Entertainment

WLRN’s ‘Topical Currents’ to flow in new direction with new name and host

WLRN news anchor Luis Hernandez, at the station’s satellite studio inside news partner the Miami Herald’s building in Doral on Aug. 15, 2017. Hernandez will host a new program when “Topical Currents” exits the air with host Joseph Cooper’s retirement on Sept. 28.
WLRN news anchor Luis Hernandez, at the station’s satellite studio inside news partner the Miami Herald’s building in Doral on Aug. 15, 2017. Hernandez will host a new program when “Topical Currents” exits the air with host Joseph Cooper’s retirement on Sept. 28. hcohen@MiamiHerald.com

WLRN’s popular afternoon program “Topical Currents” has been a voice of the South Florida community since its debut in Jan. 1999 with host Joseph Cooper.

“Its goal is to make our listeners have a sense of community,” Cooper told news partner the Miami Herald in 2000. “The thing that's going to brand us and give us relevance is local programming.”

That focus won’t change with Cooper’s retirement on Sept. 28. But when Cooper goes, so goes the “Topical Currents” brand name. The as-yet untitled new program will retain elements of “Topical Currents” and feature news and information of interest to South Florida audiences, along with discussions of the arts, culture, sports, food and dining.

John Labonia, WLRN’s general manager, hopes the new program, which will include listener participation, broadens “our sense of place storytelling and journalism between and among South Floridians.”

WLRN’s new program debuts at 1 p.m. on Oct. 2, and will air Monday through Thursday. Luis Hernandez, WLRN’s current news anchor, will host.

“For me, it’s a dream because it’s what I’ve wanted for most of my career,” Hernandez said from the WLRN satellite studio inside the Herald’s Doral building. “I love doing talk shows more than anything else because I love having conversations with people.”

WLRN Cooper(2)
Joseph Cooper from WLRN, host of “Topical Currents,” in 2003. Tim Chapman Miami Herald File

As for the program’s new name post-Cooper, “We are tossing around names and hope to have one really soon so we can start promoting it but the brainstorming sessions have begun and it’s really interesting the things that have popped up,” Hernandez said.

“Luis is a top-notch journalist and skilled interviewer. Our new program with Luis will explore issues — big and small — that are meaningful to South Florida. It will connect the community with local and regional news and personalities beyond mere soundbites, providing deeper understanding and substance that our audience has come to expect from WLRN,” said Tom Hudson, WLRN’s vice president of news.

Current afternoon news anchor/reporter Christine DiMattei will take over Hernandez’s morning shift some time in September.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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