Joe Donahue

Senior Director of 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

Thelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and film criticism for high-profile publications. 

She joins us to discuss the 90th Academy Awards which will take place this Sunday. Her greatest title is that she is an Oscarologist and we welcome her to the program this morning.

Echo/Archive At EMPAC

Mar 1, 2018
George MacLeod
George MacLeod /

A big premiere is happening Friday night at EMPAC.

Choreographer Elena Demyanenko and filmmaker Erika Mijlin’s collaboration Echo/Archive, which has been developed in residence over this past year, is a live dance and film project which features female performers across three generations and focuses on “bodily heritage,” or the way that movements are stored and communicated between bodies. Both artists teach at Bennington College. 

Filmmaker (and the lead video artist on Echo/Archive) Erika Mijlin and EMPAC’s Curator of Theater and Dance Ashley Ferro-Murray join us.

Brad Meltzer is the New York Times bestselling author of "Heroes for My Son, Heroes for My Daughter," and a number of suspense novels. He's the creator of the childrens' book series "Ordinary People Change the World" which is illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. Meltzer is also the host of the History Channel television shows "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" and "Brad Meltzer's Lost History."

His joined us to discuss both "I am Harriet Tubman" from the Ordinary People series and his newest suspense novel, "The Escape Artist."

3/1/18 Panel

Mar 1, 2018

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

Today's panelists are Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, Siena College Comparative Politics Professor Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus Ira Fusfeld and Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois.

Ray Padgett founded the blog Cover Me in 2007 and has run it ever since, growing it into the largest blog devoted to cover songs on the web, with 80,000 individual readers a month.

His new book, "Cover Me," is packed with insight, photography, and music history. Each of the chapters investigates the origins of a classic cover and uses it as a framework to tell the larger story of how cover songs have evolved over the decades. 

The Mystery Of Sleep

Feb 28, 2018

We spend a third of our lives in bed, but how much do we really understand about how sleep affects us? In the past forty years, scientists have discovered that our sleep (or lack of it) can affect nearly every aspect of our waking lives. Poor sleep could be a sign of a disease, the result of a vitamin or iron deficiency, or the cause of numerous other problems, both sleeping and waking. Yet many people, even medical personnel, are unaware of the dangers of poor sleep.

Enter Dr. Meir Kryger, a world authority on the science of sleep, with a comprehensive guide to the mysteries of slumber that combines detailed case studies, helpful tables, illustrations, and pragmatic advice.

The book is The Mystery of Sleep: Why a Good Night's Rest Is Vital to a Better, Healthier Life.

2/28/18 Panel

Feb 28, 2018

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

Today's panelists are Communications Consultants Theresa Bourgeois and Joe Bonilla and Berkshire Eagle reporter Jenn Smith. 

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? It is the question at the center of Chloe Benjamin’s new novel, “The Immortalists.”

Four siblings find out and keep the dates secret from one another, but their prophecies inform their next five decades.

Duckweed Palace, mixed media 2006-2010
Robert Hite

The Albany International Airport is presenting "Above the Fray," its newest exhibition which features sculptures and photographs from Hudson Valley artist, Robert Hite. The show will join Hite’s already existing large-scale sculpture, "Migration House," currently on view at the airport.

Growing up in the rural South during the Civil Rights Movement, Hite explores the relationship between environment and disenfranchisement in his work, and focuses on themes of poverty, functionality, resilience, and community.

He is specifically interested in the meaning of the home, which can provide refuge from the elements and serve as a protective space for aspirations. Hite’s sculptures — described as “hand-made habitations” — are constructed out of found materials like reclaimed wood and metal.

Niall Ferguson is one of the world's most renowned historians. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).

In his new book, "The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook," Ferguson points out that though the 21st century has been hailed as the Age of Networks, networks have always been with us.

Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. 

2/27/18 Panel

Feb 27, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post, Associate Editor of the Times Union Mike Spain and the Empire Report’s J.P. Miller.

  Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to talk about health tech.

Jesse Feiler is an app developer, author, and consultant specializing in small business and nonprofit organizations. His most recent books are “The Nonprofit Risk Book: Finding and Managing Risk in Nonprofits and NGOs” written with Gail B. Nayowith and “Learn Computer Science with Swift.” His most recent apps are “CyberContinuity,” a free app to learn about your vulnerabilities and “The Nonprofit Risk App,” a companion to the book.

