Joe Donahue

Vice President, News and Programming

Joe talks to people on the radio for a living. In addition to countless impressive human "gets" - he has talked to a lot of Muppets. Joe grew up in Philadelphia, has been on the area airwaves for more than 25 years and currently lives in Washington County, NY with his wife, Kelly, and their dog, Brady. And yes, he reads every single book. 

Ways to Connect

In Some Writer! Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. The book is an authorized tribute and is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White.

Melissa Sweet is the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of many fine children's books including Balloons Over Broadway, a Sibert winner, and The Right Word and A River of Words, both Caldecott Honors.

John Simpson is the former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, where he helped take the dictionary online.

His new book, The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary, is an intensely personal memoir and a joyful celebration of English, he weaves a story of how words come into being (and sometimes disappear), how culture shapes the language we use, and how technology has transformed not only the way we speak and write but also how words are made.

The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu:  And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts introduces readers to a mild mannered historian and librarian from Timbuktu, who morphed into one of the world’s greatest smugglers and pulled off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven. Joshua Hammer was Bureau Chief for Newsweek and correspondent at large on five continents. He is now a contributing editor to the Smithsonian and frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.

Award-winning author and journalist Marc Wortman will discuss his new book 1941: Fighting the Shadow War tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 pm at the Boardman Road Branch Library of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the US entered World War II on December 8, 1941 in retaliation for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. However, historian Marc Wortman reveals the ways in which America played an increasingly significant and clandestine role in the war in the months and years prior to officially joining the battle.

12/2/16 Panel

Dec 2, 2016

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao, Author and Activist Barbara Smith.

In the autumn of 1777, near Saratoga, New York, an inexperienced and improvised American army led by General Horatio Gates faced off against the highly trained British and German forces led by General John Burgoyne.

The British strategy in confronting the Americans in upstate New York was to separate rebellious New England from the other colonies. Despite inferior organization and training, the Americans exploited access to fresh reinforcements of men and materiel, and ultimately handed the British a stunning defeat. The American victory, for the first time in the war, confirmed that independence from Great Britain was all but inevitable. 

Dean Snow is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Penn State University and past president of the Society for American Archaeology. His previous books include Archaeology of Native North America and The Iroquois. His new book is 1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga.

To have been alive during the last sixty years is to have lived with the music of Paul Simon. The boy from Queens scored his first hit record in 1957, just months after Elvis Presley ignited the rock era. As the songwriting half of Simon & Garfunkel, his work helped define the youth movement of the '60s.

On his own in the '70s, Simon made radio-dominating hits. He kicked off the '80s by reuniting with Garfunkel to perform for half a million New Yorkers in Central Park. Five years later, Simon’s album Graceland sold millions and spurred an international political controversy. And it doesn’t stop there.

Simon has also lived one of the most vibrant lives of modern times; a story replete with tales of Carrie Fisher, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Shelley Duvall, Nelson Mandela, drugs, depression, marriage, divorce, and more. A life story with the scope and power of an epic novel, Peter Ames Carlin’s new book - Homeward Bound is the first major biography of one of the most influential popular artists in American history. 

Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney's office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America's foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Her new sleuth, Devlin Quick, takes inspiration from Nancy Drew. The first Devlin Quick Mystery is out now, it's entitled Into the Lion's Den. In the novel, someone has stolen a page from a rare book in the New York Public Library. At least, that’s what Devlin’s friend Liza thinks she’s seen, but she can’t be sure. Any other kid might not see a crime here, but Devlin Quick is courageous and confident, and she knows she has to bring this man to justice—even if it means breathlessly racing around the city to collect evidence. 

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

12/1/16 Panel

Dec 1, 2016

 

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao and Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus Ira Fusfeld.

David Bianculli is a guest host and TV critic on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. A contributor to the show since its inception, he has been a TV critic since 1975. From 1993 to 2007, Bianculli was a TV critic for the New York Daily News.

Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his.

Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way. In tracing the evolutionary history of our progress toward a Platinum Age of Television - our age, the era of The Sopranos and Breaking Bad and Mad Men and The Wire and Homeland and Girls—he focuses on the development of the classic TV genres. In each genre, he selects five key examples of the form, tracing its continuities and its dramatic departures and drawing on exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history.

David Thomson is a film critic and frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Guardian, and more. He is the author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its sixth edition, and Moments that Made the Movies.

His latest book, Television: A Biography celebrates and analyzes the stories being told on the small screen.

The art of hula is thriving in cities all over the country and the world, but it is not always understood.

In The Natives Are Restless, journalist Constance Hale presents the largely untold story of the dance tradition, using the twin keyholes of Kumu Patrick Makuakane (a Hawai‘i-born, San Francisco–based hula master), and his 350-person arts organization (Na Lei Hulu i ka Wekiu).

In the background, she weaves the poignant story of an ancient people and the resilience of their culture. In the foreground, she tells the story of an electrifying new form of hula that has emerged from a restless generation of artists like Makuakane.

Howard Frank Mosher is one of America’s most acclaimed writers. His fiction set in the world of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom chronicles intertwining family histories of the natives, wanderers, outcasts, and fugitives.

His eleventh novel is God’s Kingdom.

Alice Guy-Blaché was the first female film director and the first film studio owner. She made her first film, by her own account, in 1896 at age 23. She went on to write, direct, or produce more than 1,000 films.

Upstate Women in Film and Television (UPWIFT) will present a selection of films by Alice Guy-Blaché at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale, NY on Wednesday, November 30th; at The Linda in Albany, NY on Friday, December 2nd; and at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck on Sunday, December 11th.

