Brian Shields

Senior News Anchor

WAMC Senior News Anchor Brian Shields retired in December 2019 after a 30-year career in the WAMC Newsroom.

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WAMC will be losing a key member of its staff at the end of the year. Senior News Anchor Brian Shields is about to wrap up a 30-year career in the newsroom. The voice of Midday Magazine and Northeast Report, Shields is retiring at the end of December, leaving a big hole on our staff and for our listeners.

By Oakknollschool - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A new study by the University at Albany, the National Institutes of Health and New York University’s Langone Medical Center found young children ages 12 months to three years are spending a lot time in front of television and computer screens. 

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden in his City Hall office, January 18, 2016.
WAMC's Dave Lucas

The Troy City Council Tuesday night approved an almost $75 million budget for 2020, and for the average homeowner, it will cost about $78 more in taxes and a solid waste collection fee. 

A state of the workforce report was recently issued by the Albany-based New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals, laying out a path to a sustainable pipeline to fill payrolls with higher paying, more promising employment. 


A second vaping-related death has been reported in New York. The state health department reports the man was in his 30s, lived in Manhattan and had a history of vaping. 

Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove
Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove

New York Attorney General Letitia James says a court ruling reinstating a criminal case against former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove is a big win that will ensure that justice is served and that no person, including elected officials, is above the law. 

University at Albany

A three-day conference is underway at the University at Albany on how higher education can help in the preparation, response and recovery from events caused by climate change and extreme weather. RISE 2019, organized by the State and City Universities of New York, includes 90 institutions of higher education along with community leaders and government officials. 

Albany Empire logo
Facebook: Albany Empire

It appears the Albany Empire Arena Football League team is headed for sudden death. Just a few months after winning the AFL title before more than 12,000 fans at the Times Union Center in Albany in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN, the Albany Empire has closed its local business operations. 

The White House, Washington D.C.

If there is an impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, there will be a lot of unknowns as the process moves forward. That’s according to Michael Zeldin, a former senior Justice Department official and assistant attorney general who has provided legal analysis on television for 23 years. 

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Seventeen percent of all the tax revenue collected by New York state comes from one place; Wall Street, so state officials keep a close eye on the securities industries, especially with a new state budget season just around the corner. State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat, has released his annual report on how Wall Street is doing. 

The White House, Washington D.C.

A new poll shows growing support for the impeachment inquiry underway in Washington, but support for the actual impeachment of the president is not quite as strong. 

Jack Cloonan
provided photo

Jack Cloonan spent 27 years with the FBI working on cases involving organized crime, counter terrorism and foreign counter-intelligence and tonight he will give a speech at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York entitled “The Holy Trinity: Al Qaeda’s Cooperating Witnesses.”

Jasmine Gripper
Alliance For Quality Education

One of New York’s more influential education groups will be under new leadership in January. Jasmine Gripper, currently the legislative director of the Alliance for Quality Education, will become the organization’s executive director in January, taking over for Billy Easton who is stepping down after 14 years. 

The White House, Washington D.C.

A graduate of Albany Law School is representing one of the whistleblowers that has led to a House impeachment inquiry of the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. Mark Zaid is a 1992 graduate of Albany Law and recently served on the school’s board of trustees. 

Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning
Watervliet Mayor Mike Manning

Three years ago the City of Watervliet in Albany County was on a list that no locality in New York wants to make – the fiscal stress ratings issued by the Office of the State Comptroller. In 2016, Watervliet was rated at the highest level of fiscal stress. It has since moved down a notch to susceptible to fiscal stress and city officials hope it will soon drop even more. 

Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Karen DeWitt

Corruption scandals have reached the top of New York state government in recent years, but there is one organization that wants to make sure the public knows that most government employees are dedicated, hardworking and honest. The State Academy for Public Administration will give its Rockefeller Award for distinguished public service to Democratic State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Wednesday evening in Albany. 

An upstate New York man who served in Vietnam, has been elected the new commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

The leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, has withdrawn the extradition bill with China that sparked the protest movement, but that will not end the demonstrations according to a college professor from our region who just returned from a trip to Hong Kong. 

This is a picture of a teacher's classroom desk
Adobe Stock

As students return to classes, some new safety measures are in place in schools across New York. Tim Kremer, the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields about a new “red flag law” and more.

School bus
Pat Bradley/WAMC

As the new school years begins, a new law in New York allows school buses to be equipped with cameras to provide evidence when a driver breaks the law by passing a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off students and has its lights flashing. David Christopher, the executive director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, says under the law that takes effect September 5, municipalities are responsible for the cost of the program. 

Public Domain

Research conducted at Cornell University found that children who grow up in disadvantaged neighborhoods are one-third more likely to be obese as adults. 

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The football season at Rensselaer High School has been called off, and the problem is not funding for the sports budget, but a lack of players. Despite recruitment efforts, the team could not field enough players to compete this year. 

Facebook: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washing chicken or poultry before cooking could do more harm than good according to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Chicken thighs were spiked with a non-toxic substance used as a substitute for bacteria, and people were observed as they washed chicken in a kitchen. 

Wikimedia Commons, fair use

Experts from a number of areas are meeting today and tomorrow at the Albany Capital Center to consider how to make schools safe places to learn and how to prevent another Columbine, Parkland or Sandy Hook. The workshop is being held by the university at Albany’s School of Education and College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity of which Robert Griffin is dean. 

USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

If there is one thing many of us take for granted, it’s water. Turn on the faucet and there is it, but Sandra Postel says it is important to protect the cycle of water, something that can be and has been forgotten. 

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

After the votes were counted on Election Day last November, six states, including New York, switched over from a two-party government to the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature under the control of Democrats. What did that change bring about in new legislation? 

Savoy Taproom, Inc.

A meeting is set for Tuesday evening in Albany as business owners, elected officials, mental health experts and service providers will gather to talk about homeless and mentally ill individuals. 

Former Speaker John Boehner
Terra Eclipse [CC BY 2.0 (]

Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and former House Democratic caucus chair Joe Crowley are working together on pension reform, specifically the troubled state of multi-employer pension plans. They have formed the Retirement Security Coalition. Boehner says the group is working on a solution to prevent 10 million Americans from losing the reitrement they have earned.


Under a new law in New York, the age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products is going up. 

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, stands on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module, Eagle, during the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, mission commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera.
Public Domain / NASA

Neil Armstrong’s footsteps on the moon fifty years ago were the first and there are plans underway for others to follow. As the world marks the anniversary, NASA is busy with Artemis, the plan to return to the lunar surface. Kelsey Young, a NASA scientist, says before that happens, the space agency is about to unseal moon rocks brought back by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins half a century ago.