TUNED IN: Recalling Cokie Roberts, A Legendary NPR Voice

Sep 20, 2019

Cokie Roberts
Credit NPR

Cokie Roberts, the longtime NPR journalist who died early this week, was “one of a handful of pioneering female journalists — along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer and Susan Stamberg — who helped shape the public broadcaster's sound and culture at a time when few women held prominent roles in journalism.” So NPR reported on Tuesday.

Roberts “was known to millions for both her reporting and her commentaries, moving easily among radio, television and print to explain the impact of world events and the intricacies of policy debates.” So reported The New York Times.

"Cokie's kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists,” ABC News reported its president, James Goldston, saying of Roberts. 

To Deb Oyler, the former HPPR executive director who stepped down in 2017 to become the Finney County United Way’s executive director, Roberts was someone she admired deeply.

“As a young woman coming of age in the 1980s, I greatly admired Cokie Roberts,” Oyler said via text message this week. “Her interviews were intelligent, well thought out, and graceful. She asked some tough questions, and if the person being interviewed dodged her questions, she kept at it until she got what she was after.


Deb Oyler poses with Cokie Roberts at a 2015 public radio conference in Washington, D.C.

“She had a great smile and personality and she was always very humble. I loved watching her on TV and listening to her political reports on NPR.”

Oyler met Roberts in 2015 at a public radio conference. (See nearby photo of the pair.)

“There were long lines of people waiting to meet her too but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t seem rushed as she greeted each one of us and politely answered our questions. She posed for pictures, gave out hugs, and thanked US for our hard work as NPR member stations. Meeting her was a life-long dream and the pictures I have of the two of us have an even greater memory than they did four years ago.”


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Get Your Fall Read On

HPPR's Radio Readers Book Club's 2019 Fall Read began last month. The theme is “Navigating Uncharted Waters — Past, Present, & Future.” We’ll be exploring the ways in which our childhood and life experiences inform our worldviews. Are we products of nature or nurture? Many intriguing questions will be explored.

BookBytes can be heard most weekdays at 7:45 a.m. (Central) during Morning Edition and again at 6:45 p.m. (Central) during All Things Considered.


Quotes to know and share from this week’s news on High Plains Public Radio and HPPR Connect:

> "People feel it in a visceral way when they don't have the sort of information they need to get about their day." — Simon Galperin, founding director of the Community Information Cooperative

READ MORE | Public Libraries May Turn The Page For Colorado City's News Desert

> "When medical professionals line their own pockets by submitting false insurance claims or prescribing unnecessary medications or prescribing equipment and treatments that patients don’t really need, it not only drains taxpayer coffers but it makes health care more expensive for everyone." — Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas

READ MORE | Feds Charge 58 Across Texas With Health Care, Opioid Fraud

> "Facility staff reported that longer lengths of stay led to deteriorating mental health for children and increased demands on staff." —  Ann Maxwell, assistant inspector general with the Office of Evaluation and Inspections

READ MORE | Report: Migrant Children Coming To The U.S. Were Traumatized After Family Separation


HPPR.org is your go-to spot for the latest news from the High Plains region, as well as our events, exclusives, and features. You’ll also find the latest national and international news. Here are this week’s TOP STORIES from our website.

  1. Garden City Business Owner Killed In Suspected Robbery

  2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Rise In Kansas, Especially In Rural Counties

  3. Air Ambulances Woo Rural Kansans With Memberships That May Leave Them Hanging

  4. Suspect Arrested In Shooting Death Of Garden City Restaurant Owner

  5. Global Ag Experts Converge On Kansas To Talk Conservation, But Hear Little About 'Climate Change'

  6. What's The Source Of The Mysterious Waves Pulsating Across Oklahoma?

  7. Remedy To Texas Doctor Shortage Unlikely Anytime Soon, State Says

  8. T. Boone Pickens, Iconic Oil Tycoon, Dead At 91

  9. Leavenworth Prisoner Will Get Opioid Addiction Treatment After His Lawsuit Is Settled Quickly

  10. Pick of the Litter: Keep Amarillo Clean THIS SATURDAY


HPPR’s Living Room Concert series brings live music to the High Plains. Check out the schedule here.


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