Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Thomas Jefferson Hour

Today is Sunday, which means that millions of Americans across the nation made their way to church this morning. With the early morning sermons prepared, families across the nation praised God in their individual ways, making Sunday a special day for many.

Though I am not a regular churchgoer, I too find Sunday to be a special time in my life. While others are busy listening to sermons, I am busy listening to none other than Thomas Jefferson. That's right folks, Jefferson can be heard loud and clear every Sunday morning across this great nation (in So. Cal where I live, Jefferson can be heard on 89.1 KPRX).

National Public Radio, in conjunction with renowned scholar Clay Jenkins, have combined to create The Thomas Jefferson Hour, which has become a special treat for history nerds across the country. Jenkins, who portrays Jefferson on the program, takes questions, phone calls, and answers emails as if he were the REAL Jefferson (which, I must admit he excels at).

On the website for the program (which can be seen by clicking here) the producers of The Thomas Jefferson Hour give a brief explanation of their intentions. It states:

The Thomas Jefferson Hour® is a weekly radio program dedicated to the search for truth in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson. Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, was a man of the Enlightenment, a student of human nature and gentlemanly behavior, and he applied this to his personal life as well as to both the national and world wide challenges he faced during the forming of our nation.

Nationally acclaimed humanities scholar and award winning first person interpreter of Thomas Jefferson, Clay Jenkinson, portrays Jefferson on the program, and he answers listener questions while in the persona of Jefferson--his answers are grounded in the writings and actions of the great man.

Our mission is to generate one-on-one discourse between friends and family members, then to help broaden it to national discourse (replace the 30 second two position only sound bites) about important, and many times sensitive, topics to our country and to our citizens. We do this in a unique and entertaining way—through the voice of our third president Thomas Jefferson.

Our listeners have encouraged us to sprinkle the program lineup with out-of-character programs. The format is one of Clay Jenkinson, the humanities scholar and social commentator, examining a current or historical event using both a Jeffersonian lens and a modern-day humanities lens. The gift we bring to both program formats is the ability to help people strip through the advertised message and look for the truth of the situation. The truth may be painful and self-revealing, but it is always uplifting to the spirit.

The Thomas Jefferson Hour® appeals to Public Radio listeners, not just history buffs. While some of our primary stations are in historical areas (Norfolk and Radford, Virginia) or areas that are Jeffersonian (North Dakota, Kansas, Texas), our largest listening audience occurs in postmodern regions such as Fresno, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our appeal truly is our ability to bring out the truth in a non-dramatic, unthreatening manner then to help our audience think through the complexity of the decision making process, bringing clarity to the steps and the events.

For all you early American buffs, I encourage you to check out the website, where all of the local affiliates are listed, along with the program's schedule. Even if you are not a history nut, The Thomas Jefferson Hour is an enjoyable program for everyone!

Check it out!


Anonymous said...

This program sounds very interesting but it is not produced nor distributed by NPR. It probably is being presented by one of the many other public radio production/distribution companies which are all independent of us, and which also offer programming for stations around the country.
Andi Sporkin, NPR

Steve-O said...

Thank you very much for pointing that out, Andi. I will be sure to make the change.