On Point

Monday - Friday 10am to 12pm, and Monday - Friday at 9pm on WMRA
  • Hosted by Tom Ashbrook

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

Each hour of the broadcast opens with a news brief analyzing the day's biggest stories, followed by an in-depth conversation decoding a single topic with news makers, thinkers, and callers, and closes with compelling personal reactions to news and important issues, including radio diaries, excerpts from speeches, or special series segments.

Host Tom Ashbrook combines his journalistic instincts with a listener's openness and curiosity, focusing on the relevant topics and deconstructing issues along with the audience. News analyst Jack Beatty, Senior Editor at The Atlantic Monthly, also guides the program by providing his own unique perspective to the conversation.

Congress Scrambles To Avoid Shutdown

Jan 18, 2018

With guest host John Harwood.

The shutdown showdown — as a DACA deal fades, Republicans are scrambling for a strategy to keep the government open even if it’s for only one month.

This show airs Thursday at 10 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Washington correspondent for the New York Times. (@SherylNYT)

'The Appalachian Ballad Tradition'

Jan 17, 2018

With guest host John Harwood.

A Grammy-nominated album celebrates Appalachia’s rich legacy of story songs. We’ll listen to how the ballad resonates today.

This show airs Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Ted Olson, music historian and professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University, producer of the album “Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition.”

With guest host John Harwood. 

Hawaii has a scary false alarm about incoming missiles. President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hit “pause” on threats. But according to reports, the U.S. military is quietly preparing for war.

We’re taking stock.

This show airs Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST. 

Guests:

Helene Cooper, Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times. (@helenecooper)

'So You Want To Talk About Race'

Jan 15, 2018

With guest host John Harwood.

Is there a better way to talk about race and social justice? On Martin Luther King, Jr Day, we’ll try. We’re talking to Ijeoma Oluo, author of a new book called “So You Want To Talk About Race.”

This show airs Monday at 11 a.m. EST.

With guest host Ray Suarez.

President Trump reportedly calls Haiti and African countries “s***holes,” sparking condemnation. Deadly California mudslides. 7-Eleven immigration raids. Bannon out at Breitbart. Our weekly news round table goes behind the headlines.

This show airs Friday at 10 a.m. EST.

With guest host Ray Suarez.

A speech at the Golden Globes by Oprah Winfrey leads to speculation that she might run for president.

Could 2020’s presidential election be a reality TV figure against a talk show host-media mogul? Trump v. Winfrey?

This show airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Angela Rye, political strategist, commentator. (@angela_rye)

With guest host Ray Suarez.

Homelessness in America is rising. More and more cities are putting their homeless on buses with one-way tickets out of town. We’ll dig in.

This show airs Tuesday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Alastair Gee, homelessness editor for The Guardian. (@alastairgee)

With guest host Ray Suarez. 

Pot in America now—California legalizes recreational marijuana, Attorney General Jeff Sessions changes federal policy. We’ll read the smoke signals.

This show airs Monday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Evan Halper, reporter at the Los Angeles Times. (@evanhalper)

With guest host Jane Clayson.

Trump and Bannon feud. Manafort sues. Iran protests. Hot talk about nuclear buttons. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Guests:

Yochi Dreazen, deputy managing editor and foreign editor for Vox. (@yochidreazen)

Kimberly Atkins, chief Washington reporter for the Boston Herald. (@KimberlyEAtkins)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

With guest host Jane Clayson.

What happens when opioids ravage the lives of mothers and fathers? More foster children who need homes and families. Opioids and the crisis in foster care.

This show airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Sherry Lachman, founder and executive director of Foster America.

Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services for Montgomery County, Ohio.

Author Ann Patchett's Year Of No Shopping

Jan 3, 2018

With guest host Sacha Pfeiffer

Rethinking what we need versus what we want. Author Ann Patchett took up the challenge.

This show airs Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Ann Patchett, author of seven novels and three works of non-fiction, co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.

With guest host Sacha Pfeiffer.

As we start off 2018, we’re looking at how innovators are changing the world, from healthcare to food production to renewable energy.

Guests:

Mark Stevenson, futurologist and author of “We Do Things Differently: The Outsiders Rebooting Our World.” (@Optimistontour)

With guest host Anthony Brooks.

We look back at 2017. Trump’s first year. Washington politics to North Korea jitters. This year’s big news stories and where they’re headed next.

This show airs Friday, Dec. 29 at 10 a.m. EST. 

With guest host Tom Gjelten. 

The new film “The Post,” with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, puts the Pentagon Papers back on the front page. The massive leak of government documents helped shed light on the Vietnam War, and the lies the government was telling about it.

