Diane Rehm, a constant in D.C.'s public radio scene since the 1970s, received a National Humanities Medal at the White House Monday.
Rehm has hosted "The Diane Rehm Show" on WAMU (88.5 FM) since 1984 -- and, according to her show's site, nearly 2.6 million listeners nationwide tune in to her show each week.
"The first day I was on the job as a volunteer, I came home and my husband said, 'Someday you're going to be host of this program.' I said, 'You gotta be kidding!' ... one never imagines this kind of extraordinary honor. How could one?" Rehm said. "I go to work every day anticipating each interview, what's going to come of it ... I don't think about what could happen for me and this is just extraordinary."
The show incorporates listeners' questions via social media, which four years ago, led to a "Short Award" for Rehm and her producers.
Rehm's family attended Monday's ceremony, but her husband died just a month ago.
"The award came two days after his memorial service. Sometimes when sad things happen, good things happen as well," Rehm said.
Rehm was born and raised in D.C. and takes great pride in the development she's seen.
"I've seen it go from a small town of streetcars to buses to subways and now back to streetcars. What I'm most sad about is totaly dysfunction on Capitol Hill," Rahm said.