Campbell Conversations

Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.

Every week Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University, leads a conversation with a notable guest. Guests include 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.

The Campbell Conversations are longer interviews which encourage the character of the interviewee to be revealed. This allows you to learn not only about the issue being discussed, but also about the person—how they got to where they are, and where they might go. Grant attempts to go beyond the usual press conference questions and sound bites.

Podcasts of the show are available via iTunes.

If you have any questions about an episode or any comments for Grant, feel free to contact him by email at at your convenience.

See also:  The Campbell Debates

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University (file photo)

Across the nation, urban areas have suffered the most from the COVID-19 pandemic, and Syracuse is no exception. This week, Grant Reeher talks with the city's mayor, Ben Walsh. They discuss the fight against the pandemic and its financial implications, the issue of police conduct, and other political issues. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

In 2018 the race for New York's 22nd Congressional District seat was extremely close, with Democratic challenger Anthony Brindisi defeating incumbent Rep. Claudia Tenney by just over 4,000 votes. This year, Brindisi is the incumbent, and Tenney is the challenger. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Tenney about her campaign, COVID-19, and more. 

WRVO Public Media

No local leader has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in central New York more than Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. This week, McMahon talks with Grant Reeher about Onondaga County's challenges and successes in responding to the pandemic, the financial impact, and whether it is safe to restart in-person classes when schools start back up in September. 

Dana Balter campaign

The race for central New York's 24th Congressional District promises to be very competitive, as it was in 2018, where Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) defeated Democratic challenger Dana Balter by about 5 percentage points. This year, Balter is challenging Katko again. She joins Grant Reeher to discuss her campaign and why she says a change is needed. 

WRVO News File Photo

Rep. John Katko was last on the Campbell Conversations in May, to discuss the response to the coronavirus pandemic. He joins Grant Reeher this week to further discuss the pandemic, President Trump's leadership during the crisis, the 2020 election, and more.

In the aftermath of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as other instances of police brutality, sustained protests and movements for change in police policy have sprung up around the country, including central New York. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Yusuf Abdul-Qadir,  one of the leaders of The People's Agenda for Policing, and the director of the CNY chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. 

Pat Bradley / WAMC

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik has been a leading voice for Republicans in Congress, and gained a national profile for her defense of President Trump during impeachment hearings. This November, Stefanik is being challenged by Democrat Tedra Cobb, in a rematch from 2018. Cobb talks with Grant Reeher about her campaign, and why she should represent the North Country in Congress. 

Howie Hawkins 2020 campaign

Longtime Syracuse resident and political activist Howie Hawkins has run for just about every political office there in Syracuse and across New York, including mayor of Syracuse, Common Council, City Auditor, governor, Congress, and U.S. Senate. In his 25th campaign, he's running for president, after being chosen as the Green Party's nominee. This week, Hawkins talks with Grant Reeher to discuss his campaign and why he says progressives shouldn't settle for Democrat Joe Biden. 

When Bob Antonacci left his central New York state Senate seat after being elected as a state Supreme Court Justice in 2019, it left a vacancy for the 50th District seat for the second time in two years, after longtime Sen. John DeFrancisco retired in 2018. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with John Mannion, a Democrat trying to win the seat in November. Mannion lost to Antonacci for the seat in 2018. He's being challenged by Republican Angi Renna. 

WRVO News (file photo)

This November, Republican Sam Rodgers is challenging incumbent state Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) in the state's 53rd Senate District. This week, Rodgers talks with Grant Reeher about his campaign, the response to COVID-19, and they take a deep dive into the state legislature's response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sparked protests over police brutality across the country.

When Bob Antonacci left his central New York state Senate seat after being elected as a state Supreme Court Justice in 2019, it left a vacancy for the 50th District seat for the second time in two years, after longtime Sen. John DeFrancisco retired in 2018. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Angi Renna, a Republican trying to win the seat in November. Renna is running against Democrat John Mannion, who lost a close race to Antonacci for the seat in 2018. 

WRVO News (file photo)

Democrat Dana Balter is in her second run for Congress against Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). But before she can run against Katko, she has to get through a primary in June against fellow Democrat Francis Conole. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Balter about her campaign.

WRVO News (file photo)

How has the federal government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic? Was it proactive enough? Did it learn lessons fast enough. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) about the pandemic, and the responses that his office has been taking. 

