The latest announcements and updates from WBUR

WBUR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook Expands to Philadelphia's WHYY and San Francisco's KALW

On Point Now Reaches 73% of the Country; National Listening Tour Continues to Connect with Listeners in their Communities

WBUR,  is pleased to announce that On Point with Tom Ashbrook has been picked up by NPR member stations WHYY in Philadelphia, PA and KALW in San Francisco, CA. These major market stations join WUSF, WFAE and GPB in recently adding On Point to their daily line-up, expanding the program’s broadcast penetration to 73 percent of the country.

“Expanding to these new markets enables us to engage in active discussions with even more listeners from coast to coast,” said host Tom Ashbrook. “It is imperative that we talk about issues that matter, especially as we see the divisions in our country continue to widen. Whether in a small rural community or at the heart of a major city, we invite listeners to speak their minds and listen to each other to bridge the gap between our political and social views.”

On Point, carried by more than 250 NPR stations, is one of the fastest-growing programs on the air with the number of listeners nationwide tuning in at any given 15 minutes of a show (or AQH) up 34%* and weekly cume up 29%* during the past year.

“At KALW, we’ve been thinking hard about how to best serve our listeners in this tumultuous time,” said KALW general manager Matt Martin. “On Point complements our local and global coverage with an American conversation that is truly national. Tom Ashbrook is interested in perspectives from across the country, and knows how to drive thoughtful, fact-based conversations about the most important issues that face us all. We’re very glad to bring On Point to public radio listeners in the Bay Area.”

“We are thrilled to bring On Point to our listeners,” said Naomi Starobin, radio general manager at WHYY. “We wanted to share On Point’s thoughtful reporting on a variety of topics that resonate with our audience. We feel it’s more important than ever to provide our listeners with the high-quality journalism and topics On Point delivers.”

In addition to reaching these new markets, On Point is conducting a national listening tour throughout 2017 called “Listening to America.” Host Tom Ashbrook will continue to broadcast from NPR member radio stations across the country to discuss today’s current events and  important local and national issues. The tour kicked off in Charlotte, North Carolina in January at NPR member station WFAE. Since then, On Point has visited Detroit, Michigan’s WDET and Tampa, Florida’s WUSF to engage in conversation with local communities..

Upcoming tour stops include:

  • April 20: WPR, Milwaukee, WI
  • May 12: KPBX, Spokane WA
  • June 9: IPR, Ames, IA
  • August 4: MPR, Portland, ME
  • September 29: GPR, Atlanta, GA

While “Listening to America” is the show’s first national tour, On Point has broadcast in cities across the United States such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Santa Barbara, Tampa as well as internationally in Shanghai, China and Berlin, Germany.

Sarah Gonzalez Honored with Schorr Prize

Sarah Aida Gonzalez, WNYC

WBUR has named Sarah Aida Gonzalez of public radio station WNYC in New York City the winner of this year’s Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. The prize is named for the late NPR senior news analyst and veteran Washington journalist Daniel Schorr who died in 2010. Schorr was a firm believer in supporting talented young journalists as they rose through the ranks of public radio.

The $5,000 Schorr Prize — sponsored by WBUR and Boston University, and funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner — salutes a new generation of public radio journalists under the age of 35, seeking to inspire them to stretch the boundaries of the medium.

Gonzalez’s winning entry, “Kids in Prison: Racial Disparities, Longer Sentences and a Better Way,” examines why black teenagers in New Jersey are tried as adults more than any other racial or ethnic group, resulting in harsher treatment and longer sentences.  Reporter Sarah Gonzalez embarked on the five-part series after anecdotally hearing that prosecutors chose to try black and Latino kids as adults, but rarely white kids who had committed the same kind of crimes. After months of being told the data did not exist at the state or local level, she obtained court data that conclusively showed racial disparities.

