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THE AUDIO ARCHIVES

BOOKS OF THE QUARTER

MILT'S MUSIC COLLECTION

MILT'S PHOTO GALLERY

Enlightened discussions with knowledgeable guests- Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Jimmy Carter, Jack Welch, & others.

"Nation's leading author interviewer.
A Chicago institution for the literate
"
- Talkers Magazine "Heavy Hundred" 2002

". . .when it's time to feed your head, the guy with the biggest ladle is Milt Rosenberg." - NewCity

Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg is utterly implausible radio, whether the topic is international politics, the state of the English language, the latest discoveries in astrophysics, the history of baseball or what local chefs cook for their own dinners. You won't hear anything, anywhere, quite as stimulating or quite as fascinating.

Milton J. Rosenberg

Since 1973, Milt Rosenberg has been host of WGN Radio's "Extension 720", a two-hour discussion show with one hour reserved for call-ins. The program, which airs Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 p.m., deals with topics ranging from politics to financial investment to entertainment to religion to foreign policy to literature, and, as Milt says, "just about everything except pop psychology and poodle-trimming."

Past guests of note include such political figures as Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, George Stephanopolous, George Shultz, Cyrus Vance and many members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Among other interesting public figures who have appeared on the program: Colin Powell, Charlton Heston, William Safire, Bill Murray, William Bennett, Richard Posner, Bob Feller, Betty Friedan, Zbignew Brzezinski, Cynthia Ozick, Norman Mailer, Mary Higgins Clark, Calvin Trillin, P.D. James, Peggy Noonan, David Brinkley, George Will, Gerry Spence, Jim Lehrer, Michael Medved and on and on--virtually a cast of thousands of interesting and significant people.

How does this lone, bespectacled and slightly superannuated professor pull such guests? Probably because the publicity people in the New York publishing houses agree with comedian and author, Steve Allen, who said, "All interviewers should be forced to attend a class in that particular art, conducted by Milt Rosenberg," and with Paul Fussell, author of Class, The Great War and Modern Memory, and Wartime, who said, "I have been productively interviewed by Milt Rosenberg several times, as I have been by various other radio and television hosts, and I find him absolutely the best. Unlike others he has not just read the book in question he has studied and understood it. At the same time he is able to make the conversation the opposite of studious that is, lively and interesting to the 'general listener.' " Allen's comments are reflected in the fact that for the past five years Talkers magazine has included Milt in their "Heavy Hundred" list of the top radio personalities in the country, citing him as the "Nation's leading author interviewer."

However, visits with leading authors are not the only, or even the main, fare on Extension 720. Calling upon journalists, academics, corporate types and just about any and every profession, Extension 720 provides highly varied nightly shows. Some of the programs heard during 2004 were:

Is War Dead?, The Iran Enigma, Crazy Horse and the Wars of the Plains, The Rise and Fall of Communism, The Changing Face of Chicago, The Films of Francis Ford Coppola, Stem Cell Research, A Night at the Opera, Bush's War Cabinet, Shakespeare's Tragedies, The Undergraduate Life, Avoiding Con Artists, Nanotechnology, The Language of the Presidency, Great Gospel Music, Contemporary Russia and The Origin and Descent of Man.

Outside of WGN Radio 720 studios, in what he calls "real life," Milt is a professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago, where he has served as the director of the doctoral program in Social and Organizational Psychology. Prior to coming to Chicago, he taught at Yale, Ohio State University and Dartmouth College. For a brief period he served on the staff of the Naval War College and he has lectured at various other universities both in the United States and abroad. His degrees are from Brooklyn College (B.A.), University of Wisconsin (M.A.), and University of Michigan (Ph.D.).

A prolific author of numerous articles, both in professional journals and political magazines, he has also authored or co-authored a number of books. Among these are: Attitude Organization and Change; Theories of Cognitive Consistency; Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy; Beyond Conflict and Containment: Critical Studies of Military and Foreign Policy; and Vietnam and the Silent Majority.

Listeners from thirty-eight states, and increasingly from around the world via the Internet, tune in every night to hear Milt.

Robert Parker, author of the Spenser novels and generally seen as the leading purveyor of "tough guy" detective fiction, sums it up nicely: "I have done 16 book tours in the U.S. and England (and one in Japan) since 1978. In that time I have talked with everyone who won't run away, about my books and about books in general, and Milton Rosenberg remains the exemplar of the species. He brings to the interview a genuine curiosity and seems to know quite a good deal about almost everything, and is thus able to place the book under discussion in broad context. At the same time, he has a grasp of the work under discussion so that he can illuminate it for the listener, (and occasionally for the author, though I am not pleased to admit that). He listens to an author, allowing ideas to flow where they will, producing a conversation rather than an interview, resulting in a satisfying evening for both author and audience. He is an engaging personality in his own right, and it would be a pleasure to listen to him without a guest, though I have always resented that his voice is deeper than mine. In a profession where one is thrilled to learn that a host's producer has read the flap copy, Milt Rosenberg is a salient triumph."

 

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