JSU alum Jonas Adams named director at NPR, credits the power of networking

By: Jackson State University
Published: Aug 22, 2022

Photo Description and Credit: JSU alumnus Jonas Adams was appointed director of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” (Photo special to JSU) Photographer: Anthony Howard

Jackson State University alumnus Jonas Adams was recently appointed director of National Public Radio’s (NPR) flagship show “All Things Considered.” Adams describes the promotion as one of the most rewarding roles he’s had in his career.

“It’s a job I really never saw myself doing. I’ve been in radio for 20 years, so when I got this position, it was a huge sigh of relief,” said Adams. “It was a huge relief to know I finally settled in a position that utilizes all of my skills.”

“All Things Considered” is a weekday show led by five hosts presenting breaking news from throughout the globe and offering a combination of commentaries, analysis, interviews and features. NPR is a non-profit organization with a national reach.

Adams is responsible for making sure that behind-the-scenes production is seamless. “When you tune in, every element of the show you hear is controlled and cued by me,” he explains. “I’m also the person that curates the sound of the show. All music is selected and approved by me. I also pitch and edit news pieces as well.”

When Adams and his family relocated to Washington D.C. from Jackson, Mississippi, he said the relationships he built at JSU played a major role in helping him find opportunities in a new city.

“Everywhere I go, I’m good. I did well up here [D.C.] because of JSU alumni, in particular Robert Carter,” explains Adams, referring to his friend and fellow alum who is a producer for NPR’s popular entertainment concert series “Tiny Desk”

“When I first moved up here, I had nothing as far as employment. My wife had the job. He was one of the first people I called, and he put me in a position where I could get gigs and introduced me to promoters so that I could put some money in my pocket.”

Adams believes building strong networks in college is equally important as earning a degree. Carter commends Adams for his ambition.