs Considered : NPR Music
  10. ^ "30th Anniversary Celebration of All Things Considered". National Public Radio. 2001. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 

External links

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