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

Esmeralda Santiago, a founding mother of Nuyorican literature, was part of the University at Albany’s: The Creative Life: Conversation Series in the Fall of last year.

The eldest in a family of 11 children, Santiago came to the States from Puerto Rico at the age of 13. After eight years of part-time study in community colleges, she transferred to Harvard where she graduated magna cum laude. Santiago’s bestselling 1993 memoir, "When I Was Puerto Rican," was named one of the “Best Memoirs of a Generation” by Oprah’s Book Club. Her second memoir, "Almost a Woman" was adapted for Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. Her epic 2011 novel, "Conquistadora," set in 19th century Puerto Rico, was hailed as a “triumph” in The Washington Post.

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

This conversation was recorded on November 8th, 2018 at the University at Albany Campus Center Ballroom.

Veera Hiranandani earned her MFA in creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the author of "The Whole Story of Half a Girl," which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist. A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, she now teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College's Writing Institute and Writopia Lab.

In her new book "The Night Diary," it's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home.

Thumbnail images of artwork by Jean Shin
http://www.jeanshin.com/

Jean Shin, sculptor and public installation artist, was part of the University at Albany’s: The Creative Life: Conversation Series in the Fall of last year.

Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object (prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters) which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Her work has been widely exhibited in over 150 major museums and cultural institutions.

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

This conversation was recorded on November 1, 2018 at the University at Albany Performing Arts Center.

Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, have collaborated on the book "Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life."

Their daily experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue taught them valuable lessons about how to work productively with people from different walks of life and points of view. These Washington insiders share what they’ve learned through first person examples of their own glamorous (and sometimes harrowing) moments with celebrities, foreign leaders and that most unpredictable of animals - the American politician.

Psychologist Thomas Harbin specializes in the treatment of male rage. In his book, "Beyond Anger" Harbin explains specific symptoms of chronic anger and the negative effects on family, friends and coworkers.

Harbin helps men overcome violent feelings with exercises that create new habits, preventing anger before it starts. In the book women also learn skills for dealing with the angry men in their lives.    

Madeleine Kunin is the former three-term governor of Vermont, who served as the deputy secretary of education and ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton.

In her new book, “Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties,” the topic is aging but she looks well beyond the physical tolls and explores the emotional ones as well.

Bibbe Hansen, pop cultural icon, performance artist, musician, and actress known for her work with Andy Warhol was part of the University at Albany’s: The Creative Life: Conversation Series with me in the Fall of last year.

Born to the bohemian poet Audrey Ostin Hansen and Fluxus artist Al Hansen in 1952, she was introduced to Andy Warhol in 1964 when her father took her to the popular bohemian artist hangout, Stark’s coffee shop, in New York City.

She became the youngest of the Warhol Superstars at just 12-years old starring in his films Prison and Restaurant. She also sat for two Screen Tests for Warhol the following year.

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

This conversation was recorded on September 5, 2018 at the University Art Museum on UAlbany’s Uptown campus. This semester’s Creative Life events will feature author Susan Orlean on March 1 and comedian and actor Paul Reiser on April 4.

The Berkshires’ Jewish Festival of Books -- held at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire -- and The Berkshire Jewish Film Festival of Knesset Israel are collaborating on an Egg Cream Eggstravaganza on Saturday, February 16 at 7 p.m. at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

The evening will begin with a screening of the short film “Egg Cream” by Nora Claire Miller, Peter Miller and Amy Linton. Following the film, author Barry Joseph will give the audience a taste via video of his book “Seltzertopia: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary Drink.” Then, audience members will be invited to share their own egg cream reminiscences and enjoy real siphon bottle seltzer, milk, and Fox’s U-Bet egg creams.

We were joined by Berkshire Jewish Film Festival Executive Director, Judy Seaman; Co-Chair of the Berkshires’ Jewish Festival of Books Avi Dresner; and “Egg Cream” co-director Peter Miller.

In late summer 1940, as war spread across Europe and as the nation pulled itself out of the Great Depression, an anti-communist hysteria convulsed New York City. Targeting the city’s municipal colleges and public schools, the New York state legislature’s Rapp-Coudert investigation dragged hundreds of suspects before public and private tribunals to root out a perceived communist conspiracy to hijack the city’s teachers unions, subvert public education, and indoctrinate the nation’s youth.

Drawing on the vast archive of Rapp-Coudert records, Union College History Professor Andrew Feffer looks to provide the first full history of this witch-hunt, which lasted from August 1940 to March 1942.

He does so in the new book: "Bad Faith: Teachers, Liberalism, and the Origins of McCarthyism." Andrew Feffer is Professor of History and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Film Studies at Union College.

2/15/19 Panel

Feb 15, 2019

 

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, Siena College economic professor Aaron Pacitti, and James Ketterer, Dean of International Studies at Bard College and academic director of the Bard Globalization and International Affairs program.

