“Where We Call Home”- On Point Special Series

On Point Co-Host Meghna Chakrabarti leads a special four-part series Mondays in March to explore the changing landscape of neighborhoods across America. Economic, social, aesthetic and political forces all factor in to where and how we choose to live. Join us as we dig in — on-air, online and on social — with listeners, experts, politicians and journalists to uncover how our communities are evolving in the 21st century.

Part I - There Goes the Neighborhood (Monday, March 4, 11am EST)
Tech companies move in and suddenly, affordable housing is at stake. Neighborhoods are impacted for better or for worse. We’ll dig in with insights from Seattle and New Jersey, plus explore a new trend to provide more middle income housing. We track the need for affordable housing, what makes areas unaffordable – and where are residents supposed to go when prices skyrocket?

Seattle: Microsoft spending money to create affordable housing
Denver and the nation: A new push underway to try and get more “middle income housing” – what does it look like now and in the years ahead?

• Mike Rosenberg, real estate reporter Seattle Times
• Christiana Foglio, housing developer in New Jersey
• Mollie Fitzpatrick, Managing Director Root Policy Research in Denver

Part II - Move Here…But Work from Home Somewhere Else Please (Monday, March 11, 11am EST)
It’s a movement: states, cities and towns are looking for new blood. A new generation of workers whose jobs are remote. The pitch: “We’ll pay you to move here, but it’s with a caveat that you must already have a job and work remotely there — from here.”
Places: It’s happening in states like Vermont, which is reimbursing people to move there and cities like Tulsa, where people are applying for a “fellowship” that provides help with rent, co-work space and an up to $10K stipend.

We’re seeking answers to better understand questions like: Can we really live anywhere? Is this a trend because of demographics? Are places trying just to bring in more tech-savvy workers? Could this be the future of the American workforce – telecommuters? Will these tactics help save smaller cities and towns if you don’t depend on the place for your work, but do support the community in other ways like patronage to local brick-and-mortar stores?

• State Senator Michael Sirotkin of Vermont
• Ken Levit, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation in Tulsa, Oklahoma
• Marianne Wanamaker, economist at the University of Tennessee

Part III - Rent versus Buy (Monday, March 18, 11am EST)
Is home ownership still the American Dream? Where you call home can impact your financial future. Is owning a home an investment or a liability? We’ve dusted ourselves off now, a decade after the subprime mortgage crisis, and we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of renting or buying your primary residence.

• Ryan Dezember, real estate correspondent for the Wall Street Journal
• Ivy Zelman, housing analyst and CEO of Zelman & Associates based in Cleveland

Part IV – In Praise of Small Towns (Monday, March 25, 11am EST)
Do you cherish living in a small town? Or maybe you don't live in a small town, but feel frustrated by your daily commute, cringe at local real estate prices and intrigued by the lifestyle and neighborhoods featured on shows like HGTV’s "Home Town" set in Laurel, Mississippi.

• Erin and/or Ben Napier, hosts of HGTV’s “Hometown”

Ongoing - Calling all On Point listeners: Listeners, callers and online commenters are a vital part of our show. You’re invited to be part of the series. Help us in our quest to better understand how Americans are living in 2019 by taking our quick survey here or share your message over the phone at (617) 353-0683 (we might use your message during a broadcast or online).

Topics and guests are subject to change.

WBUR Partners Once More With CRASHfest, A Global Music Festival

Kishi Bashi performing at last year's CRASHfest. (Courtesy C Marisa Bettencourt Photography)
Kishi Bashi performing at last year's CRASHfest. (Courtesy C Marisa Bettencourt Photography)

On a chilly Saturday, February 23rd, CRASHfest turned the heat up at the House of Blues transforming it into an indoor music festival with a kaleidoscope of sounds and cultures that brought an eclectic and worldly spin to the Boston music scene.

The House of Blues features an expansive dance floor and seated balcony overlooking the main stage, the luxurious and exotic Foundation Room, and a smaller stage in the restaurant. Global street food, international beer, and custom cocktails will be available for sale.

2019 Lineup

Angeliqué Kidjo performing Remain In Light
Red Baraat
Tribu Baharú
M.A.K.U Soundsystem
Kotoko Brass
Billy Wylder
Veronica Robles and Her Female Mariachi Band
Sarma Brass Band
The Blue Dahlia
tap dancers Subject:Matter
belly dancer Soumaya MaRose
Malian drummer Moussa Traore
Flamenco dancers Isaac & Nino De Los Reyes

WBUR CitySpace At The Lavine Broadcast Center Debuts February 28 With Free Grand Opening

WBUR will open WBUR CitySpace at The Lavine Broadcast Center on Thursday, February 28 with a free community day featuring a live Radio Boston broadcast, interactive demos and a custom art installation by Boston-based Masary Studio.

