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.

On Monday, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will debate for the first time.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock what he’s watching for.

A former child actor best known for her starring roles in Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire, Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and out of place: as the only kid on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, a Valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and a grown-up the world still remembers as a little girl.

Tackling everything from what she learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to discovering in adolescence that she was no longer “cute” enough for Hollywood, her book, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, charts her journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity.

In her new book: Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future, journalist Caitlin Shetterly has turned her own personal journey into an exploration of how GMOs may be affecting not only our health but our agricultural future as well.

Shetterly begins with her own family ordeal: her one-year old son would have bedtime episode where he would cry incessantly, stop breathing, and turn blue, and his body was covered with eczema. A forward-thinking pediatrician added corn to the list of foods to cut out of the baby’s diet to check for allergens, and his health problems all but disappeared. Then Shetterly herself began to suffer.

Shetterly decided to research all this which took her on a road trip through Nebraska and into Iowa, where she witnessed firsthand the changing face of agricultural America. 

9/22/16 Panel

Sep 22, 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 corporate attorney, Rich Honen.

  Actor, comedian, writer and producer, Paul Reiser, will headline this year's Fairview Hospital Gala on Saturday, September 24 at 8 p.m.

A seasoned actor, writer, and producer, Paul Reiser continues to add to his list of accomplishments. Having co-created and starred in the critically acclaimed NBC series Mad About You which garnered him multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, American Comedy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations, Reiser returned to television last year in the FX series Married.

While developing several television projects which he will write and produce, Reiser is currently starring in the Amazon coming-of-age series Red Oaks for producer Steven Soderbergh. It's been a busy time in film for Reiser as well. Following his role in Academy Award winning film Whiplash, and in last year's Concussion, Reiser has a full slate of films coming up. He will be seen in The Darkness with Kevin Bacon, Devil in the Deep Blue Sea with Jason Sudeikis and Maisie Williams, Miles with Molly Shannon, and also in John McDonagh's War on Everyone with Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Pena.

Not one to abandon his roots in stand-up, in between projects Reiser tours the country performing to sold out venues and was recently voted one of Comedy Central's “Top 100 Comedians of All Time."

  Hudson Valley Ruins is a photography and architecture exhibition at The New York State Museum based on the work of Robert Yasinsac and Thomas Rinaldi.

Their 2006 book, Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape, studies the region's forgotten cultural treasures. In addition to great river estates, the book profiles sites more meaningful to everyday life in the Valley: churches and hotels, commercial and civic buildings, mills and train stations.

The show is on display at The New York State Museum through December 31st and this Saturday the artists will be on hand for a guided tour and book signing. 

  The New York Times columnist  Maureen Dowd has covered Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton since the '90s.

Trapped between two candidates with the highest recorded unfavorables, Americans are plunged into The Year of Voting Dangerously. In this perilous and shocking campaign season, Dowd traces the psychologies and pathologies in one of the nastiest and most significant battles of the sexes ever.

9/21/16 Panel

Sep 21, 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 political consultant and lobbyist, Libby Post.

  In June 1980, 19-year-old James McDonnell (known as Slim Jim Phantom) boarded a plane from New York City to London with his childhood friends and bandmates Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker. In less than a year, they went from being homeless, hungry, and living in punk rock squats to the toast of the London music scene.

The Stray Cats developed a signature sound and style that swept across the world, released multiplatinum albums, and were embraced and befriended by classic rock acts like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, as well as original punk heroes such as the Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the Clash, and rock-and-roll originators Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. After ten years of marriage to actress Britt Ekland, Slim Jim moved down the hill to Sunset Strip, where his son was raised and he owned the world-famous rock-and-roll bar Cat Club while continuing to play with a host of well-known musicians.

Slim Jim Phantom's memoir is A Stray Cat Struts: My Life as a Rockabilly Rebel.

  There's a lot of interest in teaching people how to write code. This interest encompasses lots of issues including increasing diversity among coders as well as moving beyond the business-oriented world of coding to other worlds such as arts and sciences. Are coding languages becoming just another way of communicating? We'll talk about those issues.

There are several avenues of exploration and development to talk about, and the diversity and organization (or lack thereof) in the development communities mean that there are lots of choices to make.

And, not to be left out, is this all about sixth-graders? Is there any hope for older folks (including many of the folk who are coding and developing the vast amount of software that we all rely on every day).

And what does it mean when people say that millennials are the first digital native generation?

