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

Former Mayor George Primeau died at 62.
Dave Lucas

The city of Cohoes in Albany County is pausing to remember its former mayor.

Any Questions #256

Jul 25, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try to short-circuit this week's show.

Any Questions #255

Jul 15, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel focus on cable news this week.

Any Questions #254

Jul 8, 2016
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal / Wall Street Journal

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothangel switch seats for a show about the media.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

WAMC's Ian Pickus gets the July music picks from Nippertown's Greg Haymes.

Saint-Gobain's plant in Hoosick Falls, NY
Lucas Willard

One day after the New York state Assembly announced it will hold hearings on water safety, Congress is getting involved in investigating the PFOA crisis in Hoosick Falls. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has written to the EPA and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seeking documents about the water contamination crisis in Rensselaer County.  

Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks.
Tedeschi Trucks Band

It’s hard to believe that Tedeschi Trucks Band has only been around for six years, because they’re the kind of group that sounds permanent. The blues and rock juggernaut released its third album Let Me Get By in January, and it quickly earned popular and critical praise. And if it’s summer, it means Derek Trucks, widely considered one of the greatest guitarists in the world, is on the road. Trucks joined the Allman Brothers Band as a teen and has toured and collaborated with a who’s who of the music industry in the years since.

Any Questions #253

Jul 1, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are too clever by half.

Warren Haynes
Warren Haynes

A gifted, versatile and always busy guitar master is coming back to our region on Friday. Warren Haynes, known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, and The Dead, will be at Tanglewood for the latest stop on his Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration. Joining the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Haynes will be performing the music of Jerry Garcia starting at 8 p.m. Haynes will continue the tour at Bethel Woods in Sullivan County August 6 and returns with Gov’t Mule to Utica August 16.

Everybody Behaves Badly
Everybody Behaves Badly

It’s hard to imagine now, but about 90 years ago, Ernest Hemingway was not yet a modern literary master. In fact, he hadn’t even published his first novel. Living in relatively poverty in what would come to be known as the Lost Generation-era Paris, the young husband and father was on the cusp of greatness — but he needed a story. He found one in the fiesta in Pamplona — one that came as a surprise to his cohorts who later found thinly-veiled fictionalized versions of themselves in the pages of The Sun Also Rises. These events are the subject of Lesley Blume’s compelling new book Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises.

Any Questions #252

Jun 24, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel return with a St. John-themed show.

Rep. Richard Neal
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Global reaction to the results of the Brexit vote has been mixed, with some supporters cheering Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Others who wanted England to remain — including President Obama — are warning of financial turmoil in the wake of the 52-48 vote Thursday. Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, a Democrat from the 1st district, has long worked on foreign relations in the U.K. Congressman Neal discussed the Brexit vote with WAMC’s Ian Pickus on Friday.

House Democrats at a sit-in Wednesday.
Office of Rep. Esty

House Democrats have been holding a sit-in today to try to force Republicans who control the chamber to allow a vote on gun control legislation. Reports say the procedural gambit has only been attempted twice since the 1970s.  Civil Rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis is among the protestors. New York Democrat Paul Tonko of the 20th district discussed the sit-in with WAMC News Wednesday afternoon.

Any Questions #251

Jun 17, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try cool off with a quiz about ice.

Our region gets to bid farewell to one of popular music’s most beloved albums this weekend, at least on the stage. Brian Wilson and his impeccable band are coming to Tanglewood on Sunday afternoon. The tour is billed as a 50th anniversary celebration — and final concert performance in its entirety — of Pet Sounds. There are two fellow Beach Boys on tour with Wilson, including Blondie Chaplin and longtime collaborator and original member Al Jardine.

Paula Poundstone
Paula Poundstone

Road warrior Paula Poundstone is returning to our region, a familiar stomping ground for the comedian who has been a standup stalwart for almost four decades. A regular voice on these airwaves on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Poundstone is performing at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie on June 24. Poundstone also has a new double album coming out this month: North by Northwest: Paula Poundstone Live!.

Chances are if you’re a dedicated WAMC listener, Frank Deford is a part of your morning routine. The legendary sportswriter has delivered more than 1,600 commentaries for Morning Edition over the past 36 years. His wry and incisive observations remain a refreshing antidote in an age of shouty sports talk defined by hot takes.

An Emmy and Peabody winner, Deford has written 18 books and serves as senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, where he first appeared in 1962. He’s also a correspondent for Real Sports on HBO.

This Saturday, Deford will sign copies of his new book I’d Know That Voice Anywhere: My Favorite NPR Commentaries at Sweetpea in Stone Ridge, New York.

John Popper and Blues Traveler
Blues Traveler

From the suburbs of New Jersey to the clubs of New York to the top of the charts, musician John Popper has been pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on his instrument for decades. Best known as the frontman for Blues Traveler, Popper has collaborated with just about everyone in the music world by now. But as he writes in his new memoir, Popper wasn’t always a rock star — he started out as a socially awkward child who never did his homework. And in some ways, his struggles continued into adulthood.

Any Questions #250

Jun 10, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel bring their "A" game.

Any Questions #249

Jun 3, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel look for joy in Mudville.

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The chancellor of New York's public university system says the next school year will be her last at the helm.

Any Questions #248

May 27, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel try not to be a boar.

Chances are, if you live in a certain part of the WAMC listening area, you know our guest. Chances are wherever you live, you know our guest’s work. Elliott Landy has taken some of rock music’s most important photographs: artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison and others. He was the official photographer of the Woodstock festival and spent some important months in close quarters with The Band before he largely left rock photography. The photos from that era had largely gone unseen for decades until Landy Kickstarted his new book, The Band Photographs 1968-1969.

Any Questions #247

May 20, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats so Mike can get the aisle seat.

Small Town Talk
Small Town Talk

In a WAMC listening area defined by several vibrant arts scenes, perhaps none carries as much cachet as Woodstock, NY — so much so that its highlights have attained shorthand around here: Levon’s barn, Big Pink, Dylan’s motorcycle accident, three days of peace and love.

Amy Barasch
Amy Barasch

For women being subjected to domestic violence, getting help doesn’t just mean calling the police. Oftentimes, they can gain protection from civil court proceedings — but many can’t afford a lawyer. An organization called Her Justice works to fill that gap, supplying lawyers to domestic violence victims, who are often poor. Executive Director Amy Barasch (bare-ish), who headed the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence from 2007 to 2012, spoke with WAMC’s Ian Pickus.

Any Questions #246

May 13, 2016

It's a superstitious show for resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel and WAMC's Ian Pickus.

Wavy Gravy Turning 80

May 13, 2016
Wavy Gravy is turning 80. He grew up in the Capital Region.
Wavy Gravy

This Sunday is a landmark birthday for Hugh Romney. Who? You might know him better as Wavy Gravy, the hippie era MC who founded the Hog Farm, Camp Winnirainbow and has been a constant on the jam scene since its earliest days. Now, Wavy Gravy is turning 80. As we discovered in a 2011 Roundtable interview, Wavy Gravy has warm memories of his childhood in East Greenbush.

Another once powerful figure in New York state politics was sentenced to prison yesterday after a corruption conviction. A judge sentenced former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to five years in prison. Skelos will also be forced to pay $800,000 in restitution and fines. With former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver getting 12 years in prison on a corruption conviction earlier this month and former Senator John Sampson to be sentenced next week, good-government advocates say the time for reform is now. Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, spoke with WAMC’s Ian Pickus.

Any Questions #245

May 6, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are off to France for this week's show.