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

The Ride Of His Life: Lew Alexander Cycles For Diabetes Prevention

May 28, 2016

Lew Alexander was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2008. Rather than let the condition control his life, Alexander took to his bicycle. He tells the story of his long road to improved health, In His Own Words.

Proudly (And Not So Proudly) We Sing The National Anthem

May 28, 2016

Once the game has begun, sports fans don’t often find themselves thinking about the performers who sang the national anthem. But two incidents last Saturday night — one good, one bad — kept fans talking all through the week.

High-Interest Loans Tempt Families Waiting For NFL Settlement Checks

May 21, 2016

While former players wait for NFL settlement checks, some are considering taking high-interest advances on their awards. But are these men, who suffered brain damage from playing football, in the right frame of mind make that decision? Karen Given has our story.

$60 Million For H.S. Football Stadium? Yes, If You’re In Texas

May 14, 2016

How much is too much to spend on a high school football stadium? The answer to that question is different in each community that asks it. And the answer is bigger in Texas, where everything’s bigger…and football is king. Karen Given tracks the history of $60 million stadiums in the Lone Star state.

Chatterbox To Zippity Doodah Day: The History Of Racehorse Names

May 07, 2016
Oscar Nominated is one of the many creatively named horses that will compete at Churchill Downs. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

This weekend’s Kentucky Derby contenders include some predictably fantastic names: My Man Sam, Oscar Nominated, and Suddenbreakingnews. But why are racehorses so creatively named? Only A Game’s Karen Given set out to try and answer that question.

Maria Toorpakai: The Squash-Playing Daughter Of Waziristan

May 07, 2016

Born in the tribal region of Waziristan, Toorpakai was expected to stay home and prepare to be a wife and mother. Instead, she became Pakistan’s best-ever female squash player. Toorpakai shares her story, In Her Own Words.

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

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.

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

November 13, 2015

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.

Most Popular