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.

Jimmy Parker
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Bill and Hillary Clinton celebrated their birthdays there. Former New York Yankee baseball great Bernie Williams often stops by and bestselling author James Paterson made Jimmy Parker and Red Hat on the Hudson characters in his books.

Former film producers, Jimmy Parker, and his wife, Mary Beth Dooley used their cinematic background to create one of the most visually exciting restaurants on the East Coast, one that sits right alongside the Hudson River in Irvington, New York.

Helen Benedict
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Helen Benedict is a professor in The Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, a writer, and a journalist, whose work has won the attention and admiration of both the Pentagon and the White House.

Her latest novel Wolf Season, the second book of her trilogy about the Iraq War, will be released next month.  The book is a sequel to Sand Queen.  It is being published by Bellevue Press.

Dr. Michael Crane: Treating 9/11 First Responders

Sep 15, 2017
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.

Aracelis Lucero
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Aracelis Lucero was born and raised in the South Bronx, won a scholarship to Middlebury College, received a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and became a Wall Street executive.

But as immigration became a major issue in America, she gave up her career in finance to devote her life to helping Mexican children and their families, both documented and undocumented.

Lucero is now executive director of Masa-MexEd, a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating and mentoring some of the 500,000 Mexicans who live in New York City.

Layla Fanucci
Allan Wolper for WBGO

For 25 years, Layla Fanucci, taught music at St. Helena Catholic School in California. But her life turned around when she bought paint and an art board at a Ben Franklin arts and crafts store.

Today, Layla, who never took an art class, has had her cityscapes shown at galleries and museums in Paris, Morocco, San Francisco, and New York City.

Lisa Bloom: Civil Rights Lawyer, TV Legal Analyst

Aug 25, 2017
Lisa Bloom
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Lisa Bloom is an activist civil rights attorney who has won a national reputation by representing clients whose cases are on the cutting edge of woman’s issues. She appears on The Today Show, MSNBC, The Situation Room, and was a former host of Lisa Bloom Open Court on Court TV.

She says she received her early training at home listening to her mother, Gloria Allred, a celebrity attorney who is often involved controversial cases involving woman’s issues.

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.

Gregory Pardlo
Vaughan Fielder for WBGO

The Poetry Foundation calls Gregory Pardlo, winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, “a different kind of Derek Jeter.” Pardlo is the second African American male poet to win the Pulitzer and the sixth African American poet overall to capture the highly coveted honor.

Pulitzer judges praise Pardlo’s prize winning book, “Digest” as literature that is “rich with thought and ideas” and provides readers with a clear vision of the 21st Century. Pardlo’s prose also debunks the theory that African American fathers are disinterested parents.

Roger Sherman: In Search of Israeli Cuisine

Aug 5, 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 opened 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:

Sam Schwartz
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Sam Schwartz is known worldwide as Gridlock Sam, a nickname the media gave him for his role in drawing up ways to navigate the congested corners of New York City. He designed the traffic patterns around the Barclay Center in Brooklyn the streets around The World Trade Center, and engineered traffic circles in Aruba.

Schwartz started his life in traffic as a cab driver in Brooklyn, dodging the other yellow cabs before landing a job in city government, eventually becoming New York City’s traffic commissioner.

Choclatt Jared
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Choclatt Jared and his band have played their bucket drums on The Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Saturday Night Live — and in movies with Mel Gibson and Sharon Stone. Later this year he will appear in the movie Breaking Brooklyn, with Lou Gossett, Jr.

Kejal Vyas: Crime and Political Unrest in Venezuela

Jul 14, 2017
Kejal Vyas
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Kejal Vyas is the regional correspondent in South America for The Wall Street Journal, stationed in Bogota, after spending five years in Caracas, considered the most violent city in the world.

Vyas worked in a place where people drove through stop lights to avoid being held up and where residents are urged to stay shuttered in their homes after seven at night, even in the most upscale of neighborhoods.

David Dinkins Turns 90 on July 10th

Jul 4, 2017
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 which first aired on WBGO in 2016.

Dr. Vanessa Neumann
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Dr. Vanessa Neumann has won an international reputation for tracking the movement of terrorists and drug dealers, from Colombia to Southeast Asia. In December, St. Martin’s Press will publish her new investigative book, titled, “Blood Profits: How American Consumers Unwittingly Fund Terrorists.”

Born in the cauldron of Venezuela, South America, she has roamed the world seeking information and sources for the US State Department, the Pentagon, the United Nations, Interpol and numerous Fortune 500 companies.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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