The latest announcements and updates from WBUR

WBUR Will Expand Education Reporting With $100,000 Knight And Boston Foundation Grant

WBUR is launching a statewide education reporting project, thanks to a $100,000 grant: $50,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a matching grant from the Boston Foundation.

The project, a partnership between WBUR, the Boston Foundation and Glass Eye Media, is designed to create a forum for thoughtful conversation around improving Massachusetts schools. Learning Lab will use WBUR’s editorial resources, the structured beat approach that Glass Eye Media originally developed for its award-winning Homicide Watch, and the Boston Foundation’s connection to the education community to build data, create tools and encourage change. The project will increase the station’s capacity to cover education, while building a replicable framework for effective coverage of education reform in other regions and states.

“We’re excited to be working with Glass Eye Media and the Boston Foundation to expand WBUR’s coverage of education, a critically important issue for our community,” said John Davidow, WBUR executive editor, digital. “With the tools and reporting we’ll provide, parents and policymakers will get real information about what works and what doesn’t in education reform, and they’ll be able to participate more effectively in conversations about what to do next.”

Charlie Kravetz, WBUR general manager, noted, “We’re delighted to be partnering with the Boston Foundation on this grant. It’s a strong indicator of our commitment to innovation in education reporting.”

“The Boston Foundation shares WBUR’s belief in the power of data to inform and engage,” said Paul S. Grogan, president and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “We’re excited to support the launch of Learning Lab and the opportunity to bring WBUR’s and Glass Eye Media’s trusted, independent reporting and analysis to education.”

This grant is one of 10 awarded this year through the Knight Community Information Challenge, which engages community and place-based foundations in supporting news and information projects. Other winning projects include data training for Alaskan journalists, community news partnerships in rural Washington and New Mexico, and a new database in New Orleans to track government contracts.

“Whether you’re interested in improving schools, government transparency, or air quality, good information is a key ingredient to social change,” said Bahia Ramos, director of Knight Foundation’s community foundation program. “A growing number of community and place-based foundations realize that and are stepping up to invest in meeting community information needs.”

 

About 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station

Founded in 1950, WBUR began broadcasting NPR programming in 1970, offering NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered along with local news programming and establishing its iconic identity as a news and information station. One of the nation’s most successful public radio stations today, WBUR produces national programs On Point, Here & Now, Only A Game and Car Talk, reaching millions of listeners on NPR stations across the United States and online. Located on Commonwealth Avenue at Boston University, WBUR has the largest radio newsroom in New England, dedicated to covering topics that matter in Boston, across Massachusetts and throughout the region.

 

About the Boston Foundation

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of nearly $900 million. In 2012, the Foundation and its donors made $88 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of close to $60 million. The Foundation is a partner in philanthropy, with some 900 separate charitable funds established by donors either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. The Boston Foundation also serves as a major civic leader, provider of information, convener and sponsor of special initiatives that address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit www.tbf.org.

 

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.KnightFoundation.org.

 

About Glass Eye Media

Glass Eye Media, founded by Chris and Laura Amico, created Homicide Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based website for data-driven coverage of violent crime that was recognized as a notable entry in the 2011 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism. News organizations and universities including the Sun Times, Digital First Media, Northeastern University and University of Colorado Boulder have partnered with Glass Eye Media to license its technology and use its community-driven approach to journalism. In 2013, Homicide Watch DC won the Knight award for public service journalism, was a finalist in the general excellence category for news sites by the Online News Association, and received a special citation from the National Press Foundation. For more, visit www.homicidewatch.org.

 

WBUR Partners With Slate On Health Podcast: The Checkup

Premiering today, this audio spinoff of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog is geared toward women and takes a fresh approach to health

Slate magazine and WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, have teamed up to launch The Checkup, a new podcast series premiering today that focuses on health and is aimed at a female audience. The Checkup’s first episode, which tackles health myths around pregnancy and childbirth, is now available for download at www.Slate.com.

The Checkup features CommonHealth’s 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.

Slate is thrilled to welcome this new collaboration with WBUR to our podcast lineup,” said Andy Bowers, Executive Producer of Slate podcasts. “Both WBUR and Slate produce smart, high-quality journalism, and there’s a natural overlap in our audiences. We’re excited to join forces with one of public radio’s most dynamic stations to offer this entertaining and enlightening program, which we’re confident both Slate podcast fans and WBUR listeners will love.”

“At WBUR, we’re constantly looking for ways to engage new audiences around our reporting, so we are delighted to team up with Slate for this new health podcast,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz. “This partnership reflects WBUR’s deep commitment to innovation and program incubation, because we know that’s how we’ll continue to be strong in the future.”

“The Checkup podcast with Slate is a result of our strategic plan to create more digital-first products with an eye toward finding ways to syndicate the content on-air, in podcasts and beyond,” said WBUR.org Executive Editor John Davidow. “CommonHealth’s success online, with its personal approach from Rachel and Carey on the trials and tribulations of getting the best healthcare for you and your family, will make for great podcasts.”

