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WAVERIDER: Unlike Oprah Winfrey’s and Katie Couric’s much-anticipated prime-time good-byes, longtime “Weekend Edition Sunday” host Liane Hansen’s May 29 send-off was unquestionably quieter. The Kinks’ Ray Davies helped bid her adieu but listeners may soon be hearing Hansen’s familiar voice. Reached Monday in Bethany Beach, Del., where her summer home is now her year-round one, the NPR veteran said she is mapping out a voice-over career. Hansen will Amtrak it to New York later this month for a meeting to see how her vocal chords might be best put to use. Having narrated documentaries for Barbara Ricks and Bob Weinstein, the Peabody Award winner is keen to pursue that route, and commercials are not out of the question either. “It’s nice at the age of 60 to have somebody else looking for jobs for you. Fifteen percent of nothing is still 15 percent, right?” she said with a laugh.
Although “public radio money is not Katie Couric-kind of money,” Hansen said a lifestyle makeover was her incentive not a financial one. “I have been working hard my whole life. I don’t plan to not work,” she said. “...I am no longer bound by the ethics restriction of NPR because I no longer work for them. But I must say this — I don’t see myself doing any political advertisements.”
The NYC jaunt will also give her a chance to check out NPR’s Puzzlemaster Will Shortz’s new Ping-Pong club — the 13,000-square-foot Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, N.Y. Until then, Hansen will do a little community theater or take a few classes to brush up on her tap dancing. “My plan for the summer is to be Gidget. I’m a 5-foot, 9-inch Norwegian Irish, so the bikini won’t work but I’m having a great time out here and there is an ocean to walk,” she said. “...And I don’t think you’ll find Snooki in any of the group houses.”
— ROSEMARY FEITELBERG