It’s a feeling familiar to any fan of public radio—you might know their voices intimately, but when you see a picture of, say, Renée Montagne, Steve Inskeep, Terry Gross, or Ira Glass, you experience a moment of disorientation. “That’s what he looks like?” you might say to yourself. Or, “I always pictured her taller.”
For Ijeoma Ezeonyebuchi, a quality assurance engineer working on the National Public Radio app at the radio producer’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, that happens all the time.
“Before I worked at NPR, I listened to it on the radio,” she says. “But now I’ll be in an elevator and hear someone’s voice and I’m like, ‘Oh, that voice sounds so familiar.’ And it’s Sam Sanders, or Guy Raz. When you hear a voice on the radio, you don’t really imagine a face—they’re just on that pedestal, as ‘the Voice.’ And you might think, ‘Oh, this person is probably very polished and together, they know everything,’ but when you meet in person, they’re like a regular human being, just a really nice person who knows a lot of interesting stuff.”