NPR's Diane Rehm Signing Off in 2016
Former stay-at-home mom retiring after hosting her own show for nearly 40 years
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2015 7:51 AM CST
President Barack Obama awards the 2013 National Humanities Medal to Diane Rehm at the White House on July 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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(Newser) – NPR's Diane Rehm is known as a civil voice of reason that may be harder to find after next year: The 79-year-old public-radio host is retiring in 2016 after the presidential election, the New York Times reports. "After a long and remarkable career as host of The Diane Rehm Show, Diane is considering her future plans," reads a post on the show's website. The show features Rehm's interviews with newsmakers, authors, and artists—US presidents Clinton and Obama, as well as Toni Morrison, are among past guests, notes the Washington Post—and covers everything from "Iraq and the US economy to the art of landscape design and James Joyce's Ulysses," per the show website. One reason she's retiring: She's just tired. "I'm perfectly happy doing something different … where I'm not forced to get up at 5am every morning to prepare for a show," she tells the Post. "I've been doing that for 37 years."

The two-hour program produced by DC's WAMU radio station has aired since 1979 and is now broadcast on 197 stations, with more than 2.4 million listeners weekly, per the Post. Her ascension on the airwaves surprised even Rehm, previously a secretary and stay-at-home mom with no college education who first showed up at the station as a volunteer. "I never thought I'd have a career of any kind, much less a career in radio," she told the Post a few years back. Another reason for her departure: the death of her husband, John, last year from Parkinson's, an event that motivated her to become a right-to-die advocate. Rehm also has a memoir coming out and is pondering options including a speaker series or podcast. As for her immediate aspirations: "Maybe I'll get to sleep until 7 or 7:30am, like other people do," she tells the Post. (Read about Rehm's right-to-die efforts.)