The latest announcements and updates from WBUR

WBUR’s Bob Oakes Reports from Vietnam

Bob Oakes, host of WBUR’s Morning Edition, will be reporting from Vietnam for the next week. Oakes traveled overseas with two Boston-area veterans for the 40th anniversary of the United States evacuation of Saigon. This special series starts today and will air every day through the week of April 27th only on WBUR’s Morning Edition.

bob_oakes_squareMassachusetts sent thousands of its young men and women to Vietnam, serving a critical role in the war. The first and last United States military casualties were soldiers from Massachusetts. The lives of both of these men will be honored and profiled during this series. In addition, four Massachusetts veterans were among the final 50 at the embassy during the last days of the war. Two of those four, William Newell and John Ghilain, are returning to Vietnam for the 40th anniversary. This is the first time these marines will return to Vietnam since the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

Some highlights of “40 Years Later: A Return to Vietnam” include:

Friday, April 24: “Massachusetts Bookends the War, Part 1.” A story of Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr., the first man killed in the war.

Tuesday, April 28: Host Bob Oakes will interview Vietnam veterans William Newell and John Ghilain in front of the same embassy gate they defended 40 years ago.

Wednesday, April 29: “Massachusetts Bookends the War, Part 2.” WBUR explores the life and death of the last man to be killed in the war, Charlie McMahon.

40 Years later: A Return to Vietnam’ will have special features on WBUR’s website including photos and video. For more information, visit the series landing page at


WBUR Wins Five Murrow Awards

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced that 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, was honored with five regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Listen and explore all of WBUR’s award-winning work below:

Each regional Murrow award advances to compete for the national Murrow awards. The winners will be announced in June.

WBUR & the 2015 Independent Film Festival

WBUR is proud to be a presenting partner again this year for the Independent Film Festival Boston (IFF), taking place from April 22-29. The IFF kicked off last night with the New England premiere of The End of the Tour, a biographical drama about journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) interviewing author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) for Rolling Stone magazine.

Lepiarz, Segal and Ponsoldt

Lepiarz, Segal and Ponsoldt.

WBUR Reporter Jack Lepiarz moderated the IFF Opening Night panel for a sold-out crowd at the Somerville Theater, featuring The End of the Tour‘s director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now, 2013) and actor Jason Segel, who delivers a career-changing performance as Wallace.

Visit the IFF website to see the complete line-up of films screening this week. Up next for Team WBUR is Only A Game Host Bill Littlefield at the documentary, Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play at the Somerville Theater on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Plus: Don’t miss your chance to win passes to the IFF Closing Night film, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl on WBUR’s Facebook page.

New associate producer named for WBUR’s Morning Edition

Qainat-KhanWBUR has promoted Qainat Khan to associate producer for WBUR’s Morning Edition. Previously, she worked as a News Desk production assistant. Qainat began her tenure at WBUR in January 2013, and in the last two years has assisted with various WBUR programs including Here & Now, Radio Boston, All Things Considered and the iLab’s Stylus project. Before joining WBUR, she worked as a production intern at StoryCorps in New York.

Qainat was born in Tanzania and grew up in Fresno, California. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in music from Colby College.

Overseas Adventure Travel pledges largest corporate challenge gift in station history

overseas-adventure-travelWBUR and Boston-based Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) announced their collaboration for WBUR’s annual spring fundraiser. OAT has pledged $600,000—the largest corporate challenge gift in WBUR history—which is guaranteed only if the station raises its $1.2 million goal from listener donations. In addition, OAT pledged $75,000 in matching dollars to be used during the fundraiser as campaign needs dictate.

“In the WBUR business model, corporate support and individual giving can work together to keep us strong,” said WBUR Station Manager Corey Lewis. “OAT is tapping into the passion the WBUR audience has for the service we provide to the community. And they’re inviting listeners to stand side-by-side with them for the station’s largest fundraising challenge ever.”

