Conversations with Allan Wolper

Sunday, 7am - 7:30am

Hosted by Allan Wolper

Audio biographies of people whose lives and ideas are on the cutting edge.

Host Allan Wolper is a “journalist’s journalist.” A superb interviewer, radio and television producer, ethics columnist, magazine and newspaper writer, he has been honored by every journalism medium. Wolper has won more than 50 awards, including television’s Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award – the Pulitzer Prize of Broadcast news. Wolper is professor emeritus of Journalism from Rutgers University.

Judge Pratt
Judge Pratt for WBGO

Victoria F. Pratt, the first judge of Dominican ancestry to become a municipal judge in Newark, New Jersey, has won an international following for her campaign to reform the city’s criminal justice system.

The chief municipal judge presides over a cutting edge program called Community Solutions that offers defendants in minor criminal cases a chance to avoid jail time by obeying specific rules of behavior.

A top New York City judicial official has called her a warrior to improve criminal justice. Why did she want to go to law school?

Steve Seskin
Allan Wolper for WBGO

“Don’t Laugh At Me"

“Don’t Call Me Names"

“Don’t Get Your Pleasure from my pain"

“In God’s eyes we’re all the same"

Grammy award nominee Steve Seskin co-wrote the anti-bullying anthem, Don’t Laugh at Me, with his friend, Allen Shamblin, a song that was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. It inspired the creation of Operation Respect, a foundation that encourages children to get along with each other.

Lacey Schwartz
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Lacey Schwartz is a woman whose personal and professional journey of race and religion has won attention across the country. She grew up white and Jewish in predominantly white, Woodstock, New York only to learn after entering Georgetown University that her biological father was Rodney Parker, an African-American friend of her mother.

Parker, a legendary New York City college basketball scout was featured in a bestselling basketball book, Heaven is a Playground, by Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Telander.

Kathleen Jordan
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Kathleen Jordan, a Los Angeles television writer and producer, completed the unfinished memoir of her late father, Hamilton Jordan, who died of brain cancer . He was the chief of staff of former President Jimmy Carter.

She reads an excerpt from the manuscript in which her father, who was brought up a Baptist in the segregated south was stunned to learn at his grandmother’s funeral that she was Jewish, making him Jewish as well.

Willie Reale
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Willie Reale is the Co-Executive producer of Billions, the Showtime hit series on Wall Street chicanery, and the former supervising producer of Blue Bloods, the CBS cops drama. He won an Academy Award nomination for writing the lyrics to the movie, Dream Girls.

Reale’s 52nd Street Project that created theater projects for inner city children won him a MacArthur Fellowship.

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai
Allan Wolper for WBGO

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai received a United States Copyright in 1982 crediting him with being The Inventor of EMAIL, a title he earned as a 14-year-old research scholar at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey.

He said he received a copyright certificate on August 30, 1982 , rather than a patent, because patents were not awarded to software discoveries at the time.

Roger Sherman: In Search of Israeli Cuisine

Mar 2, 2017
Roger Sherman
Roger Sherman for WBGO

Roger Sherman has produced a documentary that makes an extraordinary journey through Israeli kitchens, restaurants and vineyards. The movie, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, explores the ancient and modern farming and cooking techniques created by the polyglot of people who migrated to Israel or never left.  The film will open March 24th at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York and in theaters around the country.

Sherman says he found a wealth of tasty treasures in Israel:

Wil Haygood: Racism and The Academy Awards

Feb 23, 2017
Wil Haygood
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Author Wil Haygood believes that Hollywood is finally becoming emancipated.

Haygood had accused the Academy Awards in 2014 of being “culturally  biased” against African American actors and filmmakers when it declined to give a single nomination to the critically praised ,The Butler, the story based on the life of Eugene Allen, a black butler in the White House who served eight presidents.

Nancy Schiliro Beestra
Wounded Warrior Project for WBGO

Nancy Schiliro lost her eye as result of a mortar explosion in Iraq when she was a Lance Corporal in the U-S Marine Corps.  At that time, she was not married and returned home to New York battered and depressed.

The Wounded Warrior Organization gave her the will to fight her way back. Now she is helping other injured veterans return to a normal life. She is currently a Wounded Warrior Outreach Specialist and an inspiration to all Americans.

Michael Connelly
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Bestselling mystery writer Michael Connelly has brought back his iconic, idealistic, acerbic, jazz loving, Los Angeles police detective Harry Bosch back for a third season on Amazon Prime. Bosch, who Connelly named after 15th century artist Hieronymus Bosch, is a is a binger’s delight.

