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

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.

Sen. Hugh Farley
Sen. Hugh Farley

New York State Senator Hugh Farley, a Republican who has represented the 49th district for 20 terms, will not seek another term in November. Farley, 83, announced Tuesday morning that he will step aside to spend more time with his family and wife of 57 years. In the current session, Farley is Vice President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the chamber. There are already several candidates running for the seat; Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has also expressed interest in the past. Farley says he expects Tedisco to run. Here is Farley's entire statement:

Rep. Chris Gibson
..:: WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas ::..

New York Congressman Chris Gibson, a Republican from the 19th district who is retiring after this term, his third, announced Monday afternoon he will not run for governor in 2018. Frequently critical of corruption in state government and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in particular, Gibson had expressed interest in the office over the past several months, setting up an exploratory committee. But Gibson says in a statement he will return to academia instead:

Any Questions #244

Apr 29, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats at the wedding reception.

Ernest Hemingway and members of the "Lost Generation"
JFK Museum

The legacies of two of the men who helped define our country in the 20th century are coming together in a major new exhibition. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester, Massachusetts has opened Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars. The exhibition focuses on Hemingway’s years as an expat in Paris. Stacey Bredhoff has been the JFK Presidential Library and Museum curator since 2008.

Any Questions #243

Apr 22, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel hold a "spelling" bee.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement this week that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill brought a sigh of relief on one central New York campus.

Any Questions #242

Apr 15, 2016
Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel celebrate No. 42 with a show about Jackie Robinson.

Sarah McGowan
Sarah McGowan

We’re going to introduce you to someone new: musician Sarah McGowan, whose debut album For Whom They Sing is out now. The 10 songs on this album span earnest folk, cheeky anthems and indie pop, to name a few. McGowan will perform at Parish Public House in Albany on April 16.

The Strand
The Strand

From time to time on The Roundtable we speak with Andrew Gulli, manager editor of The Strand magazine. Although it publishes mainly new detective fiction, Gulli has built a reputation for making the magazine a Noah’s Ark of sorts for the titans of American literature. Gulli has a knack for discovering unpublished works by authors like Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Heller and others. Now, a short story by James Thurber is seeing the light of the day.

Any Questions #241

Apr 8, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel swap seats to take care of business.

Any Questions #240

Apr 1, 2016

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel are all "four" one on this week's show.