Who knew that Neal Conan was the inspiration for Conan the Barbarian?
Seems like many at the WGCU sponsored luncheon in November were aware that this smooth talking host of NPR's "Talk of the Nation" was the model for this cartoon character.
Lots of NPR listeners, WGCU staffers, Press Club members, sponsoring retailers and Conan groupies hung on his every word as this smooth broadcaster, with the familiar soothing voice, recounted tales from his NPR call- in- show experiences.
Many of the stories were tinged with his witty sense of humor. Some however were unsettling and amazing like the description of his second day on the show which happened to be 9/11.
Conan told about the preparation that goes into the "Talk of the Nation" broadcasts and the changes that inevitably happen when the first caller comes in. "It's a dynamic that has to change," he explained, adding "the show always has a plan and is ready to deviate from the plan."
He acknowledged that he has tried to master the "weird skills" needed to be a radio host and is most proud of his resolution that "it's not worth cutting someone off on the air.”It's worth the 20 seconds to handle someone gently and it pays in dividends," he said.
Conan also appeared on the local show "Gulf Coast Live!" during his visit and will be back in the area (in March ?) performing with the Ensemble Galilei, a national touring group that performs Irish and Scottish, classical, Celtic and medieval compositions. He reads poetry and stories as the on-stage narrator for this ensemble.
Personally, I can't wait!