The Band's Visit
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews Broadway's The Band's Visit and Desperate Measures off-Broadway.

Click above to hear Michael's reviews.

A multi-agency task force has arrested 79 alleged child predators in New Jersey.

Two new things helped uncover the evidence.

For the first time, a new mobile forensics lab was deployed to assist authorities who executed search warrants at suspects’ homes.

Lt. Jon Powers is the supervisor of the cybercrime unit.

“There’s a lot of sensitive electronics, very expensive devices. Being able to keep them inside our own controlled facility makes everything that much better for us. It also expedites the discovery of the evidence that we might be looking for”

New Jersey is considering banning the sale and possession of a firearm accessory that was used in the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas two months ago.

Bump stocks can allow semiautomatic weapons to fire more rapidly. Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says that puts law enforcement and residents in greater danger.

“There’s no need for bump stocks as accessories to be anywhere in New Jersey. The state of New Jersey bans bump stocks for a reason, they’re weapons of war.”

Dolores Phillips with the Ceasefire New Jersey gun control group supports the measure.

Some New Jersey lawmakers are proposing legislation to give residents the constitutional right to a healthy environment.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace says the constitutional amendment would require government officials to ensure that any action on development protects the environment.

“With the climate in Washington we have to make sure New Jersey protects itself. We have more Superfund sites than any state in the country. As the EPA is dismantled, we need to protect ourselves.”

A reverse mortgage can help seniors stay in their homes longer by allowing them to borrow money against the value of their home to supplement their retirement income. But a New Jersey lawmaker wants to make sure borrowers know the consequences before signing the documents.

Assemblyman Dan Benson says his bill requires a lender to make sure a borrower learns about specific issues and terms of a reverse mortgage before a final application is accepted.


A new art exhibit at Aljira in downtown Newark is bringing social justice advocates together to bring attention to the issue of mass incarceration.

Recent statistics from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey show there’s over 35,000 people living behind bars in state penitentiaries. ACLU Criminal Justice Transparency Fellow Portia Allen Kyle says that comes at a cost of about 55,000 dollars for each incarcerated person per year.

Arthur Browne
Allan Wolper for WBGO

In 1973, Arthur Browne became a copy boy at the Daily News.  Now 44 years later he is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of New York City’s home town newspaper.

In the past four decades, Browne has covered the city’s most compelling stories…as a reporter, a columnist, editorial page editor and editor, investigative editor, managing editor, and now editor-in-chief and publisher.

Politico calls Browne the “tortured heart and soul” of the newspaper.

New Jersey’s legal battle to permit sports betting at racetracks and casinos will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.  Governor Chris Christie says he’ll be in the courtroom to hear the arguments.

Christie says it’s a states’ rights issue.

This year's New Jersey gubernatorial election was the second most costly in state history.

The $79.1 million spent on the June primary and November's general election was exceeded only by the $88.1 million in the 2005 race when Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester spent a lot of their own money on their campaigns.

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle says heavy spending this year was inevitable.

New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy wants the legislature to move ahead with some of his top priorities.

Murphy says the bill Congress is considering to change the federal tax code will not influence his plans for a tax surcharge on income over a million dollars.

“I think millionaires are going to be just fine, unfortunately, in this bill in Washington. So it doesn’t impact my view of what we should do in New Jersey.”

A Congressional committee held a hearing in Trenton today to examine how to improve security measures on transit systems.

New Jersey State Police Lt. Douglas Lemanowicz says law enforcement agencies need to collaborate and share information and analysis to detect and respond to terrorist activity.

“The state of New Jersey lacks digital technologies and personnel to support planning and operational phases in providing consistent real time interagency communications during a multi-agency phase to an incident or an event.” 

Governor-elect Phil Murphy wants to bring back a millionaires’ tax in New Jersey to provide more money for schools.

A state tax surcharge on millionaires expired in 2009, and Governor Christie vetoed several attempts by the Democrat-controlled legislature to enact a new version.

Richard Auxier, a research associate at the Tax Policy Center, says New York and California are the only two states with a separate tax bracket that begins at a million dollars of income.

Black Friday markdowns at the stores were followed by Cyber Monday sales online. Now it’s on to Giving Tuesday.

Linda Czipo, the president and CEO of the Center for Non-Profits in New Jersey, says Giving Tuesday has become an important kickoff to the seasonal increase in charitable contributions.  

Dr. Lewis Porter
Bill May for WBGO News

WBGO's Nate Chinen chats with jazz historian, musician, author and University of Rutgers-Newark Professor Dr. Lewis Porter about the various versions of Round Midnight and the history behind the tune.

