The latest announcements and updates from 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.

Dear Sugar Podcast: New Episodes Every Friday

Dear Sugar Radio, the new WBUR podcast hosted by best-selling authors Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed, is now in full production. Complete episodes are released every other Friday, with shorter “special” episodes available in the off-weeks.

sugarIn the second episode, the Sugars explore the two stories we tell — the story of how we want to be seen, the public self, and the story of who we really are inside, the private self. They field questions from a feminist struggling to reconcile her stories in the wake of an emotionally abusive relationship, and from a twenty-something virgin who has spent her life letting her family write her story. Listen to Dear Sugar Radio anytime on WBUR’s Sugar show page here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

And don’t forget: If you have a burning question for Sugar, email Cheryl and Steve at, and it might get answered in a future episode of the show.

WBUR Announces Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize Winner

Devin Katayama of NPR member station WFPL, Louisville Selected Winner

(Boston) Jan. 13, 2015 — Boston’s NPR news station, 90.9 WBUR, has announced producer Devin Katayama of NPR member station, WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky, as the winner of the annual Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Now in its 13th year, the prize is named for the respected NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr, who died in 2010.

The $5,000 Schorr Prize, funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner, salutes a new generation of public radio journalists 35 years old and under, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium. Original work completed by June 30, 2014, was eligible for the 2014 Schorr Prize competition.

Katayama’s winning entry, “At Risk,” is a memorable hour-long exploration of the fragile prospects for children in Louisville living amid poverty, drug use, depression, anger and dysfunction – and the local and state social services professionals who struggle to help them find pathways to achievement through a labyrinth of support systems. The series was the capstone of “Next Louisville,” a project focusing on education issues in the city of Louisville.

“It was unlike anything WFPL had ever produced before,” Katayama said. “The community response was overwhelming…‘At Risk’ isn’t over. The children still face these challenges. The school system – like most large urban areas – is still trying to solve some of these puzzles. And we are continuing to follow their progress.”

Kevin Klose, the former president of NPR and former Washington Post correspondent in Moscow, served as the finalist judge for this year’s award.

“In my long experience in news, this is surely the most impressive group of finalists for a competitive journalism prize I have ever encountered,” said Klose. “Each has unique strengths of conception and production; all are to be commended for their superb work.”

Katayama will be presented with the award at the WBUR Gala taking place Monday, May 18, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. An annual benefit for the public radio station, the gala is expected to raise more than $500,000 in support for independent news and programming.

Prior to joining WFPL, Katayama was a Follet Fellow at Columbia College in Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. He won the Studs Terkel Community Media Workshop Scholarship award for his story on Chicago’s homeless and street youth. Katayama has worked with WBEZ Chicago Public Media’s “Worldview” program and with Northern California KQED’s “California Report.”

Since 2002, WBUR and Boston University have honored legendary journalist Daniel Schorr by awarding the Schorr Prize to a rising reporter age 35 or younger, whose accomplishments in public radio contribute to Schorr’s legacy. Recent past recipients include WBEZ producer Becky Vevea (2013); KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); NPR host David Greene (2011); Ailsa Chang, now a reporter for NPR (2010); reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, who covers global economics for NPR’s multimedia project “Planet Money” (2009); former NPR defense correspondent Guy Raz, now the host of the “TED Radio Hour” (2008); and NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).

Public radio journalists from around the world competed for this prestigious recognition. Schorr often said he was honored to have this prize bear his name, as he believed strongly in supporting talented journalists as they rose through the ranks of the broadcast industry, and particularly those who found a calling in public radio.

In addition to Klose, this year’s distinguished panel of Schorr Prize judges included:

  • Mary Louise Kelly, NPR guest host
  • Ellin O’Leary, president and chief content officer of Youth Radio
  • BJ Roche, senior lecturer in journalism at UMass-Amherst
  • JJ Yore, general manager of WAMU

Listen to Katayama’s award-winning entry, “At Risk,” online here:


Discover New Programs Every Weeknight: WBUR’s Nightcap at Nine

Want to discover public radio’s coolest new programs? Tune in to 90.9 WBUR every weeknight at 9 p.m. for the “Nightcap at Nine” — a showcase of the latest innovative, thought-provoking radio anywhere.

Mondays, it’s Radiolab, with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, weaving stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries.

Tuesdays, TED Radio Hour, based on riveting TEDTalks from the world’s most remarkable minds, offers a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create.

WednesdaysInvisibilia, uses research and storytelling to explore invisible but crucial parts of our lives — like ideas, thoughts and emotions.

Thursdays, join legendary host Chris Lydon for Open Source, a compelling conversation exploring the arts, ideas and politics.

Fridays, kick-off your weekend with true stories told live from The Moth Radio Hour.

Win Tickets To “Wild” From WBUR

WILD ArtTo celebrate Dear Sugar Radio, the new WBUR podcast co-hosted by Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed, we are giving away passed to see “Wild”, a film based on the book by Strayed about her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Click here to listen to WBUR’s Dear Sugar podcast.

In “Wild”, director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club), Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen. After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi, played by Laura Dern, and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. “Wild” powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures – as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

WBUR Launches “Dear Sugar” Podcast with Cheryl Strayed & Steve Almond

The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. Dear Sugar – the cult-favorite advice column – is back, but this time speaking directly into your ears and heart.

Dear Sugar began as an online advice column on the literary website WBUR teamed up with the original “Sugars,” Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, to produce Dear Sugar Radio, an advice podcast. The first episode is available today for download from the WBUR website or on iTunes.

Hosts of "Dear Sugar"

The Sugars: Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond.

