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, 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 roundtable@wamc.org

Send your comments or questions for The Roundtable Panel to panel@wamc.org

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.

4/14/17 Panel

Apr 14, 2017

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, author and activist Barbara Smith, and Director of the Journalism Department at the University at Albany, Rosemary Armao.

Ruth Gilligan At NYSWI

Apr 13, 2017

Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist. With her literary fiction debut, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, she tells the story of Jewish immigrants in Ireland. The narrative gradually weaves together three main characters whose stories are set in 1901, 1958, and 2013 to reveal the unknown history of Ireland’s Jewish community. The three stories revolve around Lithuanian Jewish immigrants who accidentally arrive in Ireland, mistaking “Cork” for “New York;” a teenager who is sent to an asylum in 1950s Ireland because he hasn’t spoken since his bar mitzvah; and a contemporary Irish woman who has emigrated to London and must decide whether or not to convert to Judaism to marry her Jewish boyfriend. 

Gilligan will read from and discuss her novel at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 (tonight) in the Huxley Theatre, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany. Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and cosponsored by the Friends of the New York State Library.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical - Queens College. Julia Knitel 'Carole King' and Liam Tobin 'Gerry Goffin'
Joan Marcus

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

The National Tour of the award-winning musical is at Proctors in Schenectady this week and we are joined now by Julia Knitel who plays Carole King and Liam Tobin who plays Gerry Goffin.

In 1797, eight years after the mutiny on the HMS Bounty, came a mutiny aboard the British frigate HMS Hermione—the bloodiest mutiny ever suffered by the Royal Navy.  In American Sanctuary, historian and author Roger Ekirch shares the story of Jonathan Robbins, one of the mutineers who made his way to American shores, and for whom the British called for extradition. 

He let it be known that he was an American citizen from Connecticut and had been impressed into service by the British. In one of the most catastrophic blunders of his administration, the extradition was sanctioned by President John Adams, and Robbins was sentenced to death by the British and hanged. Adams’ miscalculation ignited a political firestorm, fanned by the news of Robbins’ execution without his constitutional rights of due process and trial by jury. 

Constituents have been contacting their representatives with increased frequency in recent months.

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

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.

Seen: Personal Shopper

Upcoming:

  • Beautiful--The Carole King Musical - Proctors, Schenectady, today (Thursday, 4/13) through Sunday, 4/16, various times
  • Dave Douglas and Frank Woeste: DADA People - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Thursday, 4/13, 7:30 PM
  • Beauty and the Boss - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday, 4/13, 7:30 PM
  • The Felice Brothers - Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes, Thursday, 4/13, 8 PM
  • Pierre Bensusan - Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, Friday, 4/14, 8 PM
  • Three Stooges Film Festival - Palace Theatre, Albany, Monday, 4/17, 7 PM
  • National Bird - The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, Tuesday, 4/18, 7 PM
  • The Love Witch - Proctors, Schenectady, Tuesday, 4/18, 7 PM
  • Anne Akiko Meyers - EMPAC, Troy, Tuesday, 4/18, 8 PM

New movies: The Fate of the Furious, Gifted, Your Name

4/13/17 Panel

Apr 13, 2017

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

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

  In Heat & Light, Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers, in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart.

Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas.

To drill or not to drill?

 

In the 1970s, the United States had an incarceration rate comparable to those of other liberal democracies-and that rate had held steady for over 100 years. Yet today, though the US is home to only about 5 percent of the world's population, we hold nearly one quarter of its prisoners. Mass incarceration is now widely considered one of the biggest social and political crises of our age. How did we get to this point?

Locked In is a revelatory investigation into the root causes of mass incarceration by one of the most exciting scholars in the country. Having spent fifteen years studying the data on imprisonment, John Pfaff takes apart the reigning consensus created by Michelle Alexander and other reformers, revealing that the most widely accepted explanations-the failed War on Drugs, draconian sentencing laws, an increasing reliance on private prisons-tell us much less than we think.

The Capital Region has experienced many recent water infrastructure failures.

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

From the California drought, to the Oroville Dam flood, to the drilling of the Dakota Access Pipeline - environmental and humanitarian issues are at the forefront of conversation as the new administration takes the helm.

Water problems in the Western United States are just the tip of the iceberg, and they can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and remove the lawyers the equation.

In Where The Water Goes: Life And Death Along The Colorado RiverNew Yorker writer David Owen takes a closer look at a vast man-made ecosystem around the Colorado River that is far more complex and interesting than the headlines let on. 

4/12/17 Panel

Apr 12, 2017

     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 corporate attorney, Rich Honen.

Today we announced WAMC's longtime Roundtable panelist and friend, Rosemary Armao, will be moving abroad to work with Eastern European and Arabic reporters on investigations of crime and corruption. She describes her new opportunity and the motivation behind her decision to take on this endeavor here:

Dear WAMC listeners,
I have an opportunity to work as an investigative editor with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. That's a non-profit news agency that investigates money laundering, bribery, conflict of interest and corruption at top levels of government. I will be working in Bosnia, Jordan, maybe Africa, and wherever else assigned.