John Leland is a reporter at The New York Times, where he wrote a yearlong series that became the basis for the book "Happiness Is a Choice You Make," and the author of two previous books, "Hip: The History" and "Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of “On the Road” (They’re Not What You Think)." Before joining the Times, he was a senior editor at Newsweek, editor in chief of Details, a reporter at Newsday, and a writer and editor at Spin magazine.

In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of the deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. But the elders he met took him in an entirely different direction.

Despite disparate backgrounds and circumstances, they each lived with a surprising lightness and contentment. The reality Leland encountered upended contemporary notions of aging, revealing the late stages of life as unexpectedly rich and the elderly as incomparably wise.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in forty-nine languages and fifty-one territories. Her thrillers are award-winning and have been adapted for television. Her poetry has been studied across the UK and has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Award.

"How to Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment ― The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life" is her first nonfiction book.

Secretly, we all hold grudges, but most of us probably think we shouldn’t, and many of us deny that we do. To bear a grudge is too negative, right? Shouldn’t we just forgive and move on? Wrong, says self-appointed grudge guru Sophie Hannah, in her groundbreaking and irreverent self-help guide. Yes, it’s essential to think positively if we want to live happy lives, but even more crucial is how we get to the positive. Denying our negative emotions and experiences is likely to lead only to more pain, conflict, and stress. What if our grudges are good for us?

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: "Cold War," "Serenity"

Upcoming:

  • "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" (Park Playhouse production) - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Thursday-Friday at 7 PM, Saturday at 2 & 7 PM; Sunday at 2 PM
  • Valentine’s Day with David Wax Museum (David Wax & Suze Slezak) - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Thursday 2/14, 7 PM
  • "The Princess Bride" - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday 2/14, 7 PM
  • The Deplorables Tour - The Egg, Albany, Friday 2/15, 7:30 PM
  • Banda Magna - GE Theatre at Proctors, Schenectady, Friday 2/15, 7:30 PM
  • Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Saturday 2/16, 9 PM
  • Mutts Gone Nuts - The Egg, Albany, Sunday 2/17, 1 PM
  • Doric Quartet (music of Haydn, Bartok, Mendelssohn) - Union College Concert Series, Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, Sunday 2/17, 3 PM
  • Steve Martin and Martin Short - Proctors, Mainstage, Schenectady, Sunday 2/17, 8 PM
  • Family Fun Day: "Frozen" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Wednesday 2/20, doors open at noon; movie at 1 PM

New movies: "Capernaum," "Alita: Battle Angel"

2/14/19 Panel

Feb 14, 2019

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Former Albany Common Council President Helen Desfosses, VP of Editorial Development for the New York Press Association Judy Patrick, and Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences at RPI Jim Hendler.

Vanessa Hua is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of a short story collection, "Deceit and Other Possibilities." For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and fiction, about Asia and the Asian diaspora.

In her new novel, "A River of Stars," Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung -- holed up with other mothers-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles. Now she’s carrying Boss Yeung's baby. Already married with three daughters, Boss Yeung is overjoyed because the doctors have confirmed that he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his child has every advantage, Boss Yeung has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince.

As Scarlett awaits the baby’s arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend.

Then a new sonogram of Scarlett’s baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a van - only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. The two flee to San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn’t know is that her baby’s father is not far behind her.

Clarence Taylor is Professor Emeritus of History at Baruch College, CUNY, and author of "The Black Churches of Brooklyn," "Knocking at Our Own Door: Milton Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools," "Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century," and "Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights and the New York City Teachers Union."

His new book, "Fight the Power: African Americans and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City," he examines the explosive history of police brutality in New York City and the black community’s long struggle to resist it. Taylor brings this story to life by exploring the institutions and the people that waged campaigns to end the mistreatment of people of color at the hands of the police, including the black church, the black press, black communists and civil rights activists.

Ranging from the 1940s to the mayoralty of Bill de Blasio, Taylor describes the significant strides made in curbing police power in New York City, describing the grassroots street campaigns as well as the accomplishments achieved in the political arena and in the city’s courtrooms.

2/13/19 Panel

Feb 13, 2019

  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, SUNY New Paltz Communications Professor, Terry Gipson, and communications consultant, Joe Bonilla.

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? It is the question at the center of Chloe Benjamin’s new novel, “The Immortalists.”

Four siblings find out and keep the dates secret from one another, but their prophecies inform their next five decades.

George Saunders is the author of eight books, including the story collections “Pastoralia” and “Tenth of December,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” was released last year and won the Man Book Prize.

The book visits the cemetery where President Abraham and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s son, Willie, has just been entombed. The other characters are the less-recently dead who encourage the boy to cross over. “Lincoln in the Bardo” is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. 

Author, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin has a new book out today and will be in our region later this month for a pair of events to discuss her latest work, "Leadership: In Turbulent Times."