Sandra Allen did not know her uncle Bob very well. As a child, she had been told he was “crazy,” that he had spent time in mental hospitals while growing up in Berkeley in the 60s and 70s. But Bob had lived a hermetic life in a remote part of California for longer than she had been alive, and what little she knew of him came from rare family reunions or odd, infrequent phone calls.

Then in 2009 Bob mailed her his autobiography. Typewritten in all caps, a stream of error-riddled sentences over sixty, single-spaced pages, the often incomprehensible manuscript proclaimed to be a “true story” about being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic,” and arrived with a plea to help him get his story out to the world.

In "A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise," Allen translates her uncle’s autobiography, creating a gripping coming-of-age story while sticking faithfully to the facts as he shared them.

  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.

Northern Rivers Family of Services helps change lives by shaping the future of those they serve throughout the Capital Region and beyond. They are a family of human services agencies who work together and are committed to helping children, adults, and families. We are joined by Director of Training Jillian Gecewicz and “Camp to Belong” Head Counselor and Student Intern and Volunteer Specialist Rhonda Daniel.

2/26/18 Panel

Feb 26, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, communications consultant Theresa Bourgeois, political consultant Libby Post.

Kevin R. C. Gutzman is the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including his latest, Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America.

Although remembered as the third president of the United States and chief author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was also something more: the most successful constructive statesman in American history.

Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical's Struggle to Remake Americashows him formulating his radical plans to republicanize America and then working, with remarkable success, to implement them. Born into a monarchical society, Jefferson turned his great intellect and energy to making it highly egalitarian. Much of what we take for granted about America now was originally Jefferson's idea. It is a fascinating story.

Brad Gooch is a poet, novelist, and biographer, whose most recent book is Rumi's Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love. He is the author of ten previous works, including: the memoir Smash Cut; the acclaimed biography of Frank O'Hara, City Poet; and Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and New York Times best seller. The recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellowships, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and is Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

In Rumi's Secret, Gooch brings to life the man and puts a face to the name Rumi, vividly coloring in his time and place—a world as rife with conflict as our own.

  Jonathan Starr, once a cutthroat hedge fund manager, is not your traditional do-gooder, and in 2009, when he decided to found Abaarso, a secondary school in Somaliland, the choice seemed crazy to even his closest friends. “Why,” they wondered, “would he turn down a life of relative luxury to relocate to an armed compound in a breakaway region of the world’s #1 failed state?” To achieve his mission, Starr would have to overcome profound cultural differences, broken promises, and threats to his safety and that of his staff.

It Takes a School is the story of how an abstract vision became a transformative reality, as Starr set out to build a school in a place forgotten by the world. It is the story of a skeptical and clan-based society learning to give way to trust. And it’s the story of the students themselves, including a boy from a family of nomads who took off on his own in search of an education and a girl who waged a hunger strike in order to convince her strict parents to send her to Abaarso.

Today’s students face a challenging paradox: the digital tools they need to complete their work are often the source of their biggest distractions. Students can quickly become overwhelmed trying to manage the daily confluence of online interactions with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and family life. Written by author and educator Ana Homayoun, "Social Media Wellness" is the first book to successfully decode the new language of social media for parents and educators and provide pragmatic solutions to help students focus and manage distractions. 

Ana Homayoun is a noted teen and millennial expert, author, school consultant, speaker and educator. Her newest book is "Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World."

Known as the king of the rant, Lewis Black uses his trademark style of comedic yelling and animated finger-pointing to skewer anything and anyone that gets under his skin. His comedic brilliance lies in his ability to make people laugh at the absurdities of life, with topics that include current events, social media, politics and anything else that exposes the hypocrisy and madness he sees in the world.

His new tour "The Joke's On Us" comes to UPAC in Kingston, New York, on Saturday, February 24.

Nobody expected the vice president, a New York political hack, to be president. And after President James A. Garfield was shot in 1881, nobody expected Chester A. Arthur to become a strong and effective president, a courageous anti-corruption reformer, and an early civil rights advocate.

Despite his promising start as a young man, by his early fifties Chester A. Arthur was known as the crooked crony of New York machine boss Roscoe Conkling. For years Arthur had been perceived as unfit to govern, not only by critics and the vast majority of his fellow citizens but by his own conscience. As President James A. Garfield struggled for his life, Arthur knew better than his detractors that he failed to meet the high standard a president must uphold.

Scott S. Greenberger is a journalist, author and the executive editor of Stateline, the daily news service of The Pew Charitable Trusts. His newest book is "The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur." Greenberger will be at Union College in Schenectady, NY on Thursday, February 22nd - to deliver the college’s Founders Day keynote address.

