WXXI AM News

Megan Mack

Connections Producer

Megan Mack the producer of Connections with Evan Dawson and Unleashed: The Pet Show. She joined the WXXI News team from WHEC-TV, where she produced newscasts and The Olympic Zone, and from the University of Rochester, where she served as an assistant director of public relations. Her background extends to television sports and entertainment, and to communications and social media management for non-profits.

Megan earned her B.S. in Television-Radio-Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and her B.A. in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory program.

Ways to Connect

As a child, singer Bethany Yarrow was surrounded by a family of activists who loved folk music. That's because her father is Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary. As an adult, her musical tastes drifted to other genres, but eventually, she went back to her roots and was inspired by how folk music can convey important messages.

She and her partner, cellist Rufus Capadoccia, have performed and participated in demonstrations all over the world in support of causes like the environmental movement, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and more.

Yarrow is in town for a performance in the Finger Lakes, but first, she's our guest on Connections. We talk to her about her activism and music with meaning.

Wonder Woman and feminism in film The newest superhero film from the DC universe has generated a slew of controversy. Even before Wonder Woman opened in theatres on June 2, it sparked conversations about feminism in film, the role of female superheroes, and yes, even debates over armpit hair. Wonder Woman dates back to 1941, and the origins of the character may surprise you.

We talk about Wonder Woman's history, how she has evolved, if she's a feminist icon, and the roles of women on screen and on stage.

  • Abby DeVuyst, librarian, comedian, and actor
  • Michelle Finn, deputy historian for the City of Rochester and Wonder Woman scholar
  • Jackie McGriff, administrative assistant for development at WXXI, and self-described film nut
  • Adam Lubitow, film critic for City Newspaper
  • Sady Fischer, queer Latina activist and diversity consultant
  • Alexa Scott-Flaherty, director of "Twelfth Night" at Blackfriars Theatre

NPR

First hour: Wonder Woman and feminism in film

Second hour: Singer and activist Bethany Yarrow

The annual Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival kicks off Friday.

Festival founder John Nugent joins us in studio to preview the acts, share some behind-the-scenes stories, and talk about how the festival has grown over the last 16 years. We also hear from two of this year’s performers: Laura Dubin and Mike Cottone.

June is Pride month, and celebrations, marches, and solidarity events are being held in cities across the country. Some of these events have been interrupted by protests from members of the LGBTQ community who feel the movement marginalizes minorities. A group called No Justice No Pride staged a protest at the recent Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C. Members issued a list of demands, which included adding more transgender women of color and indigenous people to leadership positions, more stringent vetting of the parade’s corporate sponsors, and preventing uniformed police officers from participating in the parade.

The concerns reflect the broader issues on which Black Pride groups throughout the U.S. are focused. Our guests discuss the state of the current Pride movement at the local level, intersectionality, and how communities can work to be more inclusive. In studio:

First hour: Current state of the LGBTQ movement and how to build more inclusive communities

Second hour: 2017 Jazz Fest preview

Super Bowl Champion and Rochester native Roland Williams says he’s seen the effects poverty, gangs, drugs, and violence can have on teens living in poverty, and he’s made it his mission to set local students on a path to success. That’s why he founded the Champion Academy, which offers “extreme mentoring” to students in middle and high school.

We get an inside look at how the Academy works from leaders and participants, and we hear Williams’ vision for its future. Our guests:

  • Roland Williams, former NFL player and founder of the Champion Academy
  • Anthony Bogar, member of the Champion Academy
  • Titiana Bogar, Anthony’s mother
  • Veronica Wilson, community partnerships manager for the Champion Academy

A recent production of "Julius Caesar" at New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park has caused uproar within right-wing circles. Some conservatives say the Caesar character -- who is styled after President Trump and assassinated -- normalizes political violence against the right. But do these critics miss the point of the play? The work has long been used as a vehicle for political commentary, and Shakespeare scholars cite its role as a cautionary tale of the dangers of political assassination.

Our guests discuss what the play really means, how it’s taught (if it is taught) in schools, and the role of farce in theater. In studio:

  • Diana Louise Carter, producer for WallByrd Theatre Co.'s summer production of Macbeth, and publicist for the Rochester Shakespeare Players' summer production of As You Like It
  • Evvy Fanning, local high school English teacher
  • Jacob Baller, senior at Webster Thomas High School
  • Sheila Byrne, Advanced Placement English teacher at Webster Thomas High School who prepares students for the Rochester Shakespeare Competition

NPR

First hour: Farce and the political lessons of "Julius Caesar"

Second hour: How “extreme” mentoring empowers at-risk youth

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.

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