Phillips, Lisa A.
Phillips, Lisa A.
PERSONAL: Married Bill Mead; children: Clara.
CAREER: Writer, journalist, educator, and broadcaster. State University of New York at New Paltz, professor of journalism. Has worked as reporter and announcer for numerous public radio stations throughout the United States.
AWARDS, HONORS: New York Foundation for the Arts fiction award, 2002; National Society for Arts and Letters Pittsburgh chapter award; Scott Turow award; Edward R. Murrow Award (four-time recipient); New York Festival Award; Associated Press honors; honors from Communicator.
Public Radio: Behind the Voices, CDS Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer, broadcaster, and journalist Lisa A. Phillips is a professor of journalism and an avid supporter of public radio, having worked at six different public radio stations in five states. In her book, Public Radio: Behind the Voices, Phillips explores the diverse people and personalities behind the eclectic programming found on America’s public radio stations. She “provides an excellent, incredibly thorough look at most of the NPR personalities,” commented Scott Butki in an interview with Phillips on Blogcritics.“She describes what it is like to meet some of these people, what their insecurities are about their voices and abilities, and relays anecdote after anecdote that are hilarious and revealing.”
“There’s something to the relationship listeners have with public radio hosts that goes beyond simply the voice that delivers the news, etc., and I wanted to take that relationship further,” Phillips told Butki. In forty-three profiles underscored by in-depth interviews, Phillips looks at the career path, broadcast experience, and distinctive features of public radio hosts who specialize in music, news, analysis, entertainment, and commentary. She covers individuals such as public radio pioneer Susan Stamberg; talk show host Tavis Smiley; the Magliozzi brothers, who host the popular automotive help program “Car Talk”; Ira Glass, known for his commentary and on-air essays from “This American Life”; “Prairie Home Companion” humorist and raconteur Garrison Keillor; musician and “Piano Jazz” host Marian McPartland; journalist and news commentator Nina Totenberg; and many others. A Publishers Weekly contributor observed: “Phillips is a gifted journalist, able to draw out her subjects’ vibrant presence on the printed page.”Booklist reviewer Vanessa Bush concluded, “Public radio fans will enjoy this personal look at their favorite personalities.”
Phillips told CA:“I started out as a fiction writer. Though I couldn’t seem to publish much fiction, understanding story form has been key to my approach to Public Radio and my reporting career. I look for the best stories from my sources, knowing that they are what makes the reader keep reading.
“I know from my years in public radio that listeners have a connection to public radio hosts that goes beyond simply listening to the news. Listeners are intensely curious about public radio people and want to know about their lives. My book reveals that the lives of public radio hosts have many of the qualities of the radio they bring to us. Their personal stories are fascinating and significant—stories that enlarge our sense of history and humanity.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, May 15, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Public Radio: Behind the Voices, p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, Public Radio, p. 78.
Blogcritics, http://www.blogcritics.org/ (September 6, 2006), Scott Butki, interview with Lisa A. Phillips.
Public Radio: Behind the Voices Web site, http://www.publicradiobehindthevoices.com (November 30, 2006), biography of Lisa A. Phillips.