“Sarah took a timely and important subject — the practice of trying and incarcerating juveniles in the adult criminal justice system — and turned it into a gripping, revelatory and ambitious series,” said Bill Keller, Editor-in-Chief of The Marshall Project and former New York Times Executive Editor, who served as the prize’s finalist judge. “She combined original data reporting (unearthing the startling fact that 90 percent of the teenagers waived into the adult system in New Jersey are black or brown) with real-life stories and sophisticated analysis. To find a jurisdiction that does not imprison kids together with adult offenders, she traveled to Germany, where young people up to age 24 are confined in conditions designed to leave their humanity intact. The series was skillfully produced, and remarkably un-preachy.”

Gonzalez was a reporter with the WNYC Data News Team for the series. She is now the youth and families reporter for WNYC. Her investigative and feature reporting has been honored with national awards by the Education Writer’s Association, SPJ Sigma Delta Chi, the Online News Association and PRNDI, and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. She will be honored at the 15th Annual WBUR Gala on Monday, May 15, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Gonzalez was selected the prize winner from nearly 40 submissions. The four finalists this year included Emily Guerin (Inside Energy, currently KPCC); Rebecca Hersher (NPR); Lulu Miller (NPR); and Lauren Rosenthal (NCPR).

In addition to Keller, the judging panel included Bruce Auster (NPR National Collaborations Editor); Michelle Johnson (Professor of Multi Media Journalism, Boston University); Rekha Murthy (Independent Media Consultant); David Brower (Program Director, North Carolina Public Radio); and Ben Calhoun (VP of Content & Programming, WBEZ).

Past Schorr Prize winners include WAMU Reporter Patrick Madden (2015); WFPL Reporter Devin Katayama, now a reporter for KQED, San Francisco (2014); WBEZ producer Becky Vevea (2013); KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); NPR host David Greene (2011); NPR reporter Ailsa Chang (2010); reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, who covers global economics for NPR’s multimedia project “Planet Money” (2009); former NPR defense correspondent Guy Raz, now the host of the “TED Radio Hour” (2008); and NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).

¡Cuba Con Salsa!

WBUR and Conexión are proud to announce a special evening celebrating the rich heritage of Cuban music on Wednesday, April 26 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre.

WBUR Host Jose Masso

Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now, and José Massó, host of ¡Con Salsa! will emcee the event., featuring multiple performances by the Grammy Award-nominated Pedrito Martinez Group.

They’ll be joined by Ned Sublette, author of “Cuba and its Music” and award-winning Cuban singer Gema Corredera will discuss the origins of Cuban music and its influences. Corredera will also join Pedrito Martinez for the final number.

The event will be recorded live with portions broadcast on WBUR programs and digital.

Click here to purchase tickets.

WBUR to launch investigative unit

This post is excerpted from Current in an article written by Associate Editor April Simpson. See the full article on their website.

WBUR will launch an investigative reporting unit with a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The funding, announced last week, will enable the station to dedicate a team of journalists to investigative coverage, said Sam Fleming, director of news and programming. Up until this point, the newsroom has conducted investigations periodically and in partnership with other news organizations.

Investigations are time intensive and often costly, factors that have been deterrents for public radio newsrooms, especially at the station level, Fleming said. “We haven’t always been afforded the opportunity to do the kind of investigative work that newspapers, especially in their heyday, have been able to do,” he said.

WBUR plans to hire three journalists to tackle stories such as opioid addiction, climate change and immigration. With Barr’s funding commitment, WBUR is pursuing more grants of similar size, Fleming said, aiming to raise $1 million to assure three years of startup and operations.  The first hire will be an editor-reporter, followed by another reporter and then a journalist with multimedia and data skills.

WBUR works with NECIR, a nonprofit investigative unit that shares content with multiple partners. Those collaborations will continue “as opportunities arise,” Fleming said. NECIR maintains a team of skilled reporters with a clear focus and experience on the print side, Fleming said. Over the years of working with the center, WBUR realized that its investigative work hasn’t always translated to radio.

“The craft of  … storytelling in our particular medium is a specialized craft and not everybody in print is always able to realize the specialty of public radio and storytelling for audio,” Fleming said. “That’s one of the reasons … we wanted to create our own unit and work in partnership with NECIR and organizations like that.” WBUR wants to have more control over its investigative coverage and “what we were doing ourselves to take advantage of whatever it is that we find out.”

