Joe Donahue

Senior Director of News and Programming

Joe talks to people on the radio for a living. In addition to countless impressive human "gets" - he has talked to a lot of Muppets. Joe grew up in Philadelphia, has been on the area airwaves for more than 25 years and currently lives in Washington County, NY with his wife, Kelly, and their dog, Brady. And yes, he reads every single book. 

Ways to Connect

With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court has never before been more central in American life. It is the nine justices who too often now decide the controversial issues of our time—from abortion and same-sex marriage, to gun control, campaign finance and voting rights.

The Court is so crucial that many voters in 2016 made their choice based on whom they thought their presidential candidate would name to the Court. Donald Trump picked Neil Gorsuch—the key decision of his new administration. The next justice—replacing Anthony Kennedy—will be even more important, holding the swing vote over so much social policy. Is that really how democracy is supposed to work?

David A. Kaplan is the former legal affairs of Newsweek, where he covered the Court for a decade. His other books include "The Silicon Boys," "The Accidental President," and "Mine’s Bigger." A graduate of Cornell and the New York University School of Law, he teaches courses in journalism and ethics at NYU.

His new book is "The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court's Assault on the Constitution."

According to our next guest, something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Professors say they are walking on eggshells, eliminating controversial material from syllabi.

Students, once the staunchest defenders of free speech, now see words and ideas as sources of danger. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen?

First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff looks at this cultural shift to explain the background behind the crisis in academia, and to offer lucid and reasonable solutions. The new book is "The Coddling Of The American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation For Failure."

Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of "Havana," "Cod," "Salt," "Paper," "The Basque History of the World," "1968," and "The Big Oyster," among other titles. He has received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Bon Appetit's Food Writer of the Year Award, the James Beard Award, and the Glenfiddich Award.

Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid's diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.

Kurlansky will be part of the Food Panel discussion at the Albany Book Festival at the University at Albany on September 29th from 11 a.m. to noon in the Campus Center Ballroom.  

 Jaimie Birge
Facebook: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts has been named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Nation’s Top Ten Public Liberal Arts Colleges for 2019.

As their fall semester gets underway we are joined by MCLA President Dr. James F. Birge to talk about MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education relocating to Pittsfield; the addition of Men’s Lacrosse; a number of exciting programs, lectures, and events; DownStreet Art, and more.

9/12/18 Panel

Sep 12, 2018

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Berkshire Eagle Reporter Jenn Smith, Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Fran Berman, SUNY New Paltz Communications Professor and former NYS Senator Terry Gipson.

In “The Sky Is Falling: How Vampires, Zombies, Androids, and Superheroes Made America Great for Extremism,” cultural journalist Peter Biskind dives headlong into two decades of popular culture, from superhero franchises and series like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” to thrillers like “Homeland” and “24,” and emerges to argue that these shows are saturated with the values that are currently animating our extreme politics.

For over ten thousand years, much of humankind has lived inside walls behind walls behind still more walls. Walls have protected us and divided us, but have they also affected the way we think, work, and create?

David Frye’s new book, Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick is a narrative of invasions, empires, kings, and khans - presenting a new theory: walls haven't just influenced the course of history; they have profoundly shaped the human psyche.

David Frye currently teaches ancient and medieval history at Eastern Connecticut State University. 

This week's Book Picks come from Phil Lewis of The Bennington Bookshop.

“The Overstory” by Richard Powers
“The Only Story” by Julian Barnes
“There There” by Tommy Orange
“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
“Us Against You” by Frederik Bachman

Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney's office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America's foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Her new sleuth, Devlin Quick, takes inspiration from Nancy Drew. The first Devlin Quick Mystery is out now, it's entitled Into the Lion's Den. In the novel, someone has stolen a page from a rare book in the New York Public Library. At least, that’s what Devlin’s friend Liza thinks she’s seen, but she can’t be sure. Any other kid might not see a crime here, but Devlin Quick is courageous and confident, and she knows she has to bring this man to justice—even if it means breathlessly racing around the city to collect evidence.

Linda Fairstein will be at The Albany Book Festival at UAlbany on September 29. At noon, she will be part of a Middle Readers Mystery Panel in the Campus Center Studio West and an Adult Mystery Panel from 1:30 – 2:30 in the Campus Center Ballroom. 

MASS MoCA will present the 8th Annual FreshGrass Festival this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept 14-16.

FreshGrass is a wonderland of traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass, tucked into the 19th-century factory turned 21st-century museum that is MASS MoCA. An opportunity for enthusiasts to both appreciate and participate, FreshGrass is family-friendly and brimming with the brightest talent.

This year’s festival features Flogging Molly, Trampled by Turtles, Indigo Girls, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Yonder Mountain String Band, Bela Fleck, Rhiannon Giddens, and many more artists – along with awards, workshops, tributes, FreshScores, and more!