Part of the presentations will be a Skype Q&A with producer and director Pamela Green, who is currently making a feature full-length documentary film about Alice Guy-Blaché for which she has been conducting extensive research for the past five years.

Pamela Green joins us now along with Hanna Sawka, President of UPWIFT.

You can learn all about the art of Improv through the program -  The Zen of Improv: A One-Day Intensive with Pam Victor at Mopco on Saturday, December 3rd from 10:00am 4:00pm at the Mopco Improv Theatre on Jay Street in Schenectady.

Pam Victor is an improv comedian, author, teacher, consultant, from Western Mass. She is the founder and Head of Happiness of Happier Valley Comedy, the epicenter of improv in Western Mass, where Pam teaches The Zen of Improv, and brings the power of improvisation to the workplace in her "Through Laughter" program. She is also co-author of Improvisation at the Speed of Light, The TJ & Dave Book.

We welcome her to the RT this morning along with MopCo’s Co-Director, Michael Burns.

  Suzanna Hermans from Oblong Books and Music joins us with this week's Book Picks list.

List:
Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, & Ella Morton
In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney (book signing in Rhinebeck, 12/10 from 2-3:30)
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The Doll People's Christmas by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin (event in Rhinebeck, 12/3 at 3pm)
Under Water, Under Earth by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski
Frazzled by Booki Vivat

  Garth Risk Hallberg's debut novel, City on Fire, was named one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue.

City on Fire is set in New York City and spans a seven month period between New Year’s Eve 1976 through the city’s blackouts in July of 1977. The story revolves around a varied web of characters—two estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; two suburban teenagers involved in Manhattan’s punk scene; a magazine reporter; and a detective—whose lives interconnect around a shooting in Central Park.

Hallberg will read from his bestselling debut novel today at Page Hall on the University at Albany’s downtown campus at 8 p.m. At 4:15 p.m. the author will hold an informal seminar in the Assembly Hall, on UAlbany’s uptown campus. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute

11/29/16 Panel

Nov 29, 2016

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Associate Editor of the Times Union Mike Spain, and Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao.

Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well. 

In Screenagers, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, Screenagers reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

There will be a screening at the Maple Avenue Middle School at 7PM in Saratoga on 11/30.

We are joined by Delaney Ruston and Gina Karp, who currently teaches high school humanities (and previously taught grades 1-8) at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs.

Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

Janine Robitaille, Executive Director of the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) in Albany joins us to discuss their mission to address the needs of the homeless and low-income community by providing a continuum of services to encourage self-sufficiency, empowerment, and stability.

11/28/16 Panel

Nov 28, 2016

    The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao, and political consultant and lobbyist, Libby Post.

Former three-time major league baseball all-star Ralph Branca has died at 90. Branca had an 11-year career in the bigs including stints with the Tigers and Yankees, but he is best remembered for a landmark moment in New York baseball. Pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers in a 1951 playoff, Branca gave up the “Shot Heard Round The World” — Bobby Thomson’s home run that sent the New York Giants to the World Series. Years later, Branca and Thomson made peace. But as Branca explained in an interview with WAMC in 2011, it eventually emerged that Thomson had received help stealing the Dodgers’ signs in an elaborate scheme. We spoke with him about his memoir A Moment in Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak, and Grace.

Breathing Lights

Nov 23, 2016
Breathing Lights

This month and last, nightly from 6pm – 10pm, Breathing Lights has been illuminating the windows of hundreds of vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy. Breathing Lights looks to transform abandoned structures from pockets of shadows into places of warmth. 

Concentrated in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, Breathing Lights was a winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge which engages mayors to collaborate with artists on developing innovative public art projects that enrich communities and attract visitors.

But even after the closure, there will be months of programming and events to continue the conversation surrounding the issues. To tell us more – we welcome project architect Barb Nelson, Lead Artist Adam Frelin and Judie Gilmore, the project director. 

  In Raising Human Beings, internationally renowned child psychologist and New York Times bestselling author of Lost at School and The Explosive Child Ross W. Greene Ph.D. explains how to cultivate a better parent-child relationship while also nurturing empathy, honesty, resilience, and independence.

The Tony-Award winning play: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime begins its run at Proctors in Schenectady this afternoon and goes through Sunday, November 27th.

Hailed as “One of the most fully immersive works ever to wallop Broadway” by The New York Times, this new play is by Simon Stephens, adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel and is directed by Tony winner Marianne Elliott.

Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain; he is exceptionally intelligent but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion for killing his neighbor’s dog, he sets out to identify the true culprit, which leads to an earth-shattering discovery and a journey that will change his life forever.

Benjamin Wheelright played the role of Christopher on Broadway and is one of the actors playing his on the road. 

11/23/16 Panel

Nov 23, 2016

The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao, corporate attorney Rich Honen, and Publisher Emeritus of The Daily Freeman, Ira Fusfeld. 

  Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout’s bestselling novels Olive Kitteridge  and The Burgess Boys  have illuminated our most tender relationships.

Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, she shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.

Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year, 1963.

Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it’s one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.

Phil Knight's new book is Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.

  This week's Book Picks come from Connie Brooks and Kate Reid of Battenkill Books in Cambridge, NY.

List:

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

The Girl from Venice by Martin Smith Cruz

 The Marches: A Borderland Journey between England and Scotland by Rory Stewart

Brief mentions of the following young readers editions:

Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

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