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

  Louis Begley, best known for his masterful observations of life in New York City’s upper crust, made his thriller debut with Killer Come Hither.

That book told the story of former Marine Corps officer turned novelist and Yale Alum, Jack Dana. Now Begley continues Jack’s story in the sequel, Kill and Be Killed.

  Kelly’s Angels is preparing for its popular Mother-Lovin’ Day 5K Run/Walk, this Sunday – Mother’s Day - at the Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Kelly’s Angels was founded in 2008 by WNYT reporter Mark Mulholland in memory of his wife, Kelly, who passed away in 2007 after a battle with cancer. Kelly's Angels provides gifts to children under the age of 18 who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer. The donations, called "Fun Grants,” are as varied as the kids whom Kelly’s Angels serves — from the purchase of a guitar, a night out at a fancy restaurant, to trips to big league games.

Mulholland says the event is held on Mother’s Day because it honors Kelly as a devoted mother, wife and revered teacher who loved children with all of her heart.

With more than 1,500 participants and supporters last year, the Mother-Lovin’ Day 5K has quickly become a family tradition in the Capital Region.

  Local author/storytellers Courtney Maum and Hallie Goodman will lead a performance-based workshop where live reading is used as a revision tool.

Reading work out loud is a stupendous way to identify the trouble spots in a piece of writing. With the creative input of other participants, the workshop will help fiction and non-fiction writers understand where the work shines and where it can be tightened.

The workshop is presented by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and will take place this Saturday, May 7th at the Sandisfield Arts Center in Sandisfield, MA.

  One of the biggest fears of parents with children with autism is looming adulthood and all that it entails.

In her new book, Autism Adulthood: Strategies and Insights for a Fulfilling Life, Susan Senator takes the mystery out of adult life on the autism spectrum and conveys the positive message that even though autism adulthood is complicated and challenging, there are many ways to make it manageable and enjoyable.

  The fourth annual Art and Soul reception will take place tomorrow at the Vassar College Alumnae House will feature beautiful, vibrant Haitian art, live entertainment from Vassar student musicians, and fabulous cuisine from Twisted Soul. The program runs from 5:30pm to 8:00pm, and is open to the public.

The Art and Soul reception funds the staffing, supply, and operation of a medical center in northwest Haiti that serves thousands of local residents. For many residents, this is the first accessible medical care in their lifetime.

The Vassar Haiti Project, founded in 2001, promotes Haitian art, fosters sustainable development in Haiti, and provides students and volunteers a life changing experiential education in global citizenship. VHP’s contributions are guided by five initiatives: education, medical access, reforestation, clean water access, and women’s health.

This morning we welcome the co-founders of the project: Andrew and Lila Meade, board member Caryn Halle, and Dr. Joassainvil Gueslin.

   This week's Book Picks come to us from Joan Grenier at The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA.

List:
Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh
Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
The Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship by Katherine Towler
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an America Hero by Timothy Egan
Dingers: The 101 Most Memorable Home Runs in Baseball History by Joshua Shifrin and Tommy Shea
Wildflowers of New England by Ted Elliman & New England Wild Flower Society
Lighthouse Handbook New England by Jeremy D'Entremont - Historian, American Lighthouse Foundation

5/3/16 Panel

May 3, 2016

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

  In the summer of 1925, The New Yorker was struggling to survive its first year in print. They took a chance on a young cartoonist who was about to give up his career as an artist. His name was Peter Arno, and his witty social commentary, blush-inducing content, and compositional mastery brought a cosmopolitan edge to the magazine’s pages—a vitality that would soon cement The New Yorker as one of the world’s most celebrated publications.

Alongside New Yorker luminaries such as E.B. White, James Thurber, and founding editor Harold Ross, Arno is one of the select few who made the magazine the cultural touchstone it is today.

In his new biography of one of The New Yorker’s first geniuses, New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin dives into Arno’s rocky relationship with the magazine, his fiery marriage to the columnist Lois Long, and his tabloid-cover altercations involving pistols, fists, and barely-legal debutantes.

Michael Maslin’s cartoons have been appearing in The New Yorker for nearly forty years. He is the author or coauthor of eight books of cartoons. His new biography is: Peter Arno: The Mad, Mad World of The New Yorker's Greatest Cartoonist.

