The Campbell Conversations

6:30 AM Saturdays & 6:00 PM Sundays | Local stations FM 89.9 & FM 90.3

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The Campbell Conversations is an interview-based public affairs radio program, created, hosted, and produced by Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The show airs on WRVO Public Media Saturdays at 6:30 AM and again on Sundays at 6:00 PM, and is also available as a downloadable podcast. WRVO Public Media is the largest regional NPR-affiliate in Central New York, with a listening area spanning 22 counties and southern Ontario.

The half-hour program features extended, in-depth interviews in which Reeher goes beyond and behind the current news cycle to explore important questions concerning public affairs. Guests include notable people from Central New York — writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals — whose work affects the public life of the community, as well as nationally-prominent figures visiting the region to talk about their work. It is also a recognized go-to place for candidate debates during election cycles.  The program enjoys a regular audience among political, non-profit, educational, and other policy-related social networks.

Among the program’s recognition's and awards are a “Best Special Program” award from the Syracuse Press Club, and a “Best Interview” award from the New York State Associated Press. 

“In the Campbell Conversations, we try to provide the extra space for the depth I am always hungering for as a listener,” said Reeher. “I hope listeners will find the guests’ commentary as interesting as I do when I have the privilege of talking with them.”  The Campbell Conversations are conversations in the public interest.

**Disclaimer:  Any reference in this website to any person, or organization, or activities, products, or services related to such person or organization, or any linkages from this web site to the web site of another party, do not constitute or imply the endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Campbell Public Affairs Institute or Syracuse University.

Link to WRVO for all interviews

Campbell Conversations

Author Mary Beth Pfieffer on the Campbell Conversations
Spring has finally sprung across upstate New York, and ticks carrying Lyme Disease are a known threat. But what is the bigger picture regarding the disease's dangers, and the medical establishment's response. This week, grant Reeher talks with author and investigative journalist Mary Beth Pfieffer, who has written a book called "Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change."  (Sat, 19 May 2018 10:03:00 +0000)

A discussion on voting rights for parolees on the Campbell Conversations
A recent executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opened a path to voting for 35,000 ex-felons on parole. What are the arguments for and against this restoration of voting rights, and what are political arguments regarding citizenship and the formerly incarcerated? Joining Grant Reeher to discuss these issues are Marsha Weissman, a senior policy fellow and former executive director for the Center for Community Alternatives, and Elizabeth Cohen, a professor of political science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and is the author of "The Political Value of Time."  (Sat, 12 May 2018 09:10:30 +0000)

Juanita Perez Williams on the Campbell Conversations
New York's 24th Congressional District, currently represented by Republican John Katko, now has two Democratic candidates vying to challenge him in November. Dana Balter, who was designated by the Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego county democratic committees, and Juanita Perez Williams, who entered the race at a fairly late stage.  (Sat, 05 May 2018 09:54:27 +0000)

Brett Orzechowski on the Campbell Conversations
Politics in Albany seems plagued by corruption. Could more transparency of information help? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Brett Orzechowski, a professor of Management and Media at Utica College, and the author of " FOIL: The Law and Future of Public Information in New York. "  (Sat, 28 Apr 2018 09:43:00 +0000)

State Sen. Dave Valesky on the Campbell Conversations
The New York State Senate is changing. The Senate's Independent Democratic Conference, which had operated in a coalition with Republicans, is now dissolving and rejoining with mainline Democrats. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida), a founding member of the IDC. They discuss the implications of this change, as well as the recently passed state budget.  (Sat, 14 Apr 2018 10:37:16 +0000)

Melanie Robbins on the Campbell Conversations
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in recent years, across New York and the nation. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with Melanie Robbins, the Senior Associate Regional Dirtector of the Anti-Defamation League's New York chapter. They discuss their work in identifying the problem and educating citizend and government organizations on the best ways to combat the rise in anti-Semitism. Interview Highlights Reeher: Give our listeners a brief background on the Anti-Defamation League, its history, its mission and some of its current activities. Robbins: The mission of the Anti-Defamation League is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all. We are a 100-plus-year-old organization pursuing agenda items across the spectrum of civil rights issues, notably on the issue of hate crimes. We do a lot of educational work. We also work very closely with law enforcement. So, we address the issue of hate initially  (Sat, 31 Mar 2018 10:01:00 +0000)