David Rozenholc, The Lawyer Who Took on Trump

Jun 3, 2016
Rozenholc
David Rozenholc

David Rozenholc is the tenant lawyer who took on Donald Trump in one of the most famous cases in New York City real estate history. Rozenholc prevented Trump's wrecking ball from demolishing a building and evicting the tenants from their apartments at 100 Central Park South now called Trump Parc East.

Crain's Business called Rozenholc a lawyer that powerful landlords and developers dread facing in court.

Mario F. Gallucci, "Mr. Acquittal"

Apr 8, 2016
Mario Galluci
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Mario F. Gallucci, a criminal attorney whose twitter handle is @MrAcquittal, has defended some of the most controversial clients in New York City history. Gallucci represented a dental surgeon who made millions of dollars harvesting and selling body parts, including the remains of Alistair Cooke, the late host of Masterpiece Theater. He is a legal analyst on the New York 1 Cable News station and has his own reality television show, Partners in Crime.

Father Brendan Forde, The Friar in Blue Jeans

Mar 25, 2016
Father Brendan Forde
Father Brendan Forde for WBGO

Father Brendan Forde is a Franciscan priest from Ireland who preaches peace and serves the most vulnerable people in Central and South America. Father Forde, who was featured in the documentary, "The Friar in Blue Jeans," has helped the homeless caught in the cross fires of the Colombia drug wars, administered to people in the leper colonies of the Amazon, and counseled the poor in Chile, El Salvador and Guatemala. His father fought in the April 24 1916 "Easter Rising" in Dublin against the British by Irish Republicans.

Aracelis Lucero, Mentoring NYC's Mexican Children

Mar 12, 2016
Aracelis Lucero
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Aracelis Lucero, a former Wall Street executive who was raised in the South Bronx, has rededicated her life to mentoring the thousands of documented and undocumented Mexican children in New York City. Lucero, executive director of Masa-MexEd, says the youngsters live with the constant fear they will be pulled out of school and deported back to Mexico with their parents. She encourages the Mexican community to make their voices heard in Washington, D.C.

Robin Hirsch: Owner of Cornelia Street Cafe

Feb 26, 2016
Robin Hirsch
Robin Hirsch for WBGO

Robin Hirsch is the owner of The Cornelia Street Cafe, a venerable Greenwich Village institution that the city has proclaimed to be a "culinary and cultural landmark." The cafe has showcased some of the brightest jazz musicians, actors, artists, poets, and writers in New York City.

Hirsch is an author, an Oxford Scholar and "minister of culture and wine czar." He is writing a memoir entitled "The world passes through: stories from the Cornelia Street Cafe."

The David Dinkins Legacy in New York City

Feb 19, 2016
David Dinkins
David Dinkins

David Dinkins made political history in 1990 when he was sworn in as the first African American mayor of New York City.  Dinkins, now a professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, reflected on his historic journey in a June, 2010 on line interview that is being broadcast for the first time.

Talking Ticks with Dr. Brian Fallon

Feb 12, 2016
Dr. Brian Fallon
Dr. Brian Fallon for WBGO

Dr. Brian Fallon is the director of the Lyme and Tick Borne Disease Research Center at the Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Fallon says each year hundreds of thousands of Americans are bitten by ticks and coming down with Lyme and other tick borne diseases.

Dr. Fallon says that vacation hot spots like Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, Northern California, Western Massachusetts, and Vermont all are dealing with tick infestations.  Dr. Fallon warns that walks in the woods, picking blue berries, or cavorting in a pile of leaves, can be hazardous to your health.

Wall Street Journal reporter Kejal Vyas is Fearless

Jan 29, 2016
Kejal Vyas
Kejal Vyas for WBGO

Kejal Vyas is the regional correspondent in South America for The Wall Street Journal. He recently moved to Bogota, Colombia, after spending five years in Caracas, a city considered the most violent in the world.

Vyas explains in detail how he survived in a place where people drive through stop lights to avoid being held up, where police are killed for their weapons and residents are urged to stay in their homes after seven at night, even in upscale neighborhoods.

George McDonald and Harriet Karr-McDonald
The Doe Fund

George McDonald and Harriet Karr-McDonald are the founders of the Doe Fund, a non-profit organization that trains and houses homeless men in New York City and Philadelphia who are "Ready, Willing and Able" to work. The men are ex-drug addicts, ex-offenders and military veterans transitioning back into society. The organization was named in honor of a homeless woman known as "Mama Doe" who died of exposure on Christmas Morning 1985 in Grand Central Terminal.

Ken Thompson: Overturning Wrongful Convictions

Dec 10, 2015
Ken Thompson
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson lost his battle with cancer in October of 2016.  Thompson was 50.  Thompson made history in 2013 when he became the first African American to be elected Brooklyn District Attorney.