WBUR CitySpace is the new state-of-the-art multimedia venue located at 890 Commonwealth Avenue on the Boston University campus. It will bring the stories you hear every day from WBUR and NPR hosts and reporters to life. From On Point’s Meghna Chakrabarti interviewing technology leaders on today’s biggest benefits and risks, to Host/Reporter Deborah Becker moderating a panel on tackling gun violence, to Reporter Shira Springer interviewing last year’s Marathon winner, Des Linden, to Reporter Shannon Dooling moderating a panel of Central American women refugees, to CommonHealth Editor Carey Goldberg interviewing two MIT millennials working on CRISPR, to Open Source’s Christopher Lydon interviewing MacArthur Award-winning composer Mathew Aucoin, to Here & Now’s Robin Young interviewing Shaina Taub, a rising star in theater being compared to Lin Manuel Miranda. Upcoming guests in the inaugural year of CitySpace include Margaret Atwood, The Good Place creator Michael Schur, Philip Glass, Amy Cuddy and Janeane Garofolo, among others.

In celebration of its official public opening, CitySpace will host a free community day on Feb. 28:

  • 3 – 4 pm WBUR Live: Radio Boston Live reports on the biggest local news of the day.
  • 4:30 – 5:15 pm Podcast to Watch: WBUR & Reddit’s Endless Thread hosts Ben Brock Johnson and Amory Sivertson share stories from the front page of the internet.
  • 5:45 – 6:15 pm Boston’s New Home For Public Conversation: Morning Edition host Bob Oakes is joined by reporter/editors from the WBUR Newsroom: Barbara Moran (Earthwhile); Christine Willmsen (Investigative Journalism); Carey Goldberg (CommonHealth) and Shira Springer (Sports and Society).
  • 6:45 – 7:30 pm The ARTery Happy Hour: The ARTery, WBUR’s arts and culture team, presents a sneak preview of reporting and events to come including a performance from The Moth Storyteller Bethany Van Delft and Tiny Desk local fan favorite musician Kerrin Connolly.
  • 3 – 7:30 pm Ongoing Interactive Demos: Meet Ryan Edwards and Samo Okerstrom-Lang of Masary Studios and experience their custom art installation created for CitySpace.

“I like to think of CitySpace as the 92nd Street Y of Boston – offering an array of content from author interviews to political debate to musical performances. There will be nothing quite like it in Boston,” said Amy Macdonald, WBUR community engagement director who’s leading the programming effort. “We’ve already booked a wide range of events that will bring people here to be informed, educated and inspired.”

Mining the rich content that Boston has to offer, CitySpace is partnering with many universities, teaching hospitals, theaters, cultural organizations, and non-profit institutions, such as Oxfam America, The Jewish Arts Collaborative, Facing History, The Wilbur, The Boston Globe, The Boston Calendar, TEDx, The Moth, The Boston Lyric Opera, and the Mass Cultural Council to name a few.

There will also be regularly scheduled event series such as:
• Curated Cuisine with local Boston chefs the first Monday of every month;
• Local MOTH StorySlams the second Wednesday of every month; and
• Stepping Up: Business in the Era of Climate Change, a five-part series on what businesses need to do to combat the effects of climate change in collaboration with Harvard Business School and Boston University Questrom Business School.

CitySpace will expand how WBUR serves the citizens of Greater Boston with live events ranging from discussions, debates and lectures, to films, music, artistic performance, youth events, podcasts, and live radio broadcasts. The full list of CitySpace events and tickets on sale to the public can be found at www.wbur.org/cityspace.

About WBUR CitySpace
Located at 890 Commonwealth Avenue on the Boston University campus, WBUR CitySpace at the Lavine Broadcast Center offers an unparalleled venue to generate and foster public conversation, artistic performance, and cultural expression. CitySpace celebrates cutting edge conversations, adventurous art, innovative ideas. CitySpace is WBUR on stage.

