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

First hour: Abuses suffered by women in film and theater

Second hour: Author Elaine Weiss and her book, The Woman's Hour

Leaders in Upstate New York say they need more attention – and more funding – to bolster transit options. For most cities that are not New York City, that means bus lines. RTS chief Bill Carpenter says the money has remained steady, but the needs have increased, and Rochesterians want better options. So what could RTS do with a big increase in funding? What should they do? And what about other cities that are considering not just buses, but other ideas?

Our guests discuss it:

What will be the future of the Cadillac Hotel? The historic building in downtown Rochester was acquired by developer DHD Ventures in October, but the company has yet to release plans detailing the property’s future. Many people are wondering what will happen to members of Rochester’s homeless population who are often housed there when shelters run out of available beds. The living conditions in the hotel have been criticized by local shelter leaders, and the county stopped housing people there in 2016 because it didn’t meet standards.

These issues were the focus of a recent piece in Open Mic Roc. We talk about what the Open Mic team learned while reporting on the Cadillac, and we discuss how local homeless families could be impacted by changes with the hotel. Our guests:

Michele Ashlee/Open Mic Roc

First hour: What will be the future of the Cadillac Hotel?

Second hour: Upstate transit leaders call for more funding, more options

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 tipped wage system and its impact on restaurant owners and workers;
  • Misconceptions about refugees;
  • How the solar tariff will impact the future of the U.S. solar industry;
  • New Urbanism and what Rochester can learn from other cities.

We know that language evolves over time, but recent research shows that grammar actually change more quickly than language. What's acceptable to you when it comes to changes in standards? Does it bother you when you see a text message without punctuation? What about how grammar is used on social media? Maybe you're a member of the Grammar Police, maybe you think all change is good, or maybe you fall somewhere in the middle. Where do we draw the line?

Our panel discuss that question, and the evolution of grammar and language. Our guests:

  • Maya Abtahian, assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Rochester
  • Sheila Byrne, Advanced Placement English teacher at Webster Thomas High School 
  • Banke Awopetu, local author and poet  
  • Veronica Volk, reporter and producer for WXXI News who studied media theory at Fordham University, and WXXI News’ resident translator of internet slang

On January 23, the Trump administration imposed a 30 percent tariff on solar cells and modules made abroad. President Trumps says the move will increase U.S. manufacturing of solar equipment and create jobs. Since the tariff was imposed, one Chinese solar company has announced it will build a plant in Florida. While plans for the plant were in the works prior to the Trump administration's announcement, the company said it "continues to closely monitor treatment of imports of solar cells and modules under the U.S. trade laws."

Some say this is an early victory under the tariff, but critics say the move will harm the solar industry in the U.S. According to research conducted by Greentech Media, the tariff could result in an 11 percent decrease of installations over the next four years, and lead to tens of thousands of job losses.

Our guests weigh in on the issue and answer your questions about solar. In studio:


First hour: How will the solar tariff impact the future of solar in the U.S.?

Second hour: How language and grammar change over time

According to the CDC, about 5.7 million American adults have heart failure, but cardiologists want patients to know it isn’t a death sentence. New research and treatment methods – including devices and other forms of technology – are helping patients live longer, healthier lives.

Our guests discuss the latest research, and we hear from a local heart transplant patient who shares her story. Our guests:

  • Dr. Scott Feitell, M.D., cardiologist at the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute at Rochester Regional Health
  • Jackie Fields, heart failure patient and heart transplant recipient
  • Dr. Antonio Perez, M.D., cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic

Federal health officials say this year’s flu season is more intense than previous years, and is still getting worse. The CDC predicts that it is on track to equal or surpass the 2014-2015 season, during which 56,000 Americans died.

So why is this year’s flu season worse than usual, and why is the virus more widespread? And how effective is the flu vaccine? Our panelists answer your questions about the flu and treatment, and they discuss new research out of the University of Rochester dedicated to developing a universal flu vaccine. In studio:

  • Dr. Dave Topham, Ph.D., co-director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence
  • Dr. Brenda Tesini, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Edward Walsh, M.D., unit head of infectious diseases at Rochester General Hospital, and professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center