Radio broadcaster Ari Michael Shapiro was born in the United States on September 30, 1978. Shapiro joined a team of four alternating anchors on All Things Considered, the premier drive-time show on National Public Radio, in September 2015.
Before this, he worked for NPR as a White House correspondent and a global correspondent headquartered in London.
Ari Shapiro Husband
One of the network’s most well-known correspondents, 44-year-old Ari Shapiro, co-hosts “All Things Considered,” NPR’s premier nightly program.
When asked what he thinks makes a great story, he replied, “When I’m looking for a great story, I want a point of connection, I want high stakes, and I want a reason somebody should care.”
He continues to report from the field while interviewing newsmakers and shaping coverage. But he was turned down for an NPR internship as a Yale undergrad.
“And I will remind any NPR bosses, anytime, that I was rejected for an NPR internship!” he laughed.
Nevertheless, Nina Totenberg, the renowned legal affairs journalist for NPR, picked her interns and decided to give Shapiro a chance.
She told Braver, “He was always willing. Did I have somebody who could go out to the courthouse with a tape recorder and stand there in the pouring rain? Ari Shapiro was there.”
After interning, Shapiro was able to get some behind-the-scenes gigs at NPR. But on his off-time, he started reporting his own stories.
“I decided to treat NPR as a free graduate school,” he said. “And so, I borrowed some equipment and asked people if they would teach me how to use it.”
Braver asked, “What did you find you liked about the reporting part?” “I’m nosy, you know?”
As he relates in his new memoir, “The Best Strangers in the World,” Nosy used to feel like an outsider, starting with growing up as one of the few Jews in Fargo, North Dakota, where his parents were professors.
“My older brother and I, we would go from classroom to classroom carrying a menorah and a dreidel, and we would talk to these children descended from Scandinavian immigrants about what Hanukkah is and what Judaism is,” Shapiro said.
When he was eight, his family moved to Portland, Oregon, where he gradually came to another realization: coming into the knowledge that he was gay and feeling pretty comfortable about that from the get-go.
“I remember vividly thinking, the sooner I get this over with, the sooner it’ll be a non-issue,” Shapiro said. “So, I told my parents, who took it very well. They said they still loved me. It was a process, but it was a process that we went through together.”
And he claims that experiencing a little outsiderdom sharpened his reporting, whether covering the Justice Department or the White House or spending two years as a foreign reporter in London.
Mike Gottlieb, Shapiro’s undergraduate sweetheart, and he are married. But he admitted that he initially believed he had to get NPR’s OK before they could get married.”Yeah, 2004 was not that long ago,” he said, “but in politics, in a same-s*x marriage, in gay rights, it feels like a lifetime.”
Braver asked, “What do you think changed in terms of being married to another man and being able to go out there and say, ‘This is my husband’?”
“I think the country caught up to where we were,” he replied. “But I also just became more comfortable in my skin. And that’s part of what this book is about,
is my figuring out that the things that differentiate us from one another make us more interesting, more valuable, richer, and that those are things we should celebrate, not paper over?”
Because of this, Shapiro now sings with the Portland band Pink Martini during his holidays. Shapiro had left music behind him despite performing throughout high school and college.
Later he produced a piece for the band. After Shapiro performed at a party a few years later, in 2008, Pink Martini’s leader heard Shapiro sing at a party and invited him to record a song, “But Now I’m Back,” for the band’s album, “Splendor in the Grass”:
Shapiro also points out that despite performing in front of large crowds worldwide, “When you say, ‘Oh, you’re a serious journalist who sings with a band,’ there is a part of me that still cringes a little bit.
And I want to say, ‘Ari, snap out of it! Don’t cringe, be proud! You’re singing at the Hollywood Bowl! You’ve sung at Carnegie Hall!'”
But Shapiro has other side businesses besides Pink Martini. Alan Cumming, a Tony Award winner famed for his work in theater, film, and television, joins him in a cabaret act as well.
When Cumming presented Shapiro with the concept, the two already had a good relationship. “And I stopped and I turned to him and I said, ‘Alan, don’t joke about that, because I will absolutely take you up on it!'”
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Cumming recalled, “The next morning, I sort of call him and say, ‘I still mean it. I still want to do the show with you!'”What about Ari appeals to you personally, Braver questioned Cumming?
“He’s so full of zest for life,” he replied. “He’s just so interested and fascinated about things. And he’s a geek. You know, he’s a big geek.”He’s kind of a cool geek, right?”
“Oh yeah, he’s a cool geek! So, whatever he does will be truly what he wants to do. And I think he’s just finding that out right now.”
At the moment, though, Ari Shapiro claims he only has one objective for all the various facets of his work: “Whether I am singing to a live audience of thousands, or broadcasting on the radio to somebody sitting alone in their driveway, I want to give somebody a reason to keep listening.”
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