She’s the host of one of the most popular shows on public radio, attracting more than 2 million listeners each week, and her whole career started because she was willing to work for free.
Diane Rehm started as a volunteer producer in 1973 at Washington’s WAMU-FM. Now, more than 30 years later, she’s still at the same station, in the same town — only now she’s heard by millions of listeners across the world.
Her show has set the gold standard for civic, civil discourse, and along the way, she has continued to break new ground. In 2000, Diane interviewed President Bill Clinton, becoming the first radio reporter to interview a sitting president in the Oval Office.
She says the key to her success and longevity is loving every minute of what she does.
“Utter determination is the one thing and the only thing that will keep you going in the face of not knowing what the next day is going to bring,” Diane says.
That determination has motivated her to wake up every morning, sometimes as early as 3:30 a.m., for the past three decades, and it helped her keep going after a neurological disorder threatened her career.
In 1998, Diane was diagnosed with spasmotic dyphonia, which causes strained speech. It could have ended her career, but Diane knew she wanted to keep doing the job she loved.
Despite a significant change to her well-known and loved voice, she kept going and now receives Botox injections to her vocal chords every 4 months.
The 74-year-old says nothing in the world seems more fun than the job she does every day, so she has no plans of slowing down.
She shares the highlights of her career and reveals how she became an unlikely radio star.