WBUR received a three-year, $1 million grant from Barr last fall supporting arts coverage, Fleming said, and the work that went into securing that commitment led to a conversation about the newsroom’s ambitions for investigative coverage. “It was that opportunity and working relationship that made them realize that we also had a very strong relationship with investigative work,” Fleming said.

The Boston-based Barr Foundation backed the WBUR unit as part of a special initiative to strengthen journalism and protect freedom of the press.

“We are at a time in public radio’s evolution where the need to do investigative journalism is really becoming more apparent all the time,” Fleming said. “We are really grateful to Barr and we see this as an opportunity for us to get in that game in a serious way, in a manner that will help WBUR and our listeners, but also will help the public radio system.”

WBUR’s Marathon Triumphs at the Finish Line

Here & Now Co-Host Robin Young fundraising.

After an exhilarating 26.2 hours, WBUR reached its spring fundraising goal. Thank you to all of our dedicated members, listeners and volunteers for helping us to raise a record-breaking $1.2M in the WBUR Marathon, a 26.2 hour fundraiser to help keep democracy running. Among the highlights:

  • With just 26.2 hours of live fundraising, WBUR raised $1,227,997 from 9,644 donors.  This represents a 22% increase in revenue and an 8% increase in the number of gifts over last year.
  • With active presences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, the #teamWBUR hashtag generated 5,098,348 impressions that reached over 2M unique users (as of 1pm, April 6).   Our Facebook Live campaign generated 14.6K views.
  • See some behind-the-scenes photos taken by WBUR Photographer Jesse Costa in our WBUR Marathon album.

More than ever, WBUR would not be here without you and your support. Thank you.

Grant Award for Investigative Journalism

WBUR is proud to be named a $300,000 grant award recipient by The Barr Foundation as part of its 2017 Special Initiative to strengthen journalism and protect freedom of the press. The grant supports the creation of a new investigative reporting unit inside the local WBUR Newsroom. The full announcement from the Barr Foundation can be read on their blog.


In 2016, NPR Reached New Levels With Record-Breaking Weekly Listenership

Now, more than ever, NPR is critically important to the field of journalism.  Audiences are certainly feeling that way too.  With an increase of 13 percent year-over-year, NPR now reaches nearly 30 million weekly listeners across national programming — an all-time high, with Morning Edition reaching 14.65 million listeners.

NPR is now reaching younger and more diverse listeners as well.  NPR saw growth across all age groups, with listeners ages 25-44 gaining the most traction.


Mass Poetry's Evening of Inspired Leaders

Jeremy Hobsonlinderpix-3879-square, co-host of Here & Now, emcee’d the 3rd Annual Evening of Inspired Leaders, an event that brought together leaders from various fields to read a favorite poem and share how it has influenced their work.  Click here to check out a video of the event.

This year’s participants included:

Mayor Martin J. Walsh – Mayor of Boston

Anita Diamant – writer, founder Mayyim Hayyim

Carol Fulp – CEO, the Partnership, former Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Brand Management at John Hancock Financial, founding co-chair of the Massachusetts Conference for Women,

Paula Johnson, President of Wellesley College, nationally recognized leader in public health and women’s healthcare.

Myechia Minter-Jordan, President and CEO of The Dimock Center

Jabari Asim-writer and multidisciplinary artist. He is an associate professor at Emerson College and the executive editor of The Crisis, the NAACP’s flagship journal

Kerry Healey – former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, currently President of Babson College

Linda Mason, co-founder and Chair of Bright Horizons, co-founder Horizons for Homeless Children, Chair of Mercy Corps and currently Leader-in-Residence at the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School

Molly Baldwin – Founder and CEO of Roca, an organization committed to helping disengaged and disenfranchised young people move out of violence .