The world leader in small group travel, OAT regularly seeks out new adventures for both its business and its travelers. Their historic challenge gift reflects the owner’s belief that public radio at large, and WBUR in particular, plays a critical role in bringing the world to its audience through its in-depth coverage.

“We are proud to help fund global conversation in New England and across the nation through WBUR,” said OAT Vice Chair and Co-Owner Harriet Lewis. “My husband, Alan, and I are personally longtime supporters of public radio, but we also surveyed hundreds of OAT travelers to gauge their interest for this level of support. They showed great enthusiasm for our sponsorship and active engagement with WBUR. This is a win-win for everyone.”

About Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT): Established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) is the leader in small groups on the road less traveled.  OAT is part of Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation’s family of travel companies, which also includes Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Travel.  OAT offers Americans aged 50 and older 44 culturally rich adventures in groups of just 10-16 travelers by land and 14-24 by small ship.  Destinations include Botswana, the Serengeti, India, Burma, China & Tibet, Vietnam, Thailand, Colombia, the Galapagos, Peru, Costa Rica, Iceland, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, Israel and beyond.  Two-thirds of OAT travelers are women, while 35% of all travelers book as solos.  Since 1992, the organization’s charitable arm, Grand Circle Foundation, has donated or pledged more than $97M USD to more than 300 humanitarian, educational, and cultural organizations worldwide, including 100 schools, in 50 countries.


WBUR Poll: Admitted Marathon Bomber should get life in prison, not death penalty

As the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev moves ahead, a WBUR Poll finds most Boston residents believe the admitted Boston Marathon bomber should receive life in prison instead of the death penalty if convicted. In a survey of 229 registered Boston voters, 62 percent said Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, while 27 percent said he should receive the death penalty.

WBUR Poll: Majority Oppose Boston Hosting 2024 Summer Olympics

A new WBUR Poll finds that opposition to hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston continues to snowball, with a majority of those surveyed saying they oppose the idea. A survey of 504 registered voters in the Boston area found that just 36 percent favor the idea of hosting the Olympics, while 52 percent oppose it.

These findings show further declines from previous WBUR Polls conducted in February (44 percent were in favor) and January (51 percent were in favor).

The MassINC Polling Group’s Steve Koczela, who conducted the WBUR Poll via a live telephone survey March 16-18, said it’s significant that Olympics support has continued to fall in March, even as the weather and operations of the MBTA, the area’s public transit system, have improved. For complete poll results, visit the WBUR website.

David Carr, ‘A Really Great Reporter,’ Recalled At WBUR Event

From left: Jill Abramson, Seth Mnookin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and WBUR's Christopher Lydon remember David Carr at BU Monday night. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

From left: Jill Abramson, Seth Mnookin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and WBUR’s Christopher Lydon remember David Carr at BU Monday night. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

By Louise Kennedy

Some of the many journalists inspired, goaded and mentored by David Carr gathered at Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center Monday night to remember the New York Times media columnist, who died Feb. 12. WBUR hosted the event, which had originally been planned with Carr himself as the second installment of our event series “Fast Forward.”

Jill Abramson, the former Times executive editor who broke news with Carr at the first Fast Forward event, noted how eerie it was to return to the same stage without him. But she resisted any attempt to paint him as a larger-than-life saint.

“He was not Walter Lippmann,” Abramson said. “He was a really great reporter who covered the hell out of the area he knew best about.”

From left: Jill Abramson, Seth Mnookin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and WBUR’s Christopher Lydon remember David Carr at BU Monday night. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

From left: Jill Abramson, Seth Mnookin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and WBUR’s Christopher Lydon remember David Carr at BU Monday night. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Moderated by Radio Open Source host Christopher Lydon and introduced by WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz, the discussion also featured Atlantic national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates and MIT’s Seth Mnookin. Both credited Carr with helping them early in their careers and holding them to high professional standards. Just as important, they said, was his support and friendship in their lives outside work.

