Robin Francis Lustig (born London 30 August 1948) is a British journalist and radio broadcaster, who has presented programs for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.
Lustig was born to Jewish refugees in London’s Stoke Newington neighborhood.
His father, Fritz, was in the intelligence corps and a covert listener to German prisoners of war after fleeing Germany in 1939. During World War II, his mother, Susan Cohn, met his father at Wilton Park, where they were both stationed.
“She did secretarial work,” the older Lustig said in a 2012 interview with The Jewish Chronicle, adding that “women did not listen in – only men did.”
Lustig worked for the London-based news agency Reuters as a foreign correspondent in Madrid after graduating from the University of Sussex with a degree in politics. In this position, he then relocated to Paris and Rome.
He then spent twelve years as Home Affairs Editor, Middle East Correspondent, and Assistant Editor for the British Sunday newspaper The Observer.
He joined the BBC in 1989, hosting Radio 4’s The World Tonight, Newsstand, Stop Press, and File on 4, as well as the BBC World Service’s Newshour. Lustig broadcasted a special news program on the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, on August 31, 1997, just hours after the announcement was given.
He also hosted the global phone-in show Talking Point (later called Have Your Say) from 1998 to 2006, which was broadcast simultaneously on BBC World Service radio, BBC World TV, and online.
Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo, Hugo Chávez, and Tony Blair were among his guests on the show.
He then shifted his focus to The World Tonight and Newshour, while he continued to host special programs on special occasions.
He has broadcast every UK election night program since 1997 for the BBC World Service, as well as presidential election programming in the United States in 2004 and 2008.
He has also reported on elections in Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, and Zimbabwe. In addition to Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kosovo, and Mexico, he has delivered The World Tonight to more than 20 nations.
Looking for Democracy in 2005, Generation Next in 2006, The Future of English in 2018,, and The Future of Free Speech in 2020 were all documentary series Lustig wrote and produced for the BBC World Service.
He played himself in Julian Simpson’s improvised radio play A Time to Dance, which aired on BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Play in October 2011.
Lustig stated in September 2012 that he would be leaving his Radio 4 positions at the end of the year.
Lustig’s final The World Tonight aired on December 13th, while his farewell Newshour aired on December 18th.
Is Anything Happening?
(ISBN 978-1785901034), Lustig’s book about his nearly 40-year career in journalism was released by Biteback in January 2017.