WBUR’s CommonHealth began as a small but unique and important online forum for discussing the landmark Massachusetts healthcare reform of 2006. In fall 2010, through Project ARGO, NPR, The Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded a major expansion that turned CommonHealth into a full-blown health news website, covering the next phase of reform, and also personal health, medical research, the cost of care and more. CommonHealth’s reporting has been cited by other media ranging from The New York Times to The Boston Globe. It is featured regularly on WBUR’s air (90.9 FM in Greater Boston) and frequently posted on the NPR website (npr.org). The Knight Science Journalism Tracker has called CommonHealth “indispensable.”

The Check-Up marks the second collaboration between Slate podcasts and acclaimed public radio organizations. Gabfest Radio, a partnership with WNYC, was launched just last year. Since its founding in 1996, Slate has been committed to providing smart, counterintuitive analysis of news and culture, and these values have been instilled into Slate’s wide array of podcasts, which broadcast to millions of listeners each month.

The Checkup will be available for download every Monday at www.Slate.com and wbur.org.

About Slate
Slate is a daily magazine on the Web that offers analysis and commentary about news, politics, culture, business, law and technology. Slate‘s strong editorial voice and witty take on current events have been recognized with numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online and the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism. Reaching eleven million unique visitors per month, Slate is the centerpiece of the Slate Group, an online publishing subsidiary of the Washington Post Co. For more information about Slate, visit www.slate.com. (NYSE:WPO)

 

About 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station

Founded in 1950, WBUR began broadcasting NPR programming in 1970, offering NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered along with local news programming and establishing its iconic identity as a news and information station. One of the nation’s most successful public radio stations today, WBUR produces national programs On PointHere & NowOnly A Game and Car Talk, reaching millions of listeners on NPR stations across the United States and online. Located on Commonwealth Avenue at Boston University, WBUR has the largest radio newsroom in New England, dedicated to covering topics that matter in Boston, across Massachusetts and throughout the region.

 

WBUR, BU Seek Entries For 2013 Schorr Prize

WBUR and Boston University announce the Call for Entries for the 12th annual Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. The deadline for entries is Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

The Prize is an award of $5,000 given to a rising journalist in public radio for a news story or segment  – whether broadcast, podcast or published online, using any combination of audio and other media  – of significance and quality. By sponsoring this award, WBUR hopes to inspire a new generation of journalists to stretch the boundaries of the medium and encourage journalists in training to choose public radio as a career path.

We are guided by the vision and example of the late Daniel Schorr, who gave American journalism a lifetime of commitment through his insight, intelligence and integrity. Dan was greatly honored to have this award carry his name. He believed strongly in supporting talented journalists as they rose through the ranks of the broadcast industry — particularly young journalists who have found a calling in public radio. All entrants must be 35 or younger as of June 30, 2013.

Complete guidelines and relevant links are available here.

WBUR Enters Agreement to Sell 1240-AM in West Yarmouth To Langer Broadcasting

Alex Langer, President and Chairman of Langer Broadcasting Group, LLC and Charles Kravetz, General Manager of WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, announced that they have signed a letter of intent for Langer Broadcasting Group to purchase WBUR’s repeater signal, 1240-AM in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Langer’s new station will serve the large Brazilian and Portuguese communities of Cape Cod and the Islands.

“I’m eager to share more Portuguese-language programming with growing audiences, as we’ve done in the greater Boston area with Radio 650-AM, WSRO,” said Langer. “There is an appetite for more multi-cultural broadcasting in Massachusetts, especially in areas like Cape Cod where the Portuguese-speaking community is increasing every year.”

WBUR has simulcast its programming on WBUR AM 1240 since it secured ownership of the station in 1997. The 1240 signal has served Cape Cod and the Islands since 1940 and was Cape Cod’s first radio station. The changeover is expected to take place sometime in the fall, pending FCC approval.

“In February, when WBUR began simulcasting on 92.7 WBUA in Martha’s Vineyard, we recognized that our 1240-AM signal was redundant in its coverage. And so, we’re pleased the station will now go to Langer Broadcasting, where it’ll be used to serve the Portuguese-speaking communities of Cape Cod and the Islands,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz.

WBUR purchased 92.7 from Aritaur Communications earlier this year, boosting its reach to more than 60,000 prospective listeners on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod, as well as in New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth, Westport, Marion and other Massachusetts South Coast locations. This signal is in addition to WBUR’s current 50,000-watt signal on 90.9 FM, which broadcasts across all of metropolitan Boston and eastern Massachusetts.

WSRO, Langer’s first Portuguese formatted radio station, headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, offers  family-friendly talk, music, news, entertainment, and religious content. WSRO is the only Brazilian Portuguese-based, 24-hour radio station in the USA.

