It's almost a chicken-and-egg question. Do reporters and hosts with worldly or intellectual-sounding names naturally seek out public radio? Or are they drawn to this career after recognizing their fellow fancy-monikered peers on the air? Either way, among the staff at National Public Radio there are definitely a lot of fancy first-and-last-name combos like Ofeibea Quist-Arcton and Douali Xaykaothao.
So what would yours be? If you're in South Florida, you may well have the kind of complicated or bookish name that would fit right in. But if you'd like to take things an extra step, check out this handy Public Radio Name Generator.
Figuring out your "NPR" name has been a meme on the Internet since about a social media century ago (2009,) but it's still fun. Pop in your real name, (no matter how long or unusual) and your gender (caveat: available only in binary selections!) and voila.
My own ethnically ambiguous name, for instance, yielded the even more ethnically ambiguous Indigo Saarinen-Yamashita. Is that Scandinavian? Japanese? Spawn-of-hippies? All of the above? Hey, create your own and it may be enough for us to hire you one day. (Kidding!)
While you're at it, you can also visit Buzzfeed and play that site's own public radio game of sorts. What do you think your different NPR national crushes look like, compared to what they really look like? If you're thinking Ira Glass looks like a bespectacled smarty-pants dreamboat, you are correct. Some of the others may surprise you. Check Buzzfeed's listicle to see: "How You Think NPR Reporters Look vs. How They Actually Do."
Update May 6, 11:11 pm: The Atlantic wrote this great piece about NPR names, including Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Chana Joffe-Walt, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Dina Temple-Raston, Charlayne Hunter-Gault. In addition to learning the spelling of all those odd NPR names, you also learn some crazy tidbits, like this one about people who name animals after NPR talent:
A turtle named Ira Glass lives in Queens, and somewhere out there roams a chihuahua named Mandalit. Kai Ryssdal had, at one point, a namesake goat. "Friendly Kai Ryssdal has turned into super obnoxious Kai Ryssdal," his owner wrote on her blog, so she had him butchered and ate him. A man was once sitting in a Missouri theater next to a woman named Korva Coleman, and he thought she was the NPR reporter. But she wasn't. She had just changed her name to Korva Coleman because she thought it sounded cool.