Joe Donahue | WAMC

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

Best-selling author Russell Shorto never thought to write about his own past. He grew up knowing his grandfather and namesake was a small-town mob boss but maintained an unspoken family vow of silence. Then an elderly relative prodded: "You’re a writer―what are you gonna do about the story?" The result is "Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob."

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck.

He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.” But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.

Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later. The Babysitter reveals the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.

Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan are now telling the story in the new book, "The Babysitter."

Book covers for the books listed below on this page
provided - assorted publishers

  Sharon Wienberg and Thomas Chulak from Chatham Bookstore in Chatham, New York join us with this week's Book Picks.

List:
Nicky & Vera by Peter Sis
Kate's Light by Elizabeth Spires, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

3/2/21 RT Panel

15 hours ago
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

  

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist and UAlbany adjunct professor Rosemary Armao, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Strategy and Policy at Bard College Malia Du Mont, and former Associate Editor of The Times Union Mike Spain.

Book cover for "Hot Seat"
Avid Reader Press / Avid Reader Press

In September 2001, Jeff Immelt replaced the most famous CEO in history, Jack Welch, at the helm of General Electric. Less than a week into his tenure, the 9/11 terrorist attacks shook the nation, and the company, to its core. GE was connected to nearly every part of the tragedy-GE-financed planes powered by GE-manufactured engines had just destroyed real estate that was insured by GE-issued policies. Facing an unprecedented situation, Immelt knew his response would set the tone for businesses everywhere that looked to GE-one of America's biggest and most-heralded corporations-for direction.

Over the next sixteen years, Immelt would lead GE through many more dire moments, from the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis to the 2011 meltdown of Fukushima's nuclear reactors, which were designed by GE. 

In "Hot Seat," Immelt offers a rigorous, candid interrogation of himself and his tenure, detailing for the first time his proudest moments and his biggest mistakes.

Book cover "The Kaiser's Web"
Minotaur Books / Minotaur Books

“The Kaiser’s Web” is a new thriller by international and New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry. Berry will appear virtually at the University Club of Albany on March 3rd as part of his national book tour.

Steve is one of our most popular and successful thriller writers with over 20 million books in print in over 50 countries around the world. History, especially little-known history, is at the heart of his novels.

3/1/21 RT Panel

Mar 1, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, UAlbany Lecturer in Africana Studies Jennifer Burns, and political consultant and lobbyist Libby Post, and  and Albany Law School professor and Director of the Immigration Law Clinic Sarah Rogerson.

Book cover for "Ticking Clock" by Ira Rosen
St. Martin's Press

Two-time Peabody Award-winning writer and producer Ira Rosen reveals the intimate, untold stories of his decades at America’s most iconic news show - 60 Minutes in his new book "Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60-Minutes."

Based on decades of access and experience, Ira Rosen takes readers behind closed doors to offer an incisive look at the show that invented TV investigative journalism.

2/26/21 RT Panel

Feb 26, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

     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, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, President of Beyond Plastics Judith Enck, Vice President for Editorial Development at the New York Press Association Judy Patrick, and Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

Book cover for "The Magical Reality of Nadia"
Scholastic Inc.

  Comedian Bassem Youssef and author Catherine R. Daly have co-authored "The Magical Reality of Nadia," a a humorous and heartfelt story about prejudice, friendship, empathy, and courage.

Bassem Youssef, a.k.a. the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was a heart surgeon in his home country of Egypt before becoming the host of "AlBernameg," the first political satire show in the Middle East. He has appeared on "The Daily Show," "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and other late-night shows, and was also featured in TIME 100, Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Book cover for "The Spymaster of Baghdad"
Day Street Books

The new book, “The Spymaster of Baghdad,” is an account of wartime espionage. It’s a true story of an elite, top-secret team of unlikely spies who came together against all odds to defeat ISIS by award-winning investigative journalist and former NYT Baghdad bureau chief, Margaret Coker.

The books tells the story of ordinary citizens who make extraordinary sacrifices. “The Spymaster of Baghdad” challenges our perceptions of terrorism and counterterrorism; Iraq and the wider Middle East; American occupation and foreign intervention.