This week on the Campbell Conversations: A conversation on racism in the criminal justice system
The killings of African American citizens by local police have generated a more broad, national conversation about race and the criminal justice system. This week on the Campbell Conversations, a conversation with Angela Hattery and Earl Smith, two researchers who have written a new book about the systemic racism in the criminal justice system. The book is called Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change. Reeher: Is there one thing in particular that you want your book to accomplish or try to help to accomplish? Hattery: I think what we really want the book to accomplish is to connect the dots among a number of things that people see in the news, whether it’s the shooting of an unarmed black man…or exonerations in general or protests in the street. So, really revealing the interconnected nature of all the various in which the criminal injustice system continues to police black bodies. Reeher: Let me stick…with the initial catalyst for this—the  (Sat, 24 Mar 2018 13:28:19 +0000)

Sally Santangelo on the Campbell Conversations
The city of Syracuse has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation. How does housing discrimination and segregation factor into that? This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Sally Santangelo, Executive Director of CNY Fair Housing. They discuss the many facets of housing discrimination in Syracuse and across central New York. Interview highlights Reeher: Let me start by asking you to give us a brief overview of the nature of your organization and its mission and its practices. Just tell us what you folks do and why. Santangelo: We investigate housing discrimination. We do a lot of education and outreach to teach people about fair housing rights as well as teach housing providers about what their free housing responsibilities are. We conduct research and policy work to try to help promote open communities, help build more inclusive neighborhoods and give people more access to housing choices. And we also have an attorney on staff who provides  (Sat, 17 Mar 2018 09:47:00 +0000)

Congressional candidate Dana Balter on the Campbell Conversations
This November's Congressional elections may be the most important midterms in a generation. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks to Dana Balter, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate to challenge Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) for central New York's 24th Congressional District seat. They discuss her campaign, her policy positions, and her case against Katko.  (Sat, 10 Mar 2018 11:25:28 +0000)

Etan Thomas on the Campbell Conversations
Social activism by prominent athletes, particularly regarding issues that involve race, has taken off in the past year. It's generated comparisons with the activism from the 1960s. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with Etan Thomas, a social commentator, 11-year NBA veteran and former Syracuse University basketball star. He's written a new book called We Matter: Athletes and Activism . Interview Highlights Reeher: Tell me about the decision to write this book. How did you decide to write it? Thomas: There was a lot going on in society. And a lot of athletes were using their positions and platforms kind of in an unprecedented way. Course, we saw this a lot in the ‘60s…but then you saw athletes who might have not really spoken out quite often start to speak out. And I just wanted to capture it. There was a lot going on with police brutality. I think that was really one of the things—the catalyst—that really pushed a lot of athletes to really be able to use  (Sat, 03 Mar 2018 12:41:15 +0000)

Ted Marmor on the Campbell Conversations
The Medicare program remains widely popular, but how well is it understood? What about the program works well, and doesn't work well? And is it under threat in the current political climate? This week on The Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Yale Emeritus professor Ted Marmor, a leading and longstanding expert on Medicare and the politics surrounding it. Interview Highlights Grant Reeher (GR): Medicare is more widely understood among the public than Medicaid, but I think it still makes sense for us to start with an overview of how Medicare works in our healthcare system. Could you just sketch that out briefly for me? Ted Marmor (TM): Medicare is a program much more complex than it was when it was born legislatively in 1965 and put into effect in 1966. Then, there were two parts to it: a hospital insurance part, called Part A, and a Part B, which was devoted to, largely, insurance against the fees of physicians. Over time, and particularly in 2003, a drug benefit was added  (Sat, 24 Feb 2018 12:37:05 +0000)

