The host of The Next Big Thing is Dean Olsher. The show comes from the “new school” public radio tradition that kicked off just before the last Gulf War with the late lamented Heat, a long-format variety show that featured unpredictable and rotating guest hosts, such as Billy Bragg. (Last time I went looking for this show’s traces on the web, I got a goose egg – I’m happy to see it here!)
The wars over NEA funding prompted an on-air farewell from that show, (as I recall, mandatory content guidance was being called for in Congress or something), and then the war happened, which led to the improvised special programming that became Talk of the Nation. One aspect of that early incarnation of the show was that callers were often patched through direct to reporters in the field, truly compelling radio.
Finally, on these themes, I was pretty fascinated by some of the material at Transom, an umbrella site for this kind of documentary radio (as I recall, I heard about it on TAL). Oh look! I’ll be spending part of next week EQ-ing a redlined live tape of a rock band in performance: here’s a handy guide to EQ!
Anyway, I’ve been staying the hell away from the desktop box today, defragging the disks, getting the gear ready for the remastering thing, so I’ve been listening to the radio instead of websurfing and writing.