2/25/21 RT Panel

Feb 25, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Strategy and Policy at Bard College Malia Du Mont, Siena College Professor of Comparative Politics Vera Eccarius-Kelly, and Publisher Emeritus of The Daily Freeman Ira Fusfeld.

Book cover for "The Ravine"
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In 2009 Wendy Lower, the acclaimed author of "Hitler’s Furies" was shown a photograph just brought to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The documentation of the Holocaust is vast, but there are virtually no images of a Jewish family at the actual moment of murder, in this case by German officials and Ukrainian collaborators. A Ukrainian shooter’s rifle is inches from a woman's head, obscured in a cloud of smoke. She is bending forward, holding the hand of a barefooted little boy.

And—only one of the shocking revelations of Wendy Lower’s brilliant ten-year investigation of this image—the shins of another child, slipping from the woman’s lap.

The name of the book is "The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed."

Book cover for "Ground Zero"
Scholastic Inc.

Any American adult can tell you where they were on 9/11. However, a new generation of Americans don’t have that memory. To them, the horrific events of that day are simply history.

In time for the twentieth anniversary, YA novelist Alan Gratz delivers a take on history and hope, revenge and fear – and the stunning links between the past and present. His new book is "Ground Zero."

Alan Gratz is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including "Allies," "Grenade," "Projekt 1065," "Prisoner B-3087," and "Code of Honor."

Americans care about their health. Americans pay lots of money in hopes of maintaining their health. So why are Americans so unhealthy?

The reason is simple: as a country, the United States overinvests in medical care at the expense of the social, economic, and cultural forces that produce health.

The authors are Michael Stein, Professor and Chair of Health Law, Policy and Management of the School of Public Health at Boston University and Sandro Galea, Robert A. Knox Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health at Boston University.

Michael Stein joined us.

2/24/21 RT Panel

Feb 24, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist and UAlbany adjunct professor Rosemary Armao, Time Union Columnist Chris Churchill, and Lecturer and Adjunct Professor in Communications for SUNY New Paltz and RPI Terry Gipson.

Book cover (paperback) for The Four Winds
St. Martin's Press

Kristin Hannah is the number-one bestselling author of "The Nightingale" and "The Great Alone." 

Her latest, "The Four Winds," is an American epic about love and heroism and hope set during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

Douglas Melini, The Forms of Thought, 2010, acrylic on canvas with painted wood frame, 67 1/2 x 45 1/2 inches, Tang Teaching Museum collection, gift of Eileen and Michael Cohen, 2018.37.9
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY is now showing an exhibition called "Energy in All Directions."

The exhibition brings rarely seen artworks and new acquisitions from the Tang collection together in dialogue with objects from the Shaker Museum’s extensive holdings to celebrate the life and legacy of artist and gallerist Hudson (1950–2014). Hudson and the Shakers valued acceptance, equality, and artistry, and both built new communities that shared common themes of inclusion, interconnectedness, and innovation. They were both radicals in their time.

The exhibition also includes a poetry and music commissioning project created in partnership with Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the Academy of American Poets.

On Friday (Feb 26), the Tang’s Dunkerley Dialogue series will feature poet Nickole Brown and artist Cary Smith in an online conversation with Shaker Museum Director Lacy Schutz and Jeff Bailey.

With us today to tell us all about the exhibition and Friday’s event are Ian Berry, the Dayton Director of the Tang, and Lacy Schutz, the Director of the Shaker Museum.

      This week's Book Picks come from Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta, NY 

List:
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Actress by Anne Enright
Fevers, Feuds, and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History by Paul Farmer
The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness by Ritchie Robertson

Mark Doty is the author of more than 10 volumes of poetry and three memoirs, including "Heaven's Coast," "Firebird," and the New York Times best selling "Dog Years," as well as a book about craft and criticism, "The Art of Description: World into Word."

His latest is "What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life."