“He was my friend and I adored him. Like terribly,” Coates said. “And he’s gone.”

Pyxis Productions filmed the event for WBUR. Here’s the full video:

WBUR Announces ‘Finish Line: Inside the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial’ Podcast

WBUR is launching a podcast, in collaboration with the Boston Globe, that brings listeners an insider’s view of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s federal trial that begins this week for his alleged role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Finish Line

Starting today, WBUR Senior Reporter David Boeri will host a podcast with Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen called Finish Line – Inside the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial. Rather than a recap of ‘he said’ or ‘she said,’ the podcast features a lively discussion that will give listeners a real sense of the atmosphere inside the courtroom – the defendant’s moods, the lawyers’ strategy and the overall tone of the room.

“WBUR is delighted to team up with The Boston Globe and bring two great journalists together to cover this historic trial,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz. “David Boeri and Kevin Cullen are the dream team to take us behind the scenes to the complex inner workings of the court.”

Federal trial proceedings begin this week for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15, 2013 bombing. The podcast will update throughout the trial. Listeners can download the Finish Line podcast at or subscribe on iTunes.

Boeri has won numerous awards for his investigative journalism, including a national Edward R. Murrow award, and for his reporting on organized crime, legal issues and politics and corruption. He is the author of the e-book “Bulger on Trial: Boston’s Most Notorious Gangster and the Pursuit of Justice,” published in November 2013. His three decades of investigative reporting on the FBI and its corrupt relationship with James Whitey Bulger have won national recognition.

A columnist for the Boston Globe’s Metro section, Cullen was named a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his columns about the Boston Marathon bombing and the first responders. He was a member of the 2003 investigative team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal. He is co-author of the New York Times best seller “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice.” His column appears Tuesdays and Sundays in The Boston Globe.

Jack Lepiarz named WBUR News Reporter

WBUR has announced the promotion of Jack Lepiarz from production assistant / fill-in reporter for Morning Edition to full-time news reporter in the WBUR Newsroom.


Since Sept. 2013, Jack has worked as a fill-in reporter, quickly proving himself nimble at covering a variety of topics from Occupy Boston and casino licensing, to the Tsarnaev trial and this winter’s transportation woes. He joined WBUR in Jan. 2010 as an intern, was hired as a freelancer following his internship, then brought on full-time as a production assistant in November 2011.

Jack brings a unique world view to his work. A native of Waco, Texas, he is the son of a circus performer and an anthropology professor. He spent his early years with the Big Apple Circus, and later joined his father as a performer on the Renaissance Faire circuit.

He holds a broadcasting degree from Emerson College, where he worked as an anchor, producer, and news director for WERS 88.9 FM, before joining WBUR.

WBUR partners with Slate for new podcast network, Panoply

The Slate Group, announced today the launch of Panoply, an innovative, full-service podcast network for media brands, authors, personalities, and premier organizations. WBUR is one of a handful of leading media organizations joining Panoply at inception.


The WBUR podcast on Panoply, titled The Checkup, features WBUR’s CommonHealth co-hosts — former Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Zimmerman and former New York Times reporter Carey Goldberg — along with numerous expert guests as they talk through timely health-related happenings and curiosities with a refreshing liveliness not always associated with the medical news genre.

Additional Panoply programming partners include: The New York Times Magazine; HBO Documentary Films, Inc.New York magazine/VultureThe Huffington PostReal SimplePopular Science; Gretchen Rubin, author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller The Happiness Project; Food52; FX’s The Americans; the National Constitution Center, and many more to come.

You can listen to The Checkup on Panoply now and  visit the CommonHealth blog to explore all the content created by its hosts..

WBUR honored with 2015 Commonwealth Award

Today the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) announced the winners of the 2015 Commonwealth Awards. WBUR — with its arts destination website, The ARTery — was named an award recipient for being a “media outlet that has demonstrated outstanding support of the cultural community in Massachusetts by telling its stories.”


