Ian Pickus

News Director

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian has been with WAMC as a producer since late 2008. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard filling in as Morning Edition and Weekend Edition anchor and on The Roundtable, various newscasts, and Any Questions?. An avid fan of sports and music, Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany. He became news director in March 2013.

Ways to Connect

Has the vice presidential nominee ever impacted the election?

Jessica Hill / AP

Registered Republicans and Democrats are choosing their parties' standard-bearers for the November general election.

That includes primaries on Tuesday for candidates in two hotly contested races for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

This marks the second time in two years that Connecticut has had an open seat for the U.S. Senate. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, is retiring at the end of the year. Back in 2010, former Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd did not run.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with musician Ben Taylor, who releases his first new album, “Listening,” in four years this week.

Police officers are being credited with preventing a man from jumping off a bridge over the Hudson River at Albany.

The Albany Police Department says city officers, police from neighboring Rensselaer and state troopers responded to the Dunn Memorial Bridge Sunday afternoon after motorists reported a man standing on the edge of the span's westbound side.

When police arrived, the man was standing behind a chain-link safety fence about 100 feet over the river.

The man made a sudden move to jump, but the officers were able to hold onto his legs and pull him to safety.

Any Questions #50

Aug 10, 2012

Time flies when you're having trivia: WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel mark their 50th show.

Last week's challenge
Start with the name of the explorer LEIF ERICSON. Change one letter to a D, then rearrange the result to spell a two-word phrase (five letters in the first word, six letters in the second) that names a person you might take a road trip with. Who is it?
Answer: If you change an I to a D, you can spell CLOSE FRIEND.

Doug Kerr

The State University of New York at Binghamton's $70 million expansion as part of a new program to bolster the university centers statewide has started.

In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and university officials announced the Smart Energy Center at Binghamton, designed to move the center forward in the growing field and create jobs and spinoff businesses for the Southern Tier.

Other major university centers in Buffalo, Stony Brook and Albany are in line for similar expansions of specialty areas using a pool of mostly existing capital funding and tuition increases.

Dan Nicholas

Attorney General Martha Coakley is seeking a $9.7 million fine against NSTAR after her office found the utility failed to adequately prepare, respond, and communicate during Tropical Storm Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm.

Coakley's office made the recommendation in a brief filed Tuesday with the Department of Public Utilities which has the authority to impose the fine.

Authorities say tests conducted at the site of a fire at a transformer recycling company, and within a 15-mile radius, show no detectable levels of potential carcinogens.

Columbia County officials say the state Department of Environmental Conservation informed them of its PCB test results for TCI of New York, where a large fire erupted Aug. 1. As a result, state health officials say there is no reason to believe there is a threat to public health. State agriculture officials also say there are no concerns about livestock or produce.

Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama is labeling opponent Mitt Romney's tax plan as "Romney Hood," saying it takes from the middle class and gives to the rich.

Speaking last night at a campaign event in Connecticut, Obama said the GOP plan "is like Robin Hood in reverse."

Obama says Romney's tax plan would give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while forcing middle-class families to pay up to $2,000 a year in additional taxes.

Any Questions #49

Aug 3, 2012

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel boldly go where no quiz segments have gone before: to the realm of exploration.

Last week's challenge
Start with the name ANSEL ADAMS. Add a letter, then rearrange the letters to spell the names of three things you might see in a photograph of a beach.
Answer: If you add a P, you can spell PALM, SAND, and SEA.

LACONIA, N.H.—First Lady Michelle Obama will make a series of New Hampshire campaign stops as she rallies support for the President.

Mrs. Obama plans to attend a fundraiser in Holderness early Thursday afternoon and then make public appearances at Laconia Middle School at 3 p.m. and at the field house at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester at 5:15 p.m.  The First Lady's events in Laconia and Manchester are free and open to the public. Tickets are required due to limited space, and will be available to the public on a first come, first serve basis.

Tristan O'Neill, WAMC

A spectacular fire in Columbia County Wednesday night forced the evacuation of residents living near TCI Industries at 39 Falls Industry Park in West Ghent.

Fire broke out at the building around 10:30 p.m. The company dismantles transformers. Thick heavy smoke pouring from the roof was seen by firefighters when they arrived.

