Simeone leaving NPR for other pursuits

Radio: The `Weekend All Things Considered' host, wanting some of her free time back, will cut ties with the station in March.

January 10, 2002|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN TELEVISION WRITER

Lisa Simeone plans to leave her job as anchor of Weekend All Things Considered, saying her duties for the National Public Radio program robbed her of too much free time and the chance to do other projects.

In an interview, Simeone said she looked forward to reclaiming her weekends and escaping the shackles of a full-time job. Instead, she said, she intends to execute free-lance stories on Baltimore for NPR and other outlets.

"I miss the freedom of my former life," Simeone said yesterday. "I have other fish to fry. It's my mission to bring all of Baltimore's wonderful wackiness to a national audience."

Simeone is a longtime Baltimore resident who previously had been the host of classical music shows on NPR and a public affairs show on WJHU (88.1 FM), which still carries Weekend All Things Considered. She joined NPR permanently in October 2000.

"Now, I'll be able to do all of the things normal people get to do on weekends," Simeone said. "I want to go out to dinner, go to the opera." Later, she added: "I'm a free spirit, let's face it."

The split, effective in March, appears entirely amicable. Both Simeone and NPR Managing Editor Barbara Rehm said she would continue to file stories for the radio network after she leaves her current position.

"She has been wonderful, magnificent," Rehm said yesterday. "She lights up the air."

Rehm attributed Simeone's decision to leave NPR to the constraints of being an anchor. "I think she didn't like the confines of being a show host as much as she did going in," Rehm said. "She's always been this whirlwind of an operation. From the moment she had an idea to a piece going on the air, she was involved in every aspect of the production."

On a program like Simeone's, anchors tend to rely more heavily on a team of colleagues to produce the show.

As well as her free-lance work, Simeone said she is the anchor for a pilot television program about military affairs that will be offered to public television stations. She will remain on the air on the NPR weekend show until mid-March.

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