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

New Yok has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Central and Northern New York have fared better than downstate, but are nonetheless dealing with a severe public health crisis. This week, Grant Reeher talks with State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) about the national, state, and local response to the pandemic. 

SUNY Oneonta

The automobile was instrumental in African Americans pursuit of civil rights in the 20th century, but it also introduced new dangers and challenges. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Gretchen Sorin, a professor and director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta. She's also the author of "Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights."

Courtesy of the writers

This week on the Campbell Conversations, something that's never been done on the program before. Instead of an interview, we'll hear from four writers, who will read or perform some of their works. We'll hear from Christopher Citro, Jessica Cuello, Georgia Popoff, and Arthur Flowers.

A lot of people try to talk to their gods, or at least, something bigger and more powerful than ourselves. What if they could talk back to us? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Phill Memmer, executive director of the YMCA's Downtown Writer's Center in Syracuse, and the author of "Pantheon."

Presidents attending sporting events, publicly interacting with athletes, congratulating champions, and inviting them to the White House are now considered normal aspects of both politics and sport. But these things are more recent than you might think. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with writer and historian Nick Sarantakes, author of "Fan in Chief," about the president who essentially invented the practice. 

WRVO Public Media

Even accounting for inflation, the United States has spent more on the rebuilding of Afghanistan than it spent rebuilding Western Europe after World War II. What does it have to show for it? Did fraud sabotage the effort? Did our leaders lie about how it all was going? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. 

WRVO News (file photo)

In 2018, Anthony Brindisi won his congressional seat in New York's 22nd District by a slim margin in the most expensive House election in New York's history. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Brindisi about the coronavirus, they look back at his first term, and look ahead to the November election.

WRVO Public Media

The race for New York's 24th Congressional District seat is likely to be very competitve this year. Three Democrats are vying to be the party's challenger to incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in November. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with one of those Democrats, Francis Conole. Conole is an Iraq War veteran, a Commander in the Naval Reserves, and has the backing of the Democratic committees in Onondaga and Cayuga counties. 

WRVO Public Media

After a surprise referendum result in 2016, Brexit, Britain's exit from the European Union, has proven to be far more complicated and difficult than many had anticipated. What are its implications for trade with the U.S.? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Antony Phillipson, Britain's Consul General in New York, and its trade commissioner for North America.

WRVO Public Media

Changes in the bail system in New York, enacted at the beginning of January, have proven to be far more controversial than its supporters had expected. This week, we have a discussion featuring a supporter of the change, State Assemblywoman Pam Hunter, and a detractor, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

In 2010, Ann Marie Buerkle was elected to Congress, defeating Democrat Dan Maffei in a close race. She served as central New York's representative for one term, then went on serve on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. She held the position of acting chair of the CPSC from June 2017 until October 2019. This week, Buerkle talks with Grant Reeher about her political career, and her take on current politics. 

WRVO Public Media

In 2017, Ben Walsh assembled a diverse coalition of voters and won the race for mayor as an independent. He even managed to gether a majority of the vote in a race with three candidates. This week, Walsh talks with Grant Reeher about his time in office, and looks ahead to the second half of his term. 

WRVO Public Media

Sean O'Keefe is a professor at Syracuse University and the Howard and Lousie Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He's also held a number of positions in previous Republican administrations. This week, O'Keefe joins Grant Reeher for a discussion on the Trump Administration, impeachment, the situation with Iran, and more. 

WRVO News File Photo

This week, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump. The vote was mostly along partly lines. Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) voted against the articles of impeachement. While the House was debating the articles Wednesday, Katko sat down for this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations. Katko explains why he voted against impeachment, and other issues.

If you're looking to give or receive a good read this holiday season, consider "River Queens," a quirky, compelling story that offers a decidedly different take on the classic river travel narrative. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Alexander Watson, the book's author. 

Campbell Public Affairs Institute

This week, the Campbell Conversations presents a panel discussion on presidential impeachment among four faculty members at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship. The discussion took place November 15 in front of a live audience and was moderated by Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher. 

WRVO Public Media

Why are citizens willing to fight, and die, in some wars but not others? What are the implications of that for political leadership and for war, more generally. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with University of Rochester professor Hein Goemans who has been studying these questions, and shares what he's learned.