Honestly the election of Donald Trump, his mixing of business and government affairs, and his denigration of the press have all reminded me how important this cross border work by brave journalists is. And while I love UAlbany students and you all here, this seems a time not to be teaching and talking but to be doing. I can't think of a better way to end my career.

-Rosemary Armao

Sharon Wheatley, Rodney Hicks, Geno Carr and Come From Away cast
Matthew Murphy

On September 11, 2001, the air-space over the United States was closed after two planes flew into the the Twin Towers in New York City, another into The Pentagon, and a fourth (headed for D. C.) into a field near near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Thirty-eight planes were diverted from their original paths and forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. The airport at Gander is larger than makes sense in terms of the size and population of Gander. It’s a relic from the pre-jetplane era -- when flying to or from Europe commercial and private flights stopped there to refuel.

The 38 planes that landed on 9/11 carried passengers from all over the world. Scared, confused, and all-but cut off from their loved-ones, the accidental visitors - or “come-from-aways” as the Newfoundlanders call them - nearly doubled the population of the region for the better part of a week. The locals opened their doors, pantries, hearts, and minds until the airspace was reopened.

Those friendships - formed in upsetting and stressful circumstances - are the heart at the center of Come From Away - a new musical now running on Broadway The Schoenfeld Theatre.

The book, music, and lyrics are by married Canadian writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein - who created the show by interviewing the real people involved in the events of that day and week. The show is directed by Christopher Ashley with musical staging by Kelly Devine. The cast of 12 plays both - and various - Gander-ites and Plane people.

Cast member Sharon Wheatley joins us now. Her previous Broadway credits include Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera. She is the author of the memoir, Til The Fat Girl Sings: From an Overweight Nobody to a Broadway Somebody.

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

List:
American War by Omar El Akkad
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Do Fairies Bring the Spring by Liza Gardner Walsh and Hazel Mitchell

Intelligence — and who is in charge of it — has been a defining question of the Trump administration.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Congressional Quarterly’s David Hawkings concludes his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

According to our next guest, without volunteers, our nation’s animal shelter system simply would not exist. Volunteers speak for those that cannot speak, pick up the pieces for abandoned animals that have been let down by previous owners or unfortunate circumstances, and do whatever it takes to heal the deepest of wounds.

In his book Finding Shelter, award-winning photographer Jesse Freidin shows the softer side of this story. He witnessed firsthand how many of the volunteers were able to mend their own emotional hurts with the love the shelter animals gave back to them, and how the power of these relationships transforms shelters into places where humans and animals can heal together.

In Finding Shelter, Freidin sparks a new discussion about animal rescue and what it feels like to truly love an animal and we welcome him to the show this morning.

4/11/17 Panel

Apr 11, 2017

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

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, Director of the Journalism Department at the University at Albany, Rosemary Armao, and Counterterrorism Expert Malcolm Nance.

On My Own By Diane Rehm

Apr 10, 2017

In On My Own, beloved NPR radio host Diane Rehm speaks out about the long drawn-out death (from Parkinson’s) of her husband of fifty-four years, and of her struggle to reconstruct her life without him.

With John gone, Diane was indeed “on her own,” coping with the inevitable practical issues and, more important, with the profoundly emotional ones. What to do, how to react, reaching out again into the world—struggling to create a new reality for herself while clinging to memories of the past. Her focus is on her own roller-coaster experiences, but she has also solicited the moving stories of such recently widowed friends as Roger Mudd and Susan Stamberg, which work to expose the reader to a remarkable range of reactions to the death of a spouse.

The Mystery Of Sleep

Apr 10, 2017

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.

He’s retired from politics, but former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s legacy is still being felt .

In today’s Congressional Corner, Congressional Quarterly’s David Hawkings continues his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

*This conversation was recorded before voting on Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court had taken place.

  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.

Today we learn about Grassroot Givers. Their mission is to make a connection between the needs in the community and those with resources to share. We are joined by Founder and Co-Director Roberta Sandler and Co-Director Mary Partridge-Brown. 

4/10/17 Panel

Apr 10, 2017

  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 Associate Editor of The Times Union, Mike Spain.

In her memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a study of power, desire, and fulfillment.

Abandon Me explores the bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time.

Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal. Melissa Febos has two events in our region and joins us this morning.

Comedian Don Rickles has died at age 90 of kidney failure at his Los Angeles home.

For more than half a century, "Mr. Warmth" headlined casinos and nightclubs from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. N.J., and appeared often on late-night TV talk shows.

Rickles managed to shock his audiences without cutting social commentary or truly personal self-criticism. He operated under a code as old the Borscht Belt: Go far — ethnic jokes, sex jokes, ribbing Carson for his many marriages — but make sure everyone knows it's for fun.

To remember Don Rickles on The Roundtable this morning, we go into the audio vault (or a shoebox in Joe's basement) to play my interview from March 2001 when Don Rickles was promoting an upcoming appearance in Kingston, NY.

Jack Mayer is a pediatrician and a writer. He was last here to talk about his book - Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. His new novel is: Before the Court of Heaven - based on a true story of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Third Reich.

Three themes impel the book: understanding the rise of Nazism, unfathomable forgiveness, and the complexity of redemption. It is a portrait of Germany between world wars, from revolution and unrest following World War I to the rise of the Nazis, World War II and the Holocaust.

Pages