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

No Shortage Of Real Athletes In ‘Big Man Run’

July 19, 2014

Picture a distance runner and you probably see someone small and thin. Maybe even shockingly small and thin. But Only A Game’s Karen Given recently attended a running event where bigger is, for once, better.

Vermont Hosts Battle Between Prose And Poetry

July 12, 2014
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Every year, prose writers and poets gather at Vermont College of Fine Arts for a friendly game of softball. They aren’t very good. But, as Only A Game’s Karen Given discovered last summer, athletic talent is of little consequence.

WNBA Cashing In With Pro-LGBT Campaign

July 05, 2014
(Photo by Bill Healy)

Early in its history, the WNBA took steps to avoid becoming known as a “lesbian league.” But this summer, the WNBA held its first nationally televised Pride game, acknowledging those fans who’ve been there from the beginning. Karen Given has the story.

Shades Of 1918: Red Sox And Cubs Meet Again

July 02, 2014
Chicago Cubs v Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox and Cubs finished their three-game series, just the fourth time the teams have met since the 1918 World Series. Only A Game’s Karen Given was at the game on Monday, and reflected on the storied histories of the two teams.

A Basketball Dream, But A Backup Plan Too

June 28, 2014
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When young athletes come out of the inner city and try to go pro, the road is rarely traveled alone. Only A Game’s Karen Given introduces us to David Lovett and his mentor.

In Search Of Bacon At IronPigs Baseball

June 25, 2014
FeRROUS, a truly ugly bipedal pig, and his female counterpart FeFe preside over the pre-game celebrations. (Karen Given/Only A Game)

Inspired by an interview she produced for Only A Game, Karen Given traveled to Allentown, Pennsylvania to sample the sports, entertainment, and culinary offerings of Minor League Baseball’s Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The ‘Only A Game’ All-Time Wacky Sports Tournament

May 17, 2014
Costumed participants run along Delaware Avenue in 2005's Turkey Trot in Buffalo, N.Y. (Don Heupel/AP)

What’s the wackiest “sport” of all? Over the past 20 years, Only A Game has featured plenty of candidates worthy of the honor.

Billie Jean King: ‘Fight For Equality And Inclusion For Everyone’

May 10, 2014
King has been a women's rights activist for decades and delivered the commencement address at Simmons College this year. (John Gillooly/PEI Photography)

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.

Concert Honors Boston Marathon Bombing Victims

April 19, 2014
Conductor Ann Howard Jones and the Boston University College of Fine Arts dedicated their spring concert to the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombing. (Courtesy Michael Lutch)

Boston University’s College of Fine Arts dedicated their spring concert to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Conductor Ann Howard Jones and flutist Nikoma Baccus talk about the experience.

Sewing A Championship Banner

April 12, 2014
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Ever wonder about those giant championship banners that teams hang from the rafters? OAG’s Karen Given visits a New England company that commands nearly 90 percent of the championship banner market and finds out exactly how they are made.

Red Sox Lose To Brewers 6-2 In Home Opener

April 05, 2014

BOSTON — 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)

DENVER — 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

BOSTON — 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

BOSTON — 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

BOSTON — 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

BOSTON — 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)

BOSTON — 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)

BOSTON — 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.

The 2 Private Organizations That Have Changed Boston's Public School Sports

May 14, 2013
Uniforms are just one of the things Play Ball! provides for middle school sports it runs. The group also hires coaches and refs and coordinates bus schedules. (Doug Tribou/WBUR)

The Play Ball! Foundation and the Boston Scholar Athlete Program have brought funding to the city’s athletics programs, but they didn’t just cut checks and walk away.

How Boston Public School Sports Have Improved In 4 Years

May 13, 2013
Competitive double dutch is now available to many public middle school students in Boston thanks to funding and administration from The Play Ball! Foundation. (Billy Owens/Play Ball!)

After a scathing report on the state of sports in Boston Public Schools, two community leaders stepped up to pitch in. In Part 1 of a weeklong series, we track the school system’s progress and ask: Is the outside help enough?

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