‘On Point’s’ Tom Ashbrook And Tech Visionary Nicholas Negroponte Discuss Learning In The Digital Age

On Friday, July 26, WBUR and WBUA listeners on Martha’s Vineyard conveyed at the Old Whaling Church in beautiful Edgartown to join On Point host Tom Ashbrook and his guest, tech visionary and the founder of the MIT Media Lab and One Laptop Per Child, Nicholas Negroponte for “Reinventing Media 4.0,” a discussion on the digital age and how we learn.

Presented by WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station and the home of On Point, now broadcasting on 92.7 WBUA for the Cape, Islands and South Coast, the free event drew members from the community to hear the two discuss how digital devices are transforming the way children learn by playing with the devices and figuring them out on their own, rather than by listening to teachers and memorizing information.

Listen to the full conversation here:

 

‘Only A Game’ Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, Only A Game made its debut from the studios of 90.9 WBUR in Boston. Today, in partnership with NPR, it remains the only sports show in all of public radio, and the only nationally syndicated radio sports program based in Boston.

Hosted since inception on July 24, 1993, by veteran NPR sports commentator and author Bill Littlefield, Only A Game has stayed true to its mission for two decades, covering the intimate human stories behind athletic achievements big and small, with topics ranging from Little Leagues to the big leagues, from the Super Bowl to soccer moms. During its one-hour program each week, Littlefield and the staff have continually put sports into perspective with intelligent analysis, insightful interviews and a keen sense humor. Recent guests include NBA Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, and Phil Jackson; author John Grisham on baseball; legendary baseball manager Tony La Russa, former Cy Young Award winner Dwight Gooden, and Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield; Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas; tennis greats Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, and Serena Williams; golfer Annika Sorenstam; and Pro Football Hall of Famers Larry Czonka and Carl Eller.

“From the beginning, Only A Game’s ‘secret sauce’ has been getting at the anatomy of what makes the celebration of sports special in all of our lives, whether you’re an athlete or not,” said Sam Fleming, managing director of news and programming, WBUR. “Nobody captures that magic better in the world of sports journalism than Bill Littlefield and the team at Only A Game.”

In the last 20 years, the show has featured in-depth reporting on issues that affect both professional and amateur athletes including concussions; performance-enhancing drugs; Title IX; and the impact of municipal funding for new pro sports stadiums. Littlefield takes pride in Only A Game’s commitment to covering women’s sports and participatory activities that illustrate the humanity sports can provide for all genders and ages, whether its soccer games in Spain or pick-up rugby games in Cambridge, Mass.

Only A Game also explores the little known corners of the sports world, capturing stories from participatory sports that lack the star power to attract attention from other media outlets. Over the years, they’ve covered everything from trampoline dodgeball to lobster boat drag racing. Only A Game also celebrates a mash-up of sports and poetry with its annual Super Bowl Haiku competition. Another consistently popular hallmark of Only A Game is the weekly sports round up with renowned Esquire and Grantland magazine writer and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! contributor Charlie Pierce, formerly of The Boston Globe.

In addition to Littlefield and Pierce, the staff which is one of the longest running teams in public radio, includes Senior Producer Gary Waleik; Producer Karen Given; Producer Doug Tribou; and Technical Director John Perotti.

Only A Game airs on nearly 200 public radio stations across the country, reaching more than 300,000 weekly listeners. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Only A Game is planning a retrospective look at the show throughout 2013, including occasional archival audio highlights, updates on favorite past stories and interviews, as well as a live event in Boston.

In Greater Boston, Only A Game airs every Saturday at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on 90.9 FM. Check your local listings for other Only A Game broadcasts, or simply download the podcast at http://onlyagame.wbur.org/.

More Midday News: Here & Now Expands to Two Hours in New Partnership with NPR

Program Offers Live, Updated News From Around the World, Nation and Community

Beginning today, more than 300 NPR Member stations across the country will broadcast the new, expanded Here & Now to meet growing audience demand for midday news and analysis. The live program, hosted by Robin Young for more than a decade and beginning today with co-host Jeremy Hobson, reflects the fluid world of news as it’s happening, with timely, smart and in-depth news and conversation. With today’s expansion, the show will now reach twice as many listeners as its previous audience.

Here & Now expands from one to two hours with updates for different time zones across the country as part of a groundbreaking partnership between NPR and WBUR, Boston, which has been producing the program since 1997. This marks the first time NPR has collaborated with a Member station on a daily news program. NPR selected Here & Now specifically to serve as a bridge in midday, between its signature news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

“Through this partnership with WBUR, we’re creating what will very quickly become the next two hours of must-hear radio for millions of listeners,” said Gary E. Knell, President & CEO of NPR. “This show represents an entirely new way of working across public radio to produce the best news content possible and reflect a broad range of American interests.”

Here & Now’s daily lineup will include interviews with NPR hosts, reporters, editors and bloggers as well as news from stations across the nation. In the midday timeslot, Here & Now will often function as public radio’s first source for breaking news coverage with NPR.

