Alexandra Hill / News

A pilot program that teaches girls how to code is expanding across the Newark Public Schools in the hopes of engaging more girls in the fields of science and technology, which have largely and historically been dominated by males. WBGO's Alexandra Hill reports the district is enlisting the help of international non-profit organization Girls Who Code in order to do so.


Bruce Caines

Ang Santos:  This is an interesting program.  We have a combination of music, gospel, jazz…bring us into this program a little bit.  What should people expect when they come to see this? 

Chris Whitaker:  This is a version of ‘Handel’s Messiah’ like you’ve never heard before.  It’s basically like Handel landed in the 21stcentury and crafted a modern oratorio for our time.  It’s the original ideas, melodies, and lyrics from the Messiah, but it’s reimagined though a contemporary lens.

AS:  A venue could really make or break this kind of show, am I correct?

City of Newark/ State of New Jersey

On the next Newark Today, host Michael Hill of NJTV News will be joined by Mayor Ras Baraka and one ofthe highest ranking African-American state officials in the country, New Jersey Lietenant Governor Sheila Oliver. We'll take a look back at the role the Murphy Administration has played in moving Newark forward and what lies ahead for New Jersey's largest city. We'll be taking your calls LIVE at 1-844-677-9283 Thrusday December 20th at 8pm. Hear the program on WBGO 88.3Fm on WBGO.ORG or on the Newark Today Facebook Page

A plan by New Jersey Democrats to reimagine the process of redrawing state legislative district lines is facing a growing outcry from good-government groups, progressives, nonpartisan voting experts, Republicans, and even some fellow Democrats. The critics say the plan would solidify Democrats’ political power for years.

The proposal — which critics have labeled partisan gerrymandering — would alter the membership of the state’s redistricting commission and force it to use a formula that would favor Democrats in the creation of new legislative districts.

Here’s how Robert Still describes himself these days: “Been married twice, got six kids, and I lost my license.”

The Camden resident was released from a New Jersey jail about two years ago after serving an eight-month sentence for receiving stolen property and domestic violence.

He wants to restart his life, but he cannot even start a car.

That’s because Still has outstanding municipal court fines dating as far back as 1984 and totaling about $2,000 — an amount Still says he cannot afford — which prohibit him from getting a driver’s license.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is hosting a free panel discussion in collaboration with MOMENT NYC on Saturday, spotlighting the life and legacy of jazz composer Gil Evans. His son, Noah Evans, says the conversation and listening session could be an introduction to Gil Evans but also has something new for enthusiasts.

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey finds that state and local law enforcement agencies are seizing cash and other property from those accused of crimes with little oversight.

The process known as civil asset forfeiture is happening in every county in New Jersey, according to the report.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering doling out $100 million over five years to prop up the state’s financially-strapped horse racing industry, which has continued to struggle despite beginning to offer sports betting this summer.

The money would be used for “purses,” the name for the award money paid out to race winners.

“This will be a huge help for the horse racing industry that is an important part of New Jersey’s heritage and culture and a key source of jobs and economic activity,” said state Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), who co-sponsored the bill.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Gateway Project has been at a standstill since President Trump walked back on an Obama era deal to cover half the cost.  Democrats in New Jersey’s Congressional delegation believe they’ll have leverage in The House of Representatives come January through party control, but Congressman Josh Gottheimer says he’s cautiously optimistic.

Tyne Daly

Movie stars every season come to Broadway, but WBGO theater critic Michael Bourne this week reviews TV stars who've come OFF-Broadway.

Michael gives us his thoughts on Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck and starring Tyne Daly and Tim Daly as well as Thom Pain by Will Eno and starring Michael C. Hall.

Click above to hear Michael's reviews of both Off-Broadway shows.

Joe Vericker/Liaison / Getty Images

This week, WBGO announcers take over Take Five with 12 — wait, make that a baker’s dozen — favorite holiday tracks. 

Joseph Bogges

Tessa Souter is a literally international singer. According to the analysis from a DNA-checking service, she’s made up of genes from an English mother, a Trinidadian father, and a variety of other peoples, including from eight countries around Africa. 

Initially billed as a cost-cutting measure, the New Jersey superintendent salary cap failed to save money and instead resulted in a higher probability that superintendents across the state would quit, according to new research from Rutgers University.