Among others, we’re talking to Leslie Gelb, a former Department of Defense official who will tell us exactly how leaker Daniel Ellsberg got away with the documents.

We’re digging in and consider its impact on journalism, now.

With guest host Tom Gjelten.

Grammy-nominated saxophonist Miguel Zenón talks jazz and his native Puerto Rico.

This show airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST. 

Guest:

Miguel Zenón, saxophonist and composer with multiple Grammy nominations, including best Latin jazz album for his latest album “Tipico.” (@miguelzenon)

With guest host Tom Gjelten.

The Divisions In Christianity Over Sex

Dec 19, 2017

With guest host Tom Gjelten. 

Five hundred years after the church was split by the Protestant Reformation, there’s a new division in Christianity. Now, it’s all about sex. Can the fissure be healed? We’ll be joined by three members of the clergy to discuss.

This show airs Tuesday at 11 a.m. EST. 

With guest host Meghna Chakrabarti. 

Independent contractors are delivering your Amazon holiday packages. Are they being exploited?

This show airs Monday at 11 a.m. EST.

Guests:

Bryan Menegussenior reporter for Gizmodo. (@bryandisagrees)

Doug Jones beats Roy Moore in Alabama. Republicans near final passage of a tax bill. A bomb goes off in New York. We’re talking to Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post, Molly Ball of Time magazine and On Point news analyst Jack Beatty about the week that was.

 

Guests:

Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for the Washington Post. (@ktumulty)

Exploring 3,000 Years Of Jerusalem History

Dec 14, 2017

With guest host Tom Gjelten. 

Now that President Trump formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, we’re exploring the city’s 3,000 years of multicultural history.

This show airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST. 

With guest host Tom Gjelten.

Twenty-plus years after the whack heard ’round the world, we’re talking with Craig Gillespie, the director of the new Tonya Harding biopic “I, Tonya.” We’ll also talk to sports reporters who covered the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Guests:

Craig Gillespiedirector of the 2017 biopic “I, Tonya.”

With guest host Anthony Brooks.

The House passes a bill that would let people with concealed carry permits take their guns into states where it’s currently illegal.

Lois Beckett, a reporter for The Guardian, says the bill doesn’t have much of a chance of passing the U.S. Senate, even though it passed the House of Representatives. Still, she says, it’s been a National Rifle Association priority.

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are in the homestretch of their race for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama. We’re talking to people on the ground about the race, and whether Moore will win despite allegations of improper sexual contact with underage girls when he was in his 30s.

Guests:

Leada Gore, reporter at the Alabama Media Group. (@LeadaGore)

Troy Turner, editor of the Opelika-Auburn News. (@troyturnernews)

Time magazine’s Person of the Year is the #MeToo silence breakers. They spoke out and held powerful men accountable, from Matt Lauer to Harvey Weinstein and more. Where does the movement go?

In the midst of our show, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat of Minnesota, said he was resigning from office after allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.

This show airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST. 

Russia has been banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Winter Olympics for a systematic and state-sponsored doping scheme that gave its athletes a competitive advantage.

We’re joined by a panel of sports and foreign affairs writers, plus Richard McLaren, the author of the “McLaren Report” — he helped investigate the allegations fro the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in the case of the baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The court’s ruling could change the boundaries of free speech and have huge ramifications for religion and gay rights.

We’re joined by advocates on both sides of this First Amendment dispute.

This show airs Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST. 

We’re talking to Henry Louis Gates Jr. and folklore scholar Maria Tatar about their groundbreaking new book, “The Annotated African American Folktales.”

Also be sure to check the “Circle Round” podcast, a storytelling show for kids.

This show airs Tuesday at 11 a.m. EST. 

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defends and deflects from the White House. Is she just doing her job? We’re taking a look inside the briefing room with people who are there every day.

Guests:

Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News. (@MajorCBS)

The 2018 Grammy nominations are out. Rap and hip hop dominate. We talk about everything from classical to Albita’s Cuban big band sound to Jay-Z, who — with his album 4:44 — led all musicians with eight nominations.

This show airs Friday at 11 a.m. EST. 

Guests:

Dee Lockett, associate editor at Vulture. (@Dee_Lockett)

Slaves on the auction block in 2017 in North Africa. We’re joined by CNN reporters who helped expose it in Libya, and a New Yorker writer who’s also chronicled migrant exploitation.

This hour airs Thursday at 11 a.m. EST. 

Guests:

Nima Elbagir, senior international correspondent for CNN. (@NimaCNN)

Raja Razek, CNN journalist. (@rajarazek)

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