Dan Rather and Robin Rather in Lively, Far-Ranging Interview

Sunday, 25 May 2014 13:09 By Thorne Dreyer, The Rag Blog | Video Interview
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Video captures the legendary newsman and the pioneering Austin environmentalist in their first father-daughter interview.

Alan Pogue and Mike Hanks have just posted this excellent video filmed during my Rag Radio interview with legendary newsman Dan Rather and Austin environmental activist Robin Rather. The show — their first-ever father-daughter interview — is one of my all-time favorites from the six-year history of Rag Radio.

The incisive, far-ranging, and frequently very funny session was originally broadcast on September 27, 2013, on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Texas. The video was shot by internationally-known documentary photographer Alan Pogue, who was staff photographer for the original Rag, Austin’s pioneering underground newspaper, and was edited by award-winning filmmaker and writer William Michael Hanks. The video can also be found on YouTube.

Here’s what we wrote after the show’s original airing:

Texas-born newsman and former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who was recently honored with the prestigious Trustees Award of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and his daughter, Robin Rather, an Austin-based environmental activist and sustainability advocate who chaired the city’s historic Save Our Springs Alliance, join us in a lively discussion, spiced with amusing anecdotes and personal reflections.

Dan talks about his early career in Houston, including his stint as a play-by-play announcer for the minor league Houston Buffs (in road games they “recreated” the on-field action in the studio by reading from a telegraph ticker tape) and his dramatic and innovative coverage of Hurricane Carla in Galveston in 1961 that led to his hiring by CBS News.

He also discusses his controversial exit from CBS; his blogging about Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series, The Newsroom; and his take on larger contemporary issues including the increasing corporatization and concentration of ownership in the news business and what he considers to be an endemic lack of courage in today’s news reporting.

Robin talks about growing up as the daughter of a famous reporter and media star; about her seminal work in the movement to protect and sustain Austin’s unique environment; and about the daunting challenges — especially to the region’s fragile ecosystem — caused by the city’s current unprecedented growth spurt. And they each reflect on the other’s accomplishments and their close relationship over the decades.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Thorne Dreyer

Thorne Dreyer, a pioneering '60s underground journalist, edits The Rag Blog, hosts Rag Radio, and is a director of the New Journalism Project. Dreyer was an editor of The Rag in Austin and Space City! in Houston, was on the editorial collective of Liberation News Service (LNS) in New York, was general manager of Pacifica's KPFT-FM in Houston and was a correspondent for Texas Monthly magazine. Dreyer can be contacted at

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