Honoring exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences, the Commonwealth Awards will be presented today at a State House ceremony. Massachusetts government leaders will be on hand to present the Commonwealth Awards.

“Once again the MCC is honored to shine a spotlight on the exceptional institutions and individuals who make the Commonwealth’s cultural life the envy of our nation,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “Their achievements remind us that expanding the quality and availability of arts and cultural experiences to our citizens doesn’t happen by accident. It takes leadership, generosity, and a commitment to excellence.”

Presented every two years since 1993, the Commonwealth Awards honor extraordinary contributions made by the arts, humanities, and sciences to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Awards ceremony also presents an opportunity for the nonprofit cultural sector to gather, assert its value, and make the case for public investment in its work. Past winners include leading artists and scholars such as Yo-Yo Ma, Olympia Dukakis, and David McCullough; world-renowned institutions like Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Peabody Essex Museum; and culturally vibrant communities like Pittsfield, Barnstable, and Lowell.

For a complete list of the 2015 Commonwealth Award winners, please visit the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s website.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The MCC is a state agency supporting the arts, sciences, and humanities, to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. It pursues its mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. MCC’s total budget for this fiscal year is $13.5 million, which includes a $12 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.


WBUR Poll: Boston Olympics Opposition Intensifying

A new WBUR Poll released today finds that opposition to hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics here in Boston is intensifying, with more Boston-area residents against the Olympic bid than for it. The poll shows 44 percent of Boston area residents support the Olympic bid, while 46 percent do not – opposition has grown 13 points in just one month since the last WBUR Poll. The survey of 505 Boston area voters was conducted between Feb. 12 and Feb 15. For complete poll results, visit the WBUR website:



WBUR Poll Finds Mass. residents expect Gov. Baker to help solve MBTA woes

A new WBUR Poll released today finds the MBTA’s troubles could become a political liability for the new Massachusetts governor. While only 5 percent of Boston area residents say Gov. Charlie Baker is most responsible for the troubles with the MBTA this winter, a resounding 81 percent of those polled say addressing the T’s problems ought to be a “major priority” for his administration going forward. The survey of 505 Boston area voters was conducted between Feb. 12 and Feb 15.

For complete poll results, visit the WBUR website:


Some changes to

We’re making some changes to the look and function of

At WBUR, we believe that our website and all our digital products should delight you, just like our radio programing – and that no matter how you discovered one of our stories, the listening and reading experience should be beautiful, clean and functional. We believe it’s part of our public service mission here in Boston and beyond.

Earlier this year, the digital team here outlined some of our goals for our website properties and mobile apps for 2015, which include an enhanced audio experience; more ways to for our community to connect with us; a more meaningful digital membership experience; and better functionality in all the ways people visit WBUR, whether they’re on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.

Throughout this winter and spring, we’ll be rolling out many of these improvements. The first begins today, with a new look and organization to story pages on We began with story pages as we know that these are by far the most popular on our site, like many digital news publishers, and have been for some time. Highlights of these changes include: responsively designed pages, meaning everything will look and function well no matter what device you might be using; larger photos and clean type, to better assist with readability and organization of our material; better ‘signposts’ to direct you to other areas of the site; better descriptions of who wrote and reported these stories; and an updated audio player.

This is just the beginning of lots of changes to our many digital properties to make sure we’re delivering our stories in the best way possible. We want to get out of your way to enjoy WBUR’s digital offerings of news, analysis and programming. Design and development on our site and products is ongoing; these early efforts are part of a foundation we’re building so that we can create exciting changes in 2015 and beyond. We’re approaching this project in an iterative manner, rolling out small pieces one at a time, so consider these article pages simply version 1.1, with a lot more to come in the next few months.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions and especially your ideas for improvements to If you have any feedback, questions or concerns, please reach out to me directly.