To ensure that Here & Now reflects what’s happening in a diverse geographic range of communities, NPR and WBUR have formed a 15-member contributors network of public radio stations across the U.S. – from WHYY in Philadelphia to KQED in San Francisco and KUT in Texas. These stations will regularly contribute to Here & Now through feature stories, interviews or as on-the-ground resources when news is unfolding in a specific market.

“Our Here & Now collaboration is a prime example of the new ecosystem in public radio, using all of our collective strength to stay competitive, serve the public and be strong and relevant during this age of digital disruption,” said Charlie Kravetz, general manager, WBUR.

Since the NPR collaboration with WBUR was announced, numerous NPR journalists have appeared on Here & Now, including Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep, Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving and International Correspondent Peter Kenyon. Digital-first productions, like NPR Music and the pop-culture blog Monkey See, are being developed into regular weekly segments for the show.

Robin Young, host of Here & Now since 2000, is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television. She is now joined by Jeremy Hobson, a public radio reporter, producer and former host of Marketplace Morning Report. Additionally, Meghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s Radio Boston, has been selected as the program’s primary back-up host.

Exploring the Impact of Modern Warfare: What It Means When Veterans Suffer From Moral Injury

Boston’s WBUR, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network and Symbolia Collaborate on Special News Series – Debuts Monday, June 24

One-third of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan say they’ve experienced some kind of mental health issue. While this manifests itself in many forms, veterans who’ve been part of something that betrayed their sense of “right and wrong” often find themselves grappling with guilt and remorse so intense that researchers are trying to better understand it. They call it “moral injury,” and it results from having done something — or failed to stop something from happening — that violated the veteran’s personal moral code.

Boston’s WBUR, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network (PIN) and Symbolia magazine embarked upon a special reporting project to explore moral injury. A visually arresting digital comic book, illustrated by Andy Warner of Symbolia, was created to serve as a “primer” and lay the foundation for the resulting series of special news reports. The comic book is online now at wbur.org and PIN.

The full “Moral Injury” news series launches today with daily on-air and online segments from reporters Martha Bebinger (WBUR), Jeff Severns Guntzel (PIN) and Samara Freemark (PIN) on WBUR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The series, composed of five segments, will last the entire week.

The series developed from PIN’s ongoing work talking to veterans about their experiences moving on from war and pioneering work from psychiatrist Jonathan Shay and psychologist Brett Litz, leading researchers on the condition. The Public Insight Network invites veterans to help journalists report more on this topic by sharing their own experiences in a short, confidential questionnaire.

Tom Ashbrook Hosts On Point Live With Mark Bittman And Della Mae

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Mark Bittman joined Tom Ashbrook on June 6th in a special edition of On Point Live at the Paramount Center in Boston.

On Point host Tom Ashbrook welcomed best-selling author and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman as his guest for this year’s rendition of On Point Live on Thursday, June 6 at the Paramount Center in downtown Boston. The sold-out show took place in front of a live audience of nearly 600 people and the interview was broadcast nationally the next day on 240 public radio stations across the country.

Bittman joined Ashbrook on stage for a discussion of diet and his new book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. Bittman explained his strategy of transforming two thirds of his diet by eating vegan before 6 p.m. to increase his consumption of plants and turn his health around for the better. The two broadened the conversation with an analysis of the American diet through a discussion of the practices and policies of the agricultural and meat industries. To close, Bittman optimistically argued that our diet has been as bad as it will ever be and can continue to improve through small changes on an individual level, and raising consciousness of nutrition, food sourcing and cooking on a broader level.

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Della Mae performed songs off their new album, This World Oft Can Be

Special musical guest, bluegrass sensation Della Mae, opened the show with a high-energy live set. The Boston-based group wowed the audience with their blend of fiddle, fretboard and voice, and performed songs from their latest album, This World Oft Can Be, which was recently released on Rounder Records.

WBUR Debuts Special Report: Bad Chemistry

Multi-Platform, Data-Driven Investigative Report with Custom Microsite Examines Fallout from Annie Dookhan and the Massachusetts Drug Lab Crisis

In August 2012, Massachusetts officials closed Boston’s Hinton state drug laboratory because a then-obscure chemist Annie Dookhan allegedly “failed to follow testing protocols.” Dookhan has since been criminally charged with deliberately manipulating drug tests, compromising at least 34,000 court cases.

How could one state chemist cause the overturn of 286 convictions, cast another 34,000 drug cases in doubt and force the overhaul of the entire criminal justice system in Massachusetts? These are huge questions and in the search for answers, WBUR has launched a multi-platform, data-driven effort to explore the full story with a special report, “Bad Chemistry: Annie Dookhan and the Massachusetts Drug Lab Crisis.”

