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Liane Hansen

Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.

Before joining Weekend Edition Sunday in November 1989, Hansen hosted Performance Today, NPR's award-winning daily two-hour classical music and arts information program; and was a regular guest-host for NPR's newsmagazines as well as Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Hansen's association with Fresh Air goes back to 1976, when she was a production assistant and substitute host for the program. In the early 1980s, Hansen was the host of NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. She came to NPR as a production assistant for All Things Considered in 1979 after contributing stories to "Voices in the Wind" and "Options in Education." Her career in public broadcasting began at WSKG in Binghamton, New York, where she co-hosted the daily newsmagazine For Your Information.

In 2001, Hansen received the National News and Documentary Emmy Award for "She Says/Women in News" (narrator) directed by Barbara Ricks. Hansen was also part of NPR's coverage of Sept. 11, which received the 2001 Peabody Award. She represented Marian High School with honor in Newscasting in the Massachusetts Speech Festival and Debate Tourney (1968-9).

In the mid-eighties, Hansen worked as an archivist in London, England, at the acclaimed Maybox Theatres, where other duties included babysitting Princess Margaret's coat and serving coffee to Sir Richard Attenborough.

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Hansen received the key to the city in November of 1980. She attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut, and acted with the Worcester Childrens Theater, Entr'Actors Guild, Footlights Theater Company, and the Fenwick Theater Company at Holy Cross College where she was an assistant to the director of the Theater Division. She made $26 dollars in the professional theater as April in Company at Caesars Monticello in Framingham, Massachusetts. Hansen's voice can be heard on the Emmy-Award-winning TV documentary, "Women In News," as well as the film In Their Footsteps: Lewis and Clark, and many audio books. Her current passions are figure skating, baseball, The Food Channel and tap dancing.

  • After 22 years hosting Weekend Edition Sunday, this is host Liane Hansen's last show. "I've never been any good at goodbyes," she says. "They are awkward at best, or they are too sad to contemplate. So, instead, as I hang up my headphones today, I'd prefer to say thank you."
  • After a bitter, six-month strike by members of the Detroit Symphony, an agreement was ratified and concertgoers flocked to a free concert Saturday. Host Liane Hansen reports that another capacity crowd is expected at a performance Sunday.
  • The recent accident at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant won't hurt the nuclear power industry because of rapidly growing demand in China, India and other developing nations, according to an article in The Atlantic Monthly. Host Liane Hansen talks to article author Jesse Jenkins of the Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland, Calif., a think tank.
  • As the deadly political power struggle continues in Ivory Coast, the volatile neighborhood of Abobo has become a violent flashpoint. Forces loyal to the two men who claim to be president have repeatedly clashed — and civilians have gotten caught in the crossfire.
  • Tiny Butler University has done it again. The Bulldogs are going to the NCAA Final Four for the second year in a row, having defeated the University of Florida in overtime on Saturday. Host Liane Hansen gets a tournament update from NPR's Mike Pesca.
  • As revolution sweeps the Middle East, Syria has become a focal point of protest. Host Liane Hansen talks to Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Landis writes a blog of Syrian politics and culture.
  • After taking the town of Ajdabiya, rebels have now moved in to Brega and, according to reports from there, they continue to move forward toward Ras Lanuf. In Tripoli, the government of Moammar Gadhafi called the loss of territory "a tactical retreat."
  • Host Liane Hansen discusses with NPR's Cokie Roberts the career of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to be nominated for vice president in the U.S. Ferraro died on Saturday at age 75. Roberts remembers the atmosphere the 1984 Democratic convention when Walter Mondale named Ferraro as his running mate.
  • We know spring is coming, but Old Man Winter is not finished with us yet. Host Liane Hansen offers an essay on surviving the waning days of winter.
  • Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to recover in a Houston hospital. Her husband, Mark Kelly, says that he's open to meeting with the parents of the man who allegedly shot his wife. Kelly recently told ABC News, "They've got to be hurting ... as much as anybody." Host Liane Hansen reflects on what the parents of Jared Loughner have experienced since the Tuscon shootings.