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

Can you stand your neighbors? Increasingly, the answer depends on what their politics are. We are moving away from people who disagree with us, and National Review writer David French says we're headed for a "national divorce." French says, "Americans tend to belong to their political tribe not so much because they love its ideas but rather because they despise their opponents." So we've decided to bring in guests who are close friends and political opposites. How do they maintain friendships? What can we learn from that?

Our guests:

  • Ernie Orlando, 8th grade social studies teacher at Churchville-Chili Schools
  • Joe Randise, IT manager
  • Tom Proietti, resident media scholar at St. John Fisher College
  • Tony Conte, professor of accounting at Monroe Community College

Amazon is bidding to swallow up Whole Foods, which has already inspired a slew of commentary about how the world is changing. Are we going to order all of our food online? Is this good for customers? Is it bad for the minimum wage?

Progressive writer Matt Stoller says that "this merger should frighten all of us." He says that concentrated corporate power can become a political weapon, and consumers -- and workers -- lose. Our guests:


First hour: Understanding the impact of the Amazon / Whole Foods merger

Second hour: Close friends, political opposites

From the One Love Peace concert in Jamaica, to the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City, to the song, "We Are the World," music has played a role in uniting people from different backgrounds and raising awareness and funds to support a variety of causes. The upcoming United with Music concert in Rochester aims to do the same. Local musicians with ties to the international community will perform traditional and contemporary music to benefit Refugees Helping Refugees, a non-profit that assists refugees in Rochester as they settle in their new homes.

Our guests discuss how their music has helped unify people around the world, and how music can help bring peace during tumultuous times. In studio:

We continue our series of conversations with candidates for Rochester mayor. Former Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard has released his full platform since the last time he was in studio, and he lists public safety as his top priority. We discuss his vision for the city, and ask our questions and yours.

First hour: Rochester mayoral candidate James Sheppard, round two

 Second hour: United with Music concert

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 first pop album created by NPR theme music composer, BJ Leiderman;
  • The stigma of mental illness and the hope of recovery;
  • Settlement houses and why Rochester is a divided community;
  • Having pride in -- rather than hating on -- your hometown.

When you hear theme music for NPR shows, there's a good chance those tunes were composed by our guest, BJ Leiderman. Leiderman has released his first…and last…album. While some songs have a strong message, others are silly and quirky, like the track “Mom’s Telephone Messages,” which is exactly what you’d think it is.

We have some fun talking about his music and what it's like to compose for public radio.

It's Unleashed the Pet Show, and this month, we’re talking all about cats.

We visit Lollypop Farm to learn about the cat adoption process, and Dr. Eileen Adamo from The Cat Doctors in Penfield is in studio to answer your questions.

Paul Howey

First hour: Unleashed: The Pet Show

Second hour: NPR theme music composer BJ Leiderman