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 gdreeher@maxwell.syr.edu at your convenience.

See also:  The Campbell Debates

Emily Russell / NCPR

What are the current challenges facing the Adirondack Park, a sparsely populated, but heavily visited area? What are the biggest environmental, cultural and economic issues, and what have been some recent successes? This week Grant Reeher talks with Brian Mann, Adirondack Bureau Chief for North Country Public Radio. 

WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick is seeking an eighth term in November. This year, he has two challengers, Democrat Charles Keller and Conservative candidate Gary Lavine. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Fitzpatrick about some of the criticisms leveled against him, and what Fitzpatrick would do in an eighth term. 

WRVO Public Media

Ryan McMahon was appointed Onondaga County Executive in November 2018 following the resignation of Joanie Mahoney. At the time, McMahon was serving as chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature. McMahon is running for county executive for the first time next month. His opponent is Democrat Tony Malavenda, a longtime business owner running for political office for the first time since the early 1980s. McMahon and Malavenda sit down for their first broadcast debate with Grant Reeher, and discuss many issues, including campaign spending, poverty and more. 

WRVO Public Media

Congressional races in central New York are often considered bellwethers for the nation. In 2018, some central New York Democrats successfully challenged Republican incumbents, while others came up short. Why? Was is because of Donald Trump? This week, Grant Reeher explores the reasons behind this with Luke Perry, a professor of political science at Utica College, and author of the book "Donald Trump and the 2018 Midterm Battle for Central New York."

Mike Morgan / NPR

In an era of diminished public confidence in the media, what steps has NPR taken to strengthen connections and trust among its listeners? How does radio compare with other news mediums in communicating essential information? This week, Grant Reeher is joined by Rachel Martin, co-host of NPR's "Morning Edition." They discuss these issues, as well as some of Rachel's more memorable stories and interviews, and who her favorite NPR voice is. 

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The city of Syracuse has been a recent magnet for refugees. More than 10,000 have settles there in the last 12 years. But this year, at least one refugee will be the first in Syracuse to win public office. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Chol Majok, the Democratic nominee for Syracuse 3rd District Common Council seat.

New York came up just short of legalizing recreational marijuana this year, and many political observers regard full legalization as just a matter of time. What are the important questions facing policymakers as they prepare for the inevitable? What can legalization in other states teach us? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Stanford University professor Keith Humphreys, an expert on marijuana policy and legalization. 

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For 28 years, Bill Fitzpatrick has been Onondaga County's District Attorney, facing relatively little challenge in his last seven elections. Hoping to change that this November is Charles Keller, a Democrat and Syracuse-based defense attorney. This week, Keller speaks with Grant Reeher on why he's running against Fitzpatrick, and to describe the changes he'd make in the criminal justice system if elected. 

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In recent decades, Republicans have dominated elected offices in Onondaga County. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with one Democrat who hopes to change that. Tony Malavenda is challenging incumbent Ryan McMahon in this year's race for Onondaga County Executive. They discuss the rationale behind his campaign, economic development, I-81, housing, poverty and more. 

WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick is finishing up his 7th four-year term in office, and is seeking an 8th this November. Given his past elections, he might seem unbeatable, but this year he has two challengers. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Fitzpatrick about recent initiatives in his office, controversial cases, policing, opioids, and more. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is no stranger to politics. At 23, he was elected to the Oswego Common Council. In 2015, at 25, he was elected mayor, the youngest in New York. He's running for reelection this year, and he's currently unopposed. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Barlow about some of the initiatives he has taken in his first term, how the city is coping with record high water levels on Lake Ontario, and some of the things he didn't expect when he first took office. 

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The two new state Senators from the Syracuse area, Rachel May (D-Syracuse) and Bob Antonacci (R-Syracuse) both ran for the Senate by running against Albany. Now they've finished their first legislative session. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with May and Antonacci about their experiences, what improvements or outcomes they saw, and what they see on the political horizon. 

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The federal government has an independent financial and performance watchdog, called the Government Accountability Office, or GAO. How does it maintain its independence in an increasingly polarized political environment? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Gene Dodaro, head of the GAO, and the Comptroller General of the United States. 

Jason Smith / WRVO Public Media

This week on the Campbell Conversations, we wrap up a series on the arts. Grant Reeher speaks with Pam Murchison, executive director of Symphoria, and Jon Garland, a member of Symphoria's horn section, and also a Symphoria board member. 

