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

On Friday, Reverend Denise Donato – the founding pastor at Mary Magdalene Parish in East Rochester – will become the first ordained female bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC). The ECC broke off from the Roman Catholic Church over the issue of the pope’s infallibility in the late 19th century. In 1994, Pope John Paul II wrote, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.” Both of his successors upheld that statement.

What do parishioners think? A new survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University shows 60 percent of American Catholic women support the possibility of women being ordained. Does this signal change?

This hour, we talk about the modern Catholic Church and the role of women in it. Our guests:

First hour: The role of women in the modern Catholic Church

Second hour: Are we ready for driverless cars?

Eddie Money is one of the biggest rock stars in American history, and he's still doing it. Only now, he's taking his act to Rochester in a new musical. Money fell in love with the stage at the performing arts center on Ridge Road when he was in town for the Lilac Festival, and now he's here to launch a world premier.

We discuss Money's career, his successful battle with addiction, the new show, and more. Our guests:

  • Eddie Money, yep, that Eddie Money
  • Dresden Engle, actor who plays Eddie Money's mother in the show

Every day, thousands of New York residents stay in jail because they don't have the money for bail. Critics have railed against the system on numerous levels. First, they claim it's classist and racist. Second, they point to abuses that happen in jail. Third, they call for better rehabilitation as opposed to a purely punitive system.

The League of Women Voters is hosting a public forum on the issue, and we preview it with some of their panelists:

First Hour: Bail reform

Second Hour: Eddie Money and his new musical, Two Tickets to Paradise

A new art series called "At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice" is exploring themes of racial justice. One of the installations is called "Black Magic Slays the Magical Negro." What is the Magical Negro? The concept, largely credited to Spike Lee, describes one black character in art or film that is designed as a savior – saving white people or the white race. The concept shows up in politics too; recent calls for Oprah and Michelle Obama are examples.

This hour, we discuss the concept, and how the art series can spark community conversations. Our guests:

The Doomsday Clock has just moved forward; we are now two minutes to midnight. Scientists created the clock in the 1940s as a way or demonstrating how close they think we are to the possible extinction of the mankind. Their predictions are based on threats of nuclear war, climate change, and more.

So why are we the closest to midnight since 1953? Our experts share their insight. Our guests:

  • Tom Weber, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester
  • Wes Renfro, chair of the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at St. John Fisher College

Black Magic Slays Magical Negro

First hour: Understanding the Doomsday Clock 

Second hour: New art series explores racial justice

One hundred years ago, it wasn't a foregone conclusion that the 19th Amendment would survive. It came down to Tennessee, which became a kind of battleground. Some of the biggest figures of the time fought for and against suffrage.

Author Elaine Weiss details the struggle in her new book The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote. Weiss will be the keynote speaker for the Susan B. Anthony Birthday Luncheon in Rochester.

She joins us to discuss her book, and we address other issues related to equality in modern times. Our guests:

Why are women occasionally abused on movie sets, ostensibly for the sake of genuine art? The question was raised this past weekend, when Uma Thurman told the New York Times about abuses she has suffered. She says director Quentin Tarantino spit in her face and choked her with a chain on the set of Kill Bill.

Maria Schneider famously felt "a little raped" during filming for Last Tango in Paris when she was not warned about a scene in which her character was assaulted. Director Bernardo Bertolucci later said he "wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress."

But men rarely suffer such abuses. We discuss the double standard, and we discuss what lines should never be crossed for the sake of art. Our guests:

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