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.

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The Roundtable
8:36 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Crossroads: Blues, Rock Forever Intertwined

In his new book, music journalist John Milward traces the evolution of blues music across American history, connecting the often long lost songs of sharecroppers to the rock and roll of bands like the Rolling Stones celebrated by white teenagers.

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The Roundtable
11:35 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Detroit Rock City: An Oral History Of America's Loudest City

Detroit has hit a rough patch of late, but to hear the veterans of its music scene tell it, the city has always been something of a rough patch – and that helps to explain the blue collar, underdog charm that infused its rock and roll.

Los Angeles had its Laurel Canyon folk-rockers and San Francisco had the hippie dreamers, but Detroit had snarl, with groups like the MC5, the Amboy Dukes and their wild guitarist Ted Nugent, and the now legendary Bob Seger.

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Arts & Culture
6:25 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Any Questions #110

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel switch seats for a show about people who go by their initials.

Last week's challenge

Start with the phrase SEARCH ENGINE. Drop one letter, then rearrange the rest to spell a six-letter word and a five-letter word that each name a part of a laptop computer. What are the words?

Answer: If you change the A to an E, you can spell SCREEN and HINGE.
 
THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY: PEOPLE WITH INITIALS

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The Roundtable
10:10 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Beach Boy Brian Wilson Trades Licks With Guitar God Jeff Beck

Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck.
Credit Brian Wilson

From early surf music to the universally lauded Pet Sounds, solo records, and influential production work, even Gershwin and Disney, Brian Wilson has done everything in his more than five decades in music. One of our greatest songwriters, Wilson has been honored by the Kennedy Center, the Grammy’s, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked Wilson among its “100 Greatest Singers” and called the Beach Boys the 12th greatest group ever.

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Arts & Culture
6:25 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Any Questions? #109

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel focus on Google's doodles.

Last week's challenge
Start with the name of last week's featured award, the PALME D'OR. Change one letter to an E and rearrange the result to spell the two-word name of a type of tree. What is it?
Answer: If you change the O to an E, you can spell RED MAPLE.

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Arts & Culture
6:25 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Any Questions? #108

Last week's challenge
Start with the 10-letter name of a town on the Hudson River. Change the U to a V, then rearrange the result to spell a word naming places that many history buffs visit. What is the town and what are the places?
Answer: The town is SAUGERTIES, and if you follow the directions you can spell GRAVESITES.

THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY: THE PALME D'OR

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The Roundtable
10:35 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Rob Sheffield: Looking In Karaoke Bars For The Meaning Of Life

Author and Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield spends a lot of time listening to music. He is one of those music fans who can recall Britny Fox and Twisted Sister b-sides with the same enthusiasm other people have for The Beatles. Actually, he loves them too.

But aside from some mean tambourining at rock and roll fantasy camp, Sheffield, who is familiar to VH1 viewers, has never been very musically inclined — when many of his peers were trying to make it in underground indie bands, he was the guy at the bar scribbling notes.

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Arts & Culture
6:06 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Any Questions? #107

Henry Hudson

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel take a trip down the Hudson.

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The Roundtable
11:10 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Down And Out At The Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel played home to New York City’s bohemian art scene for a hugely influential chunk of the 20th century, bringing together artists, musicians, junkies, gangsters and gamblers under one roof.

It’s where Dee Dee Ramone wrote punk songs and where Sid and Nancy entered the vernacular forever. It’s also where Andy Warhol's circle gathered and where Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix took up residence.

But rent at the hotel, dating to 1883, is now through the iconic roof, and its era as an artists’ haven is past.

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The Roundtable
11:12 am
Mon September 9, 2013

All The Galaxy's A Stage: William Shakespeare's Star Wars

More than three and half decades since its release, Star Wars is more popular than ever. News of the series reboot means a new round of earnest excitement, but for now, blind fandom has been replaced among aficionados with a new level of ironic appreciation for the universe: Family Guy and Robot Chicken have celebrated the trilogies; the ill-fated Star Wars Christmas Special that features Chewbacca racing across the galaxy for the holidays has millions of YouTube views; one-man Star Wars performer Charlie Ross has been on this very show; and actors like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reportedly began their comedy partnership when one recognized the other’s droid sound effect at a dinner.

All of which is to say it’s surprising that it took this long to bring the ivory tower gravity of Statford-On-Avon to the swamps of Dagobah.

But novelist Ian Doescher has done just that in his new book, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, out now from Quirk Books.

And before you curse the ghost of Thomas Bowdler, think about it for a second: Star Wars and Shakespeare is not such a stretch. There’s the Falstaffian comic relief of C-3PO and R2D2, the questions over legacy and progeny that consume Darth Vader like an interstellar King Lear, the underworld of a Shylock known as Jabba the Hutt.

So before he exits, pursued by a Wookie, it's our pleasure to welcome Ian Doescher to the Roundtable.

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