Roger Brown – co founder of Bright Horizons, President of Berklee College of Music

Victoria Budson– founder and the Executive Director of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Will Corporation for Public Broadcasting Be Defunded? WBUR GM Responds

A message from WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz:

Yesterday President Donald Trump submitted a budget to Congress that defunds the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Here at WBUR, my focus is naturally on public radio but I’m concerned for all of public media. At stake is:

  • $90 million for public radio and $355 million for public television
  • $.28 per citizen per year for public radio
  • CPB funding is .01% of the federal budget

It is, in short, a small investment with big impact. More than 41 million Americans listen to public radio each week, including more than 500,000 WBUR listeners here in Boston.

Public radio was born of a belief 50 years ago that every citizen deserves access to independent, public service, non-commercial, non-profit news and programming that enriches the American experience. From the largest cities to the smallest towns, public radio and television started with public funds — now supported additionally with private philanthropy — and embraced the highest standards of quality broadcasting.

Will the CPB be defunded? It is hard to predict, and history can be only a partial guide. This is not the first effort to eliminate funding for public media and each time those efforts have failed. What we know for certain is that partisan rancor and Congressional gridlock are more intense today than at any time since the CPB was created. The effort to defund public media is real. It’s not driven by any meaningful effort to balance the budget. The amount of money at stake is simply too small to make a difference in federal spending, but it is large enough to strike a blow to universal access to non-partisan, fact-based journalism.

While WBUR would be significantly impacted by the elimination of CPB funds, we will survive with your help. But hundreds of smaller stations across the country will be forced to drastically reduce their staffs or even close their doors. This would be a tragedy for journalism in America and a tremendous loss for countless communities that rely on NPR.

As one of the largest public radio stations in the country, and one that provides more hours of national NPR programming than any other station, WBUR is committed to universal access to our programs across the country. We need your help in assuring that Boston and the nation continue to be served by WBUR.

So what can you do? First, go to Protect My Public Media and sign our petition to Congress.  Your voice will be joined by millions of others across the country in support of public radio and television. Second, tell your friends and family that public radio may lose its funding if they don’t speak up in support of it across America. And finally, monitor WBUR and, where we will keep you updated on efforts to defund the CPB.

From its inception, public radio has been a collaboration between NPR, public radio stations and our listeners. That partnership is more important now than ever before.

I’ll keep you updated in the coming weeks. Together we can fight this effort to defund public radio in America.

You can email feedback to

WBUR On Tap: Taste of Iceland

WBUR joined Iceland’s First Lady Eliza Reid in celebrating the Nordic nation’s rich storytelling tradition as part of the 8th annual Taste of Iceland in Boston festival. Reid, a writer and editor who co-founded the Iceland Writers Retreat, led a lively discussion at WBUR about what makes Iceland inspirational for lovers of literature while guests sampled authentic Icelandic food and cocktails.

Love, Modern Love

As a token of appreciation to our Modern Love: The Podcast celebrity readers, WBUR and The New York Times shared a little love in the form of a “thank you” care package featuring  Bonnie’s Jams,  Somerville Chocolate,  Barrington Coffee, Gamine Workwear, Westborough Wicks, Fat Toad Farm, OnHand, Fire Cider, Ursa Major, Marblehead Salt, McCrea’s Candies, Tonewood Maple products, Modern Moose Clocks, My Storytellers, and luxury knitwear from The Third Piece.  The Grommet—based in Somerville– helped us gather many of these New England vendors from their extensive network of makers.

We’re grateful to all of the immensely talented performers who’ve read Modern Love essays for our podcast including those who received this latest package: Rebecca Hall, Issa Rae, Ruth Negga, Mark Duplass, Megan Hilty, Kate Burton, David Harbour, Amy Landecker, Pamela Adlon, Sela Ward, Melanie Lynskey, Mykelti Williamson, Brian Tyree Henry, Emmy Rossum, Mireille Enos, David Oyelowo, Justina Machado, Ry Russo-Young, Paul Rust, and Malin Akerman,

Thank you to everyone involved — especially our devoted podcasts fans, for making Modern Love a top digital download. Listen today.

