Evan Dawson

Connections Host

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

Ways to Connect

Good news: we've found the future home of Earthlings. At least, that's what the headlines seem to indicate: Earth-like planet discovered, and it's not far away! We can get there, and it's rocky and might be able to sustain water! But is Proxima Centauri B deserving of this kind of publicity? What can we know about this alien world, and what questions remain unanswered? Our guest, University of Rochester astrophysicist and NPR contributor Adam Frank, helps us understand. 

Are Democrats to blame for the rise of Donald Trump? A growing number of anti-Trump conservative writers say the answer is yes. They say Democrats have routinely warned that every GOP presidential candidate is a threat to democracy, anti-woman, a societal danger... and it's hard to take them seriously, even now with a candidate offering Donald Trump's record. Our guests discusse rhetoric in politics, and its impact:


First hour: Are Democrats to blame for the rise of Donald Trump?

Second hour: Understanding Proxima Centauri b, future home of Earthlings

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • The power of news photography;
  • David Cay Johnston's new book, The Making of Donald Trump;
  • Career changes, with a Buffalo man who left a partnership in a New York City hedge fund to go into the seminary;
  • Carbon fee and dividend and its impact on climate change and the economy.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte lied about being robbed in Brazil. There are questions that remain about what truly happened that night, but Lochte admits he made up the story of having a gun cocked and pressed to his forehead; he lied about resisting the gunman's demand that he get on the ground with his fellow swimmers. But why? Why is lying so common, on both large and small scales? Why do we accept lies in our lives, and why do we tell so many lies ourselves? We discuss lying and its consequences. In studio:

  • Dr. Eric Caine, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Rochester
  • Jodi Aman, psychotherapist 

What does it take to start a school from scratch... when you don't have a big pot of money? Joel Helfrich has a vision for the Rochester River School, based on humane education. But he's found some roadblocks, and has had to go a route he didn't expect at the outset: charter school. We'll discuss the process, his vision for the school, and how he's trying to build support. Our guests:

  • Joel Helfrich, Rochester River School
  • David Hursh, professor in the Warner School of Education, University of Rochester

First hour: Creating the Rochester River School

Second hour: Ryan Lochte and the culture of lying

Our Summer of Food series continues with a conversation with the owners of Fiorella, an Italian restaurant in the Rochester Public Market. It is operated by a husband-and-wife team with Italian roots. They have particular views on where ingredients come from, and how to source for the restaurant. We talk to them about what “Italian food” really mean in the United States. Our guests:

  • Gino Ruggiero, chef and co-owner of Fiorella
  • Alison Ruggiero, co-owner of Fiorella

We talk to Buffalo native David Ryder about his experience changing careers. It's not your average career change story: he left a partnership at a New York City hedge fund to go into the seminary. He says after years of working his way up the ladder in the finance industry, something felt wrong in his soul. We talk to him about the Flour City Church, his hopes for its future, and what makes his work fulfilling.


First hour: From finance to the seminary

Second hour: Summer of Food - What does "Italian food" really mean?