Sue Killam and Jodi Joseph joins us to tell us more. Sue is the Managing Director for the Performing Arts and Film at MASS MoCA and Jodi is the museum's Director of Communications.

9/11/18 Panel

Sep 11, 2018

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, The Empire Report’s J.P. Miller, and communications consultant Joe Bonilla.

Haystack Book Talks brings writers into conversation on a wide range of topics to celebrate ideas and discourse. Tucked away in the beautiful wooded hills of Northwestern Connecticut, Norfolk provides an intimate setting for the festival. Literary conversations are scheduled for October 13 and 14 in downtown Norfolk, CT.

We are joined by Haystack Book Talks founder Stephen Melville; Eliza Little, a member of the Haystack Book Talks executive committee and a post doctoral fellow at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; and Dawn Whalen, executive director of The Norfolk Foundation.

9/10/18 Panel

Sep 10, 2018

  The Roundtable Panel:a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Albany Law School Professor Sarah Rogerson who directs the Immigration Law Clinic, James Ketterer - dean of international studies at Bard College and academic director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs program, and Executive Editor of The Times-Herald Record Barry Lewis.

Now in its seventh year, Basilica SoundScape is a weekend of music and art, taking place this year from Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 16 at Basilica Hudson in Hudson, New York.

The festival is curated by Brandon Stosuy and Basilica Hudson co-founders Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone. Chicago creative studio Varyer joins the event as co-presenters to provide creative direction. Headed by long-time visual and design director of SoundScape, and former Pitchfork Creative Director Mike Renaud, Varyer creates work inspired by and built around collaboration. SoundScape 2018 also features the talents of two guest collaborators, author Jenn Pelly and head of Sacred Bones Records Caleb Braaten.

Basilica SoundScape will feature a performance by Grouper, a reading by poet Hanif Abdurraqib , an orchestral piece composed by Sunn O)))'s [sun’s] Stephen O'Malley and performed by Bard College's 76-piece orchestra The Orchestra Now; performances by Lightning Bolt , a one-time collaboration between The Haxan Cloak and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, and will feature a multidisciplinary bill of visual artists who will present immersive, large-scale, site-specific installations.

Melissa Auf der Maur joins us.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London.

In her book, "Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain," she explains precisely what is going on in the complex and fascinating brains of teenagers, namely that the brain goes on developing and changing right through adolescence with profound implications for the adults these young people will become.

Sharon Bates’ has a new show at the Opalka Gallery – Exhibit B. Bates repurposes the detritus of material culture to create inventive, site-specific installations, mixed-media assemblages and drawings.

We welcome Sharon Bates and Opalka Gallery Director Judie Gilmore.

UAlbany’s Confucius Institute is a non-profit program of Office of Chinese Language Council International which aims to promote Chinese language and culture. As of December of last year, 525 Confucius Institutes have been established in 138 countries/regions around the world, with 110 in the United States.

The Confucius Institute for China’s Culture and Economy at University at Albany is a collaboration between UAlbany and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Confucius Institute provides support and service in Chinese language instruction and culture programming, promotes China-related research, and facilitates academic exchanges and collaborations between the two institutions and the two countries.

Confucius Institute is hosting a Chinese Cultural festival at UAlbany and around the Capital Region throughout the fall. Youqin Huang is a Professor in Geography and Planning at UAlbany and Executive Director of UAlbany Confucius Institute.

Kristi Coulter inspired and incensed the internet when she wrote about what happened when she stopped drinking. "Nothing Good Can Come from This" is her debut essay collection by a keen-eyed observer no longer numbed into complacency.

When Kristi stopped drinking, she started noticing things. Like when you give up a debilitating habit, it leaves a space, one that can’t easily be filled by mocktails or ice cream or sex or crafting. And when you cancel "Rosé Season" for yourself, you’re left with just Summer, and that’s when you notice that the women around you are tanked, that alcohol is the oil in the motors that keeps them purring when they could be making other kinds of noise.

In the book, Coulter reveals a portrait of a life in transition. Kristi will be part of the Volume Reading Series at Spotty Dog Books and Ale on September 8 at 7 p.m.

9/7/18 Panel

Sep 7, 2018

  The Roundtable Panel:a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Former EPA Regional Administrator and Visiting Professor at Bennington College Judith Enck, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, and counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance.

9/6/18 Panel

Sep 6, 2018

The Roundtable Panel:a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus Ira Fusfeld, Siena College Professor of Comparative Politics, Vera Eccarius-Kelly and Professor of Journalism at the College of St. Rose Cailin Brown.

Today's Roundtable Panel was live from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Featuring discussions on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.

9/5/18 Panel

Sep 5, 2018

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, Political Consultant Libby Post and Berkshire Eagle Reporter Jenn Smith, and Dean of International Studies at Bard College and Academic Director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs program James Ketterer.

Today's Roundtable Panel was live from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to discuss and accommodate NPR's special coverage of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings.

 

In her admired works of fiction, including the recent "The Book That Matters Most," best-selling author Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature.

In her new book, "Morningstar," she reveals the personal story behind beloved novels in her life.

We had to skip Book Picks this week to air special coverage of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. But Suzanna Hermans from Oblong Books and Music sent us her list of great new titles anyway!

List:
"French Exit" by Patrick deWitt
"The Drama Teacher" by Koren Zailckas
"His Favorites" by Kate Walbert
"Lake Success" by Gary Shteyngart (event at Murray's in Tivoli, NY, 9/18, 6pm)
"Sheets" by Brenna Thummler
"Finding Langston" by Lesa Cline-Ransome (event at Rhinebeck store, 9/22, 12pm)
"Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art" by Hudson Talbott (event at Rhinebeck store, 9/12, 6pm)
"A Room Away from the Wolves" by Nova Ren Suma (event at Rhinebeck store, 9/23, 4pm)

9/4/18 Panel

Sep 4, 2018

In the first half-hour of our show, the Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today due to special coverage, it is an abbreviated Roundtable Panel. The panelists: WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, The Empire Report’s JP Miller and Political Consultant Libby Post.


Berkshire Mountain Distillers was established in 2007 and has created a line of award-winning artisanal spirits including Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gins, Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey. All products are handcrafted in small batches in Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the Berkshire’s first legal distillery since prohibition.

BMD is one of the founding members of the craft distiller movement and is embraced by several of the nation’s leading mixologists.

As we head into the holiday weekend and begin to catch a glimpse of summer in the rearview mirror, BMD Founder, Owner and Distiller Chris Weld joins us to talk about Berkshire Mountain Distillers, and fall cocktails and botanicals.

The 12th Annual Washington County Cheese Tour with Wine and Beer is taking place September 8th and 9th.

From freshly made Chèvre to ripened Camembert-style cheeses and aged Cheddar, the annual Washington County Cheese, Wine and Beer Tour will delight palates and enthrall cheese lovers.

Over next weekend, several creative farmstead cheese makers, brewers and vineyards in Washington County will open their farms and businesses to the public.

At each farm, guests will sample specially selected cheeses, wine and beer while experiencing first hand the region’s long-standing cheese making traditions reaching back to the nineteenth century.

We are joined by Angela Miller from Consider Bardwell Farm, Kelley Taylor from R. S. Taylor & Sons Brewing, and Gerry Barnhart from Victory View Vineyard.

Ellis Marsalis
ellismarsalis.com

Internationally acclaimed trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and educator Wynton Marsalis brings the Wynton Marsalis Quintet to the Koussevitzky Music Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts on Saturday, September 1, at 7 p.m., as part of the closing weekend of the 2018 Tanglewood season.

The concert will also include a very special guest performance by the Ellis Marsalis Quintet, featuring the patriarch of the Marsalis family, New Orleans-based modern jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis. As a leading educator at several universities, Ellis Marsalis has influenced the careers of countless musicians, including his four musician sons: Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason.

Ellis Marsalis joins us.

Bookstores and libraries have long played a central role in fostering a deeper appreciation of knowledge, and in lifelong learning. Increasingly, these places are also filling another critical need in our communities, by providing a haven for those seeking a communal connection in an ever-more isolated world.

But, how is this all playing out in our current fractured political climate? We have two guests to discuss this with us this morning. Chris Morrow is owner of Northshire Bookstores in Manchester Center, Vermont and Saratoga Springs, New York and he joins us along with the CEO of the American Booksellers Association – Oren Teicher.

8/31/18 Panel

Aug 31, 2018

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, and Times Union Columnist Chris Churchill.

courtesy of the Billy Name Estate

Bibbe Hansen, pop cultural icon, performance artist, musician, and actress known for her work with Andy Warhol will visit the University at Albany for as part of “The Creative Life: Conversation Series” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5 at the University Art Museum on UAlbany’s Uptown campus.

The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the University Art Museum, New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in conjunction with us here at WAMC and with major support from the University at Albany Foundation.

Bibbe Hansen first achieved prominence as a protégé of American pop artist Andy Warhol. She collaborated on several films with Warhol, including “PRISON,” which she starred in alongside Marie Mencken and Edie Sedgwick. From 1990–1995 she operated Troy Café, which became the center of a multicultural renaissance in downtown Los Angeles and was home to a generation of musicians, comedians, artists, and filmmakers. Today Bibbe creates artwork and is represented by Gracie Mansion Gallery in New York City. She recently completed the first draft of her memoirs, and lectures frequently on art and the creative process.

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