Salem Film Fest

We are looking forward to a fantastic week of documentaries at the Salem Film Fest.  Entering its 10th year, Salem Film Fest is one of New England’s largest documentary film festivals and presents a rich and diverse collection of the year’s best work from all over the world. For more information and tickets, visit their website. If you are looking to pick up some WBUR swag while seeing some amazing documentaries, come out and meet us in Salem.  We will be there all weekend long – follow us on Twitter @WBURExtra.


For the first time, leading podcast publishers including WBUR and NPR have joined forces to introduce new audiences to podcasts. All this month, the hosts of hundreds of shows including Modern Love, On Point, Stuff You Should Know, Planet Money, Missing Richard Simmons, and Crimetown, will encourage listeners to introduce a friend, relative or coworker to a new podcast, and, show them how to listen if they don’t know how. Listeners will be asked to share stories of why they listen and their favorite podcasts using the hashtag #trypod.

According to Edison Research, one in five Americans listened to podcasts every month as of early 2016 – a number that has grown by double-digits for five years. Even though podcasts are growing quickly and are available in more places than ever before, some people still don’t know how to listen or where to start. Informally led by NPR, industry leaders including ESPN, Pineapple Street Media, Midroll, WNYC Studios and WBUR are working together to show new audiences how easy it is to listen.

“People come to podcasts for information and analysis to make sense of the world around them, to be entertained by excellent storytelling, to laugh and experience wonder,” said Israel Smith, NPR’s Sr. Director of Promotion.

Research conducted by comScore and Wondery suggests that listeners turn to podcasts when they’re feeling curious and then as a result of listening they feel more connected, intelligent and energized!  So, give it a try.  #trypod




WBUR Hires Brian Hardzinski as Associate Producer for On Point

WBUR announced today that Brian Hardzinski has been appointed associate producer of On Point with Tom Ashbrook. He will work closely with host Tom Ashbrook to research show topics, develop daily program segments and coordinate guest interviews.

“We are so pleased to have Brian join our team,” said On Point executive producer Karen Shiffman. “As On Point expands its coverage to audiences around the nation, we seek ways to effectively provide listeners with poignant discussions on topics that resonate with them. Brian brings several years of experience in broadcast and production from the middle of the country, and I am confident that he will support On Point’s mission to continue to deliver new perspectives and thorough investigations of what’s happening today.”

Brian joins WBUR after 11 years at KGOU Radio in Norman, Oklahoma where he worked in a number of roles including host of Morning Edition, digital news editor, operations and public service announcement director, producer and host of KGOU’s Assignment: Radio and substitute host for All Things Considered.

Brain earned his bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and history at the University of Oklahoma.

Modern Love: The Podcast’s Valentine’s Day Special

Lovers of love and lovers of podcasts, be ready for WBUR’s airing of Modern Love: The Podcast on Valentine’s Day!  To hear a clip of Modern Love: The Podcast as read by actor Colin Farrell click here.

Based on the New York Times Sunday Styles column, Modern Love: The Podcast features true stories read by top talent from the stage and screen.  An original soundscape and soundtrack brings the essays alive, exploring themes touching every element of the human condition.  The podcast has seen a tremendous audience response, passing the 20 million download mark and celebrating its one-year anniversary on January 21.

The radio special is hosted by WBUR’s own Meghna Chakrabarti (Radio Boston) and includes a trio of funny, romantic, and inspiring essays read by Colin Farrell (“The Lobster”) on a quadriplegic man who finds a love he thought he’d never have, Gillian Jacobs (“Love”) on falling in love with the help of a psychological experiment known as “36 Questions”; and Tony Hale (“Veep”) who wonders about breaking up and reading between the lines.  The radio special also features conversations with the essay’s original authors and The New York Times Modern Love Editor Daniel Jones.

WBUR will broadcast the Modern Love: The Podcast’s Valentine’s Day Special on Sat., 2/11 at 6 p.m., Sun. 2/12 at 8 p.m. and Tues., 2/14 at 9 p.m.

