WBUR Staff

Karen Given

Producer, Only A Game , WBUR

Karen Given 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 BU, 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

Ballparks And Organ Music — A Match Made In Chicago

April 30, 2016
Organists, like the Chicago White Sox's Nancy Faust have entertained Major League Baseball fans for 75 years. (Joshua Lott/AP)

The first time an organ was played at a baseball game wasn’t as long ago as you might think. Ballpark organists Josh Kantor, who plays for the Red Sox, and Bobby Cressey, organist for the Padres, share the unexpected history of music at the ballpark.

Seeing Home: Baseball Broadcaster Ed Lucas Defies The Odds

April 23, 2016
Throughout his career, baseball broadcaster Ed Lucas has had the opportunity to interview some of the game's greatest players, like Willie Mays. (Courtesy of Ed Lucas)

Friendships between broadcasters and ballplayers aren’t common, but in Ed Lucas, players saw someone who had struggled as hard as they had — if not harder — to get to where he was. Ed and his son, Chris, tell their story, In Their Own Words.

The 48-Year History Of Projectiles Thrown By Philly Fans

April 23, 2016
Ice crew personnel had to clean up promotional bracelets that were thrown onto the ice during the third period of Game 3 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs, Monday, April 18, 2016, in Philadelphia. Washington won 6-1. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As mothers everywhere tell their teenaged kids, once you develop a reputation for something, it’s hard to shake. The same holds true for sports fans, and earlier this week sports fans in Philadelphia lived up to a reputation they earned back in 1968. Only A Game’s Karen Given has the story.

Flatball Radio: Ultimate Frisbee’s First Live Storytelling Series

April 16, 2016

Matt Mastrantuono didn’t just set out to mash together two ideas. He set out to mash together two communities. Karen Given has the story of how he combined Ultimate Frisbee and live storytelling to create an unlikely mix. Or maybe it’s not so unlikely.

‘You Get To Name The Kid’ — A Baseball Coach’s Motivational Tool

April 09, 2016
Searching for a way to motivate his team, high school baseball coach Rob Querry told his players they could name his son if they reached 14 wins. (Courtesy of Querry Family)

Rob Querry is in his second season as head baseball coach at Heritage High School in Florida. The team had never posted a winning season, but this year, he came up with a creative way to motivate his players. Rob and his wife, Julia, share their story.

Update: Olympic Champion Diver Greg Louganis Finally Gets A Wheaties Box

April 09, 2016
Greg Louganis won four Olympic Gold Medals, but, until recently, was denied a spot on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box. (Mike Powell/Allsport)

In the 1980s, four-time Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis didn’t get his photo on a Wheaties box. Louganis is gay and was told that he didn’t fit into General Mills’ “wholesome demographic.” Some fans didn’t think that was right, and now the company has changed its tune.

Football To Broadway To Wall Street: The Re-Invention Of Eddie George

April 02, 2016
Since Heisman-winning running back Eddie George left the gridiron, he's acted in the Broadway musical "Chiacgo" and gotten his MBA. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Eddie George won a Heisman trophy while at Ohio State University and played in the NFL for nine years. But after his playing days ended unexpectedly, he had to re-invent himself. Eddie George tells his story, In His Own Words.

Leicester City Tops English Premier League, Thanks To Richard III?

April 02, 2016
Could King Richard III (who's been dead for over 500 years) be helping the Leicester Foxes this season? Some fans think so... (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

King Richard III was reburied in March of 2015 in Leicester, England. Ever since then, Leicester’s soccer team has done remarkably well. Only A Game’s Karen Given explores the superstitious buzz surrounding Richard III and Leicester City.

From Siberia To Australia: Sarah Marquis’ 10,000 Mile Walk

March 26, 2016
"Arriving after such a long journey, it’s an achievement. It’s an amazing achievement. It’s so much pain, so much sweat, so much danger."

Sarah Marquis is an explorer, but she doesn’t scale mountains or jump off cliffs. She walks. Karen Given has the story of Marquis’ 10,000 mile journey from Siberia to Australia.

A Son’s Passion And A Mother’s Choice: Christoph And Kate Buhler

March 12, 2016

Parenting is about choices, and not all of those choices are easy. For the parents of a promising athlete, those decisions can become even more difficult. Kate Buhler and her 14-year-old son, Christoph, bring us the story of one such choice.

Know These Red Sox Fans? The ‘SI King’ Needs Your Help

November 13, 2015
The "SI King" Scott Smith is hoping to find the fans seen in this 1990 cover. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Duvoisin/Sports Illustrated)

Autograph collector Scott Smith is looking for five Sox fans who appeared on the Aug. 13, 1990, cover of Sports Illustrated.

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.

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.

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