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

Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2006, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown has sat on the Senate floor at a mahogany desk with a proud history. In "Desk 88," he tells the story of eight of the Senators who were there before him.

Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide.

In her latest work, "The Fountains of Silence," Sepetys shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in a novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

New York Times columnist Gail Collins has written a new book on a subject that is timelier than ever: women and aging in America. Author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers “When Everything Changed” and “America’s Women,” Collins was the first woman to serve as the editorial page editor on the New York Times.

Her new book is “No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History.”

Caroll Spinney and Big Bird, early 1970s
Robert Fuhring / https://www.sesameworkshop.org/


  Caroll Spinney, puppeteer, cartoonist, author and speaker most famous for playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on “Sesame Street” from its inception in 1969 until 2018, died on Sunday, December 8, 2019 at the age of 85.

 

In 2016, Joe Donahue spoke with the legendary Muppeteer in advance of a screening of the documentary about Spinney’s career entitled “I am Big Bird.” We share portions of that interview today, in memoriam.

Olive Kitteridge, the funny, wicked, remorseful and gruff woman who was the propelling force in Elizabeth Strout’s book of short stories “Olive Kitteridge” – which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction – is back in Strout’s new collection, “Olive, Again.”

This episode was recorded at an event presented by Oblong Books and Music.

Over the past five decades, John Mauceri has conducted symphonies, operas, ballets, musicals, and film music around the world, and served as music director of four opera companies and three orchestras, as well as hosted television and radio programs. He has more than seventy albums to his name, and is the recipient of a Grammy, a Tony, a Billboard, two Diapasons d'or, three Emmys, and four Deutschen Schallplattenkritik awards. He is the author of "Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting," and has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, and The Huffington Post, among other publications.

His new book is "For the Love of Music: A Conductor's Guide to the Art of Listening."

Nolan Gasser is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, and musicologist. Most notably, he is the architect of Pandora Radio’s Music Genome Project and the chief musicologist from its founding in 2000. Dr. Gasser lectures widely on the nature of musical taste and the intersections of music, science, and culture. He received his Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford.

His new book is "Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste."

Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson, who wrote the best-selling “Liberation” trilogy about the American effort in Europe during the Second World War, has now written the first book in a new trilogy to tell the story of the war that made America.

It’s called “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777.”

Peter Pomerantsev is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics, an author and TV producer. He studies propaganda and media development, and has testified on the challenges of information war to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the UK Parliament Defense Select Committee.

In his new book, "This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality," he writes from the front lines of the disinformation age, where he meets Twitter revolutionaries and pop-up populists, “behavioral change” salesmen, Jihadi fanboys, Identitarians, truth cops, and many others. Forty years after his dissident parents were pursued by the KGB, Pomerantsev finds the Kremlin re-emerging as a great propaganda power.

Sean Penn won Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performances in “Mystic River” and “Milk.” He is also a novelist. His debut novel was “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff” and he’s followed it up with the sequel “Bob Honey Sings Jimmy Crack Corn,” where he follows the exploits of Bob Honey, a septic tank entrepreneur turned international mallet-wielding assassin.

Legendary rapper Rakim visits the Albany Public Library Howe Branch and the University at Albany as part of the Creative Life series, on Monday, October 28, 2019.
Patrick Dodson

William Michael Griffin Jr., better known by his stage name Rakim, is “near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs – perhaps the greatest – of all time within the hip-hop community” He began his career as the emcee of the rap duo Eric B. & Rakim.

Where many MCs of the time developed their technique through improvisational battles, Rakim was among the first to demonstrate the possibilities of sitting down and writing intricately crafted lyrics packed with clever word choices and metaphors.

His new book: "Sweat The Technique: Revelations On Creativity From The Lyrical Genius" follows his career from his beginnings as a teenage rapper on Long Island and offers insight into how he thinks about words, music, writing and rhyming as it teaches writers of all levels how to hone their craft.

Joe Donahue spoke with Rakim on stage on October 28th as part of UAlbany’s Creative Life series. The Creative Life is created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC.

High wire artist Philippe Petit visits the University at Albany as part of The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany on Thursday, October 3, 2019.
Patrick Dodson

Philippe Petit has performed on the high wire more than 80 times around the world; he is also a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, lecturer, writer and subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary "Man on Wire."

Petit’s first “coup” was walking between the towers of Notre Dame in Paris in 1971. He followed with a walk between the pylons of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, setting the stage for “the artistic crime of the century,” his Twin Towers walk a quarter of a mile above the sidewalks of New York in 1974.