WBUR Appoints Yasmin Amer as Morning Edition Field Producer

WBUR announced today that Yasmin Amer has been appointed as WBUR’s Morning Edition field producer. She will work closely with WBUR Morning Edition Host Bob Oakes to produce and report daily news stories, interviews and special series.

“We are thrilled to have Yasmin join our team,” said WBUR director of news and programming Sam Fleming. “As we enter the new year, we are pleased to continue expanding our newsroom with members of the media who understand the essential role of high quality, substantive, nonpartisan journalism. With Yasmin’s experience, we know that she will be a great addition to our team who will help serve our local community by reporting on in depth stories that impact our lives.”

Yasmin joins WBUR after five years at CNN, where she has worked as an assignment editor on the international desk, as a news editor at CNN International NewSource, as a writer and producer on CNN domestic shows, and as a writer and producer for CNN NewSource.

Yasmin earned her master’s degree in human-computer interaction at the Georgia Institute of Technology and her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in broadcast journalism and Arabic studies with a minor in religious studies.

This Moment in Cancer- A CommonHealth Special Series

WBUR and CommonHealth proudly present “This Moment in Cancer”, a special news series exploring what’s different and what we can expect from the groundbreaking cancer research happening here in Boston.  Led by Carey Goldberg, editor of the WBUR CommonHealth blog and former Boston bureau chief of “The New York Times”, with reporting from a team of journalists including Lisa Mullins, Rachel Zimmerman, Martha Bebinger and more.  Explore all the stories here.

WBUR Honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with 14th Annual Concert

“How I Got Over” is the title of a song performed by legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson as part of the program at the march on Washington, D.C. where Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech was delivered.  It was Ms. Jackson who called out from her seat behind the podium to Dr. King: “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” which prompted King to go off script with his historic and inspirational words.

Reporter Delores Handy was on hand at Jordan Hall to introduce the Boston’s Children’s chorus at this uplifting, gospel-themed concert to honor Dr. King, the music associated with the civil rights movement and the spirit and passion of all those who marched with Dr. King on that monumental day in Washington.


Listen Up: An Evening of Exceptional Audio

Friends and fans gathered to listen and share in a little kindness and conviviality at the ICA for our annual Listen Up event. Here & Now host Robin Young and Kind World producer Erika Lantz shared audio stories of kindness during this special evening of listening together–in the dark. The shared listening experience was followed by an insightful conversation with Richard Weissbourd, co-director of the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Special thanks to the ICA and Boston Medical Center for their support in making this event possible. And be sure to listen to the new season of Kind World.

Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize: Call for Entries

daniel-schorrWBUR, invites public radio journalists age 35 and under to submit entries for the annual Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize. Eligible works will have been broadcast or published between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016. The $5,000 Schorr Prize – sponsored by WBUR and Boston University, and funded by Jim and Nancy Bildner – recognizes a rising star in public radio and seeks to inspire a new generation of journalists to stretch the boundaries of the medium.

Submissions may focus on any local, national or international news issue significant to the listening public. The work may be presented in the form of a produced news story, podcast, news feature, documentary, series on a single topic or an investigative report. Complete guidelines are online at

The award is named after the late Daniel Schorr, who gave American journalism a lifetime of commitment through his insight, intelligence and integrity. Schorr believed strongly in supporting talented journalists as they rose through the ranks of public radio. The selected Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize winner will be honored at the annual WBUR Gala which takes place on May 15 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge, Mass.

Past winners include WAMU Reporter Patrick Madden (2015); Reporter Devin Katayama, now a reporter for KQED, San Francisco (2014); WBEZ producer Becky Vevea (2013); KUNC reporter Grace Hood (2012); NPR host David Greene (2011); NPR reporter Ailsa Chang (2010); reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, who covers global economics for NPR’s multimedia project “Planet Money” (2009); former NPR defense correspondent Guy Raz, now the host of the “TED Radio Hour” (2008); and NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan (2007).

All entries must be received at or before 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 3, 2017.


Media Contacts:


Karen Laverty

Phone: 617-275-6516

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