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

This hour, we get an update on the EcoDistrict -- Greentopia's green vision for High Falls and the surrounding area. We discuss a series of new projects designed to increase biodiversity and walkability in the area, as well as the impact environmental education can have in urban design.

Our guests:

  • Lisa Baron, board chair for Greentopia
  • Pamela Reed Sanchez, president and CEO of the Seneca Park Zoo Society
  • Rachel Walsh, EcoDistrict program director at Greentopia

How can we teach writing to diverse students? African American students are often pressured to "code switch" in academic settings, but the authors of a new book called Other People's English advocate for what they call "code meshing" -- allowing students to use African American English and other forms of English.

We talk to the authors about how to foster inclusion in the classroom. In studio:

  • Vershawn Young and Y'Shanda Rivera, co-authors of Other People's English: Code-Meshing, Code-Switching, and African American Literacy

First hour: Teaching "code meshing" in schools

Second hour: An update on the EcoDistrict

Mary Gauthier is a country musician who recently said that she wasn't sober until she was 27, and couldn't write until she was 30. Twenty-five years later, she's an unlikely voice for veterans. Gauthier's newest album includes songs co-written with veterans. The songs explore a range of subjects, including the service of women in uniform, and the pain of loss.

Gauthier will perform in Rochester Tuesday night, but first she's our guest on Connections.

Our series of interviews with the gubernatorial candidates continues with Howie Hawkins. He's running for governor on the Green Party line once again. Hawkins has said that Democrats and Republicans have become far too alike, and have failed the people of New York.

He discusses his vision for a single payer health care system, a higher minimum wage, and more. 


First hour: Gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins

Second hour: Musician Mary Gauthier

In 2014, Roger Angell wrote a piece for the New Yorker called "This Old Man," where he explored life in his nineties. He wrote about coping with the loss of friends and family, and what it means to be relevant when you retire. He shared experiences talking with friends in their sixties where he felt invisible: “Honored, respected, even loved, but not quite worth listening to anymore. You’ve had your turn, Pops; now it’s ours.”

Our guests discuss how they are staying connected to the community after retirement, and what relevance means to them.

  • Phil Dawson, recent retiree
  • Zenia Brown, part-time receptionist for WXXI Public Broadcasting Council
  • David D’Ettore, part-time security officer for WXXI Public Broadcasting Council, and aspiring writer
  • Nancy Preston Stark, retiree and playwright
  • Deborah White, retiree

A new mentoring conference for high school students across Monroe County aims to help young men address recurring issues that impact their lives as they transition into adulthood. The “Young Men’s Symposium: No Excuses” will help students explore topics like character development, healthy relationships, responsible fatherhood, respecting women, coping with loss, and more. Research shows black male students are over-referred for disciplinary action in schools, and in the criminal justice system, black youth are 18 times more likely than white youth to be sentenced as adults.

Our guests share their experiences as mentors and mentees, how they define “manhood,” and what self-empowerment means to them in today's world. In studio:

  • Cory Johnson, founder of RocCity 48
  • Melvin Cross, pastor at Glory House International
  • Nasmere Johnson, senior at School of the Arts
  • Jose Melendez, eight grade student at Leadership Academy for Young Men 
  • Rashad Smith, public relations freelancer for small businesses and entrepreneurs

First hour: Young Men's Symposium: No Excuses

Second hour: Exploring "senior relevance"

The Rochester Music Hall of Fame is inducting its 2018 class. We talk to three of the inductees — some of the greatest musicians of all time. They discuss their process, their time working with fellow greats in music, and what it means to them to be in the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.

In studio:

  • Steve Gadd, drummer of choice of Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Eric Clapton
  • Tony Levin, bassist for Peter Gabriel and King Crimson
  • John Beck, professor emeritus at the Eastman School of Music
  • Tracy Kroft, vice president-elect of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame