WBGO Journal

Saturday 6:30am - 7am

Hosted by Doug Doyle

The WBGO Journal is an award-winning half-hour news magazine that airs Saturdays at 6 am. Reports and analysis, informative interviews and features.

Reg Burkett / Getty Images

Nearly 1,000 artifacts connected to the life of Count Basie life will eventually be available to view at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers Newark.


WBGO

Lorraine Gordon will always be remembered for her indefatigable stewardship of The Village Vanguard, where she maintained the highest of standards. She was also a terrific storyteller — and had more than a few terrific stories to tell.

Hamilton Education Program
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Living history at its best.  On October 2015, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda; Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, The Rockefeller Foundation and the New York City Department of Education announced an educational partnership that will provide 20,000 NYC Title I public school students with the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway,

NBC Universal

This Sunday, more than a million spectators will turn out for the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. This year the celebration of culture and history will take on profound meaning in the wake of hurricane Maria which devastated the island. Puerto Rican Television Journalist Julio 'Gaby' Acevedo is this year's parade Ambassador, Acevedo has been covering the crisis in Puerto Rico for WNBC and Telemundo 47, since the hurricane hit back in September of last year.

Paradise Blue
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne goes off Broadway to review Paradise Blue, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Click above to hear Michael's review of the new jazz play.

Barbara Kukla
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Barbara Kukla has written seven books about the people of Newark including the latest, Newark Women: From Suffragettes to the Statehouse.

Before her retirment from newspaper writing in 2004, Kukla spent 43 years as a journalist, most of the that at The Star-Ledger, where she first served as a general assingment reporter and Sunday city editor.

Many of her books have been focused on the jazz scene in Newark.

Lauren Pritchard
Cassie Galasetti for WBGO News

Songbird premiered Off-Broadway in 2015 to much critical acclaim, earning a New York Times Critic's Pick. 

Now the musical, written by Michael Kimmel along with music and lyrics by Lauren Pritchard, is gearing up for its run at Two River Theater in Red Bank.

Pritchard, who starred as Ilse in the original cast of Spring Awakening on Broadway in 2006 and performs now as LOLO, sat down recently with WBGO's News Director Doug Doyle to talk about Songbird and her career. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

Of the hundreds of thousands of American student-athletes that hope to break into professional sports, about one-percent make a living out of it.  

“Out of all of the people in here, how many do you think will actually make it to the pros?” asked a student from West Side High School. 

New York Giants safety Michael Thomas told students it starts with a strong work ethic on the field and in the classroom.

Paul Schrade
Jon Kalish for WBGO

We recently told you about an archive in Massachusetts dedicated to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the authors who relied on it. Their books are being published to mark the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death, which will be marked early next month. 

A labor activist in Los Angeles who was wounded during the assassination remains a skeptic that Sirhan Sirhan was the sole assassin.

Click above to hear WBGO's Jon Kalish's feature on Paul Schrade.

Solo
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

WBGO film critic Harlan Jacobson has just returned from the 71st Cannes Film. It’s the highest platform for film art on Planet Earth.  One of the films he saw there had some familiarity to it to say the least.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the 10th installment in George Lucas’ saga begun in 1977.

Even the title is generic: Solo: A Star Wars Story. That’s like “Memorial Day Sale at General Motors: A Sedan!”

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York City is ranked 9th on The Trust for Public Land annual ParkScore index.  They rate park systems based on access, size, investment, amenities.

“How many residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park, spending per resident, and a bunch of what we call amenities, basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds, recreation and senior centers, and splash pads,” said Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President with The Trust For Public Land.

Jersey City fell 13 spots to 53rd.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey State Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal says check for ticks after being out in wooded areas.  Tick-borne illness is on the rise. 

“Ticks that transmit Lyme disease are active during the spring, summer, and the fall.  But May, June, and July are the peak seasons, the peak months rather for transmission of tick-borne illness,” said Elnahal.  “5,000 cases of Lyme disease were diagnosed in New Jersey last year.  The highest total since the year 2000.  Morris and Hunterdon County top the list in terms of the number of cases.”

Saint Joan
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater Critic Michael Bourne has enjoyed this year's jam-packed revival display on and off Broadway.

Click above to hear Michael's full rundown of shows that are worth your time and money.

Should Tackle Football Begin With Teenage Years?

May 18, 2018
Trey Schneider
Scott Pringle for WBGO News (used with parent's permission)

A New Jersey lawmaker has recently introduced a bill that bans children under the age of 12 from playing tackle football in the Garden State.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle points to studies that show brain injuries at a young age can have devastating effects later in life. Her legislation would limit children under 12 to just flag or touch football.

Just the thought of tacking tackle out of one of America’s most popular sports has outraged Sal, who coaches his child. “It’s horrible, why would we let the politicians decide what our kids are allowed to play.”

The Supreme Court ruling that allows all states to have legalized sports betting could help Atlantic City casinos generate additional revenue.