We spoke with Petit on stage on October 3 as part of UAlbany’s Creative Life series. The Creative Life is created and produced by the New York State Writers Institute, University Art Museum, and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Alison Lurie, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, "Foreign Affairs," has published ten books of fiction, four works of non-fiction, and three collections of tales for children.

"Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers" gathers together her reflections on the writing life; fond recollections of inspiring friends; and perceptive, playful commentary on preoccupations ranging from children’s literature to fashion and feminism. Citing her husband’s comment to her that “Nobody asked you to write a novel,” Lurie goes on to eloquently explain why there was never another choice for her.

Alice Hoffman’s latest book is a bittersweet parable about the costs of survival and the behaviors that define humanity. “The World That We Knew” is set in Berlin in 1941. It follows the lives of three women who become intertwined in order to survive the dangers of the Nazi regime.

This is an Off The Shelf edition of The Book Show, recorded in Saratoga Springs in an event presented by Northshire Bookstore.

MacArthur Genius and Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal, among others.

Desmond will be at UAlbany’s Page Hall on Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. for an event sponsored by the Changing the Conversation Committee, a partnership of CatholicCharities, Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, Unity House, and the New York State Writers Institute.

Craig Ferguson’s "Hobo Fabulous" is six half hour episodes which are an amalgam of stand up special and rock tour documentary filmed during his recent 50-date tour of the USA and Canada.

Craig Ferguson is an actor, writer and comedian, who as the host of CBS' "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" set all-time viewer records during his ten-year run as host, which earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination and the 2009 Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting for his interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ferguson was also the host of the syndicated game show, "Celebrity Name Game," in which he was awarded the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host two years in a row. Ferguson is also an acclaimed standup comedian.

"Hobo Fabulous" is available on Comedy Dynamics.

Caroline Bowman as Elsa and Caroline Innerbickler as Anna in the National Tour of "Frozen"
Matt Murphy / Murphy Made

For the last several weeks, crews have been busy at Proctors in Schenectady working on the national broadway tour of the Disney and Broadway hit, “Frozen.”

“Frozen” begins two weeks of performances at Proctors on Sunday, November 10 and runs there through November 24.

Based on the animated film of the same name, “Frozen” has been melting hearts on Broadway in an all-new production created for the stage which features songs from the original film plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers. The music and lyrics are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the book is by Jennifer Lee. The show is directed by Michael Grandage with choreography by Rob Ashford.

Caroline Innerbichler plays Anna and F. Michael Haynie plays Olaf.

Chris Colfer is renowned for his Golden Globe-winning performance as Kurt Hummel on Fox's Glee, where he helped bring the story and struggles of a gay teen to an international audience.

The 29-year-old actor-turned-writer is also taking the literary world by storm. Colfer has written an impressive 15 novels, most notably his "The Land of Stories" children's fantasy series. His latest book, "A Tale of Magic," starts a new series filled with adventure, imagination, and memorable characters both familiar and new.

The Green Bay Packers the only fan-owned team in any of North America’s major pro sports leagues and Green Bay is the smallest city with a big-time franchise.

The Packers are, in other words, unlikely candidates to be pro football's preeminent team. And yet nobody in the NFL has won more championships.

March Beech's new book "The People's Team: An Illustrated History of the Green Bay Packers" commemorates the team's 100 year anniversary.

Beech spent eighteen years at Sports Illustrated before becoming a senior editor at the Players’ Tribune in 2016. A West Point graduate, he was introduced to the special relationship between the Packers and their fans after moving to Milwaukee in the mid-1980s.

In the new book, "The Plot to Betray America," Malcolm Nance, New York Times bestselling author and intelligence expert, reveals how President Trump and his inner circle conspired, coordinated, communicated, and eventually strategized to commit what Nance calls the greatest act of treachery in the history of the United States: compromising the presidential oath of office in exchange for power and personal enrichment.

Today's Roundtable Panel features Malcolm Nance in conversation with Alan Chartock and Joe Donahue in a live event at The Linda with an audience of WAMC members.

Nance will be at Helsinki Hudson in Hudson, New York on Sunday, November 10. Proceeds from that event will benefit Warrior's Haven

Berkshire based songwriter and performer Wes Buckley will mark the release of his new album, “Dancing the Bliss,” at The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on Friday, November 8. The concert will feature special guest Erin Durant.

