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


First hour: What does it mean to go zero waste?

Second hour: Teen dating abuse and new initiatives to help survivors

Steve Curwood is the host and executive producer of Living on Earth. His pilot of the show aired in the 1990, and now, 27 years later, he says the majority of the climate issues that he addressed on that first program -- the state of the oceans, energy choices, environmental justice -- have become more significant problems. Curwood says the only issue that has improved is the public understanding of climate change. 

This hour, Curwood joins us for a conversation about social equity, climate resilience, and green development in Rochester. Our guests:

We discuss the restorative justice approach in schools. You might have heard the term, restorative justice or restorative practice. The short version is that it's essentially the opposite of zero tolerance -- it's an approach rooted in personal responsibility, bringing people face to face, with the goal of improving behavior without suspensions or expulsions, when possible. But there haven't been many studies to suggest whether restorative practices work. There is a great deal of evidence in the form of suspension rates, anecdotes, and graduation rates -- but a year ago, we saw a formal study that analyzed the impact. What the study found was that both students and adults reported all kinds of benefits: benefits they don't see in a zero-tolerance system. 

The Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence is hosting the "Restoring Rochester" conference on Saturday. It aims to bring restorative practices and ideas to the entire community. Our guests discuss the practices and the conference:

Todd Baxter is running Monroe County Sheriff. He's running as a Democrat, challenging longtime Republican incumbent Patrick O'Flynn. But Baxter says he's not a political person; he's focused on law enforcement. He's the former Greece police chief who helped clean up the culture of corruption in that department.

We discuss why he says this election is critical, and where he sees himself differing with Sheriff O'Flynn.

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence is an organization that believes there are new gun regulations within reach in New York State this year. They're focusing on the impact of gun violence against women.

Statistics show that American women are far more likely to be killed by guns than women in other developed countries. NYAGV is pushing the Emergency Restraining Protection Order. They explain what it is, and why the election of Donald Trump is actually helping their efforts to pass new legislation. Our guests:

First hour: New Yorkers Against Gun Violence push for new gun legislation

Second hour: Monroe County Sheriff candidate Todd Baxter

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:

  • Pope Benedict's legacy, with Father Thomas Rosica;
  • The Rochester brink's heist of 1993, with Gary Craig, author of Seven Million;
  • Learning from history, with World War II veteran Pete DuPre;
  • If Billy Joel is the worst pop singer ever, and how we evaluate art of any kind.

Is Billy Joel the worst pop artist of all time? Strange question, we know. But Slate writer Ron Rosenbaum wrote a piece, detailing two ideas. First, he explained why he believes Billy Joel is indeed the worst ever. Second, and more importantly, Rosenbaum makes the case for calling out bad art (of any genre) as a means to understanding what good art is. In other words, Rosenbaum pushes back against the idea that the only good art is whatever you like.

Is he right? And what's wrong with Allentown, anyway? Our guests:

  • John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester
  • Leah Stacy, media professor at Nazareth College and freelance theatre critic at City Newspaper

What's causing the rising lake levels? How much of the criticism is political; how much is fair? We look at Plan 2014, and we explore what's really going on. Our guests:

  • Veronica Volk, reporter and producer for Great Lakes Today
  • Dr. Karen Berger, lecturer in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester
  • Dr. Frank Sciremammano Jr., member of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board
  • Frank Bevacqua, public information officer for the International Joint Commission


First hour: Understanding the rising lake levels

Second hour: Is Billy Joel the worst pop singer ever?