— Tiffany Campbell, Managing Editor, Digital

Listen Up: An Evening of Exceptional Audio

WBUR turned off the lights at the ICA for a special evening of listening…in the dark. 

The series Listen Up mines the vast radio landscape for hidden gems, then presents them in a unique listening experience.

Robin Young PhotoHighResHere & Now’s Robin Young hosted Listen Up: Love Stories with special guest Steve Almond, acclaimed writer and co-host of WBUR’s new podcast, Dear Sugar. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, this edition of Listen Up focused on relationships and featured a curated selection of public radio’s most exceptional love stories. Click on the links below to hear the featured pieces:

What Is This Thing?
Sean Cole

Dear Sugar
Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed

Bad Dates
This American Life

Dr. Phil
Starlee Kine

Carrying Sam
Robin Young

The Greatest Love Story of the 20th Century
Sarah Vowell

WBUR’s Serious Fun presents “Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders”

WBUR’s Serious Fun presents “Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders” at the Somerville Theatre on Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m.  This NYC-based variety show is a favorite of fans and critics alike and has been hailed as “perpetually entertaining!” (New Yorker), “one of the most whip-smart variety shows” (Portland Mercury) and “a brilliant evening of laid-back fun” (Village Voice). 

A one-of-a-kind variety show with celebrated musicians, writers and comedians, you’ll laugh, think and sing along. Sometimes all at once. A little bit vaudeville, a little bit literary and a lot of rock ‘n’ roll – you can never predict what’s inside the Cabinet of Wonders. The Cabinet of Wonders previously was a special podcast series from NPR.

Presented by 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, as part of a new event series called “Serious Fun,” guests appearing on this very special Boston installment include: host Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), author/surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande, comedian Maeve Higgins, musicians Bill Janovitz (Buffalo Tom), Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses) and Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, Belly).

“We’re thrilled to bring this terrific show to Boston audiences, as part of our ongoing commiment to provide the same style of high-quality programming in person as we do on-air and online,” said Louise Kennedy, director of community engagement, WBUR. “And of course, WBUR is seriously committed to having serious fun when possible.”


Somerville Theatre, Davis Square

Doors 7:15pm,  Show 8pm

Tickets $25-35

Tickets and more information:

Suicide: A Crisis in the Shadows

WBUR is tackling a public health crisis that many say is being ignored: suicide. More people die in this country every year by their own hand, than in car crashes. Suicide is the cause of death for approximately 38,000 people in the United States and 500 people here in Massachusetts each year.

Over the course of 2015, the WBUR newsroom will explore the public health concerns that suicide presents by talking with a wide-range of people trying to understand it, and by learning more about some of those who have died as a result of suicide. The first stories in this occasional series, “Suicide: A Crisis in the Shadows,” aired on WBUR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered today.



Reporter Simόn Rios Joins WBUR Newsroom

WBUR is pleased to announce the addition of reporter Simόn Rios to the newsroom.  Simόn joins WBUR from The Standard-Times in New Bedford, where he led the newspaper’s coverage on issues that included immigration, the fishing industry and business.

Previously, Simόn reported freelance for WBUR, including an enterprise story he did last summer looking at the impact of unaccompanied immigrant youth arriving in New Bedford from Central America.

Simόn grew up in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston and is a graduate of Emerson College, when he interned on the National/Foreign Desk of The Boston Globe. He has also worked as a correspondent for The Nashua Telegraph, The New Hampshire Union Leader and for New Hampshire Public Radio.

For nearly a year-and-a half, Simόn traveled extensively throughout Latin America, maintaining both a photo and text blog about his discoveries and experiences, including visiting his family’s roots in Uruguay. He is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese.

Game On: WBUR, Boston takes on KUOW, Seattle in the Public Radio Super Bowl Challenge

So, here’s sixteen ways some of the team at WBUR say Boston is better than Seattle.

Now it’s your turn!

Please add all the things you think we missed here:


Listen to the “Boston versus Seattle” segment on Radio Boston.

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