Audiences know Cheryl as the author of the best-selling memoir, “Wild,” now a motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, and “Tiny Beautiful Things,” a collection of her essays as Sugar. And they know Steve as the author of “Candyfreak” and “Against Football,” as well as a contributor to Cognoscenti, WBUR’s ideas and opinions page.

Now these two best-selling authors have joined together as co-hosts of the Dear Sugar podcast with all original material. In response to listeners’ questions, they’ll be offering what they like to call “radical empathy,” drawing on their own personal lives and sometimes wild experiences to deal with whatever comes their way.

This first episode of Dear Sugar is just the beginning. Listeners are invited to post their questions for Sugar to New episodes will be recorded and released in January 2015.

Listen to Dear Sugar here.


WBUR, On Assignment In El Salvador

Coming up this week on Morning Edition we’ll be featuring stories from “Beyond the Border,” a WBUR special series which sent reporters David Boeri and Shannon Dooling on assignment in El Salvador. The first piece airs on Tuesday.

Here’s WBUR Senior Reporter David Boeri on gang violence in El Salvador and the causes that lead many young Salvadorans to attempt the dangerous journey to the United States.

Dear Sugar, I know patience is a virtue….but I’m waiting for you. When will we be reunited?

Soon, sweet pea! Yes, it’s true: the universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. Dear Sugar is back, but this time speaking directly into your ears.

Fans of Dear Sugar know that it began as an advice column on the literary website TheRumpus, where it developed a cult following. Now, WBUR has collaborated with the original “Sugars,” Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, to bring Sugar to you as a podcast.

The first episode debuts Monday, Dec. 15. For now, to tide you over, WBUR is sharing this exclusive excerpt, in which the Sugars explain what it is that draws them to giving advice.

Steve Brown, Midday News Anchor

Ever wondered what it’s like to produce the newscast at the top of the hour? Here’s WBUR’s midday news anchor Steve Brown talking about his work, and the team of news producers who support him on-air.

“We’ve got a strong team in the newscast unit,” says Steve, “and that make my job easy.”

WBUR and The MassINC Polling Group Renew Partnership for 2015

WBUR & The MassINC partnership produced the most accurate polling of the 2014 Massachusetts elections

On the heels of a successful 2014 election cycle, WBUR and The MassINC Polling Group (MPG) announced today the renewal of their polling relationship through 2015. The move continues the partnership that produced the most accurate polling of last month’s Massachusetts governor and U.S. Senate races, as well as pioneering, data-driven analysis of state politics.

“We were thrilled that our WBUR Tracking Poll ended up being right on target in the most important races in last month’s election,” said Charlie Kravetz, General Manager of WBUR. “We felt it was important to give the public a reliable touchstone in the midst of the spin and noise of election season, and the WBUR Tracking Poll did just that.”

The final Tracking Poll, which ran weekly from Labor Day until Election Day, had Republican Charlie Baker defeating Martha Coakley by a single percentage point, a tighter margin than other media pollsters predicted. Baker ended up winning 48 percent to 47 percent. The poll also showed incumbent U.S. Senator Ed Markey defeating his Republican challenger by 25 points; Markey won by 24 points.

0915_pollvault-house-adIn addition to the weekly Tracking Poll, MPG and WBUR also collaborated on Poll Vault, a groundbreaking, data-driven exploration of Massachusetts politics. Using the trail of data generated by Massachusetts elections and politics, Poll Vault covered the quantitative aspects of the campaign with clarity and precision. Poll Vault’s interactive maps and leading-edge graphics make it the go-to resource for those looking for the numbers behind the state’s political stories.

“This was something entirely new,” said MPG founder and President Steve Koczela. “The national playing field is crowded, but there is very little in terms of local and state level journalism that treats political data seriously.”

With no statewide elections in 2015, the partnership will focus on issues and policy, an area where MPG has significant experience, releasing more issues polling to the public than any pollster in Massachusetts in recent years. MPG will also continue to contribute data-driven analysis of polling and politics throughout the year, on and on the airwaves.

“We’ve had years of elections in Massachusetts, and now we’re going to have a chance to focus on the new administration and governing the state,” said Kravetz. “We think the polling and analysis that this partnership will continue to produce fits perfectly with what WBUR does best, which is providing depth and context to the news.”

The partnership will also move beyond the borders of Massachusetts, with polls covering other state-level races and national politics. The details of this component of the partnership will depend on where WBUR polling could be particularly timely and impactful.


You May Have Noticed ‘Morning Edition’ Has Changed — Here’s Why

A note by Sam Fleming, WBUR’s director of news and programming:

If you’ve been a longtime listener of Morning Edition on WBUR, you may notice a few changes this week. After more than 25 years of broadcasting Morning Edition, NPR has decided to change its “clock” — its hourly road map for how the program is produced.

Those changes include how WBUR stories and newscasts about Boston and the region intersperse with national and international news coming from NPR.

The new clock reflects changes in listener habits and consumption, taking into account the fact that those tuning in to Morning Edition may now listen to WBUR not just on a radio but also at other times on a smartphone, tablet or computer.

One noticeable change in the new NPR clock: National news headlines from NPR will be heard more frequently. There will be the traditional national and local newscast headlines at the start of each hour, followed per usual by the most important long-form stories of the day. Headlines will be broadcast again briefly at 20 minutes past each hour and for a third time at 40 minutes past the hour. A second set of ‘BUR headlines focused on the region can be heard in the middle of each hour at 5:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Many of us have busier lives these days and are tuning in and out of Morning Edition several times during the course of most mornings. The new NPR clock tries to accommodate that pattern while still providing the deep long-form stories, conversations and features NPR and ‘BUR are known for — the great narrative stories that can keep us in our cars even after we’ve arrived at work.

The changes took effect Monday, Nov. 17. For those curious, here’s the new clock:

New Morning Edition clock

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