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As the percentage of the nation's population living in rural areas shrinks, programs that serve those areas -- from post offices to airports -- are being reevaluated. (iStockphoto.com)

August 11th: What's On Today's Show

Aug 11, 2011

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Deficit Decisions
As the volatility of the markets continues, people worry about what to do next. Making that financial decision — such as buying a car, buying a home, or funding a college education — can be tough. In turn, the uncertainty of the markets can affect how the manufacturing, housing, and technology sectors, for example, will change in the coming months. Neal Conan talks with Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, Josh Smith of National Journal, and NPR's Chris Arnold about how certain industries are changed by Wall Street and the decisions people make during a deficit.

Doc Martin
Actor Martin Clunes is well known in his native U.K. He's played an undertaker, a rough-and-tumble lout, and a man mired in a mid-life crisis. But American audiences know him best for his starring role in the British comedy series, Doc Martin. A brilliant London surgeon who develops a fear of blood, the misanthropic Dr. Martin Ellingham takes up a general practice in a village in Cornwall. Unfortunately, his general distaste for people doesn't endear him much to the chatty locals. Host Neal Conan talks with Clunes about the series and the experience of playing such a cantankerous character.

Rural America
Rural America now accounts for 16 percent of the country's population, the lowest percentage ever according to the 2010 census numbers. As rural America changes, programs that serve those areas are being reevaluated. The U.S Postal Service released a list last month of 3,700 postal facilities with low sales and few customers, that could be closed as early as next January, and the Federal Aviation Administration may cut air service subsidies that keep commercial aviation service in rural areas. Host Neal Conan talks with people in rural areas about isolation, culture, and what's changing where they live.

Grand Teton Tragedy
Just over a year ago, 17 climbers — most with mountaineering experience — set out to summit the nearly 14,000 foot Grand Teton in Wyoming. A physically demanding summit, climbers can reach the peak and descend in less than a day. This day in particular, though, a lightning storm wreaked havoc on the climbing parties. Brad Weiners recounts the deadly attempted ascent in "Countdown to Tragedy" in Sports Illustrated. He profiles members of the climbing parties, and the rangers who set out to save them in what proved to be one of the most daring rescues in Teton history. Climber Betsy Smith, who lost a finger when lightning exited her body, will also join Weiners.

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