  Five new exhibits are open at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

The new exhibits showcase the work of contemporary artists confronting well-known masterpieces from art history and self-taught artists harnessing their personal experiences with autism and other developmental disorders. They reveal one artist's quest to capture the essence of water in motion and another's desire to stimulate fleeting moments of mindfulness among drivers barreling down the highway.

Danny Lichtenfeld is the Director of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

  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.

This week we will feature the work of: The Excelsior College Online Writing Lab. To learn more we welcome - Dr. Crystal Sands - Founding Director of the Online Writing Lab and Dr. Frank Crocco, Associate Director of the Online Writing Lab.

  Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence.

In his new book, he offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

Frans de Waal is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. His new book is: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

5/2/16 Panel

May 2, 2016

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

Craft distilling provides jobs to the agricultural, tourism and beverage industries – they also provide Federal and state tax revenue. Both New York and Massachusetts have distiller guilds, which serve to promote local spirits, interface with government and coordinate legislative goals.

We are joined today by two prominent and impressive distilleries in our region.

Berkshire Mountain Distillers was established in 2007 and has created a line of award-winning artisanal spirits including Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gins, Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey, currently available in 19 different states. All products are handcrafted in small batches in Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the Berkshire’s first legal distillery since prohibition.

Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery was founded in 2008 on a third generation apple farm in Valatie, New York. Their Core Vodka, Cornelius Applejack, John Henry Single Malt Whiskey, Black Raspberry Core Vodka, Cornelius Cherry Applejack, Cornelius Peach Applejack, and Rare Pear Brandy are all made 100 gallons at a time in their German copper pot still.

Chris Weld of Berkshire Mountain Distillers and Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits join us.

What is the truth about the millennial generation?

The new book, The Millennial Mindset, offers parents, educators, managers, and co-workers insights and suggestions on how to engage, prepare, and foster the Millennial generation in all aspects of life.

Through interviews with millennials and those who work with or otherwise engage them, Regina Luttrell and Karen McGrath offer ways for Millennials to better understand older generations and their peers so they can coexist without animosity in today’s fast-paced globalized world.

They also offer insight into Millennial characteristics, passions, and goals for those who work with, live with, or otherwise co-exist with Millennials.

On Sunday, May 1st The Thomas Cole National Historic Site will unveil the inaugural art exhibition to be held in its “New Studio” building. The reconstruction of this majestic Italianate building enhances the Historic Site, home of Thomas Cole – the founder of the Hudson River School – the first major art movement of the United States.

The New Studio, built in 1846, was designed by Cole and demolished in 1973 before the historic site became a museum. The new space provides the Site with museum-quality climate-controlled space for displaying art.

In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which is a program that offers free, college-level seminars in literature, US history, moral philosophy, art history, and writing to adults living in poverty.  The Clemente Course has been offered in ten states - including Massachusetts and New York, as well as in Canada, and Mexico.

We are joined today by Ousmane Power-Greene, Associate Professor of History at Clark University and Instructor of US History at the Clemente Course in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Worcester, Massachusetts, and David Tebaldi, Executive Director of Mass Humanities. 

Andrew Solomon will be at Oblong Books on 5/14.   (This interview names the incorrect date for the event.)

  Far and Away collects Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts—political, cultural, and spiritual.

Chronicling his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change.

4/29/16 Panel

Apr 29, 2016

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

  How did gay and lesbian couples’ right to marry go from unthinkable to inevitable? How did the individual right to bear arms, dismissed as fraudulent by Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1990, become a constitutional right in 2008? And what compelled President George W. Bush to rein in many of his initiatives in the war on terror before leaving office, even though past presidents have had a free hand in wartime? We are likely to answer that, in each case, the Supreme Court remade our nation’s most fundamental law.

Yet as the award-winning legal scholar David Cole argues in Engines of Liberty, citizen activists are the true drivers of constitutional change.

For more than 150 years the Gowanus Canal has been called a cesspool, an industrial dumping ground, and a blemish, but it is also one of the most important waterways in the history of New York Harbor. Yet its true origin, man made character, and importance to the City has been largely forgotten. In his new book, Gowanus: Brooklyn's Canal, Brooklynite, author, and Journalist Joseph Alexiou shares the little known history of the small waterway in Brooklyn.