Caitlin Childs

 A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled that part of a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and denies federal benefits to married gay couples is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford ruled Tuesday that the provision in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violates the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection.

The ruling came in the case of six married same-sex couples and a widower who sued after being denied federal benefits. The plaintiffs are from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Rob Reid, the founder of Listen.com, which created Rhapsody, and the author of Year Zero, his debut novel.

Ari Bakker

Body piercing just got a bit more prickly in New York.

Under a law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, anyone under 18 years old will have to get written permission from their parents or legal guardians before piercing anything on their bodies.

Cuomo and the Legislature overwhelmingly passed the law in June. They say it will reduce infections and the spread of blood-borne diseases. Cuomo said about 20 percent of piercings result in infection.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with living legend Buddy Guy, one of the blues' most accomplished guitarists and the author of a new memoir called When I Left Home.

Elliot deBruyn / AP

Protests kicked off Sunday ahead of the 36th annual meeting of eastern Canadian premiers and New England governors, even before the official talks got underway. 

A spokeswoman for several protest groups involved in Sunday's demonstrations says police in riot gear used rubber and pepper bullets against protesters blocking buses trying to leave a Burlington hotel that is the sight of the conference. 

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum, the author of a new book on the 1992 USA men's basketball team called Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever.

Any Questions #48

Jul 27, 2012

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel zoom in for a show about famous photos.

Last week's challenge
Think of two words that each name a unit of volume (one has six letters, the other has four). Change one letter to an R, then rearrange the result to name things that have lots of measurements on them. What are the units and what are the things?

Answer: The units are BUSHEL and PINT. If you change the H to an R, you can rearrange the letters to spell BLUEPRINTS.

A New York State Assembly committee hearing is being held to examine Con Edison's service and safety record since a lockout of its 8,500 unionized workers.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Manhattan.

About 5,000 managers have been keeping electricity going for 3.2 million customers in New York City and Westchester County since the workers were locked out June 30 after their contract expired.

Con Edison says it has been responding to emergencies efficiently despite several heat waves.

Neither side has reported any real progress in negotiations.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Judy Patrick, editor of the Daily Gazette, about expansion at Global Foundries and a plea in a controversial case.

WAMC's Ian Pickus gets the morning headlines from Mike Spain, associate editor of the Albany Times Union.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with  Harvey Kubernik, co-author of A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival.

Ferdaus to Plead Guilty

Jul 20, 2012
AP/Attorney General Office

Rezwan Ferdaus is expected to please guilty today in a Boston federal court to attempting to provide material support to terrorists and attempting to damage and story federal buildings by means of explosives. The charges carry a combined sentence of 35 years in prison. Under a plea agreement filed last week, attorneys are requesting a 17 year sentence. 

Ferdaus was arrested in September after federal employees posing as al Qaeda members delivered materials he had allegedly requested including grenades, machine guns, and what he believed was 24 pounds of explosives. 

Any Questions #47

Jul 20, 2012

Resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel spends this week's show seeing how WAMC's Ian Pickus measures up.

Last week's challenge
Start with the phrase BLACK TIE. Rearrange these eight letters to spell two four-letter synonyms. What are they?
Answer: The synonyms are BEAT and LICK.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Morrissey, author of Ozzie’s School of Management: Lessons From the Dugout, The Clubhouse, And the Doghouse.

The bill, approved on a 139-14 vote, would eliminate the opportunity for parole for felons convicted three separate times for violent crimes, ranging from murder, to child rape, to certain types of assault. 

The so-called "three-strikes provision" was championed by the family of a woman who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in 1999 by a man who had 27 prior convictions. 

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with rock writer Glen Boyd, author of Neil Young FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker.


MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A county Republican Party committee chairman apologized Tuesday for a statement he reposted to a party Facebook page that was widely interpreted as a racist attack on President Barack Obama.

Rob Towle, the Rutland County committee chairman, called the statement ‘‘stupid and insensitive.’’ On Monday, he apologized to Democrats he said were offended by the post. A day later, he was directing his apology to everyone.

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with New York Post columnist Kevin Kernan, author of Girardi: Passion in Pinstripes.