CitySpace represents a central pillar of The Campaign for WBUR, a six-year $40 million capital campaign announced in January 2019. Major funding for CitySpace was provided by: Co-chairs for The Campaign for WBUR include William P. Collatos, Jonathan and Margot Davis, Paul and Patty Gannon, Howard and Fredericka Stevenson, and Corey and Anya Thomas. To date more than $28 million of the $40 million goal has been raised, including a $5 million gift from Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, the largest in WBUR’s history, which served as the anchor for the capital campaign and supported the creation of The Lavine Broadcast Center.

WBUR's CitySpace To Explore Business Opportunities From Climate Change

On March 5, WBUR’s CitySpace will launch a series of events highlighting what businesses are doing, can do, and should do to confront climate change. Each will focus on business in a particular sector, including real estate, food, transportation, and energy, and will feature an impressive set of speakers.

Speakers include a who’s who of local and national leaders, including Bryan Koop, Executive VP of Boston Properties; Kevin Butt, Sustainability Director of Toyota North America; and David Perry, CEO of Indigo Agriculture. Small companies that cater to new consumer preferences like Clover Food Lab, and environmental groups like Union of Concerned Scientists, are also on the program.

“The untold story is that climate change offers opportunities as well as risks, and business is already changing,” said Harvard Business School Professor Michael Toffel, who chairs the School’s Business & Environment Initiative.

The series grew out of discussions between WBUR managers and faculty from Harvard Business School and Boston University Questrom School about some of the unexpected ways that businesses are innovating due to climate change.

Organizers recognize that business action is insufficient to address the problem overall. A session scheduled for Earth Day will address business and climate change policy.

“Business offers important answers,” said Kira Fabrizio, a professor at Boston University Questrom School. “While business is a big part of the problem, it is also the main source of new strategies that will make a difference.”

“Not all of the news about climate change is doom and gloom. Working with faculty from these two schools has allowed us to showcase how this problem is sparking new products and services, from lab-grown meat to off-shore wind,” said WBUR’s Barbara Moran, senior producing editor of Earthwhile, a new vertical dedicated to reporting on environmental issues. “CitySpace is an ideal venue to reach a broad audience.” Tickets are available at wbur.org. The full program appears below.


Open for Business?
March 5, 2019
In deciding where to locate, managers take into account proximity to workers, customers, and infrastructure. But climate change—and associated sea level rise, extreme weather, drought, wildfires, and political and security risk—is changing the calculus of where businesses set up shop and how they manage their supply chains. What new costs is climate change posing for large manufacturers that buy inputs and sell products in a global marketplace? Will businesses of the future retreat from the coast to areas less prone to climate disruption? What will those shifts mean for coastal cities like Boston?
• David Cash, Dean, School of Public Policy, UMass Boston
• Bryan Koop, Executive VP, Boston Properties
• Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director Climate and Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists

Food, Diet, and Climate
April 2, 2019
The food industry contributes a lot to the climate change problem, but it also offers solutions. From sustainable supply chains to plant-based burgers with the taste and texture of beef and meat-like protein grown in the lab, new foods are exploding onto restaurant menus and family dinner plates. What challenges are companies facing as they introduce these new foods into the marketplace? How fast can we expect these new foods to catch on? And what are companies that are known for serving traditional meat doing to reduce their carbon footprint? Is big agribusiness getting on board with these changes--or standing in the way?
• Bruce Friedrich, Founder and CEO, Good Food Institute
• Ayr Muir, Founder and CEO of Clover Food Lab
• David Perry, Founder and CEO, Indigo Agriculture
• Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, President, Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, former VP of Cargill

Climate Politics and Business
April 22, 2019 (Earth Day)
In the United States, some business interests have advocated for delay and rollback of policies aimed at protecting the climate, and the result has been little progress at the federal level. Today more and more business leaders are voicing support of some form of carbon tax or other mechanism to put a price on carbon. What is driving industry action and where will it lead? What is the role for business leaders in climate policy?
• William Eacho, Partnership for Responsible Growth
• Mindy Lubber, CEO, Ceres
• Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company

The Road Map of the Future: Transportation
May 7, 2019
In Massachusetts, the transportation sector generated more greenhouse gas emissions than any other sector, and the pressure is on to make improvements. The specter of climate change is shaking up the business strategies of traditional automakers and giving a big boost to alternatives like peer-to-peer car sharing, biking, and scooters. What will the transportation system of the future look like? What are the barriers and how are upstart companies tackling them? How are big car companies responding?
• Kevin Butt, General Manager - Regional Environmental Sustainability Director, Toyota North America
• Adam Gromis, Public Policy Manager, Sustainability & Environmental Impact, Uber
• Caroline Samponaro, Head of Bike, Scooter & Pedestrian Policy, Lyft

