The Campbell Conversations

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

List of all local radio stations

Campbell Conversations Logo

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

A conversation on NYS government corruption on the Campbell Conversations
Just how bad is corruption in Albany? Why hasn't more been done to address it? And is there hope for the future? This week, Grant Reeher discusses these questions with Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, or NYPIRG.  (Sat, 18 Aug 2018 09:16:13 +0000)

The state of engagement in CNY on the Campbell Conversations
How engaged are the citizens of Syracuse and Onondaga County in their comminities? What might be changed to strengthen, facilitate and coordinate that engagement? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with two members of the Onondaga Citizens League, Tina Nabatchi and Thomas Carlin. They discuss OCL's new annual report on the state of community engagement in the region.  (Sat, 11 Aug 2018 09:10:47 +0000)

Independent gubernatorial candidate Stephanie Miner on the Campbell Conversations
After months of speculation about her political plans, former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announced last month that she was launching an independent campaign for governor. Rather than run as a Democrat, and challenging incumbent Andrew Cuomo in a primary, Miner is the first candidate under a new party, the Serve America Movement. Miner joins host Grant Reeher to discuss her campaign for governor.  (Sat, 21 Jul 2018 09:19:00 +0000)

Ed Michalenko and Sam Gordon on the Campbell Conversations
The problems facing the city of Syracuse are widely discussed, but what about the city's suburbs? This week, grant Reeher talks with Town of Dewitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko, and Dewitt Town Planner Sam Gordon. They discuss some of the issues facing the suburbs and the relationship between the city and suburbs.  (Sat, 07 Jul 2018 09:54:00 +0000)

Recap of New York's primary on the Campbell Conversations
Tuesday's primaries in New York reflected national divisions within the Democratic Party as it heads into what could be the most important midterm elections in a generation. This week, we recap the primary races, and look at their implications. We're joined by Hamilton College professor Phil Klinkner, and Oswego County Clerk Michael Backus.  (Sun, 01 Jul 2018 08:20:07 +0000)

Richard Hanna on the Campbell Conversations
Reformers of the political system have had a lot to talk about in recent years, and one group with deep experiences to draw on is former members of Congress. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Richard Hanna who represented New York's 22nd Congressional District from 2011-2017. He's a current member of the reform group Fix Politics Now .  (Sat, 23 Jun 2018 08:44:54 +0000)

Juanita Perez Williams and Dana Balter debate on the Campbell Conversations
The congressional midterm elections this November may be the most important midterm in a generation, and even the primaries are generating national attention. One of those primaries is in central New York, where two Democrats are running to unseat Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in November. This week, Grant Reeher moderates an informal debate with Dana Balter and Juanita Perez Williams.  (Fri, 15 Jun 2018 21:00:00 +0000)

State Senate candidate Rachel May on the Campbell Conversations
Across the country, mainstream Congressional Democrats are being challenged in primaries by more progressive, grassroots-supported candidates. It's also happening in state and local races. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Rachel May, who is challenging central New York state Senator Dave Valesky (D-Oneida) in a primary this September. Note: This conversation was recorded June 5, one day after the Oneida County Democratic Committee endorsed May in her race with Sen. Valesky. Reeher: We are talking, as it happens, on the day after the Oneida County Democrats endorsed you, and the Onondaga and Madison County Democratic committees endorsed Sen. Valesky. But typically, the pattern in these kinds of situations is the incumbent usually gets all of those Democratic committee endorsements. So, what happened in Oneida County? May: I’m very proud of this endorsement because this is a committee that is pretty independent. They spent a lot of time interviewing both of us and they asked really  (Sat, 09 Jun 2018 09:02:00 +0000)

Author Susan Jacoby on the Campbell Conversations
Baseball is the national pastime, but it's facing some big challenges. This week, grant Reeher speaks with author Susan Jacoby, whose new book is called "Why Baseball Matters." They discuss the challenges facing baseball's fanbase, the game's relationship to broader social changes, and some ideas for baseball's future.  (Sat, 02 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0000)

Anthony Brindisi on the Campbell Conversations
The race for the 22nd Congressional District seat is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation. This week, Grant Reeher talks with state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), who is challenging first term incumbent Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) this fall. They discuss his case for challenging Tenney, and his pwn policy positions.  (Sat, 26 May 2018 08:50:00 +0000)

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)