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

How can urban design help alleviate poverty? It’s a question that informs the work of Katie Swenson, the vice president of National Design Initiatives at Enterprise Community Partners in Boston. Swenson is a national leader in sustainable design for low-income communities. She and her team work with architects dedicated to social activism.

This hour, we discuss the history of urban development, its roots in segregation, and how to incorporate community planning models that emphasize dignity for all residents. Our guests:

First hour: Reshaping Rochester - How urban design can help alleviate poverty

Second hour: The state of winemaking in the Finger Lakes Region

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:

  • If the voting age should be changed to 16;
  • What it means to be Christian;
  • Modern feminism;
  • The challenges faced by LGBTQ youth who are homeless.

Black Panther is not just a box office smash; it has already become a cultural touchstone. Our panel will discuss the movie, its themes, and its impact on our society.

  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester
  • Willis Brooks, PR rep at Entercom, and actor
  • Leslie Youngblood, author of Love Like Sky
  • Mona Isler, executive assistant and staff liaison to the board at WXXI, and comedy improviser

It's a name you haven't heard, but Dave Stevenson is a "legend" in the world of interplanetary science. That's according to the U of R's own Adam Frank.

Stevenson is visiting Rochester for a series of lectures this week, and our discussion covers the very nature of how planets are formed, and where life can exist. It's particularly poignant, as human beings continue to struggle with the climate on our own planet. Is there anywhere else we could go hang out for a while?

In studio:


First hour: Planetary scientist David Stevenson

Second hour: How Black Panther became a cultural touchstone

CNN reported on voters who unknowingly hosted campaign events sponsored by Russians. One woman in Florida did not believe the FBI's evidence, and told off CNN on camera. That encounter has gone viral, prompting several questions. Among them: did the reporter harass the woman? Could the reporter have approached that encounter differently? How can we break through when so many of us are determined never to change our minds?

Our guests:

Critics of modern feminism have alleged that feminists want to blur inherent differences between men and women. Andrew Sullivan writes, "All differences between the sexes, we are now informed, are a function of the age-old oppression of women by men." That's just one example of the roiling debate about what is inherent, versus what is taught.

Our panelists discuss it. In studio:

  • Lauren Hall, assistant professor of political science at RIT
  • Barbara LeSavoy, director of the women and gender studies program at the College at Brockport


First hour: Debating modern feminism

Second hour: How should reporters approach interview subjects who won't acknowledge facts?

Research shows that LGBTQ youth make up a disproportionally high percentage of the homeless population across the nation, putting them at risk for discrimination, sex trafficking, and more. It's an issue affecting our community.

Local organizations are pushing for more beds for this vulnerable population. We talk to them about their efforts, and we hear from people in our community who faced these challenges when they were homeless.