The Roundtable

Weekdays, 9 a.m.

Credit Peter Steiner

 WAMC's The Roundtable is an award-winning, nationally recognized eclectic talk program. The show airs from 9 a.m. to noon each weekday and features news, interviews, in-depth discussion, music, and much (much) more! Hosted by Joe Donahue and produced by Sarah LaDuke, The Roundtable tackles serious and lighthearted subjects, looking to explore the many facets of the human condition with civility, respect and responsibility.

The show's hallmark is thoughtful interviews with A-list newsmakers, authors, artists, sports figures, actors, and people with interesting stories to tell. Since hitting the airwaves in May of 2001, The Roundtable has interviewed the likes of Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Angelou, Madeleine Albright, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Bob Dole, Steve Martin, James Taylor, Stephen King, Melissa Etheridge, Lin-Manuel Miranda and lots of other really cool people. Plus, Wilco does our theme song. What more can you ask for?

If you would like to be on the show email us at

The Roundtable is also available as a podcast.  Subscribe today!

Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Google Play

Send your comments or questions for The Roundtable Panel to

11:10 - Earth Wise

Book Picks lists are here.

You may also hear Pulse of the Planet and Sound Beat on The Roundtable.

Janice Kaplan has enjoyed wide success as a magazine editor, television producer, writer, and journalist. The former editor-in-chief of Parade magazine, she is the author of thirteen popular books including the New York Times bestseller "The Gratitude Diaries."

She and Dr. Barnaby Marsh (an expert on risk taking) have written the new book "How Luck Happens: Using the Science of Luck to Transform Work, Love, and Life."

Using original research, fascinating studies, and engaging interviews, Kaplan and Marsh reveal the simple techniques to create luck in love and marriage, business and career, and health, happiness, and family relationships.

Rex Tillerson’s rocky tenure is over.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat from the fifth district, speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

bottles of syrup
Cindy Schultz /

The Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association’s 2018 Maple Open House Weekends are this weekend and next. Events include demonstrations, samples, and free tours of area sugarhouses.

Maple Weekends happens at locations all across New York State. Here to tell us more are marketing manager for the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association Mary Jeanne Packer – she lives on Mapleland Farms in Washington County.

We are also joined by Vernon “DJ” Duesler IV. DJ is a 4th generation maple syrup farmer from Ephratah in Fulton County. DJ and his dad Vern operate Mud Road Sugarhouse.

For more than a year now, journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn have been devoted to covering the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Isikoff was the first reporter to reveal that there was a U.S. intelligence investigation into Russian ties to a figure in the Trump campaign: Carter Page. Corn was the first to reveal the existence of the infamous Russia dossier, the unverified collection of reports alleging connections between the Trump campaign and Russia compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Now, in their new book, "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump," the two men attempt to put all the pieces of the story together. The book chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?

3/16/18 Panel

21 hours ago

  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, corporate attorney Rich Honen, and counter-terrorism expert Malcolm Nance.

Even with Congress’s failure to officially repeal the Affordable Care Act, our healthcare system is desperately broken. No proposed reforms have addressed the fact that the cost of medical care in the U.S. has grown far beyond what most people can afford, and pharmaceutical giant CVS’s recent acquisition of Aetna only underscores what Americans have known for years: Our healthcare system is now in the money-making business and not the healing one.

As a Harvard-trained medical doctor and veteran journalist, first with the New York Times and now as editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal has witnessed firsthand how healthcare has become a business. Her new book is: "An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back."

Seventy-five years after its initial publication, Ayn Rand’s "The Fountainhead" remains a cultural touchstone. The book has been translated into 29 languages, and it remains an enduring lightning rod for controversy, amassing rabid fans and critics alike. A saga of sex, ambition, and architecture, "The Fountainhead" endures not just as the story of Howard Roark, but as a powerful tribute to individualism “not in politics but within a man’s soul.”