With convicted criminals now on the street and the crisis’ full scope unknown, WBUR has set out to follow the trail from Dookhan through the entire state criminal justice system. “Bad Chemistry” features WBUR’s independent analysis of the state police database capturing up to 58,070 drug tests linked to Dookhan, as well as interviews, videos, documents, an interactive timeline and more than 60 news stories aggregated since August 2012. A custom microsite was built at wbur.org to house the entire “Bad Chemistry” report and serve as a comprehensive resource for all aspects of this story now and moving forward. As the story develops, the investigative series will be continually updated online at the site, as well as on WBUR’s radio programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

“We knew that this was a story we needed to pursue in depth,” said WBUR Digital Managing Editor Tiffany Campbell. “We wanted to report it in a way that would not just follow the latest twists and turns of Dookhan’s criminal trial, but would illuminate how one chemist could spark a chain reaction that stretched to all corners of the criminal justice system.”

Campbell and WBUR.org Executive Editor John Davidow assigned an investigative reporting team to dig deep into the story, including WBUR Senior Reporter Deb Becker, WBUR’s Open Court reporter Joe Spurr and Chris Amico, the developer behind Washington, D.C.’s Homicide Watch. The team has assembled exclusive video interviews and photos, secured confidential documents and created data-driven infographics analyzing the state police database of Dookhan’s drug tests. Taken together, this information raises troubling questions of public safety, civil liberty and government accountability.

“This project is just getting started, because the more questions we ask, the more threads there are to follow,” said WBUR.org Executive Editor John Davidow. “Not only do we aspire to provide a one-stop online destination for information on this case, but we hope to address what changes are necessary to keep this from ever happening again.”

WBUR Announces Two New Posts To Newsroom Leadership Team

Richard Chacón Hired as Executive Director of News Content; Tom Melville Promoted to News Director

WBUR, 90.9 FM and wbur.org, Boston’s NPR news station, announced two key newsroom appointments yesterday: Richard Chacón in the newly created position of Executive Director of News Content, and Tom Melville as News Director, from his current role as Executive Editor of Content.

These two new leadership posts reflect WBUR’s strategic effort to ensure that its venerable newsroom, composed of 75 journalists providing both radio and digital content for audiences on-air and online, reflects the overall need to serve the public on multiple media platforms.

As Executive Director of News Content, Chacón will oversee all of WBUR’s local news content and resources for both radio and digital. Chacón comes to WBUR with deep journalistic credentials, having worked at The Boston Globe for more than a decade in a variety of roles including Ombudsman (2005-2006), Deputy Foreign Desk Editor (2001-2004) and Latin America Bureau Chief (1998-2001). He started at The Boston Globe in 1994 as a general assignment reporter covering the neighborhoods of Boston, and also worked as the beat reporter for Higher Education and then City Hall. He worked briefly as a television reporter and started his career in journalism at WBUR in 1984, while still an undergraduate at Boston University. Chacón has also held a variety of public policy and public affairs roles, such as heading up the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants and serving as Director of Policy for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Most recently, he has been working on an ambitious capital campaign for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Senior Associate Director in the Office of the Vice President for Resource Development. He holds both a Masters in Journalism and a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University. Chacón was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and an Ethics Fellow at The Poynter Institute. He begins his new role at WBUR on June 10.

Melville, whose leadership was critical in overseeing WBUR’s heralded coverage in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, has been appointed News Director, effective immediately. In this role, he will continue to oversee WBUR’s corps of reporters, producers and hosts for WBUR-FM radio. He’ll work closely with Chacón, as well as Managing Editor of Digital Tiffany Campbell, who joined WBUR in July 2012 from The Seattle Times, where she’d been the editor of digital news. Melville was previously WBUR’s executive editor of content since 2011. Prior to that, he was the news director at New England Cable News (NECN), the 24-hour news cable outlet. Melville arrived at NECN in 1993 as chief political reporter and rose through the ranks to executive producer and to assistant news director before being named news director in 2008. While at NECN, he was co-writer and executive producer of the documentary film “Look for Me Here: 299 days in the life of Nora Lenihan,” which won the George Foster Peabody award. Melville holds degrees from both Boston University and Boston College Law School. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.

“As the media landscape continues to evolve, WBUR is thrilled to have a team in place that will serve our on-air and online audiences with distinction,” said Charlie Kravetz, general manager, WBUR. “Tom’s promotion to news director is well deserved, and he’ll continue the important work of overseeing all of WBUR’s local radio news coverage in this role. And I’m delighted to welcome Richard to this newly created position at WBUR, where his extensive journalistic background and leadership experience will help shape and guide our multi-platform newsroom of the future. ”

‘Boston After The Bombings': Hope And Healing

On Point host Tom Ashbrook moderated “Boston After the Bombings: A Public Conversation of Hope & Healing” on Wednesday, April 24, at Emerson College’s Cutler Majestic Theatre. This  free community event was presented by WBUR and The Boston Foundation, with support from Emerson College, ArtsEmerson, M. Steinert & Sons  and the Boston University School of Music. It was broadcast live on WBUR and streamed on wbur.org. You can watch a video of the event here:

Or, if you prefer, listen to the full conversation here:

Pianist Han Na Son, with whom the late Lu Lingzi studied at Boston University, opened the program with a performance of Chopin’s Nocturne in c minor, Opus 48, No. 1. (She returned later in the evening with Claude Debussy’s “Reflets dans l’eau” and Johannes Brahms’s Intermezzo, opus 118, No. 2.)