Public finance attorney David Fernandez says sports wagering gives Atlantic City a new opportunity to draw tourists, but it might benefit casino companies more than the city because sports gambling could be made available online. 

“It may not be the boom that they think it’s going to be if the online gambling takes off and becomes an alternative that folks might want to do instead.”

Legalized sports betting is coming to New Jersey.

The U-S Supreme Court has ruled in New Jersey's favor, striking down a 1992 federal law restricting sports wagering to Nevada and three other states.

Former state Senator Ray Lesniak has been fighting for years to legalize sports betting in New Jersey and he's thrilled with the court’s decision.

Bob Hennelly

Over forty years ago the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel decision was hailed nationally. It proclaimed it was unconstitutional for local zoning to exclude housing for its poor and working class.

Desperate Measures
Michael Bourne for WBGO

The Tony Awards celebrate what happens ON Broadway, but WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne is often even busier OFF Broadway.

Click above to hear Michael's reviews of some Outer Critic Circle Award-winning shows off Broadway.

Broken Glory
Jon Kalish for WBGO

In early June we'll be marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign.  There's a fraternity of independent researchers and journalists who believe that the New York senator was killed by someone other than Sirhan Sirhan.

There's a new book coming out about the assassination titled Broken Glory.

Click above to hear WBGO's Jon Kalish's report.

Alexandra Hill / News

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Jamar Roberts  talks about his love for choreography, working with Ailey dancers, and the inspiration for his new piece, Members Don't Get Weary, premiering at the company's 20th annual Mother's Day Engagement at  NJPAC. 

The Nerd
George Street Playhouse

The two-act comedy The Nerd, written by American actor and playwright Larry Shue, runs through May 20th at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.

The Nerd was the top grossing American play in London's West End in 1986.

Two of the stars of the show, Jonathan Kite and Kate Reinders, sat down with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about hilarious play and their respective careers.

Robert Battle
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is on a coast-to-coast North American Tour that will culminate May 11-13 at NJPAC with three special programs.

Artistic Director Robert Battle came into the WBGO studios to talk about the three-day program.

Performances include the opening Ailey Jazz program presenting the NJPAC debut of Ailey star Jamar Roberts’ Members Don’t Get Weary - his first world premiere for the Company, which he joined in 2002.

Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that allows unauthorized immigrants to apply for state financial aid to attend college.

The legislation will help hundreds of immigrants who grew up in the state and attended high school in New Jersey for at least three years.

Murphy says it’s a matter of fairness.

WBGO Theater Critic Michael Bourne looks back on his favorite musicals of the 2017-2018 Broadway Season and reveals some of his picks for the Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Newark’s first lady of Jazz and WBGO Co-Founder and special events coordinator will celebrate her 80th birthday this summer. The New Jersey Performing Arts center is commemorating the occasion with a special night of jazz in her honor. Dorthaan Kirk has had a tremendous influence on the world of jazz over her more than 40 year career.

Jazz saxophonist Don Braden has worked with Dorthaan Kirk for the last two decades producing three jazzathons together.  Braden describes the moment the two met in 1998 when he became director of NJPAC’s jazz for teens program.

Harry Potter
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews several pop culture related shows on Broadway, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Click above to hear the full review.

Eric Jackson
WGBH

The Dean of Boston Jazz Radio, WGBH's Eric Jackson and WBGO's midday host Rhonda Hamilton have known each other for many years.

WGBH is celebrating Erick Jackson's 40th anniversary at that public radio station in Boston with a series of events and honors.  Who better to chat with Eric than Rhonda Hamilton?  Hamilton is nearing her 40th year at Newark's jazz institution WBGO.

Click above to hear their conversation.

Bright Moments! Celebrating Dorthaan at 80!

Apr 27, 2018

Celebrating Newark's 'First Lady of Jazz,'  the WBGO News team spoke with WBGO founder Bob Ottenhoff, NJPAC president John Schreiber, and Bethany Baptist Church member Linda Caldwell Epps about Dorthaan Kirk's influence in jazz and the community.

passaicfilms.com

The short film Passaic is a flashback to gritty times in northern New Jersey.  It’s centerpiece, two murders that resulted in what would be the longest murder trial in state history at the time.  There's still unanswered questions.  The case remains unsolved.  

“To this day people that are involved in the case know that the truth never came out,” said Michael Klausner, writer and producer of the film Passaic. 

Newark Mayoral Debate
Brandy Wood for WBGO

Tap Into Newark reporter Mark Bonamo gives his thoughts on the WBGO Newark Mayor Debate last Thursday.

Current mayor Ras Baraka is being challenged by Councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins.

The debate was moderated by Newark Today host Michael Hill of NJTV.  The reporters who asked questions at the debate including WBGO's Alexandra Hill and Ang Santos, Karen Yi of NJ Advance Media and Tap Into Newark's Mark Bonamo.

The segment begins with highlights of the opening of the debate at Express Newark Lecture Hall.

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