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 9am 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, Bill O'Reilly, Steve Martin, James Taylor, Stephen King, Melissa Etheridge and lots of other really cool people. Plus, Wilco does our theme song. What more can you ask for?

If you have any questions or you'd like to be on the show, email us at

10:25 - The Writer's Almanac
11:10 - Earth Wise
Book Picks lists are here.
You may also hear Pulse of the Planet and Sound Beat on The Roundtable.

10/20/16 Panel

Oct 20, 2016

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Communications Specialist Theresa Bourgeois, and corporate attorney, Rich Honen.

  To Keep the Light is written and directed by Erica Fae, who also stars as Abbie -- the wife of a lighthouse keeper in Northern Maine in the late 1800s. Inspired by true stories of women lighthouse keepers, working in isolation and under extreme conditions, women who inherited their jobs from infirm or deceased husbands or fathers and were trailblazers, embodying feminism long before the word existed.

The film will screen twice at the Woodstock Film Festival - today at 1:30 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY and Sunday at 2:15 at Upstate Films in Woodstock.

Caroline Shaw wrote the score for To Keep The Light. Shaw is a Grammy-winning singer in Roomful of Teeth and a violinist in ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble). In 2013 she became the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her composition Partita for 8 Voices. Recent and current projects include commissions for the the Cincinnati Symphony, the Guggenheim Museum Works & Process Series, and the Folger Library, as well as collaborations with Kanye West.   

Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut, Paint it Black, will screen twice at the Woodstock Film Festival - tonight at 6:30 at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock and Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties at 5:30 p.m. She will also participate in the festival’s "Women in Film and Media" panel on Saturday October 15 at the Kleinert James Art Center in Woodstock. Other participants in the panel are Bette Gordon, Catherine Hardwicke, and Mary Stewart Masterson. The panel is moderated by Thelma Adams.

Based on the novel of the same name by Janet Fitch, Paint it Black explores and explodes the confusion of grief when Josie’s boyfriend, Michael, commits suicide and his death brings her into the orbit of his powerful and powerfully cold and heartbroken mother, Meredith. Their strained relationship circling around who knew Michael better, who loved him more, and what can they get from - and do to - each other now that he is gone.

Tamblyn co-wrote the adaptation with Ed Dougherty. It stars Alia Shawkat as Josie and Janet McTeer as Meredith.

Savion Glover In Albany

Oct 14, 2016
Savion Glover
Lois Greenfield

Savion Glover is a Tony award-winning choreographer and “the greatest tap dancer to ever lace up a pair of tap shoes” (Gregory Hines). At the age of 10 he starred in the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid, which earned seven Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. At the age of 15, he received a Tony nomination for his role in Black and Blue and, three years later, a Drama Desk Award nomination for his role in Jelly’s Last Jam.  He both starred in and choreographed the musical Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk, for which he received the Tony for choreography. In 2016, he earned another Tony nomination for choreography for Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.

Glover will premiere his latest work New Soundz, at The Egg on October 15 at 8:00 p.m. and earlier that day, he will be in conversation with Joe Donahue at Page Hall on UAlbany's Downtown Campus as a The Creative Life event -- an exciting new initiative presented by the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center, and University Art Museum.

  Jennifer Weiner is many things: a #1 "New York Times "bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and an unlikely feminist enforcer (The New Yorker). She's also a mom, a daughter, and a sister; a former rower and current cyclist; a best friend and a reality TV junkie. In her first foray into nonfiction, Hungry Heart, she takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins into a collection of essays on modern womanhood.

Jennifer Weiner will be interviewed live on stage by Elaina Richardson of Yaddo at Congregation Shaara Tfille in Saratoga Springs, NY on Sunday, October 16 at 1:00 p.m. in an event presented by Northshire Bookstore.

The election is less than a month away.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock what he’s watching for.

The Maya Gold Foundation was created in response to the tragic death of 15-year old Maya Gold, a New Paltz High School student who took her own life in October of 2015. Maya’s parents, Elise Gold and Mathew Swerdloff, launched the organization with help from community members and friends, in response to the social pressures and concerns her death brought to light.

In addition to being a loving daughter, sister, and friend, Maya was a social activist, an inspired student, and creatively engaged with the world. She loved to travel and dreamed of working in Nepal. In Maya’s honor, the Foundation will collaborate with communities in and around New Paltz and in Nepal.

Natalie Merchant and Friends will play a benefit concert for the Maya Gold Foundation on Saturday, October 22 at 7 PM at Studley Hall, SUNY New Paltz.