Dr. Porter's Deep Dive posts can be found at 

Click above to hear the entire interview with Dr. Porter and Nate Chinen.

Office Hour
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne is very rarely surprised while watching shows, but he was actually shocked by a new play off-Broadway Office Hour, now playing at the Public Theater. 

Michael also reviews John Leguizamo one-man show at Studio 54.


House Framing
Jon Kalish for WBGO

On this weekend after Thanksgiving we thought we'd re-visit a character in Maine we met on the WBGO Journal last spring. Gardner Waldeier has been producing videos for YouTube about his quest to build a house from trees on his property.

These days he's very grateful for friends and neighbors who helped him raise the frame of that house on a chilly weekend earlier this month.

Jon Hendricks

Legendary and pioneering jazz singer and songwriter Jon Hendricks died on Wednesday.  He was 96.  WBGO's Doug Doyle has a special tribute to the man Time Magazine called the "James Joyce of Jive."

For more on the life of Jon Hendricks, you can check out this post on our website.

Avishai Cohen
Simon Rentner for WBGO News

The So What's Next? Festival in the Netherlands recently wrapped up its fifth edition.  The Checkout from WBGO's Simon Rentner was there to report on the event that focuses on modern sounds that are "jazz and beyond." 

Click above to hear Simon Rentner's report.

Jon Hendricks, Genre-Pushing Jazz Vocalist, Dead At 96

Nov 22, 2017

Some retailers are getting an early start on their holiday promotions, but Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is when many stores offer special deals to attract shoppers.

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub says even with the ease of shopping online, the allure of Black Friday is not fading.

Preparing that big Thanksgiving Day meal can be a real chore.

Some shoppers have found a way to make it easier.

Manasquan resident Carole Lyons says buying a cooked turkey should help her have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving.

"You have to reheat it in the oven. When you put it in, you're able to run around, do other things, get the table set, prepare everything, enjoy your family's time. This way you could eat on time."

Sea Girt resident Mike Sullivan had a different motivation for his cooked turkey purchase.

It’s costing more than last year to drive to your Thanksgiving weekend destination.


Tom Kloza is the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey. He says gasoline prices are about 35 cents a gallon higher than last year, with the average price now $2.56. 


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear legal arguments next month in New Jersey's quest for legalized sports betting.

Advocates are optimistic the state will win its case.

Lobbyist Bill Pascrell the Third believes the state's chances of success are better than ever.

Congressman Frank Pallone is also confident, but as a backup he's working on a measure that would allow all states to legalize sports betting and online gaming.

A bill moving in the New Jersey Senate legislature would prevent former offenders from being disqualified from consideration for public sector jobs or state-issued professional licenses.

Senator Sandra Cunningham says her bill would allow offenders who’ve completed their sentence to petition a court so they could once again get a professional license or be hired for a public job.

Della Reese

For one generation Della Reese, is best known for her role as Tess on the CBS TV Series Touched by an Angel.  Details of her death on Sunday were revealed by her family and her longtime friend and co-star Roma Downey.

But Della Reese’s career began long before that TV series.  In Detroit, she found her voice singing gospel in her local church and at the age of 13, she was selected to sing with famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

An advocacy group says steps some public schools are taking to reduce chronic student absenteeism in New Jersey are making a difference.

Peter Chen with Advocates for Children of New Jersey says 9.7 percent of students in kindergarten through 12th grade missed 18 or more days of school last year. That's down from 10.3 percent the year before.

"Even though the decline was only 0.6 percent, that's about 8,000 fewer students who are chronically absent, which is 8,000 fewer students who are more on track to graduate from high school."

Governor-elect Phil Murphy says legislation to phase-in a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey will be a high priority when he takes office in January.

Murphy joined legislative leaders and labor officials at a Statehouse event where some workers said it's tough to get by on less than $15 an hour.

Sayerville resident Anthony Banos says he works at a warehousing distribution center and has a part-time job at a retail store.

Senator Bob Menendez
NBC News

New Jersey U-S Senator Bob Menendez is walking away a free man after the federal corruption case against him ended in a mistrial. it came after the jury in Newark deadlocked on a verdict.

For the second time this week the jury told the judge they could not come to a unanimous decision on the corruption charges facing Senator Menendez and a co-defendant. That’s when the judge declared a mistrial, saying it would be futile to go any longer.


Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews three off-Broadway production during the year-end theatre marathon: Illyria, Jesus Hopped on the A Train, School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls