LAWRENCE – Tom Parkinson’s workday starts at 4 a.m., and KPR listeners can join him from 5 to 9 a.m. when they tune in to "Morning Edition" with Parkinson as KPR’s new host.
Parkinson takes over the air chair as local host in for NPR’s morning newsmagazine from J. Schafer, who will spend more time reporting his own stories and editing and assigning other stories for KPR reporters.
Parkinson brings 20 years of public radio newsroom experience to KPR.
“I love the energy of early mornings and the privilege of greeting listeners at sunrise and informing them about what happened while they were sleeping,” he said. “Whether my listeners tune in for 20 minutes during the morning commute or listen to the entire broadcast, I want them to walk away with a better understanding of our world and a good story to share around the coffee maker or the lunch table.”
Parkinson has worked as the host and producer of "Morning Edition" at WUSF in Tampa, Florida; WMFE in Orlando, Florida; and WKSU in Kent, Ohio. Most recently, he was a newscast producer at KPCC in Los Angeles. He also had a short stint in news broadcasting at a commercial radio station, but he came back to public broadcasting.
“Public broadcasting is unique in media. I don’t know of any other forum that combines in-depth, unbiased news coverage and thoughtful commentary from many perspectives with features on science, technology, literature, music and art — all of it presented in an accessible and entertaining fashion,” he said. “On my broadcast of 'Morning Edition,' I try to complete that picture with local and state news, weather and sports.”
When not in the newsroom or on-air, Parkinson’s interests include Old West, Civil War and railroad history; playing folk, jazz, blues, rock and country music on guitar and bass; or reading history and crime novels.
As for his early workday, Parkinson says waking up is the easy part.
“Getting up at 3 a.m. is not that hard,” he said,” but going to bed at 7:30 p.m. is more difficult, especially if there’s something interesting and fun going on.”
KPR, a 15-time Kansas Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year, licensed to the University of Kansas, broadcasts on 91.5 FM in Lawrence, 89.7 FM in Emporia, 91.3 FM in Olsburg-Junction City, 89.9 FM in Atchison, 90.3 FM in Chanute, and 99.5 FM and 97.9 FM in Manhattan. KPR can be heard online at http://kpr.ku.edu. KPR also operates KPR2, a news-talk programming stream, which can be heard on an HD receiver or on KPR’s website.