“Dancing the Bliss” is a full length album recorded at The Stationery Factory's Honor Roll Sessions and produced by Johnny Irion. Recorded to a Studer tape machine, the album contains a collection of songs that are snapshots of several different relationships between two people. Mother and daughter, two lovers, two friends, radio and listener, two dancers, two adolescents, and more.

Wallace Norman is directing the Performing Arts of Woodstock production of Will Eno’s "The Realistic Joneses." The play takes place in the rural Southwest.

Shortly after one couple moves into town, they meet their neighbors who share the same last name. As their lives intertwine they learn that they share much more as the two couples struggle to survive in their imperfect worlds.

The show will runs at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center in Woodstock, New York from November 15 through December 1.

Shawn Stone joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: "Where's My Roy Cohn?"

Upcoming:

  • "Jezebel" - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday 11/7, 7 PM
  • Parsons Dance - (6 works: Round My World, Hand Dance, Microburst, Nascimento, Caught, Eight Women) - The Egg, Albany, Friday 11/8, 8 PM
  • Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys - Helsinki Hudson, Friday 11/8, 9 PM
  • "A Night at the Opera," plus Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges shorts - Capitol Theatre, Rome, Saturday 11/9, 2:30 & 7 PM
  • On a Winter’s Night with Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Larkin, Cliff Eberhardt - The Eighth Step at Proctors, GE Theatre, Schenectady, Saturday 11/9, 7:30 PM
  • Dallas Brass - Massry Center for the Arts, College of Saint Rose, Albany, Saturday 11/9, 8 PM
  • Marcelle Davies-Lashley: Liberian Girl in Brooklyn - MASS MoCA, Club B10, North Adams, Mass., Saturday 11/9, 8 PM
  • Russian Ballet Theatre: Swan Lake - Palace Theatre, Albany, Tuesday 11/12, 7 PM
  • Patty Griffin w/s/g Rose Cousins - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Tuesday 11/12, 7:30 PM
  • Art & Politics Film Series: "The Gleaners and I" - Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Wednesday 11/13, 6 PM

New movies: "Midway," "Last Christmas," "Doctor Sleep," "Playing With Fire," "Pain & Glory"

11/7/19 Panel

Nov 7, 2019

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist Rosemary Armao, Siena College Professor of Comparative Politics Vera Eccarius-Kelly, and founding editor and executive director of Investigative Post, James Heaney.

Heaney is the recipient of this year's Nellie Bly Award for Investigative Reporting from the The Museum of Political Corruption.

Seth Abramson is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism, legal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is the author of eleven books and editor of five anthologies.

Abramson's latest book is "Proof of Conspiracy: How Trump's International Collusion Is Threatening American Democracy." It is published by St. Martin's Press.

"Wholly Unraveled" is Keele Burgin’s memoir of self-discovery and finding her voice.

Burgin was raised in a Catholic cult, under the unforgiving eye of her abusive father. She watched her mother disappear before her eyes. Once on her own in the world, Burgin found herself in a damaging spiral of self-destruction. Then, she spent a year in almost complete silence at a remote community in rural Canada. She is now a successful entrepreneur, activist, author, and filmmaker.

11/6/19 Panel

Nov 6, 2019

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist Rosemary Armao, Times Union Columnist Chris Churchill, SUNY New Paltz Communications Professor and former NYS Senator Terry Gipson, and corporate attorney, Rich Honen.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in her new biography, “Janis: Her Life and Music,” Holly George-Warren provides a deep portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering.

When Lawrence Jackson took the job as White House photographer in early 2009, he knew he’d have a front row seat to history. What he didn’t expect was the deep personal connection he would feel, as a fellow African American, with the President Barack Obama.

Lawrence was the only African-American photographer in the Obama White House, which gave him a unique perspective on the first African-American President. In his new book, "Yes We Did: Photos and Behind-the-Scenes Stories Celebrating Our First African American President," Lawrence’s photos and reflections give us a front row seat to this historic administration.

  This week's Book Picks come to us from Sadie Trombetta of Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

List:
"The Starless Sea" by Erin Morgenstern
"Frankisstein" by Jeanette Winterson
"The Dreamers" by Karen Walker Thompson
"In the Dream House" by Carmen Marie Machado
"Curry & Kimchi: Flavor Secrets for Creating 70 Asian-Inspired Recipes at Home" by Unmi Abkin and Roger Taylor
"The Witches Are Coming" by Lindy West

Pages