Elise Gold and Mathew Swerdloff join us now to tell us more about their work and The Maya Gold Foundation. 

10/14/16 Panel

Oct 14, 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 author and activist Barbara Smith. 

In 2014, after a brief orientation course and a few fingerprinting sessions, Nicholson Baker became an on-call substitute teacher in a Maine public school district. He awoke to the dispatcher’s five-forty a.m. phone call and headed to one of several nearby schools; when he got there, he did his best to follow lesson plans and help his students get something done.

Substitute teachers hold a unique position in the education community—both insiders and outsiders. Baker, one of our country’s preeminent literary writers, observes students at their most hilarious and their most heartbreaking, and he gives readers a front-row seat to hot-button issues such as standardized curriculum, technology in the classroom, and medicating kids.

Nicholson Baker is the author of ten novels and five works of nonfiction, including The Anthologist, The Mezzanine, and Human Smoke. His new book is: Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids.

National Geographic Channel - Hopper Stone

Tim Matheson (Animal House, The West Wing) is playing President Ronald Reagan in National Geographic's Killing Reagan (based on the Bill O’Reilly book series). Cynthia Nixon portrays Nancy Reagan.

The TV movie will premiere this Sunday, October 16th.

As a founding member of The Beach Boys, Mike Love has spent an extraordinary fifty-five years, and counting, as the group's lead singer and one of its principal lyricists.

The Beach Boys, from their California roots to their international fame, are a unique American story -- one of overnight success and age-defying longevity; of musical genius and reckless self-destruction; of spirituality, betrayal, and forgiveness -- and Love is the only band member to be part of it each and every step.

Love’s story has never been fully told, of how a sheet-metal apprentice became the quintessential front man for America's most successful rock band, singing in more than 5,600 concerts in 26 countries. He writes about it all in his new memoir: Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy. 

Third-party candidates say 2016 could be their big year.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Libertarian candidate Thomas Simmons concludes his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

One of William Kennedy's acclaimed novels has been transformed into an amazing opera. Roscoe: An American Grand Opera is tragic, comic, and poignant and it will be performed with the Albany Symphony Orchestra at the Palace Theatre in Albany on Saturday Night at 7:30PM. Evan Mack is the composer, Josh McGuire the librettist, Maestro David Alan Miller conducts the symphony with special guests Deborah Voigt (Soprano) and Jeffrey Williams (Baritone).

Roscoe Conway, after years as the motor of Albany's political machine, longs to retire. But just when he thought he was out, things pull him back in. The opera features the radiant voice of opera superstar Deborah Voigt.

Deborah Voigt joins us along with the composer of Roscoe, Evan Mack.

10/13/16 Panel

Oct 13, 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.

In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the First Lady with dread. By that time, she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life—now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next thirty years, until Eleanor’s death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: They were, at different points, lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and caring friends.

Susan Quinn has written a book about their unique relationship entitled Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady. Quinn has an author talk and signing scheduled at the The FDR Presidential Library on Thursday, October 13 at 7 p.m.

Susan Quinn is the author of Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times and Marie Curie: A Life, among other books. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and other publications. She is the former president of PEN New England.

The Department of Theatre Arts at SUNY New Paltz presents Belfast Blues, a one-woman play written and performed by Geraldine Hughes and directed by Carol Kane, with performances on Oct. 14th and 15th at 8:00 p.m. in McKenna Theatre on the New Paltz campus.

Belfast Blues is a tapestry of stories told from Hughes’ perspective as a little girl coming of age in the war-torn Belfast of the 1980s. Passionate, riveting, often humorous, these stories bear insightful witness to the many faces of “trying to live a normal life” amidst the violence born of the longstanding grudge between Catholics and Protestants.

  Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to discuss Games and role-playing for communication.

Jesse Feiler helps people and organizations get to know and use new technologies. Projects have included building the page caching module for the Prodigy Web Browser for Mac in the very early days of the Web, location-based apps for iPhone and iOS, as well as books and classes on new technologies. Forthcoming books include “iPad For Seniors for Dummies" (9th edition) and “Learn Apple HomeKit on the Mac and iOS.”

Current projects involve using apps and FileMaker databases for identifying and managing risk in nonprofit organizations as well as helping small communities build location-based apps to promote tourism, downtown economic development, and the wise use of natural resources. Jesse, always wonderful to have you join us.