2/23/21 RT Panel

Feb 23, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, investigative journalist and UAlbany Adjunct Professor Rosemary Armao, The Empire Report’s J.P. Miller, and former Associate Editor of The Times Union Mike Spain.

Book cover for "Think Again"
Viking

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in our rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people's minds--and our own. As Wharton's top-rated professor and the bestselling author of "Originals" and "Give and Take," he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he's right but listen like he's wrong.

His new book is "Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know."

Book cover art for "Raceless" by Georgia Lawton
Harper Collins

From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton comes "Raceless," a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black.

In the aftermath of her father’s death and propelled to action by her grief, Georgina decided to unravel the truth about her parentage and the racial identity her family had long denied her. She left England and the strained dynamics of her home life to live in black communities around the world. It was in these countries that Georgina was able to explore her identity and learn what it meant to navigate the world as a black woman.

Book cover for "The Girl from the Channel Islands"
Harper Collins

Inspired by true events, "The Girl from the Channel Islands" by Jenny Lecoat tells the riveting story of a young Jewish woman trapped on the occupied island of Jersey during World War II.

In June 1940, the Channel Islands are occupied by Hitler’s forces. Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish woman who fled from Vienna to escape the Anschluss. She finds herself once more trapped by the Nazis, on the tiny island of Jersey. Concealing her racial status, Hedy finds work with the German authorities as a translator and embarks on acts of resistance.

2/22/21 RT Panel

Feb 22, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, immigration attorney and Partner with the Albany law firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, Cianna Freeman-Tolbert, counter-terrorism expert and best-selling author, Malcolm Nance, and  political consultant and lobbyist Libby Post.

In his long career as an acclaimed journalist covering the “hot” moments of the Cold War and its aftermath, bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan often found himself crossing paths with Bob Gersony, a consultant for the U.S. State Department whose quiet dedication and consequential work made a deep impression on Kaplan.

Gersony, a high school dropout later awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, conducted on-the-ground research for the U.S. government in virtually every war and natural-disaster zone in the world. Gersony’s behind-the scenes fact-finding, which included interviews with hundreds of refugees and displaced persons from each war zone and natural-disaster area, often challenged the assumptions and received wisdom of the powers that be, on both the left and the right. In nearly every case, his advice and recommendations made American policy at once smarter and more humane.

Book cover for "American Kompromat"
Penguin/Random House

Craig Unger is the author of seven books, including the New York Times bestsellers "American Kompromat," "House of Bush," "House of Saud," and "House of Trump, House of Putin." For fifteen years he was a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, where he covered national security, the Middle East, and other political issues. A frequent analyst on MSNBC and other broadcast outlets, he was a longtime staffer at New York Magazine, has served as editor-in-chief of Boston magazine, and has contributed to Esquire, The New Yorker, and many other publications. He also appears frequently as analyst on MSNBC, CNN, and other broadcast outlets.

"American Kompromat: How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery" tells a story about the dirty secrets of the most powerful people in the world including former U.S. President Donald Trump.

2/19/21 RT Panel

Feb 19, 2021
Microphone in radio studio
WAMC / WAMC

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State Heather Briccetti, Former EPA Regional Administrator, Visiting Professor at Bennington College, President of Beyond Plastics Judith Enck, and Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

The new book "400 Souls" is a unique one volume community history of African Americans. The editors Ibram X. Kendi and Keyshia Blaine have assembled 90 brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five year period of that 400 year span.

The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives. Through the eyes of towering historical icons are the untold stories of ordinary people through places laws and objects.

Book cover for "The Good Hand"
Penguin/Random House

  Like thousands of restless men left unmoored in the wake of the 2008 economic crash, Michael Patrick Smith arrived in the fracking boomtown of Williston, North Dakota five years later homeless, unemployed, and desperate for a job. Renting a mattress on a dirty flophouse floor, he slept boot to beard with migrant men who came from all across America and as far away as Jamaica, Africa and the Philippines. They ate together, drank together, argued like crows and searched for jobs they couldn’t get back home. Smith’s goal was to find the hardest work he could do – to find out if he could do it.

His book this time in his life is "The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown."

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