Chris Tobin / WBGO

Pianists Fred Hersch and Brad Mehldau, saxophonists Tia Fuller and Miguel Zenón, and vocalists Gregory Porter and Cécile McLorin Salvant are among the nominees for the 61st Grammy Awards.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The United States was attacked by the Japanese Military on December 7, 1941.  Exactly one year later, the USS New Jersey launched for the first time from the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Jack Willard is one of several history buffs you may meet aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, where the dreadnought turned museum annually commemorates the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  

To hear about the Battleship New Jersey, click the link above.

Michael Crommett

Amir ElSaffar, a Chicago-born jazz trumpeter and composer, incorporates Iraqi musical traditions in his 17-piece Rivers of Sound orchestra.


The Garden State’s top law enforcement official says time is up for polluters who contaminate sites in low-income and minority neighborhoods, saddling disadvantaged populations with the negative health effects of environmental pollution.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced Thursday his office had filed eight lawsuits against companies from Newark to Trenton to Camden.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The city of Newark will create the Equitable Growth Advisory Commission, consisting of 15 members from academic, community, and business sectors.  Its members will make recommendations on land use, housing, and other related matters. 

“It’s intentionally structured to be a collaboration.  A cross sector of voices that help shape policy and serve as an equity compass,” said Aisha Golver with the economic revitalization non-profit Newark Alliance.

Dorothy Darr

"I've been drunk with music all my life," Charles Lloyd muses, "and it's been my spiritual path. And the times that I was knocked off my mooring, I just found a way to get back up."

Katie Brennan
Joe Hernandez for WBGO News

Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey government procedures have to change after state worker Katie Brennan's tearful testimony that she was raped and her pleas for help to officials were ignored.

At a Wednesday press conference, Murphy called Brennan “extraordinary” and “poised” for speaking before a state legislative committee about the alleged sexual assault and subsequent attempts to have law enforcement and state government officials help her get justice.

Organized and moderated by our own Nate Chinen, The Year in Jazz is a panel discussion about the music, the artists, and the moments that shaped jazz in 2018. Watch a live stream here, beginning tonight at 7 p.m.

Governor Phil Murphy says he’s ready to bolster the state’s commitment to clean energy and rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  RGGI Board of Directors Secretary Ben Grumbles says their working with state environmental officials to put policies in place to have New Jersey rejoin the initiative by the year 2020.

Doug O’ Malley with Environment New Jersey says it’s critical to maximize clean energy investments through RGGI.

In dramatic testimony before a rapt audience at the New Jersey state House Tuesday, Katie Brennan detailed her many attempts to get justice after she was sexually assaulted by a colleague last year, attempts she said were thwarted by officials who did not take her allegation seriously enough.

Brennan spoke before a joint committee of the state Legislature, which is investigating why Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition and administration officials did little to nothing about Brennan’s claims and allowed Albert Alvarez to remain employed by the state.

A phone app is teaching kids how to responsibly manage money before they are old enough to enter the workforce.  

BusyKid was created to help teach children financial responsibility.  App creator Gregg Murset has 20 years’ experience as a certified financial planner.  He says it’s designed to give kids real life job experience.

Steve Mundinger / Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Tom Oren, a 24-year-old pianist from Tel Aviv, Israel, has won the 2018 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

He was awarded first prize at a gala concert on Monday night, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Along with his prestigious honor, Oren will receive $25,000 in scholarship funds and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group.

Layqa Nuna Yawar



Layqa Nuna Yawar is a global muralist and founder member of Young New Yorkers, an art program that helps teenagers stay out of jail.  He explains why he does this work and its relationship to his own migrant experiences and heritage.

The second half of New Jersey’s 2018 bear hunt begins Monday, as two lawsuits aiming to change how the state manages its black bear population proceed.

Hunters will be able to use firearms to shoot bears in designated areas through Saturday.

The second half of New Jersey’s 2018 bear hunt begins Monday, as two lawsuits aiming to change how the state manages its black bear population proceed. Edit | Remove

Campbell's Soup
Philadelphia Magazine

Campbell Soup Company, headquartered in Camden, New Jersey, has seen better days. Canned soup has fallen out of fashion and the nearly 150-year-old company’s sales are down. And now it’s enduring an attack from one of its own shareholders, a shrewd investor bent on raising profits by any means necessary. On this episode of The Why, WHYY and WBGO statehouse reporter Joe Hernandez discusses what this means for the future of the iconic company — and for the city of Camden.

Click below to hear the entire podcast.