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

CrossFit Helps A California Duo Overcome Life’s Challenges

September 05, 2015
Jennifer Judge has helped Nick, her patient for almost a decade, relieve some of his aggression through CrossFit. (Jennifer Judge)

Behavioral specialist Jennifer Judge found that CrossFit helped her feel stronger and calmer. So, she thought her client, Nick, might like to try it too. After documenting improvements in Nick’s physical and mental well being, Judge is now trying to start a non-profit to help bring CrossFit to other children and adults with special needs in her California desert community.

Making Contact In The ‘Olympics’ Of Ham Radio

August 15, 2015
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In this internet age of Facebook and Twitter, there are those who still enjoy a more traditional form of communication. As Only A Game’s Karen Given reports, sometimes they make a sport of it.

At Maine River, Dams Removed, Races Begin — And Myth Recalled

August 08, 2015
(Casey Kelly / Only A Game)

Until recently, two dams blocked the 9.5 mile lower stretch of the Penobscot River in Maine. Last month, paddlers from all over the country gathered for a race hosted by the Penebscot Nation celebrating the removal of the dams.

Gobbled Up By The Peloton: A Cyclist Gets A Hand … And A Push

July 22, 2015
Kathryn Bertine is writer, filmmaker, social activist, and also a professional cyclist-as shown here.

Writer, filmmaker and professional cyclist Kathryn Bertine tried to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. Bertine tells Only A Game’s Karen Given about the time she tried to gain qualifying points by breaking away from the peloton during a race in El Salvador.

Gobbled Up By The Peloton: A Cyclist Gets A Hand…And A Push

June 06, 2015
Kathryn Bertine blah blah blah (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Writer, filmmaker and professional cyclist Kathryn Bertine tried to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. Bertine tells Only A Game’s Karen Given about the time she tried to gain qualifying points by breaking away from the peloton during a race in El Salvador.

The ‘Secret History’ Of Skateboarding’s Most Fundamental Trick

May 30, 2015
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It’s taken 35 years, but the author of “A Secret History of the Ollie” has set the record straight on whether the Ollie was really invented by a guy named Ollie. Only A Game’s Karen Given has the story.

Denise McCluggage: The First Lady Of Racing

May 16, 2015
Jean Jennings (left) and Denise McCluggage during their recent visit. (Paul Russell/Courtesy Photo)

Auto racing pioneer Denise McCluggage died last week at the age of 88. Longtime friend and fellow journalist Jean Jennings shares her memories.

Team IMPACT Helps Kids Find Joy During Illness

May 09, 2015
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Team IMPACT pairs college sports teams and children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Only A Game’s Karen Given talks with teams and athletes benefiting from this program.

In ‘Natural Born Heroes,’ McDougall Leaps Into Parkour

April 25, 2015
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Christopher McDougal’s 2009 book “Born to Run” helped spread the barefoot running craze. In his new book “Natural Born Heroes,” the author explores parkour, a movement with roots dating back to the turn of the century.

Dressed All In Pink, This Strongwoman Takes On The World

March 21, 2015
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“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.

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.

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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