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Joshua Johnson Will Leave WAMU’s “1A” for MSNBC

The popular daytime public radio show will look for a new host

Joshua Johnson. Photograph by Stephen Voss.

Joshua Johnson will leave the WAMU show 1A next month to become an anchor on MSNBC, WAMU announced Tuesday. Todd Zwillich will serve as interim host while the show looks for a new top talker.

Johnson came to WAMU from KQED in San Francisco in 2016 following a nationwide search for a replacement for Diane Rehm.  He told Washingtonian then that his vision for 1A, which debuted not long before Donald Trump‘s inauguration, was for a show that would “go a step beyond being civil and work even more assiduously at being welcoming” to people no matter what their political views.

The Trump interview Johnson said he hoped for never materialized, but the show has proved popular with public radio listeners all over the US, and in 2018 it received a grant to collaborate with local stations across the country on a program called “1A Across America.” Three hundred and sixty-eight stations carry the show, which a WAMU spokesperson says reaches more than 4 million people over the air and on-demand.

In a release, MSNBC says it will release details about Johnson’s new show at a later date.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.