The latest announcements and updates from WBUR

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.

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.

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