Thanks for the Memories - Dan Colgan
After two decades of on-air announcing and helming production boards for the station, longtime NHPR announcer Dan Colgan recently retired after a 46-year broadcasting career.
From the station’s former home at 207 North Main Street in Concord, to its current studio location at 2 Pillsbury Street - also in our capital city - Dan’s role at the station gave him a unique perch with newsmakers, programs, and breaking news events. His voice with its distinctive New Hampshire accent was a daily companion for thousands of NHPR listeners over the years.
Tricia McLaughlin, NHPR’s Communications & Marketing Director, recently spoke with Dan about some of his memories and plans for the future.
Over a 20-year stint at NHPR - any special memories of NHPR that stick out in your mind as memorable shifts or moments?
The 9/11 attacks happened nine months after I began working at NHPR. We were doing a broadcast of The Exchange at the time. I had to interrupt Laura Knoy on-air to let people know we were joining NPR for special coverage, which was highly unusual. Also, having the chance to see a lot of presidential candidates up close and in-studio also gave me a unique perspective.
Radio has changed a lot in the years since you first went behind the mic in 1975, to now – when it’s one element in a multi-platform approach to how people get their news and information. What do you think of the future of the medium?
Back when I started, radio stations were either getting their news from The Associated Press or United Press International on teletype machines. Today there are many different sources of news on the internet.
Serving as our weekday announcer, running the production board for our talk shows and special broadcasts – you get to listen to a lot of our programs. I’m curious and others may be too – what are your favorite NPR or public media programs?
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed the news magazine shows Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Exchange, Here & Now. On the weekends, I’ve liked the nice change from straight news with public radio gems like Wait…Wait Don’t Tell Me! This American Life and I do miss Car Talk!
Some have called you “The Voice of New Hampshire.” Travel + Leisure magazine said you have “one of the best New England accents since the guys from Car Talk.” For those of us who know you, you’re a modest guy. How do you feel about that title?
Tell us – one more time – about how Dan Colgan’s voice turned up in an episode (Season Six, Episode 8, “Johnny Cakes”) of “The Sopranos.”
The episode was called Johnny Cakes, which aired on April 30, 2006. The producers approached NHPR about having one of the announcers do a demo break. They chose mine, and I got ten seconds of fame (and a story to share).
You grew up in Concord and graduated from Concord High School. For some – to work at a station in their hometown and connect with the community that way could be ‘living the dream.’ Is that how it feels?
Growing up in the community and knowing the people and issues they care about certainly gave me an advantage in connecting with listeners and hopefully anticipating their needs.
Any advice or tips for younger folks just getting into radio or who may be looking at radio as a potential career?
Radio has changed a lot over the years and will continue to evolve. You need to evolve with it and be flexible.
How do you think you’ll spend your days now off the mic? Any plans for your post-NHPR life?
Going to take the rest of the summer off and relax. Do some road trips around the area and work on some projects at home. I may do some volunteer work for the local ASPCA and – who knows? – from time to time I may fill in to do an on-air shift on NHPR.