The book chronicles the journeys of four of our nation’s presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. Through those histories, Goodwin explores questions of natural leadership ability versus developed ability; the relationship between ambition and adversity on leader ship growth; and how leaders both perceive themselves and are perceived by others.

2/12/19 Panel

Feb 12, 2019

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Vice President for Editorial Development at New York Press Association Judy Patrick, Former Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, and The Empire Report’s J.P. Miller.

At nineteen, Brian Scudamore pioneered the industry of professional junk removal with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. He then scaled that success into three more home-service brands, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, You Move Me, and Shack Shine.

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster of trial and error, laughter and tears, confusion and triumph. In WTF?! (Willing to Fail), serial entrepreneur Brian Scudamore takes you on an adventure that will convince you once and for all that you have exactly what it takes to succeed.

We’re all aware that innovations like smartphones and social media can have a negative impact on our lives, but the thought of quitting these technologies can scare us into believing we’ll be left disconnected and left behind.

According to Georgetown Computer Science Professor Cal Newport, the solution isn’t relying on tips and hacks to use technology less, and it isn’t an outright rejection either -- it’s a clear, simple philosophy for our technology use.

In his new book, "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World," Newport suggests focusing your online time on a small number of carefully selected activities that strongly support things you value, allowing you to happily miss out on everything else.

2/8/19 Panel

Feb 8, 2019

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, Judith Enck, Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor at Bennington College, Founder of Beyond Plastics, and former EPA regional administrator, and we welcome back Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois.

Bias against women at work, bias against people of color in the criminal justice system, bias against the LGBT community at the marriage license desk, the news story about the many ways bias, unconscious or otherwise rears its head in American society keep piling up. It is easy to see the latest headlines shake our heads and feel like there is nothing we can do about it.

Enter NYU professor and social psychologist Dolly Chugh, who's new book "The Person You Mean To Be: How Good People Fight Bias" offers a message for anyone who wants to help build a more equal and just society for everyone, but does not know where to start. Dr. Dolly Chugh is a Harvard educated, award-winning social psychologist at the NYU Stern School Of Business. She Joins us Today.

In 1982, the Ramones were in a gutter-bound spiral following a run of inconsistent albums and deep in the throes of internal tensions the legendary quartet was about to crash and burn.

Enter Richie Ramone. Then a 26-year-old from New Jersey named Richard Reinhardt he's snapped up by the group to be their new drummer and instantly goes from the obscurity of the underground club scene to membership in the most famous punk-rock band of all time revitalizing the pioneering outfit with his powerful precise and blindingly fast beats ä composing classic cuts like the menacing anthem "Somebody Put Something in My Drink" and becoming the only Ramones percussionist to sing lead vocals for the group. With the Ramones he performs over five hundred shows at venues all around the world and records three storming studio albums before abruptly quitting the band and going deep underground. To most fans this crucial figure in the band's history has remained a mystery his tale untold -- until now.

"I Know Better Now: My Life Before During and After the Ramones" is the firsthand four-on-the-floor account of a life in rock 'n' roll and in one of its most influential acts ä straight from the sticks of the man who kept the beat.

The book is authored by Richie with Peter Aaron who is Arts editor at Chronogram.

2/7/19 Panel

Feb 7, 2019

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Vice President for Editorial Development at New York Press Association Judy Patrick, Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web and Cognitive Sciences at RPI Jim Hendler, and Chairman of Capital District Latinos Dan Irizarry.

Ian S. Port is an award-winning writer and music critic whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Village Voice, The Threepenny Review, and The Believer, among others. He is also the former music editor of the San Francisco Weekly.

In his first book, "The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll," is a riveting saga in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: the decades-long rivalry between the two men who innovated the electric guitar’s amplified sound—Leo Fender and Les Paul—and their intense competition to convince rock stars like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton to play the instruments they built.

Matthew Murphy

Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to Broadway with a new heart-stirring hit, "School of Rock."

Based on the hit film, this hilarious new musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. While teaching these pint-sized prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, helping her rediscover the wild child within.

Merritt David Janes plays Dewey in the National Touring Company of "School of Rock" now at Proctors in Schenectady, New York through Sunday. Merritt is a UMaine and Circle in the Square graduate. He was in the original cast of "School of Rock" and has a new album of his own music, "Waiting in the Wings."

Behind bars, Chris Wilson embarked on a remarkable journey of self-improvement; reading, working out, learning languages, even starting a business. At the age of twenty, he wrote a list of things he intended to accomplish or acquire; he called it his Master Plan.

He revised it regularly and followed it religiously. And, by his thirties, Chris Wilson did the impossible: he convinced a judge to reduce his sentence. He came out, six years later, determined to teach others the selflessness, work ethic, and professional skills that led to his second chance.

Wilson's memoir is "The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose."

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