We are also joined by Curt Gervich as an Associate Professor in SUNY Plattsburgh’s enter of Earth and Environmental Science. He teaches courses in Environmental Policy, Sustainability and Environmental Leadership. He also works with EPA and other federal and state agencies across the country on a variety of environmental planning and management challenges

One of his projects is Toxic Release!, an environmental education simulation. Friends of Saranac River Trail is bringing it to Plattsburgh City Hall Community Room on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 5-8 pm. Open to the public with reservations strongly suggested  - or

Can a Libertarian really win the Western Massachusetts Congressional seat?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Libertarian candidate Thomas Simmons continues his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Nick Barr is the host of WAMC’s Bluegrass Time. He celebrates 50 years in bluegrass music this Saturday at a special show at The Linda in Albany called, appropriately enough, Nick Barr 50 Years In The Making.

It’s a night of great music and grand reunions! Featuring members from Nick’s first band the "Foggy Mountain Still-Lickers" The show will see the Reuniting Bluegrass Samurai/Blue Moon. Also appearing, the WAMC's Saturday night radio line-up: Wanda Fischer, Nick Barr & Tim Coakley.

The show will also feature local favorites: Al & Kathy Bain, Marty Wendell & more and a special appearance of the Barr Brothers. 

10/12/16 Panel

Oct 12, 2016

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

Today's panelists are Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany Rosemary Armao, Times Union Columnist Chris Churchill and Communications Specialist Theresa Bourgeois.

  Charles Dew, one of America’s most respected historians of the South, will tell us about his powerful memoir - The Making of a Racist: A Southerner Reflects on Family, History, and the Slave Trade.

He turns the focus on his own life, which began not in the halls of enlightenment but in a society unequivocally committed to segregation.


In the book, Dew re-creates the mid-century American South of his childhood--in many respects a boy’s paradise, but one stained by Lost Cause revisionism and, worse, by the full brunt of Jim Crow.


The second half of the book shows how this former Confederate youth and descendant of Thomas Roderick Dew, one of slavery’s most passionate apologists, went on to reject his racist upbringing and become a scholar of the South and its deeply conflicted history.


The centerpiece of Dew’s story is his sobering discovery of a price

Charles Dew is Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College and the author of the Fletcher Pratt Award-winning Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War and Bond of Iron: Master and Slave at Buffalo Forge, selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

  Today's Book Picks list comes from Cathy Taylor of The Northshire Bookstore.


Upstream by Mary Oliver

The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins

The Trespasser by Tana French

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner

The award-winning, dance-filled Gershwin musical An American in Paris ended its critically acclaimed Broadway run on Sunday at the Palace Theatre - having played 623 performances.

The musical's national tour will open at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady on Friday, starring Garen Scribner and Sara Esty.

The new stage incarnation of the classic Gershwin film arrived on Broadway after a Paris world premiere. The new musical, inspired by the Oscar-winning film of the same name, features a score by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a book by Craig Lucas.


An American in Paris received 12 Tony nominations, winning awards for Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Set Design and Best Lighting Design.


We are thrilled to have Stuart Oken with us this morning. He leads Elephant Eye Theatrical whose projects have included The Addams Family, Saved and Venice. As Executive VP at Disney Theatrical, he produced The Lion King and Aida. He produced the motion pictures About Last Night, Impromptu, and Queens Logic.

10/11/16 Panel

Oct 11, 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.

April 15, 2013, Boston, Massachusetts--The winner of the marathon crossed the finish line hours ago, but Boylston Street remains vibrant as friends and families cheer a steady stream of runners coming down the final stretch. Suddenly the unthinkable happens...BOOM! BOOM! Two massive blasts instantaneously transform triumph to tragedy, killing four and leaving a blood-soaked trail of shrapnel and severed limbs in their wake.

Directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg focus not on the politics or sensationalism, but instead offer a patchwork of deeply moving portraits of the victims, struggling to move forward on prosthetic limbs and recreate their lives.

Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing will screen twice as part of the the Woodstock Film Festival

The 2nd Annual Brava, a fundraiser that will provide new bras to women at the YWCA and those in need in the community, will be held on Friday, November 4, 2016 at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy from 5:00-7:30 p.m.

The Arts Center is a partner in the event which will feature 8 to 10 talented writers from around the region who will read jury-selected poems and essays or perform songs and monologues on the subject of brassieres in their lives. The pieces will touch on the subject of bras from many viewpoints and range from the poignant to the hilarious. (Submission information here. Must be received by 10/14/16.)

Last year’s sold-out event aimed to collect at least 200 new bras to be distributed to women at the YWCA and others who need them, but more than doubled their goal by collecting over 500 bras. Artist Sharon Bates will be on hand at the event to create a unique installation of the contributed bras. To tell us more we welcome Malissa Pilette-McClenon from the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region and Marion Roach Smith.