During my dance lesson a couple of weeks ago and Tom mentioned that he had recently heard Diane Rehm on the subject of her vocal cord dysfunction, and that it was a type of dysphonia. Ms. Rehm has one of the most compelling interview shows on radio or TV. After many years on radio, she developed a mysterious speech problem. Because of this, she speaks very slowly and distinctly. Her interview style is incisive. She talks with her guest, and also takes questions from callers and deftly guides the conversation. In 2000, she became the first radio interviewer to interview a sitting President in the Oval Office when she talked with Bill Clinton.
In 1998, she was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological condition. Where others might have left radio, she talked about her problem; when she needs to take a hiatus for treatment, the audience knows why there is a guest host.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams also suffers from this condition.
She wrote a book about her battle with spasmodic dysphonia called Finding My Voice, and another with her husband, attorney John Rehm, about marriage: Toward Commitment, in which the candidly dissect their marriage.
In 1998, she was named Washingtonian Magazine's Washingtonian of the Year. In 2006, the same magazine called her one of Washington's "100 Most Powerful Women."
She's a fascinating, powerful woman, but I'm writing about her because if I'm listening to her while I drive, I often find myself sitting in my driveway transfixed, unwilling to turn off my car and go into my house. And when there's a brief break, I turn off the ignition and bolt into the house to turn on the DR Show.
[Source: WAMU 88.5 AM American University Radio]
[Image from USA Today]