Tom then introduced the first of two panels to discuss the immediate effects of the Marathon bombings on the Boston community. This panel included:

Dr. Natalie Stavas, a resident at Children’s Hospital who was running the Marathon near the finish line when the explosions occurred. Despite a broken foot, she leapt over the barricades and rushed to provide first aid to the victims.

Daniel Linskey, superintendent-in-chief of the Boston Police Department, who supervised the department’s role in the investigation and was in the command post in Watertown during the manhunt that ended in one suspect’s death and the other’s arrest. (Read Linskey’s account of the bombings and the manhunt.)

Dr. Peter Burke, chief of trauma services at Boston Medical Center

Paul Grogan, president of The Boston Foundation

Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission

Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe columnist

The second panel, which broadened to discuss the larger implications and long-term effects of the bombings, featured:

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst

Imam Shuhaib Webb, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center

Rev. Ray Hammond, Bethel AME Church

Dr. Eli Newberger, author and pediatrician, Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital

Ayanna Pressley, Boston city councilor at-large

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WBUR Answers Your Burning Questions

So, big news out of Boston today. Nope, not about Mayor Menino! It’s the news that NPR & WBUR have joined forces to expand Here & Now from one hour (12 – 1 p.m.) to two hours (12 – 2 p.m.) and add more newsmagazine programming to the middle of the day. Our own superstar host, Robin Young, will be joined by a new co-host Jeremy Hobston.

Below, a few answers to questions we’re getting from our most ardent and curious listeners:

What does this mean for the status of Fresh Air?

Rest assured, Terry Gross fans! Fresh Air will remain on WBUR’s airwaves. This summer (beginning in early July), we’ll start airing Here & Now from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m., followed by Fresh Air from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. This is just a slight adjustment to our programming schedule, as Fresh Air currently airs at 1 p.m. For years, listeners have told us how much they like hearing Fresh Air adjacent to Here & Now, so we’re pleased to be able to keep these two programs together in the middle of the day.

So, Meghna Chakrabarti will be Here & Now‘s permanent “fill-in host.” Will she leave Radio Boston?

Nope, Meghna will continue to co-host Radio Boston with Anthony Brooks, weekdays at 3 p.m.  You’ll hear her on Here & Now when a host is needed to fill in for either Robin Young or Jeremy Hobson, for example when they are on assignment or lucky enough to take a vacation day. This role is similar to what NPR Host David Greene does for Morning Edition. Overall, there will be very little change to Radio Boston the majority of the time.

Phasing out production of NPR’s Talk of the Nation is a big loss. Why do it?

For many of us at WBUR, today is one of those days with dual feelings – elation and pride mixed with a tinge of regret.  As fans of Talk of the Nation and Neal Conan ourselves, we feel a bit mournful with the news that after 21 years of continued service, the show will end on June 27. It has had a long and hugely successful run on WBUR.  As hosted by veteran NPR journalist Neal Conan, it’s been a staple for ‘BUR for so many years as the first call-in program of its kind on public radio, ushering in lots of other call-in talk shows!  And of course, ‘BUR listeners have the benefit of four fantastic hours of On Point each weekday with Tom Ashbrook, a program we feel is the very best call-in program in the nation.

WBUR and NPR Form Strategic Alliance to Build Middle of the Day News Programming

NPR and BOSTON’S WBUR FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO BUILD MIDDLE OF THE DAY NEWS PROGRAMMING

WBUR’s Here & Now Host Robin Young Joined by Jeremy Hobson

Talk of the Nation Ends 21-Year Run

Washington, D.C.– In response to growing demand for news programming throughout the broadcast day, NPR is forging a new relationship with Boston-based public radio station WBUR to expand its mid-day news program Here & Now from a one-hour to a two-hour program updated for different time zones across the country. The expanded program will provide a total of four hours of news programming, 12 noon- 4 p.m. ET, and serve as a bridge between NPR’s signature news magazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

NPR will contribute its editorial muscle to the expanded program. Here & Now‘s daily lineup will include interviews with NPR’s bloggers, reporters and editors. The program will also showcase selected reporting from other NPR News programs. The expanded Here & Now also will enhance NPR’s capacity to provide breaking news every weekday from 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET.