In Tayari Jones’ new novel, “An American Marriage,” newlyweds Celestial and Roy, African-American professional who live in Atlanta, find their lives shattered when Roy is accused of a crime he didn’t commit and is incarcerated. The novel explores race, loyalty, and love that endures.

  Despite the outpouring of books, movies, museums, memorials, and courses devoted to the Holocaust, a coherent explanation of why such ghastly carnage erupted from the heart of civilized Europe in the twentieth century still seems elusive even seventy years later. 

Peter Hayes' Why? dispels many misconceptions and answers some of the most basic, yet vexing, questions that remain: why the Jews and not another ethnic group? Why the Germans? Why such a swift and sweeping extermination? Why didn’t more Jews fight back more often? Why didn’t they receive more help?

Peter Hayes is professor of history and German and Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor of Holocaust Studies Emeritus at Northwestern University and chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Adam Winkler is a professor at UCLA School of Law, where he specializes in American constitutional law. His scholarship has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Atlantic, Slate, and Scotusblog.

In "We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights," Winkler reveals how American businesses won equal rights and transformed the Constitution to serve the ends of capital. Corporations - like minorities and women - have had a civil rights movement of their own, and now possess nearly all the same rights as ordinary people.

George Saunders is the author of eight books, including the story collections “Pastoralia” and “Tenth of December,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” was released last year and won the Man Book Prize.

The book visits the cemetery where President Abraham and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s son, Willie, has just been entombed. The other characters are the less-recently dead who encourage the boy to cross over. “Lincoln in the Bardo” is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. 

W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the most important African-American activists during the first half of the 20th century. He co-founded the NAACP, supported Pan-Africanism, and was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts 150 years ago this month and Great Barrington's Du Bois anniversary celebration began on January 15 and will continue throughout 2018.

Here to tell us more are Dennis Powell, President of the Berkshire County Branch NAACP;and member of the Steering Committee Du Bois Lecture Series; Professor Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst; Ted Thomas, poet and teacher who directs the student Du Bois spoken word programs; and Barbara Dean, musician, performer, and radio DJ who has worked on Du Bois issues and promotion in Great Barrington for about three decades.

Joseph Califano, Jr. spent thirty years in Washington at the top of the Pentagon, on the White House staff as chief domestic advisor to the President, and in the Cabinet. He worked as an attorney for The Washington Post during Watergate and has represented clients as varied as the Black Panthers and Coca Cola.

His new book, “Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act,” is a primer on the three branches of government that reveals the political, cultural, constitutional, technological, and institutional changes that he believes render our government completely dysfunctional. He says there is an urgent need to fix our democracy before it’s too late.

2/16/18 Panel

Feb 16, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, and Siena College Economics Professor Aaron Pacitti .

A wise, warm, and witty gift for new (and gently used) parents seeking to raise positive, thoughtful children, this alphabet book brims with the advice only those who've been there can give. From "D is for Dog" (get one) to "P is for Praise" (do it often but appropriately) to "R is for Romance" (keep it alive after the kids come), each mini essay is coupled with a smart, letter-appropriate full-color photograph in these delightfully grown-up ABCs.

Deborah Copaken is an author and photojournalist. Her newest book is The ABC's of Parenthood: An Alphabet of Parenting Advice.

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

Seen: “Hostiles,” “Paddington 2”


  • Time for Three - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday 2/15, 7:30 PM
  • The Next Women of Country: Sara Evans featuring Raelynn & Kalie Shorr - Palace Theatre, Albany, Thursday 2/15, 8 PM
  • They Are Waiting for You: Laure Prouvost with Sam Belinfante & Pierre Droulers - EMPAC Theater, Troy, Friday 2/16, 8 PM
  • Bridgman Packer Dance - The Egg, Albany, Friday 2/16, 8 PM
  • Loudon Wainwright III - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday 2/16, 8 PM
  • Birdland All-Stars featuring Tommy Igoe - Proctors, Schenectady, Friday 2/16, 8 PM
  • Warren Miller’s Line of Descent - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Saturday 2/17, 7:30 PM
  • Eddie Izzard: Believe Me Tour - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Saturday 2/17, 8 PM
  • Bindlestiff Cirkus Cabin Fever Cabaret (Adult Oriented Show) - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Saturday 2/17, 9 PM
  • “Looney Tunes”: “Bugs, The Beginning and Beyond” - Capitol Theatre, Rome, Monday 2/19-Saturday 2/24 at 3 PM; Saturday also at 7 PM

New movies: “The Insult,” “Black Panther,” “Early Man”