Thompson's enduring legacy includes the formation of a Conviction Review Unit which overturned the wrongful imprisonment of 21 people, winning national applause and attention.

Dr. Michael Crane: Treating 9/11 First Responders

Dec 7, 2015
Dr. Michael Crane
Dr. Michael Crane for WBGO

Dr. Michael Crane treats the selfless 911 responders who came to New York City from all over America to help the victims of the horrific attack on the World Trade Center that cost 2996 people their lives.

Dr. Crane, who directs the World Trade Center Health Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says the religious and moral lessons he learned growing up was behind his desire to counsel and help those first responders.

Roma Torre: Proud Daughter of Journalism Pioneer

Nov 27, 2015
Roma Torre
Roma Torre for WBGO

Roma Torre is the Emmy Award winning anchor of Time Warner Cable's NY1 News and the theater critic for NY1 On Stage. She has used her celebrity to promote colonoscopies after she underwent successful colon cancer surgery.

Roma is the daughter of the late Marie Torre.

Marie Torre made journalism history in 1959 as a columnist for the now defunct New York Herald Tribune when she served 10 days in Hudson County Jail in Jersey City, New Jersey for refusing to disclose her source in a CBS controversy involving actress Judy Garland.

Martin Garbus: A Fierce Fighter for Free Speech

Nov 23, 2015
Martin Garbus
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Martin Garbus, a winner of the PEN First Amendment Award of honor, is one of the country's fiercest fighters for free speech. Garbus also received the James Joyce Award from the University of Dublin for Excellence in Law and the New York University Law Alumni Achievement Award.

Garbus' boldface clients included Robert Redford, Nelson Mandela, Tom Brokaw, Spike Lee, Michael Bloomberg and the neo Nazis. He is writing a memoir of the Cuban Five, a case he calls the worst in American Legal history.

Michele Goodwin
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Michele Bratcher Goodwin's investigative research in human trafficking, the black market for body parts, reproductive rights, the politics of organ transplants, and bioethics has won her wide acclaim. She discloses how women in Florida were forced to give birth by cesarean surgery.

Goodwin is a Chancellor's Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at the University of California, School of Law, Irvine.

Yuki Ohta: Why have a SoHo Memory Project?

Oct 16, 2015
Yuki Ohta
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Yuki Ohta created the SoHo Memory Project in New York City to educate the throngs of visitors who have turned the one time haven for mafia landlords, struggling artists and sweat shops into an international destination for fashionistas and foodies.

In this edition of Conversations with Allan Wolper, Ohta discusses the impact that the May 25, 1979 disappearance of six year old Etan Patz had on the Soho area and the country. He was declared dead in 2011.

Click above to hear the entire show with Yuki Ohta.

Frank Casey
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Frank Casey was the first investment analyst to blow the whistle on financier Bernard Madoff’s incredible Ponzi scheme that looted more than $65 billion from people around the globe. “This is a story that still has legs,” says Casey, now an analyst at Race Rock Capital in Boston.

Letitia James, New York City Public Advocate

May 6, 2015
Letitia James
Letitia James for WBGO

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is a fierce fighter for low income tenants facing eviction from predatory landlords. James is pained by the fact 60,000 people have to sleep in homeless shelters every night. She recently started a campaign to win equal pay for women working in City Hall. She is the first woman of color to hold citywide office in New York, a former city council member,a Legal Aid Society public defender and an assistant attorney general.

Kim Ann Curtin
Kim Ann Curtin for WBGO

Kim Ann Curtin, dubbed the Wall Street Coach by New York media, wants to find the good guys working in the financial district and hope they will create an ethical movement their colleagues would follow.

“We know who the bad guys are,” Curtin says in a Conversation with Allan Wolper interview. “But we don’t who the good guys are.”

Dr. Margaret Haney
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Dr. Margaret Haney, an expert on the impact that marijuana usage has on the brain of teenagers, utilizes human volunteers to conduct her research. She is a professor of Neurobiology in Psychiatry and co-director of the Substance Abuse Research Center at The Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Haney is also concerned that the country’s intense debate on the medical benefits of marijuana.

The Legend of Princeton: Jeff Nunokawa

Oct 20, 2014
Jeff Nunokawa
Jeff Nunokawa for WBGO

Jeff Nunokawa, a professor of Victorian Literature at Princeton University, has published a volume of poetry and literary essays, culled from hundreds of pieces he wrote on his face book page. The work included literary exchanges with his students.

The new volume, called Note Book, was published by Princeton University Press.

Students have nicknamed Nunokawa's face book page, "Jeff Book." His personality and scholarship earned him the title, The Legend of Princeton, from the university's alumni association magazine.

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