NPR’s Rudin hopes to launch new show after leaving network

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Shutdowns of a show and a reporting project at NPR have prompted the departure of “Political Junkie” Ken Rudin, who has worked at the network since 1991.

Rudin appears weekly on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, which is ending production this month. He also served recently as editorial coordinator for StateImpact, a collaborative reporting project with stations that NPR is exiting.

“With the combination of Talk of the Nation and StateImpact ending, there wasn’t really a place for me,” Rudin says. “It didn’t come as a surprise.” He will leave NPR at the end of September.

Rudin has appeared weekly on TOTN for his “Political Junkie” segment since 2006. Each week he devises questions about political trivia, discusses news events and interviews someone from the political world.

He also creates a weekly puzzle for the show and for NPR’s website. “ScuttleButton” draws from his collection of more than 70,000 campaign buttons — a horde Rudin has amassed “because I’m lonely,” he says.

Announcement of TOTN’s cancellation prompted “literally thousands” of listeners to send emails lamenting the end of his appearances, Rudin says. “I don’t want to lose that momentum.” So he’s planning to launch a weekly hourlong program for public radio stations.

“I deeply love politics, and I was always thankful that NPR gave me this outlet to be fun and silly and informative every week,” he says. “So I’m hoping that this new project will continue that.” Rudin is also considering connecting with a speakers’ bureau.

“It might be a new life,” he says of the change. “A rebirth.”

NPR will distribute Rudin’s podcast, It’s All Politics, through the end of July.

Rudin joined NPR as its first political editor, a position he left to work on StateImpact. Before starting at NPR, he worked as a reporter and deputy political director for ABC News. He took a break from NPR from 1995 to 1998 to work as managing editor of the Hotline, a daily political newsletter, and to write for The Hill in Washington, D.C.

11 thoughts on “NPR’s Rudin hopes to launch new show after leaving network

  1. Talk of the Nation on Wednesdays has always been my favorite NPR show. I hope Ken isn’t off the air for too long.

  2. How places left on this planet can you go to learn important things while slapping your thigh? There will be a big hole in my Wednesdays — so I’ll cross my fingers that some new venue will magically appear that combines cleverness with a weekly civics lesson. Until then, we will all be a little duller with the passing of “Political Junkie”.

  3. It saddens me that Ken and “The Political Junkie” will be no more. Never before have I known someone who brought so much knowledge, and a little fun, to politics. He should rightfully have his own show on cable or at least be a constant guest on various other shows. I hope he has a good agent. This should be a small door opening into a bigger one…..I can only hope.

  4. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say It’s All Politics is the best podcast airing. I’ve been listening to podcasts for four or five years now, and I listen to 15 or 20 a week, depending on time constraints. Often 5-10 of those never get listened to, and then eventually they get deleted from my MP3 player. It’s All Politics is the only podcast from when I first started listening 4-5 years ago that I still listen to the moment it is released each week, and it’s one of only a handful from back then that I listen to at all anymore. I still listen to the Political Gabfest, but that often backs up before I get to it. Ditto for Skepticast and The Business, two other podcasts that are still in my rotation after years.

    Of them all, IAP is the only one that gets downloaded and listened to immediately. I will really, really miss it, and it’s the only thing on NPR I listen to regularly right now.

    • If you like tech at all, check out “This Week in Google” at the TWiT network. That holds the same status for me. Lot of social commentary in with the usual TWiT mix of tech tips & “what’s new”, excellent hosts.

    • It’s surely not the only one I love, but it was great nonetheless. Miles better than, say, Slate’s Political Gabfest..

      Cancelling “Talk of the Nation” in favor of that horrible Robin Young show = I no longer give NPR money.

  5. I was shocked and disappointment as I heard of Ken Rudin leaving. Especially to be replaced by another “same old,same old.” I will listen to his podcast but won’t be as interesting / entertaining as his back and for with Kerry.

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