Here & Now is currently hosted by Robin Young, a gifted journalist who has carried the program for more than a decade. When the expanded program launches July 1, she will have a co-host, Jeremy Hobson, currently host of Marketplace Morning Report. Hobson began his career in journalism at the age of 17 as an intern on NPR’s  All Things Considered and since then has gained deep experience as a producer, reporter and now host. Meghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s Radio Boston, will be the program’s primary back up host.

“Here & Now is a smart, well-produced news program,” said Kinsey Wilson, Chief Content Officer, NPR. “This collaboration allows us to deliver compelling news and cultural coverage throughout the day and keep listeners tuned to public radio. In WBUR we have a strong editorial partner.”

NPR and WBUR will also invite other public radio stations across the nation to contribute to the show.

“WBUR is pleased to forge this unique relationship with NPR, redefining how the network and a public radio station can work together to better serve listeners,” said Charlie Kravetz, General Manager, WBUR. “We are exceedingly proud of Robin Young and the entire team at Here & Now. It is their exceptional work that has created the opportunity for WBUR and NPR to collaborate on this new venture.”

The station has a long history collaborating with NPR, and is one of the more prolific producers of national programming in public radio, including Car Talk, On Point and Only A Game.

Here & Now has been produced by WBUR since 1997 and became a national program in 2001. The show is currently aired on over 180 stations, including eight top-25 market news stations (WBEZ Chicago, WHYY Philadelphia, KJZZ Phoenix, KPBS San Diego, KOPB Portland, WFAE Charlotte, WESA Pittsburgh) and has had steady growth in audience and station carriage.

As part of today’s announcement NPR said that it will stop production of Talk of the Nation at the end of Juneand that Neal Conan, one of the organization’s most distinguished journalists, will step away from the rigors of daily journalism after 35 years at NPR, including 11 years at the helm of Talk of the Nation.

“Neal brings extraordinary depth and insight to every story he touches,” said Margaret Low Smith, Senior Vice President of News, NPR. “He connects deeply with the audience and will leave a legacy of excellence, having skillfully carried NPR, our Member Stations and the nation through some of the most important news of the last decade, setting the standard for high quality call-in talk programming.”

NPR’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow will continue to provide listeners the chance to hear from scientists, innovators, and educators each Friday from 2-4 p.m. ET and Here & Now listeners can expect science coverage to be a regular part of Here & Now each week.

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92.7 WBUA-FM, Tisbury Martha's Vineyard, Debuts on Saturday, Feb. 9

New Station to Broadcast Award-Winning Programming from WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station

BOSTON, Feb. 6, 2013 – 90.9 WBUR, Boston’s NPR® News Station, will debut on its new signal, 92.7-FM Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard, on Saturday, Feb. 9. The station will simulcast its award-winning news and information programming using the call letters WBUA. For the debut on Feb. 9, WBUR will broadcast a custom showcase of its signature shows, previously not heard in this new market.

The sign-on follows the closing of the sale of 92.7’s 3,000-watt signal to WBUR by Aritaur Communications, which is expected to occur on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013.

“The islands, Cape Cod and ‘SouthCoast’ are vital to the state we cover and serve. But until now most residents could not get our signal,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz. “We have the largest radio newsroom in New England and are thrilled to provide our outstanding local news reporting – along with our signature programs like On Point, Here & Now, Radio Boston and Only A Game – to these important Massachusetts communities.”

WBUA boosts the reach of WBUR’s broadcasts to more than 60,000 prospective new listeners on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod, as well as in New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth, Westport, Marion and other Massachusetts SouthCoast locations. The 92.7 FM signal will be in addition to WBUR’s current 50,000-watt signal on 90.9 FM, which broadcasts across all of metropolitan Boston and eastern Massachusetts.

WBUR is the preeminent news and information public radio station in Massachusetts, reaching close to 500,000 listeners each week, and is ranked among the Top 10 public radio stations in America. As the most prolific producer of national programming in public radio, WBUR is the home of Car Talk, On Point, Here & Now and Only A Game. With its extensive newsroom, WBUR produces hourly local newscasts, original reporting, investigative and feature series, and in addition, has a robust – and growing – digital presence at wbur.org. WBUR produces a daily news magazine program, Radio Boston, and carries NPR News programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.

To welcome new listeners and celebrate the debut of 92.7, the station will feature a custom line-up of its signature shows starting at midnight when the new signal goes live:

  • 12 a.m. – 2 a.m.            On Point with Tom Ashbrook
  • 2 a.m. – 3 a.m.              Here & Now with Robin Young
  • 3 a.m. – 4 a.m.              Radio Boston
  • 4 a.m. – 6 a.m.              BBC Newsday

At 7 a.m., WBUR’s regular Saturday schedule begins with Only A Game, the WBUR & NPR sports show hosted by Bill Littlefield. The entire weekend and weekday line-up is available at www.wbur.org.

“WBUR is thrilled to have a new home on Martha’s Vineyard, and we’re looking forward to exploring ways that our commitment to news and programming will benefit listeners in the area,” said Sam Fleming, managing director of news and programming for WBUR.

