With carriage on more than 255 public radio stations across the nation, The Takeaway led the American conversation in Fiscal Year 2015. Host John Hockenberry explored topics of local, national and international significance, from community and racial tensions in Ferguson, MO, to arms control and the upcoming 2016 elections. The Takeaway regularly collaborated with its local broadcasting stations to integrate diverse regional perspectives into the show’s discussion and analysis of critical issues. The series “Under Her Skin” followed the personal journey of three African-American women with breast cancer over a six-month period, winning an award for Best Radio Documentary from the National Association of Black Journalists. Also airing was “ZIP Code Decoded: How Where You Live Matters to Your Health,” which looked at the intersection between population and health. The series examined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings and data collected by the American Communities Project at American University to illuminate the diverse health issues specific to regions and communities across the country.
On the Media on Ebola
Hosted by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, On the Media is a Peabody Award–winning news program that provides important counternarratives to dominant media stories of the day. As the mainstream media overreacted to Ebola arriving on our shores, On the Media brought listeners to the epicenter of the crisis in Liberia, where Ebola was a reality, not just a threat. In reporting the story, host Brooke Gladstone introduced millions of listeners to Rodney Sieh, the founder and editor of FrontPage Africa, an award-winning independent newspaper, who spoke about the hazards of covering this story and the devastating consequences of an uninformed public. In December, On the Media traveled to Monrovia, resulting in an hour of original reporting, raising awareness of Liberia as a nation in crisis and deepening our understanding of the conditions on the ground.
In June, On the Media was presented with a 2015 Mirror Award from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University for its hour-long special, “OTM Goes Inside Washington.” The Mirror Awards honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit.
Studio 360 On Pop Culture and Art
Studio 360 is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what’s happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Recent guests include Frances McDormand, David Fincher, Jenny Slate, Paul Thomas Anderson, Cassandra Wilson, John Cusack, Christopher Wheeldon, and Carey Mulligan. What’s better than a rock opera? A rock opera based on the Book of Revelation! Musician Mike Doughty fulfilled his New Year’s resolution by writing and performing one, which he debuted in The Greene Space. The Great Doodle Dare listener challenge, judged by MacArthur “Genius Award” winner Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), got hundreds of listeners to complete a doodle she started. Want to see the winner? Look here.
The Brian Lehrer Show Celebrates 25 Years
In the fall of 2014, The Brian Lehrer Show celebrated 25 years on the air with a series titled “25 Years in 25 Days.” The series featured such notable guests as Francis Fukuyama and Ray Kelly, and conversations about major topics of the past 25 years, including the rise of AIDS, the early days of the Internet, and the group known as “Generation X.” The 25th anniversary programming culminated with a celebratory event held at the Society for Ethical Culture building. Special guests included the New Yorker’s David Remnick, New York Times columnist Gail Collins, PBS host Tavis Smiley and special quiz master Mo Rocca.
The Leonard Lopate Show Turns 30
For 30 years, Leonard Lopate has quite literally hosted “the New York conversation,” earning a Peabody Award and recognition from, among others, the Associated Press and the James Beard Foundation. In early March, The Leonard Lopate Show celebrated the anniversary on-air with a week of special programming. Guests included Lidia Bastianich, Dave Barry, Art Spiegelman, Arlene and Alan Alda, Robert Caro, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Walken, and Phillip Lopate. Notable past interviews were posted online, as were food and recipe segments from guests including Ruth Reichl and Martha Stewart. Listen here.
Music: Soundcheck, Spinning On Air, New Sounds & The Jonathan Channel
WNYC’s music brands continued to deliver unique access to musical experiences – on the radio, via digital distribution and in person. Soundcheck hosted performances by Juana Molina and La Mecánica Popular, Primus, Guster, Buster Poindexter, Torres, Courtney Barnett and The Lone Bellow. Spinning On Air also hosted a special concert for Earth Day featuring legendary singer and author Patti Smith alongside her daughter, composer Jesse Paris Smith, and cellist Rebecca Foon (the two are the co-founders of “Pathway to Paris,” a series of concerts focused on climate change), as well as American singer–songwriter Larkin Grimm. Jonathan Schwartz presented a night with TV and Broadway star Ana Gasteyer and a preview of “Letters to Dinah Washington” with Champian Fulton in The Greene Space.