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NPR to Drop 'Talk of the Nation'

The company will replace the call-in program with a longer version of "Here and Now."

After a 21-year run, NPR is pulling the plug on Talk of the Nation and aims to replace the call-in radio program with a longer version of the afternoon show Here and Now.

The New York Times reports that the decision was the result of two years of talks between NPR and member stations that desired a mid-day newsmagazine show in the same vein as Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Here and Now, which is produced by Boston University's WBUR, will jump from its current distributor, Public Radio International, to NPR's radio waves this summer, debuting on the latter July 1. NPR and WBUR will team up to transition the program from one hour to two hours featuring reports from NPR News staffers as well as local stations. Additionally, Here and Now host Robin Young will get a new co-host, Jeremy Hobson.

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"Together, we’re addressing both what the audience is looking for and what member stations have been looking for," said NPR's chief content officer, Kinsey Wilson, in a statement Friday. 

Although financial terms of the partnership weren't disclosed, Wilson added: "We’re confident that by partnering together we can make this both an editorial and a financial success."

Talk of the Nation, in the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. timeslot, is aired on 407 stations with a weekly audience of 3.53 million. The program's host, Neal Conan, will "step away from the daily rigors of journalism" when Talk closes up shop to make room for Here and Now, according to the Times, citing NPR.

Meanwhile, NPR -- which has begun pitching the new afternoon replacement to local stations -- will continue to distribute Talk's Friday edition, Science Friday with Ira Flatow.