Jamila Michener on the Campbell Conversations
The Medicaid program was at the center of Obamacare's expansion of health insurance coverage, and the political and legal controversy that followed its passage. It's now seen by many to be at risk in an era of potential social welfare cutbacks. This week, we're joined Jamila Michener, an expert on Medicaid, who has written a book on the subject. Interview highlights Grant Reeher (GR) : It’s often said that Medicaid is the most poorly understood of the major social welfare programs in this country, and I wanted just to start off by checking in with you. Would you say that’s true? And if so, why would you say it’s true? Jamila Michener (JM) : I completely agree with that. Part of the reason is because there’s a program called Medicare with a very similar name but that is in fact a very different program. And so Medicare, which is the program that provides health coverage to older Americans who are 65 and older…is very different than Medicaid, which is a program that is primarily for low  (Sat, 17 Feb 2018 10:23:51 +0000)

Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt on the Campbell Conversations
The U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum in northern New York, is gearing up for a deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Fort Drum's Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, about the Division's upcoming mission to Iraq, and his own experiences there. Interview highlights Grant Reeher (GR): The division has a long history of involvement in Afghanistan and you’ve written a couple books about your experiences in that country. It seems to me that that nation is getting less mainstream media attention in recent years relative to Iran, Iraq, and Syria, and so I wanted to get your take on Afghanistan though first. Where is that country right now, what would you say its prospects are for a reasonably stable democracy, and what do you think America’s proper role is there going forward? MG Piatt (WP): That’s a very good question, a very deep question. I would just speak from my experiences that the Afghan people  (Fri, 09 Feb 2018 23:22:00 +0000)

Len Burman on the Campbell Conversations
The new tax law is the single biggest accomplishment of the Trump Administration thus far, and it has significant ramifications for our economy and our personal finances. In a two part series, Grant Reeher talks with tax policy expert Len Burman, co-founder of the Tax Policy Center in Washington D.C.  (Fri, 26 Jan 2018 20:08:26 +0000)

This week on the Campbell Conversations: talking arts with Steve Butler and Rita Paniagua
What role does the arts play in economic development? is it a second priority behind tech and brick and mortar, or does it need to be a first priority? How can art help bring different communities together and lift economically depressed areas? This week on the Campbell Conversations, we talk with two Syracuse-area arts advocates, Steve Butler and Rita Paniagua, about those questions.  (Sat, 13 Jan 2018 10:47:52 +0000)

Rep. John Katko on the Campbell Conversations
The new tax law is the most significant piece of legislation to come out of the Trump Administration so far, but the Republican congressional delegation from New York was split on it. North Country Republican Elise Stefanik (R-Wilsboro) voted against the plan, saying it didn't do enough to preserve state and local tax deductions, which the final bill capped at $10,000.  (Sat, 06 Jan 2018 10:17:00 +0000)

State Sen. Dave Valesky on the Campbell Conversations
The Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight Democratic state senators who operate in a coalition with Republicans in the state Senate, has come under increasing criticism by Democrats in the Senate, and across the state. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with state Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida), a member of the IDC.  (Sat, 16 Dec 2017 10:56:00 +0000)

Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh on the Campbell Conversations
On November 7, voters in the city of Syracuse did something they hadn't done since 1913: elect an independent mayor. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh. They discuss Walsh's transition, his priorities for the new administration, the relationship between national and local politics, and what he learned on the campaign trail.  (Sat, 02 Dec 2017 10:17:00 +0000)

Matt Bennett on the Campbell Conversations
The nation's politics seem to be seem to be at some kind of crossroads. Both parties are engaged in internal strife and self-examination. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Matt Bennett, from the Washington think tank Third Way . They discuss what's driving these internal party conflicts, and how they might be resolved.  (Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:47:46 +0000)

This week on the Campbell Conversations: Revisiting the 2016 presidential election
The question of just what happened in the 2016 presidential election continues to absorb political pundits and haunt the Democratic Party. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Jonathan Allen and Amy Parnes, co-authors of the bestselling book "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign." We'll take a look back at the election and what it might mean going forward.  (Sat, 11 Nov 2017 11:36:03 +0000)