WBUR Staff

Karen Given

Producer, WBUR

Karen has worked in radio since she was 16 years old, getting her start at a small commercial music station in Joshua Tree, California. Her favorite part of the job was reading the news updates at the top of every hour.

She came to WBUR in 1991 as a student at Boston University. In her years at B.U., Karen earned degrees in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism and expanded her radio skills with a work study job in WBUR’s audio engineering department. Eventually she was hired on as the Technical Director for Only A Game and Car Talk.

Karen made the transition from technical to editorial by way of Reno, Nevada, where she spent a year as the only feature news reporter for Reno’s public radio station, KUNR. With her newly acquired reporting skills, Karen returned to WBUR as a producer and reporter for Only A Game.

During her tenure with Only A Game, Karen has covered the Salt Lake City Olympics and the first regular season NFL game in London, but her most ambitious story to date was a profile of a town in the Rift Valley where most of Kenya’s elite long distance runners live and train. That story, “Kenya’s Fastest Town,” won the 2007 national Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting.

Recent stories

Dressed All In Pink, This Strongwoman Takes On The World

March 21, 2015

“When people think of strongman they don’t think of women,” says strongwoman Brittany Diamond. Diamond speaks with Only A Game’s Karen Given about what it means to be strong.

Skiing The Thunderbolt: A Modern Day Sport Tackles A Historic Trail

March 14, 2015
(©Jonathan Selkowitz/SelkoPhoto)

Before World War II, Adams, Mass. attracted skiers by the thousands until the advent of chair lifts lured the crowds away. Now backcountry enthusiasts who enjoy climbing up a mountain to “earn their turns” on the way down are bringing skiers and riders back to the small town and the historic Thunderbolt Ski Run.

Joe Paterno: A Case Study In Sports Figures Who Fall From Grace

February 21, 2015
This statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was removed from its perch outside Beaver Stadium in July, 2012. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

As Penn State considers whether a statue of former coach Joe Paterno should be restored to its perch outside Beaver Stadium, one sociologist is suggesting a color line exists between sports figures who are forgiven after scandal and those who are not. Only A Game’s Karen Given takes a historical look at sports figures and reputation.

Welcome Back, A-Rod. We Missed You.

February 18, 2015
Alex Rodriguez served a 162-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

After serving a 162-game suspension, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is returning to Major League Baseball. While most of the media go crazy over A-Rod’s recent handwritten apology, Only A Game’s Karen Given instead explains why she’s grateful to have the former star back in the spotlight.

After Winning AFC Championship, Patriots Will Now Face Seattle Seahawks In Super Bowl

January 19, 2015
Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns in the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Colts. (Elise Amendola/AP)

The New England Patriots have punched their ticket to Glendale, Arizona to face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Fans withstood drenching rain and blustery conditions in Foxborough last night to watch New England trounce the Indianapolis Colts 45 to 7.

Before The Super Bowl, Patriots Have To Get By Indianapolis

January 18, 2015
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady prior to a team practice in Foxborough, Mass. on Wednesday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

To get to the Super Bowl, the Patriots first have to get by Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck. WBUR’s Karen Given has a look at how the two teams match up.

AFC Championship Preview: Colts Vs. Patriots

January 17, 2015
Foxborough's Gillette Stadium will play hosts to Sunday's AFC Championship between the Colts and Patriots. (Charles Krupa/AP)

The rivalry between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts has been on hold for the past few years. But the Colts, led by third-year quarterback Andrew Luck, are ready to challenge the Patriots in the AFC Championship. Only A Game’s Karen Given has a preview.

Boston Wins U.S. Olympic Bid for Summer 2024: Now What?

January 08, 2015
(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Boston is the United States’ choice to host the 2024 Olympic Games, but can the Massachusetts city beat out the international competition? We look at the pros and cons of the bid.

Billie Jean King: 'Fight For Equality And Inclusion For Everyone'

December 27, 2014
King has been a women's rights activist for decades and is probably best known for her 'Battle of the Sexes' tennis match. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for Women's Sports Foundation)

Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes back in the 1973 but in the decades since she’s continued to champion women’s rights. She spoke with OAG’s Karen Given about her advice for college grads, her experience at the Sochi Olympics and the fight for gender equality.

George Foreman III Making A Name For Himself Outside The Ring

December 06, 2014
(Karen Given/Only A Game)

Following in the footsteps of the two-time heavyweight champion of the world can’t be easy, especially when you share his name. Only A Game’s Karen Given has the story of George Foreman III, who recently opened a luxury boxing gym in Boston.

This Is The End Of Belt Sander Racing … Or Is It?

November 08, 2014

The founders of the New England Belt Sander Racing Association are getting old. They say they’re ready to hang up their sanders. Before the sport disappears entirely, Karen Given revisits one of Only A Game’s most enduring stories.

Fall Experimental Football League Keeps NFL Dreams Alive

November 01, 2014
(Karen Given/Only A Game)

For college football stars, it’s the NFL or bust. Unlike this country’s other major sports, the NFL does not have a developmental league. But there’s a movement to change all that. From a recent Fall Experimental Football League game in Boston, Only A Game’s Karen Given has the story.

Red Sox Lose To Brewers 6-2 In Home Opener

April 05, 2014

Not even a cold wind and lopsided loss could dampen the Opening Day spirits of Red Sox fans as they streamed out of Fenway Park.

Patriots Face Steep Challenge In Denver

January 19, 2014
Denver's Sports Authority Field, host of Saturday's AFC Championship, is a tough place for visitors because of its noise and high altitude. (Joe Mahoney/AP)

The New England Patriots will have to overcome more than the Broncos to reach the Super Bowl. They will also have to handle Denver’s altitude and the noise at Sports Authority Field.

Looking Back At The 2013 Red Sox

December 25, 2013

WBUR and Only A Game’s Karen Given recaps the 2013 Red Sox’ World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, and looks at the year ahead for the team.

Red Sox Win 3rd World Series Title In Decade

October 31, 2013

The game was all but over on Wednesday night as Red Sox closer Koji Uehara took the mound in the ninth inning. But there was still plenty of excitement inside Fenway Park’s 101- year-old walls.

Red Sox Advance To World Series

October 20, 2013

Shane Victorino’s grand slam in the seventh gave the Red Sox the lead they needed to win and advance to the World Series. They’ll meet the Cardinals for Game 1 at Fenway Park Wednesday.

Boston School Sports ‘Turning The Tide,’ Superintendent Says

May 17, 2013

We close our special series on Boston school sports with undiscussed questions and a look at the way forward.

Grades-To-Play Motivation Propels Some Boston Student-Athletes

May 16, 2013
The Play Ball! middle school football championship was a big moment for Narayan Jones, who says he loves football and "wouldn’t want to mess it up by not getting good grades in all my classes." (Doug Tribou/WBUR)

In sports there are scores and records. In school there are tests and grades. And for Boston students participating in the school district’s privately funded sports programs, all of those are important.

Charities Try To Keep Boston Student-Athletes In The Academic ‘Zone’ Too

May 15, 2013
Boston Scholar Athletes, which funds athletics programs for Boston Public Schools high school students, also sponsors learning centers. Here, zone facilitator Taleen Taylor, left, works with Burke High School senior Yissa Guerrero. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Play Ball! and Boston Scholar Athletes fund school athletic programs and work to make sure students are meeting GPA requirements to participate. But some say the city’s requirements should be more challenging.

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