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About WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station: Founded in 1950, WBUR began broadcasting NPR programming in 1970, offering NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered along with local news programming and establishing its iconic identity as a news and information station.  One of the nation’s most successful public radio stations today, WBUR produces extensive local and national content from its studios on Commonwealth Avenue at Boston University, in addition to airing content from NPR, The BBC, PRX and other independent content providers.

WBUR’s over-the-air mix of news, information and entertainment programming is complemented with a robust digital presence, including HD and satellite channels; mobile applications; and live streaming, podcasts and original online content such as Cognoscenti (opinion); CommonHealth (health care) and much more at its news destination website, wbur.org.  The work produced at WBUR has won countless honors, including national Peabody and Murrow awards. See more at www.wbur.org.

 

 

A ‘Carol’ For Rosie’s Place

Just before the holidays, WBUR celebrated the 10th anniversary of our annual reading of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, a benefit for Rosie’s Place. WBUR hosts and reporters, along with the singing group Syncopation, gathered for a sold-out show Dec. 18 at the Omni Parker House Hotel, where Dickens himself read the classic story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim on his national tour.

After an introduction from Meghna Chakrabarti and Sacha Pfeiffer, each “stave,” or section, of Dickens’ own stage adaptation received a full-bodied reading from some of our on-air favorites: Tom Ashbrook, Bob Oakes, Robin Young, Bill Littlefield and Delores Handy. Seasonal songs punctuated the staves, vivid poinsettias from Winston Flowers decorated the stage, and hot cocoa and cookies at intermission rounded out the festive mood.

Our thanks go to the Omni Parker House for the use of its beautiful ballroom, to Keezer’s for outfitting the men in handsome evening wear and to Bearly Read Books of Sudbury for its support — and for a handsome facsimile copy of “A Christmas Carol,” which sold at silent auction for $200. That, along with all other proceeds from the event — about $15,700 this year — went to our friends at Rosie’s Place. Happy new year to all!

Changing of the tide in nonprofit radio on the Cape & Islands

WBUR 90.9 FM Acquires 92.7 FM in Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard and WMVY Radio to go non-commercial

BOSTON, Nov. 27, 2012 – WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station, 90.9 FM, announced it has signed an agreement with Aritaur Communications to acquire 92.7 FM in Tisbury, Massachusetts, the home of WMVY-FM. The sale of the 92.7 FM signal paves the way for WBUR to reach listeners on Martha’s Vineyard and most of Cape Cod and Nantucket, as well as the Massachusetts ‘SouthCoast’ including New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth, Westport and Marion. WMVY, known on air and online as mvyradio, plans to create a non-profit, commercial-free business model going forward.

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Radio Boston goes live at TEDxBoston

Anthony and Meghna

Anthony and Meghna

With WBUR acting as media sponsor for TEDxBoston, Radio Boston co-hosts Anthony Brooks and Meghna Chakrabarti hosted a live show direct from the World Trade Center. The all-day event was also livestreamed here on wbur.org, and we broadcast the 1 p.m. session live at 90.9.

For yet another WBUR-exclusive approach to the event, check out our Storify take on a great day of ideas, innovation and entertainment — and stay tuned for news of the next TEDxBoston conference.

Tom Ashbrook hosts On Point Live with Bill McKibben and Martin Sexton

Bill McKibben spoke with Tom Ashbrook June 14 in a special edition of On Point Live at the Paramount Center in Boston.

Bill McKibben spoke with Tom Ashbrook June 14 in a special edition of On Point Live at the Paramount Center in Boston.

Two decades after proclaiming “the end of nature,” McKibben expressed a cautious optimism that we can still avert ecological catastrophe in a united effort against carbon-based fuels.

Martin Sexton’s passionate musical performance highlighted the communal interest  in protecting our planet and set the stage for the powerful ecological discussion. Together, Tom and Bill answered questions from the audience and discussed the political landscape that will dictate the future of climate change, fracking and fossil fuels.

Ultimately, Bill argued that activists must promote immediate change if we are to sustain a healthy planet for future generations.

Carey Goldberg hosts a talk on Lyme disease

As part of the WBUR news series “Living with Lyme: Where Do We Go from Here?” Carey Goldberg, co-host of the CommonHealth blog, moderated a panel discussion about the disease. Panelists included Dr. Thomas N. Mather, alias “The TickGuy,” who spoke about identifying the deer tick that carries Lyme and discussed ways of avoiding tick bites; State Rep. David Lynch, who discussed his efforts to create a state commission on Lyme disease; and Dr. Sheila Statlender, who recounted her family’s history with the disease and how it set her on a path of advocating for Lyme patients.

About 60 people attended the free meetup, which took place in the Fenway Health auditorium. The event was livestreamed on wbur.org, and the video is archived here. To stay informed about upcoming WBUR events like this one, join our Meetup group or check our Events page regularly.

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