Our tech guru, Jesse Feiler, joins us. 

  The race for New York’s open 22nd Congressional district seat is going down to the wire.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Democratic candidate Kim Myers concludes her interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

  You can take care of your sweet tooth this Saturday for For Goodness Bake, a bake sale to raise funds and awareness for the Beacon Community Kitchen. The event will be held from 10:00 - 4:00 PM at Catalyst Gallery on Main Street.

The Beacon Community Kitchen, formerly the Beacon Soup Kitchen, is a volunteer run organization led by InCareOf, which strives to serve over 50 Beacon residents daily. After the sudden closing of the Salvation Army soup kitchen in November 2015, community members and local organizations quickly banded together to find a new home for the kitchen in an effort to maintain operations seamlessly. Within two weeks, the kitchen was fully operational and serving meals from its new home at Tabernacle of Christ Church in Beacon.

All proceeds from For Goodness Bake will be used to purchase new kitchen equipment and basic food supplies, as well as expand the Kitchen’s outreach within our community and to local housing developments. We are joined by Kristen Pratt and Tara Tornello - For Goodness Bake co-founders; and Catherine Stankowski, Beacon Community Kitchen volunteer.

    This week's Book Picks  come from Phil Lewis of The Bennington Bookshop.

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
Presumption of Guilt by Archer Mayor
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Blue Monday by Nicci French
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

9/20/16 Panel

Sep 20, 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.

  Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College.

Consider the $20 bill.

It has no more value, as a simple slip of paper, than Monopoly money. Yet even children recognize that tearing one into small pieces is an act of inconceivable stupidity. What makes a $20 bill actually worth twenty dollars? In Naked Money, Charles Wheelan uses this seemingly simple question to open the door to the surprisingly colorful world of money and banking.

  Who will replace Congressman Richard Hanna? Three hopefuls are trying for the New York 22nd district seat.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Democratic candidate Kim Myers tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about her views on health care.

  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 are joined by Carol Horn and Kathy Sacks from Homeward Bound Dog Rescue.

  Susie Essman has played the sassy Susie Greene for all 8 seasons of HBO’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Curb Your Enthusiasm, her hilarious bouts of withering sarcasm and uninhibited insults her character’s trademark. She is also an accomplished stand-up. 

She will host Laughingstock! at the 4th Annual Woodstock Comedy Festival on Friday, September 23. The evening will feature stand-up from Karen Bergreen, Kendra Cunningham, Jaye McBride, and Liz Miele.

Laughingstock! is a benefit for Family of Woodstock and for the Polaris Project.

9/19/16 Panel

Sep 19, 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 political consultant and lobbyist, Libby Post.

  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 regional premiere of the Donald Margulies play Time Stands Still opens tonight and runs through October 15th at the Curtain Call Theater in Latham, NY.  

After barely surviving a bomb blast in Iraq, photojournalist Sarah Goodwin finds herself caught in a tug of war between her career and the quiet of domestic life.

Returning home into the care of her long-time lover, James, Sarah is caught off-guard by James’ desire for family and by the simple domestic life pursued by Richard, her editor, and his much younger girlfriend, Mandy. Two of the cast-members join us this morning – Amy Lane and Tom Templeton. 

  New York’s 22nd Congressional district is getting a new representative this year.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Democratic candidate Kim Myers tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock why she’s confident.

Rana Santacruz
Erin Patrice O'Brien

  Rana Santacruz, a Mexican musician and bandleader who lives in Brooklyn -- his music is a kind of Mexican bluegrass, Irish mariachi, folk alternativo mash-up.

Rana Santacruz and his band will play the FreshGrass Festival at MASS MoCA this Saturday.

  Stephen King has called him “a national treasure,” comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried is known for his trademark squinting and screeching...and hilarious observations.

He started his stand-up career at the age of 15, and in 1980 he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. He came to fame doing a series of memorable promo bits for MTV, and over the years he's appeared in numerous films, including Beverly Hills Cop II and The Aristocrats.

In addition, Gottfried regularly appeared on Late Night With David Letterman, Hollywood Squares, The Howard Stern Show and The Tonight Show. He is also the creator and host of the very successful podcast Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast where he talks with the show business legends, icons and behind-the-scenes talents who shaped his childhood and influenced his comedy.

Gilbert will be headlining the Woodstock Comedy Festival next weekend on September 24th at the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock at 8PM.

9/16/16 Panel

Sep 16, 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.