Jad Abumrad steps down from ‘Radiolab’

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Carey MacArthur/WNYC

Nasser, Abumrad and Miller at a November gala honoring the 20th anniversary of "Radiolab."

Jad Abumrad, host and creator of the public radio show and podcast Radiolab, is stepping down after nearly 20 years, he announced Wednesday.

Abumrad’s final episode will be released Feb. 18. Latif Nasser and Lulu Miller, who currently co-host the show with Abumrad, will continue as hosts.

“For the last few years — since 2016, really — I’ve told myself that there’d come a point when the team would be ‘ready’ for me to leave. When they might even need me to,” he said in a letter posted on WNYC’s website. “I wasn’t sure when that would be or how I’d know, but I made a pact with myself to stay watchful, to create space rather than filling it, and to listen rather than talk.”

Abumrad said that in the last year he’s had a “not-so-unpleasant sense of being displaced, of becoming a smaller and smaller part of a larger thing rather than the main event.” 

As the show approaches its 20th anniversary, “this feels like the right time,” he wrote. 

Abumrad’s longtime co-host Robert Krulwich retired in 2020.

Moving forward, Abumrad said he will be “doing some writing, some teaching, some music-making, some thinking, and frankly, some being. And I’ll always be here for the team to advise, counsel, or just listen.”

“In Radiolab, Jad created what may be the most influential podcast of the last 20 years, inspiring a generation of audio makers,” said Andrew Golis, WNYC’s CCO, in a press release. “With Lulu and Latif at the helm of one of the most talented teams in the industry, we can’t wait to see what they do for the next 20 years. WNYC Studios is proud to be their home.”

In a letter about Abumrad’s departure, Nasser and Miller said, “You can expect Radiolab to stay itself because you can expect all of us on the team to do what we’ve always done, what Jad taught us to do: play, experiment, challenge ourselves, and above all, take us to the edges of what we think we know.”  

“We vow to keep dazzling you, our audience, for years to come,” they added. “Not least of all because now the guy who made our favorite show will be one of you, listening.”

The show is carried by 576 public radio stations. 

“Twenty years ago, if you told me even a hundred people would listen to this show, I’d have laughed. Now millions tune in and download Radiolab each year,” Abumrad wrote. “That still doesn’t quite compute.”

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