Ayn Rand’s ideas are part of the cultural mainstream in a way they weren’t even ten years ago, let alone seventy-five. Rand has become the regular punching bag of everyone from economist Paul Krugman to comedian John Oliver. Even President Obama was compelled to weigh in on Rand in his 2012 interview with Rolling Stone.

Yaron Brook is chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute and joins us to discuss the book’s profound cultural relevance today.

Congressman Paul Tonko
Congressman Paul Tonko

The Mueller investigation shows no signs of slowing down.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, wraps up his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Note: This interview was recorded before Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania.

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: "A Wrinkle In Time"


  • Lunasa with special guest vocalist Natalie Merchant - The Egg, Albany, Thursday 3/15, 7:30 PM
  • "A Night at the Opera" - Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass., Thursday 3/15, 7 PM
  • The 40th Annual Photo Regional: Effects That Aren’t Special - Opalka Gallery, Albany, Thursday 3/15 through April 21; opening reception Friday 3/16, 6 to 8 PM
  • Paramount’s Laser Spectacular presents The Music of Pink Floyd - Times Union Center, Albany, Friday 3/16, 7:30 PM
  • Thrash for McGrath - Pauly’s Hotel & The Low Beat, Albany, Saturday 3/17, 7 PM
  • Rolston String Quartet: Haydn, Debussy, Tchaikovsky - Friends of Chamber Music, Emma Willard School/Kiggins Hall, Troy, Saturday 3/17, 7:30 PM
  • Performing Artists in Residence Concert performing Brahms, Hugo Wolf, Robert Khan, Jules Massenet Edward Arron, cello; Jeewon Park, piano; Hyunah Yu, soprano; Jeffrey Multer, violin - The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Sunday 3/18, 2 PM
  • "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday 3/19, 7 PM
  • The National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba - Troy Chromatics Concerts/Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Monday 3/19, 7:30 PM
  • Restless NYC's "This Was the End" - Opening performance Monday 3/19, 7:30 PM; Installation Tuesday 3/20, 1 to 5 PM - EMPAC Studio 1—Goodman, Troy

New movies: "Tomb Raider," "Entebbe," "Love Simon"

3/15/18 Panel

Mar 15, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Siena College Comparative Politics Professor Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Editor of The Daily Gazette Judy Patrick, and Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois.

With the NCAA tourney this week, there’s no better time to talk with Seth Davis, who covers college basketball for CBS Sports and is managing editor of The Fieldhouse. We spoke with Davis four years ago about his biography of the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. In his new book, he once again looks at coaching, telling the story of our era’s most successful examples, including Jim Boeheim, Coach K, Brad Stevens and Geno Auriemma. The book is called "Getting To Us: How Great Coaches Make Great Teams."

Louie Anderson is an iconic comedian, Emmy award winner, one of the country’s most adored comics and named by Comedy Central as “One of 100 Greatest Comedians.” He currently co-stars with Zach Galifianakis in the hit FX series, “Baskets,” Anderson’s extraordinary role as Christine Baskets, the matriarch of the Baskets clan won him his third Emmy Award.

He will perform at The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, NY on Sunday, March 18.

Congressman Paul Tonko
Congressman Paul Tonko

Kim and Trump in the same room?

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, continues his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

It is probably safe to say, parents everywhere are deeply concerned about the education of their children, especially now, when education has become a minefield of politics and opposing views.

Ken Robinson, one of the world's most influential educators, has had countless conversations with parents about the dilemmas they face with regard to finding the best school, teacher and curriculum for their child. His new book, "You, Your Child, And School: Navigating Your Way to the Best Education," guides parents with prescriptive and sometimes controversial advice on how to help their children get the education they need and deserve.

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human potential. For twelve years, he was professor of education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now professor emeritus.

3/14/18 Panel

Mar 14, 2018

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, Communications Consultant Joe Bonilla, and Berkshire Eagle reporter Jenn Smith.