Alexiou is the author of Paris For Dummies; ​he is also a licensed New York City tour guide; and his writing has appeared in The New York Observer, Gothamist, and New York Magazine's Daily Intel.  

  Many know Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the bride in the popular Steve Martin remakes of the Father of the Bride movies, the calculating Peggy Kenter on Nashville, or the wife of country music artist, Brad Paisley. But behind the scenes, Kim was dealing with a tragic secret: her mother, Linda, was suffering from a rare form of dementia that slowly crippled her ability to talk, write and eventually recognize people in her own family.
  
Where the Light Gets In tells the full story of Linda’s illness—called primary progressive aphasia—from her early-onset diagnosis at the age of 62 through the present day.

  Young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. The unemployment rate for African Americans has been double that of whites for more than half a century. And yet Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first black president spelled doom for racist policies and racist beliefs. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious.

Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

  The new book Clean and White offers a history of environmental racism in the U.S., focusing on constructions of race and hygiene. In the wake of the civil war as the nation encountered emancipation, mass immigration and the growth of an urbanized society, Americans began to conflate the ideas of race and waste.

Carl Zimring draws on historical evidence from statesmen, scholars, sanitarians, novelists, activists, advertisements and the U.S. census of population to reveal changing constructions of environmental racism.  Carl Zimring is associate professor of sustainability studies in the department of social science and cultural studies at the Pratt Institute. 

  Our government is failing us. From health care to immigration, from the tax code to climate change, our political institutions cannot deal effectively with the challenges of modern society. Why the dysfunction? Contemporary reformers single out the usual suspects, including polarization and the rise in campaign spending. But what if the roots go much deeper, to the nation’s founding?

In Relic, William Howell and Terry Moe point to the Constitution as the main culprit. The framers designed the Constitution some 225 years ago for a simple agrarian society. But the form of government they settled upon, a separation of powers system with a parochial Congress at its center, is entirely ill-equipped to address the serious social problems that arise in a complex, post-industrial nation. We are prisoners of the past, burdened with an antiquated government that cannot make effective policy, and often cannot do anything at all.

The solution is to update the Constitution for modern times.

  Augusten Burroughs is the author of such best-selling autobiographical works as Running with Scissors, Dry, and Magical Thinking.

His latest is called Lust & Wonder in which he chronicles the development and demise of the different relationships he's had while living in New York, he examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it out.

  Runaway inequality is now America’s most critical economic fact of life. In 1970, the ratio of pay between the top 100 CEOs and the average worker was 45 to 1. Today it is a shocking 829 to one! During that time a new economic philosophy set in that cut taxes, deregulated finance, and trimmed social spending. Those policies set in motion a process that greatly expanded the power of financial interests to accelerate inequality. But how exactly does that happen?

In Runaway Inequality, Les Leopold explains the process by which corporation after corporation falls victim to systematic wealth extraction by banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds. It reveals how financial strip-mining puts enormous downward pressure on jobs, wages, benefits, and working conditions, while boosting the incomes of financial elites.

  In It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, Mark Wolynn, director of the Family Constellation Institute and creator of the Core Language Approach, shows how the traumas of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents can live in our anxious words, fears, behaviors and unexplained physical symptoms—what scientists are now calling inherited family trauma, or “secondary PTSD.”

Even if the person who suffered the original trauma has died, or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory and feelings can live on. These emotional legacies are often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language, and they play a far greater role in our emotional and physical health than has ever before been understood.

Mark Wolynn is a leading expert on inherited family trauma. As the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco, he trains clinicians and treats people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and illness.

  Eric Luper is an author for young readers. In addition to two series with Scholastic Books called Key Hunters and The Chocolate Lab, Eric writes for Cartoon Network for shows including The Amazing World of Gumball, The Regular Show, and Teen Titans Go!

He also has written titles for Scooby-Doo, Star Trek, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Eric will be visiting the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza on Saturday afternoon at 1PM to sign copies of the first two books of Key Hunters, a new adventure series for readers 6 to 9. 

  James Conrad from The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, NY joins us with this week's Book Picks.

List:
Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America by Douglas Brinkley
Oneida: From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table—An American Story by Ellen Wayland-Smith
What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas
Nopi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully
The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien
Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

4/26/16 Panel

Apr 26, 2016

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

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