Both Tippett and Buzenberg believed that public radio was the ideal medium for such an innovation, and that Minnesota—with an unusually strong civic culture, the largest regional public radio network in the country, and a history of innovating exceptional national programming — was an ideal center and planting ground for this project. In early 1999, Tippett hosted two shows on Minnesota Public Radio, which met with a strong listener response. In June 2000, after further research and preparation, two Peabody-award-winning producers and public radio veterans — Marge Ostroushko and Brian Newhouse — were recruited to produce a full-scale national-quality pilot series. In four programs centered around holidays in the fall of 2000, with the working title A Common Place, Minnesota Public Radio introduced "wise voices in conversation around the spiritual geography of common human themes": work, discovery, war, and childhood. The programs creatively tapped Minnesota Public Radio's high standard of intellectual inquiry and radio's distinctive capacity to evoke faith's defining contexts of story, symbol, music, and sound. The listener response was overwhelming.
Listeners expressed gratitude for Minnesota Public Radio's courage in taking on this subject and presenting it in a fresh, intelligent, and constructive way. There were an unusual number of requests for tapes of the program, both for personal and professional use. In September and October of 2001, the Speaking of Faith team created an award-winning, three-part series — "Where was God?," "The Spirit of Islam," and "Justice and a Just War" — and launched a monthly broadcast series with the title First Person: Speaking of Faith. In July 2003, Speaking of Faith was officially launched as a national, weekly public radio program, carried on a growing number of public radio stations across the country. Read more on Last.fm.
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