WRVO Public Media

This week on the Campbell Conversations, we continue our series of discussions on the arts, this time with a focus on poetry. Grant Reeher talks with poet Christopher Citro, author of a new book called "If We Had a Lemon, We'd Throw It and Call That the Sun." They discuss different types of poetry, the creative process, and politics and poetry. 

WRVO Public Media

This week on the Campbell Conversations, we continue our series of discussions on the arts with Harvey Teres, a professor of English at Syracuse University, and the author of a new book titled "Conversations About Beauty with Ordinary Americans: Somebody Loves Us All."

WRVO Public Media

The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and there are some interesting exhibits on tap for this summer. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with the museum's two principal curators, DJ Hellerman and Garth Johnson. 

One area where Democrats and Republicans agree, is on the nation's opioid crisis. It's been ravaging parts of the coutnry and will require some serious interventions. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Brian Mann, a reporter with North Country Public Radio. Brian has been covering the opioid crisis for NPR. They discuss the opioid epidemic, the response so far, and what could be done to stop it. 

WRVO Public Media

Lead poisoning in Syracuse is a major health threat which has ripple effects through generations, and is connected to a variety of social problems. What do we know about it? What has or hasn't been done about this problem, and what could be done? This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Sandra Lane, a professor of public health and anthropology at Syracuse University, and Peter Dunn, president of the Central New York Community Foundation.

Ross Allen

As Britain continues to struggle over Brexit, what trade oppotunities might Britain's exit from the EU have for the United States? And how much of the economy in the Syracuse area relies on trade with Britain? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Ross Allen, Director for North America of Britain's Department for International trade. 

This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau. Garneau is a member of the Canadian Parliament, and his portfolio includes trade negotiations. Garneau is also a former astronaut, and former head of Canada's space agency. 

WRVO Public Media

The decision about the future of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse still looms over the region. Called the most important decsion for the city in a generation, the public is largely split on what should replace the elevated portion of highway that runs through the city. Many in the city favor a community grid, which would route trhough traffic around the city via Interstate 481, while many outside the city prefer to see the highway stay where it is. 

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Last November, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) was re-elected to a third term, in what turned out to be a competitve election in New York's 24th District. In January, he rejoined a Congress in which he is in the minority. This week, Katko talks with Grant Reeher about life in Congress as a member of the minority party, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Interstate 81, health care, and other issues. 

WRVO Public Media

The decision about the future of Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse still looms over the region. Called the most important decsion for the city in a generation, the public is largely split on what should replace the elevated portion of highway that runs through the city. Many in the city favor a community grid, which would route trhough traffic around the city via Interstate 481, while many outside the city prefer to see the highway stay where it is. 

WRVO Public Media

NPR's Nina Totenberg joined NPR in 1975 and has covered the Supreme Court in the decades since. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Totenberg about her career, as well as the polarized politics surrounding judicial nominations, the Supreme Court, and Brett Kavanaugh. They also discuss a very special violin.

WRVO Public Media

The midterm elections in November produced a record number of women in Congress, and a record number of women have come forward as candidates for president. How important are these changes for our democracy, and what's driving them? Is it a reaction to President Trump, or something more lasting? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Susan Carroll, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. 

WRVO Public Media

A little over a year ago, Ben Walsh rewrote Syracuse history, assembling a diverse bipartisan coalition, and winning the 2017 race for mayor as an independent for the first time in over a century. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Walsh about his first year in office, and what's to come in the next three, including his notion of a coming 'Syracuse Surge.'

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Blueprint 15 is an ambitious new project to reconstruct the neighborhood in Syracuse surrounding I-81, in order to combat poverty and reinvigorate the area. Several key stakeholders are beginning the process of giving more shape to the idea. This week, Grant Reeher talks with the leaders of two of those organizations. Bill Simmons is Executive Director of the Syracuse Housing Authority, and Meg O'Connell, Executive Director of the Allyn Family Foundation

WRVO Public Media

The new trade agreement between the United State, Mexico and Canada has been negotiated, but it still needs congressional approval. That will have to happen in a polarized political environment amidst an ongoing and bitter conflict over border security. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Chris Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. 

WRVO Public Media

The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse has rebounded from a financial crisis, and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary with a variety of new exhibits and an ambitious capital campaign. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Elizabeth Dunbar, Executive Director of the Everson. They discuss the turnaround and the current situation, and the museum's place in the cultural life of the Syracuse region. 

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