Mike Birbiglia
Evan Sung

The High Mud Comedy Festival takes over the campus of MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts this Friday and Saturday.

Friday night, Sasheer Zamata hosts “Sasheer Zamata Party Time!” in the Hunter Center. On Saturday, there will be a satire writing workshop by the Reductress, comedian-led gallery tours, and a performance by Nellie McKay.

To close the festival, Mike Birbiglia will present his new one-hour of stand-up, aptly entitled “The New One.” Birbiglia’s previous popular shows include “Thank God for Jokes,” “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” and “Sleepwalk with Me.” The latter was adapted into a film co-directed by Birbiglia and his stage-director Seth Barrish. In 2016 Birbiglia wrote and directed “Don’t Think Twice” starring Gillian Jacobs and Keegan-Michael Key.

The 13th Annual Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival, presented by the Springfield Jewish Community Center, runs March 15 – 27 with 25 film screenings at 18 community venues across Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties in Massachusetts.

Year after year, PVJFF presents critically acclaimed films that not only entertain, but also provide opportunities for reflection, discussion, and a deeper understanding of our complex, diverse world.

We are joined by Festival Director Deb Krivoy and by director of communications for the Yiddish Book Center, Lisa Newman. The Yiddish Book Center is one of the Pioneer Valley Film Festival’s venues.

  This week's Book Picks from Amy Lane at The Open Door Bookstore and Gift Gallery in Schenectady, NY.

"Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi
"Winter Sisters" by Robin Oliveira
"Feel Free" by Zadie Smith
"White Houses" by Amy Bloom
"What Are We Doing Here?" by Marilynne Robinson
"The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating" by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
"People Like Us" by Dana Mele

Congressman Paul Tonko
Congressman Paul Tonko

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Former Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the dangers that the Internet poses to our culture and society. His 2007 book "The Cult of the Amateur" was critical in helping advance the conversation around the Internet, which has now morphed from a tool providing efficiencies and opportunities for consumers and business to an elemental force that is profoundly reshaping our societies and our world.

In his new book, "How to Fix the Future," Keen focuses on what we can do about this seemingly intractable situation. Looking to the past to learn how we might change our future, he describes how societies tamed the excesses of the Industrial Revolution, which, like its digital counterpart, demolished long-standing models of living, ruined harmonious environments, and altered the business world beyond recognition.

3/13/18 Panel

Mar 13, 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.

Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, the Director of its Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, and a former professor of psychiatry at Harvard University. He has published over 100 scientific studies.

His first book, "Why We Sleep," reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.

Using a trove of footage unearthed from the National Geographic archives, the new documentary film "Jane" tells the true story of Jane Goodall as a young woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world.

Filmmaker Brett Morgen joins us. Dubbed the “mad scientist” of documentary film by the New York Times, Brett Morgen has been directing, writing, and producing ground breaking documentary films for the past 15 years.

This morning we learn about the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. Over the years, hundreds of donors have come to the Community Foundation to facilitate their charitable giving. Some support many different charities, and want to streamline their giving through a single fund.

Others want to set up scholarships or endow funds to support their favorite organizations in the future. Some donors come to the Foundation with broader goals. They may want to support a particular area of need - the arts or healthcare, for example - or they may have the simple desire to support the community as a whole.

Joining us this morning, we welcome president & CEO, John Eberle, Communications Director Siobhan Kent, and Executive Vice President and head of grant-making, Jackie Mahoney.

The Dreamers face an uncertain future.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat from the second district, wraps up his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Artwork for book "Broad Band"

The history of technology you probably know is one of men and machines, garages and riches, alpha nerds and “brogrammers.” But female visionaries have always been at the vanguard of technology and innovation.

In fact, women turn up at the very beginning of every important wave in technology. They may have been hidden in plain sight, their inventions and contributions touching our lives in ways we don't even realize, but they have always been part of the story.

VICE reporter and YACHT lead singer Claire Evans gives these female heroes their due in her new book: "Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet."