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

Lucas Willard

On Monday, a Warren County, New York jury found Alexander West guilty of eight charges including manslaughter, boating while drunk and leaving the scene of a boat crash that killed an 8-year-old California girl last summer. Prosecutors said West was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when his boat hit the vessel carrying Charlotte McCue and her family on Lake George. The Daily Gazette’s Ned Campbell has been covering the trial over the past three weeks. He spoke with WAMC’s Ian Pickus.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back in all their imperfect glory.

BJ Leiderman
Mark Edward Atkinson

We’re about to talk to a person whose work is heard multiple times a day on WAMC — but rarely his voice. Until now. BJ Leiderman, the composer behind several public radio theme songs including those for Morning Edition, Marketplace, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, is out with his first album, called BJ. The album is both funny and serious, cheeky and earnest. And it even features Bela Fleck on banjo.

Fifty years after its release, The Graduate still looms large in American culture. With the film back in theaters, WAMC’s Ian Pickus has this appreciation.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch spots for their "best" quiz yet.

Jonathan Demme
Woodstock Film Festival

The Oscar-winning film director Jonathan Demme has died at age 73. Known for films like The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married and several music documentaries and videos, Demme was honored at the Woodstock Film Festival in 2012. Meira Blaustein is executive director of the festival.

Brian Bell and The Relationship
Renee Corey

Brian Bell has been part of some of the most defining rock music of the past 25 years as a guitarist, songwriter and singer in Weezer. This spring, Bell’s side project The Relationship is releasing a new album, Clara Obscura, which once again demonstrates Bell’s propensity for catchy pop-rock and guitar work. Albany music fans had a chance to see the band live last September at Larkfest. Bell will be back in our region with Weezer at Boston Calling on May 28.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back, and that's no hoax.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys has been traveling the world giving audiences a chance to bid farewell to his most celebrated achievement: the 1966 album Pet Sounds. Ranked by Rolling Stone as the second-greatest album of all time, Wilson’s masterpiece helped lift a surf rock vocal group to auteur status in the rock world. Brian Wilson’s tour with fellow founding Beach Boy member Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin, and his terrific band will be at the Palace in Albany on April 26 at 8 p.m. and at the Hanover in Worcester on April 30.

With major renovations to the downtown Times Union Center nearly complete, the city of Albany secured a long-awaited booking on Tuesday. The NCAA announced that the Division I men’s basketball tournament will return to the county-owned arena in three years for the first time since 2003.  Albany’s first- and second-round games are slated for March 19 and 21st, 2020.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back for their weekly trip to trivia land.

Mary Gauthier
Jack Spencer

It’s always a treat to catch up with musician Mary Gauthier, beloved by fans of country, folk and Americana music alike for her honest and poignant music and lyrics. Gauthier did a lot of hard living before embarking on a music career relatively late in life. She will be back in our region for a string of dates this spring.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel welcome a "third" to the studio.

A headshot of actor Jim True-Frost
Selected Shorts

Just about the only good thing to result from that February snowstorm that postponed the Selected Shorts taping at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall is that it gives us a chance to catch up with Jim True-Frost here in April. Jim True-Frost will be among the actors at Sunday’s rescheduled show at 3 p.m. in Troy. WAMC is cosponsoring the show.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Ian Pickus | WAMC

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor capped a two-day visit to the Capital Region with a speech at the University at Albany Tuesday night.

With the Senate getting closer to a vote on nominee Neil Gorsuch, Justice Sotomayor was careful to avoid politics in her speech to students, faculty, staff and the general public.

The album cover for Open Road
Open Road

Family has been a key component in Dave Davies' career. A founding member of the The Kinks and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Davies and his brother Ray created some of rock’s most influential music despite  — or perhaps because of — their decades-long tempestuous relationship. Now, after recovering from a stroke that forced him to relearn to play guitar, Dave Davies has a new album — this time with his son, electronic musician Russ Davies. Open Road is a nine-track album made up of a variety of sounds, including rock, pop, and electronica.

This is one of the stadiums in this week's quiz.
Ian Pickus

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about baseball stadiums.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel crack open the almanac.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are celebrating St. Patrick's Day on the show.

Tickling Giants
Tickling Giants

Many Americans, if they’ve heard of the Egyptian Dr. Bassem Youssef, first learned about him on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show a few years ago. Youssef left his gig as a heart surgeon to launch a comedy show that soon got caught up in the turmoil and authoritarianism of the Middle East during the Arab Spring and its aftermath. That’s the subject of Daily Show senior producer Sara Taksler’s documentary Tickling Giants. The film is screening on Tuesday in cities across the U.S., including at The Spectrum in Albany at 7 p.m., as part of what Taksler is calling “Meet A Muslim at the Movies.”

"Coach Mac" celebrates winning the America East title.
America East Conference

The University at Albany women’s basketball team just won a record sixth-straight America East conference championship. But now, the biggest challenge of all awaits the Great Danes in the NCAA Tournament. UAlbany is heading to Storrs, Connecticut to face UConn in the first round on Saturday at 11 a.m. UConn has won 107 games and four national championships in a row. The woman in charge of figuring out a way to knock the Huskies off is first-year UAlbany coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “Coach Mac” tells WAMC’s Ian Pickus that she was stunned to be matched up with UConn.

Andrew Catalon

For people who wait all year for the NCAA Tournament, which kicks off this week, nothing beats the first four days, when 64 teams are in action across the U.S. It’s a basketball buffet for fans. For broadcasters, it’s a balancing act — and some really long days. Once again working the action for CBS Sports will be Andrew Catalon, who has also called NFL games, college football, golf, the Olympics, and more. Catalon is also familiar to listeners in our area from his television stints in Burlington and Albany.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The biggest city in the Berkshires is among the municipalities in the Northeast digging out from a blizzard today. Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer tells WAMC's Ian Pickus that city offices closed at noon and a snow emergency, which includes a parking ban except for North Street, is in effect until Wednesday at 7 a.m.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back for the show of the century. Maybe.

UMass logo
wikipedia commons

The University of Massachusetts says a national search for a new men’s basketball coach is already under way.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for the first show of March.

Miles Joris-Peyrafitte in WAMC's studio March 3, 2017.
Ian Pickus

I’ve been following the story of the independent film As You Are for many months now, and now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I’m thrilled to have the chance to ask its director and co-screenwriter about it. The film is based in and around the Capital Region, with references to Washington Park and another local radio station. But it’s not merely a fun game of Albany geography. With a backdrop of violence, it’s a serious, sober coming of age story about two emotional teens, their friends and their volatile families.

Leonard Cutler
Siena College

In his first major address since being inaugurated last month, President Trump will speak to a joint session of Congress tonight. The Republican is expected to detail his legislative priorities for the coming year. The speech comes at a time of flux in Washington as the upstart White House shakes up the federal government. Dr. Leonard Cutler, an expert on presidential power and intelligence-gathering, is chair of the political science department at Siena College.

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are back with a miraculous show.

Rep. Neal visits the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Friday.
Office of Rep. Neal

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal was part of a delegation that visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday. The ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee says he is doubtful about the border wall President Trump has proposed — raising concerns about both the cost and effectiveness of a wall along the 1,900-mile border.