Energy Transitions
June 4, 2019
We cannot confront climate change without wholesale changes in our sources of energy. What companies are leading the transition to fossil-fuel-free energy, what barriers are they facing, and how are they tackling those barriers? How are traditional electric utility shifting their business strategies to accommodate or even promote new, cleaner sources of energy? And how are new entrants to this old sector disrupting the electricity industry with clean energy innovations?
• Peter Fox-Penner, Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy, and Professor of Practice, Questrom School of Business
• Abigail Ross Hopper, President & CEO at Solar Energy Industries Association
• Francis Slingsby, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Orsted

Valentine's Day 'Modern Love: The Podcast' Series

Almost two years ago, in March of 2017, writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal's essay "You May Want to Marry My Husband" was published in the Modern Love column. Written in the form of a personal ad, it was really a love letter to her husband. Just ten days later, Amy died of ovarian cancer. Since then, her essay has become one of the most widely read in the history of the column.

In June of 2018, a piece by Amy's husband Jason Rosenthal was published in response to Amy's, called "My Wife Said you May Want to Marry Me." In it, he talked about the huge impact that Amy's essay had on readers, many of whom wrote to him, sharing their own experiences of loss, as well as attempting to woo him. And he communicates a message to readers: "Talk with your mate, your children and other loved ones about what you want for them when you are gone. By doing this, you give them liberty to live a full life and eventually find meaning again."

In a two-part series around this Valentine's Day, ‘Modern Love: The Podcast’ will release episodes featuring both Amy and Jason's essays, as well as a follow-up interview with Jason that goes into more detail about his life after Amy's death. The first episode, out February 6th, will feature actress Debra Winger reading Amy's essay (first released in 2017.) In the episode, Winger explains why she was one of the people who was deeply moved by Amy's piece. The second episode, out February 13, features actor Andre Holland ("Moonlight," "High Flying Bird") reading Jason's piece, and a follow-up interview with Jason. Andre Holland also explains why he personally connected with Jason's piece.

Former All Things Considered Host Robert Siegel Named Finalist Judge for Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize

Robert Siegel hosted NPR's All Things Considered for 30 years. He retires after working at NPR for over 40 years. (Stephen Voss/NPR)
Robert Siegel hosted NPR's All Things Considered for 30 years. He retires after working at NPR for over 40 years. (Stephen Voss/NPR)


WBUR announced today that former All Things Considered Host Robert Siegel will serve as the Finalist Judge for the Annual Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, awarded to a rising public media journalist 35 years or younger. The winner will be honored at the WBUR Gala on April 22 at the JFK Library in Boston and awarded $5,000 for a news story or segment — whether broadcast, podcast or published online, using any combination of audio and other media — of significance and quality. The deadline for Schorr Prize entries is Friday, March 1, 2019. Application forms are available here.

WBUR Appoints Barbara Moran to Lead New Environmental Vertical 'Earthwhile' As Senior Producing Editor

WBUR announced today that it has hired award-winning journalist Barbara Moran as senior producing editor of Earthwhile, a new vertical dedicated to reporting on environmental issues facing the citizens of the world pertaining to energy, environmental health, ecology and climate change. The newly created vertical is funded by The Campaign for WBUR.

“As we continue to see the impact of climate change and environmental policy on our community, we’re excited to welcome Barbara to our expanding newsroom to inform our listeners of those most pressing issues,” said WBUR executive news director Tom Melville.

In her new role, Moran aims to make environmental issues a larger part of peoples’ conversation, helping listeners connect seemingly disparate issues such as climate change, public health, energy, ecology and infrastructure. The vertical will focus on strong reporting and storytelling, multimedia innovation and public outreach. Current WBUR senior reporter Bruce Gellerman will serve on the team.

“Climate change is the great challenge of our time, and an informed public will be better equipped to make the important decisions that confront us all,” says Moran. “Our job is to reach listeners and readers who might be ‘turned off’ by environmental news, and draw them in with engaging narrative, creative multimedia and stories that haven’t been told before.”

Moran is an award-winning science journalist committed to covering issues of public health, environmental justice and the intersection of science and society. She has written for many publications, including the New York Times, New Scientist, Technology Review, Boston Globe Magazine and the Hartford Courant, and has produced television documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel and others. She has twice won the National Association of Science Writer’s highest honor, the Science in Society Award. Her first book, The Day We Lost the H-bomb, a narrative nonfiction account of the worst nuclear weapons accident in history, was an Amazon pick of the month when published in 2009, and described as “riveting” by the Washington Post. She is also an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

The Campaign for WBUR, the organization’s first-ever capital campaign with an unprecedented $40 million, supports three key investment areas: CitySpace, Expanding Journalism for Boston and the Nation, and Ensuring the Future Through Innovation. Specific journalistic endeavors include increased environmental reporting, investigative journalism, arts and culture reporting, education reporting and local newsroom fellowships to hire and train the next generation of public media journalists. The innovation funding supports WBUR’s iLab and BizLab to ensure the sustainability of public radio in today’s ever-evolving media environment. At the heart of the entire Campaign for WBUR is an unrelenting focus on independent journalism.

WBUR Appoints Christine Willmsen to Lead New Investigative Vertical as Senior Investigative Editor and Reporter

WBUR announced today that it has hired award-winning journalist Christine Willmsen as senior investigative editor and reporter. In the newly created position funded by The Campaign for WBUR, Willmsen will lead a team comprised of an investigative reporter and a data analysis and visualization journalist to launch a new investigative reporting vertical.

“We are thrilled to have Christine join our team to lead our new investigative reporting vertical,” said WBUR executive news director Tom Melville. “As WBUR continues to expand its reporting, we will leverage Christine’s extensive experience as an accomplished investigative reporter to bring in-depth stories to our listeners. Christine shares our commitment to providing comprehensive and informative news to our community about our community.”

Under Willmsen’s leadership, the investigative team will collaborate to produce deeply-reported stories about subjects that affect the lives of people living in New England. With Boston serving as the hub of many federal and state agencies, the new team will delve into issues such as the environment, criminal justice, social services and public infrastructure. In addition, Willmsen will develop a watchdog culture in WBUR’s newsroom by teaching investigative skills to other journalists.

“Now, more than ever, our country and our region need accountability in journalism,” said Willmsen. “It is my hope to turn WBUR into a destination for New Englanders to find high-quality investigative projects that span across media platforms from the airwaves to the website and beyond. My goal is to create meaningful impact in the Boston-area, and I am especially excited to have the opportunity to build a team that will share this same passion as well as to collaborate with the WBUR newsroom.”

Willmsen joins WBUR after sixteen years as an investigative reporter at The Seattle Times. With more than twenty years of experience in content creation and communications, Willmsen is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a member of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The Seattle Times for coverage following the murder of four police officers in a coffee shop and the ensuing manhunt to capture the killer. In 2015, she was selected as one of twenty-three journalists worldwide for a one-year Nieman Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University to study the future of journalism, digital innovation and data science. Willmsen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Spanish from Simpson College. She is originally from Marion, Iowa.

The Campaign for WBUR, the organization’s first-ever capital campaign with an unprecedented $40 million, supports three key investment areas: CitySpace, Expanding Journalism for Boston and the Nation, and Ensuring the Future Through Innovation. Specific journalistic endeavors include increased environmental reporting, investigative journalism, arts and culture reporting, education reporting and local newsroom fellowships to hire and train the next generation of public media journalists. The innovation funding supports WBUR’s iLab and BizLab to ensure the sustainability of public radio in today’s ever-evolving media environment. At the heart of the entire Campaign for WBUR is an unrelenting focus on independent journalism.

Kimberly Atkins Named First-Ever Washington-Based WBUR Newsroom Journalist

For the first time, WBUR will have its own Washington-based journalist: Kimberly Atkins joins the WBUR Newsroom as a senior correspondent on Monday, Feb. 4.  She will cover the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, politics and the federal government. Atkins has been Boston Herald Washington bureau chief since 2014.  She will continue her role as a contributor to MSNBC, providing on-air news analysis.

Atkins has had a distinguished career as a journalist, having been a host of C-Span’s Washington Journal from 2015-2018, the Washington bureau chief for Lawyers Weekly, the Daily Record and their sister newspapers from 2013-2014, a staff writer for Lawyers USA from 2007-2013, a political reporter in at earlier stint at the Boston Herald from 2004-2007, education reporter for the Journal News in suburban New York from 2003-2004 and a reporter for the Boston Globe from 2001-2003.  A licensed attorney, she was a litigation and appellate lawyer in Massachusetts from 1998-2000. In 2011, Atkins launched her own independent womenswear fashion design firm.

Atkins holds a master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Wayne State University. She also holds two degrees from Boston University, a Juris Doctor from the School of Law and a master's degree in Mass Communication from the College of Communication.