WLRN Radio's Joseph Cooper says producing and hosting Topical Currents is the most rewarding experience of his long radio career, which began at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the 1970s.
"It's now an obsession, but I never thought talk radio would be in my future. The wide, wide range of topics, research and reading keeps me hustling all week," he says. "It's similar to a daily newspaper column because, essentially, we write an essay to frame each show before conducting the interviews and taking calls and then it all starts over again for the next day's program."
Topical Currents is put together by a small production team, which includes producer Richard Ives and technical director Bonnie Berman. Syndicated food and dining columnist Linda Gassenheimer frequents the program, as well as a handful of expert regular contributors and regional reporters.
Topical Currents is a sub-tropical blend of regional issues and politics, local profiles, author interviews, "At Your Service" programs, South Florida history and any topic listeners might banter about around the proverbial "water cooler." It was first broadcast in January 1999.
Cooper is often asked to name his "favorite" interview subject.
"Hmmmm," he says with the hint of a smile. "Not necessarily the celebrities or famous authors but the one I've just done. Well usually.