Manoush Zomorodi Takes Over As Host Of NPR’s ‘TED Radio Hour’
Manoush Zomorodi, the new host of NPR's "Ted Radio Hour," knows something about what it takes to give a successful TED Talk. The long-running series features speakers delving into large concepts, like why slowing down in life might be beneficial or how humor is used to help people ward off doubt, discrimination and even depression. In 2017, Zomorodi’s gave a TED Talk about how boredom can lead to great ideas, and it has now been viewed over three million times.
“I was terrified because I was so nervous, but there was something just really magical about distilling… essentially my life's work down to 14 minutes and presenting it in front of an audience who just was so supportive. Then in the years since, hearing from people every single day that my talk somehow has changed them,” Zomorodi said.
NPR’s “TED Radio” combines several different TED Talks about a similar theme with interviews featuring the people who gave them. Zomorodi said she feels the added dimension of the conversations with the TED Talk speakers is what makes “TED Radio Hour” special.
“It's talking to the speaker about all the other ideas that they're thinking about as well, and sort of having some very human moments with them and putting it in context with other talks that make you think about the world differently,” Zomorodi said.
Zomorodi takes over for Guy Raz, who has been the show’s host since its inception in 2013. She said while the “TED Radio Hour” is still going to sound the same as it did with Raz, listeners will notice a change.
“I think the difference, though, is going to be me, frankly. I'm a middle-age woman with two kids. Although Guy and I have very similar backgrounds in terms of our journalism backgrounds, my perspective is going to be different. I understand from what I hear from listeners is that I'm a good proxy, so whatever question comes to your mind, hopefully you'll be hearing it coming out of my mouth the next moment. That's what a good host does,” Zomorodi said.
While some have described how the “TED Radio Hour” ties together different TED Talks under a unifying umbrella, Zomorodi wants to approach that concept with a different mindset.
“I've been really trying to think of it less as a theme and more of a thesis. We're at a place, I think, in the world right now where we, no matter what your politics are or where you are, that we understand some things need to change. Let's think of the coronavirus, for example. You don't come to ‘TED Radio Hour’ for the latest news. You come to ‘TED Radio Hour’ for the 30,000-feet perspective and to get away from the daily grind. We have some exciting, exciting episodes in store for people that I think will be relevant and relatable and yet also make them think differently and hard about things,” Zomorodi said.
Hear Manoush Zomorodi’s first episode as host of the “TED Radio Hour” Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on 90.3 WCPN.
Watch Manoush Zomorodi’s 2017 TED Talk about how boredom can lead to our most successful ideas.
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