News Voices

WBGO News is hosting a DIGITAL CONVERSATION ABOUT NEWARK on April 21 (Tuesday) at 3pm and you are invited to join in.  

The event is part of the News Voices-Free Press partnership that began a year ago in the WBGO News Deparment, made possible by a grant from the Dodge Foundation.  

New York City Cancels All June Events

Apr 20, 2020

Planned events in June in New York City are being cancelled.

Popular events like the Pride March and Puerto Rican Day Parade where hundreds of thousands gather annually will not happen in June

“A lot of these events will be postponed.  I want to be clear.  The permits are being cancelled for June.  But the event organizers, a lot of them are looking at doing something later in the year.”

Justin Bettman

Like any artist releasing new music right now, Nir Felder has had to make some adjustments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor's office

There is data showing the worst has past with the coronavirus in New York State, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says folks need to keep social distancing.

The mayor says with the weather getting nicer, officers will be ramping up enforcement of coronavirus related restrictions.

“This is a horrible disease. We have seen the toll it’s taking. And if we let it back in the door, it will reassert itself."

Mayor de Blasio wants new Yorkers to send in pictures of violators to

Alex Urrea

Alex Urrea, CEO of Eduscape, has been leading educational companies for more than 20 years.  Urrea says passion is to reach as many learners as possible by leveraging technology to personalize the learning process and give teachers and students an active voice in their education.

Urrea spoke to WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about how Eduscape, based in Montvale, New Jersey is working with schools and parents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET

Henry Grimes met with a hero’s welcome, his first of many, when he lugged an upright bass onstage at the eighth annual Vision Festival.

Peter Gannushkin /

Giuseppi Logan, a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist whose esteemed career in free jazz bracketed a mysterious absence of almost 40 years, died on Friday at the Lawrence Nursing Care Center in Far Rockaway, Queens. He was 84.

New York City will remain quiet in May with more events cancelled because of the coronavirus.  Mayor de Blasio says parades; concerts and rallies along with other non-essential permitted events will not take place in May. De Blasio says it’s not looking good for June either…after being asked about the Pride March.

“We got a lot we got to get done to be safe for June.  We are far from out of the woods.  So we are talking to people who organize those big June events.”

Brian Fitzgerald
Easterseals NJ

Since January 8th, 1948, Easterseals New Jersey says it has worked to meet the continuously growing needs of people with disabilities and the families who love them here in New Jersey.

Easterseals New Jersey CEO Brian Fitzgerald talked to WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted his organization.

Ed Cotton
Ed Cotton

Even before Eddie Cotton officiated the Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis fight in 2002 in Memphis, Tennessee, he was legend in Paterson, New Jersey.

Cotton, who served as the first black president of the Paterson City Council, died early this morning at the age of 72.  He had been hospitalized for more than a week after contracting the coronavirus.

Paterson public historian Jimmy Richardson says Cotton was extremely popular in town.

Courtesy of the artist

Steve Lehman, the acclaimed alto saxophonist, needed a place to play.

For over a month now, he has been operating under conditions familiar to many of us. He and his wife live in a Los Angeles apartment with their two young children, and every day is a negotiation between their home schooling, online lessons with his students at CalArts, cooking and various other tasks.

New Jersey officials reported another 4,391 cases of coronavirus cases on Thursday, with the state’s total now at 75,317.

Gov. Phil Murphy also said another 362 people have died, bringing the state’s total number of fatalities to 3,518.

N.J. schools to remain closed through May 15

New Jersey’s schools will remain closed through at least May 15, Murphy said Thursday.

The state’s nearly 600 public districts, plus charters, religious and other schools, have not held in-person classes since March 16, but are doing remote instruction.

Should the coronavirus pandemic devastate state revenues across the country, as is widely expected, New Jersey will be among the states most dependent on federal aid to keep itself running.

That precarious position — relying on a president and Congress who have been willing to let New Jersey bleed money in the past — is the product of decades of poor financial planning and spending instead of saving.

Seth Wenig/AP

There’s a growing call to reopen parks in New Jersey after they were shut by Governor Murphy to help slow the spread of coronavirus. 

The governor shut state and county parks earlier in the month. He says he got reports of too many people forming gatherings in the parks which disobey social distancing rules.

However, a number of politicians including Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber say closing all of them went too far

“Break up the groups that are not obeying the social distancing guidelines.”

Frans Schellekens/Redferns / Getty Images

Lee Konitz, an exemplar of modern jazz improvisation, and arguably the most influential alto saxophone soloist after bebop progenitor Charlie Parker, died on Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He was 92.

His son, Josh Konitz, said the cause was pneumonia, related to COVID-19.

On this month's Newark Today Broadcast Mayor Ras Baraka along with host Michael Hill and Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade discuss all the latest developments around the fight against COVID-19 in New Jersey’s largest city. 

De Blasio Says No New Yorker Will Go Hungry

Apr 15, 2020

 New York City is launching a big effort to get food to those suffering financially from the coronavirus pandemic.  Mayor Bill de Blasio says one food pantry reported double the demand in the last few weeks.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported an additional 2,625 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, upping the state’s total to 71,030 sickened residents.

Murphy also announced 351 new deaths that occurred over the past several days, bringing the state’s total fatalities to 3,156.

There were 8,270 residents hospitalized with COVID-19, including 1,980 in critical care.

On March 20, the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey had just soared above 800.

That day, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an emergency package of laws to deal with the outbreak, including one that loosened the requirements of the state’s Open Public Records Act, or OPRA.

“We just have to deal with the reality of manpower, the ability to turn things around,” Murphy said at a press briefing. “We’ve gone to a different place.”

courtesy of Quinn Emanuel

Steve Edwards, who died on April 8 of complications from COVID-19, has been memorialized for his distinguished law career. He also served on WBGO’s Board of Trustees, bringing the same energy and integrity for which he was known in the legal field.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday afternoon another 4,059 New Jerseyans tested positive for the coronavirus. The total number of cases reported is now 68,824. The state added another 365 mortalities bringing the death toll to 2,805. 

According to the New Jersey Hospital Association, 8,185 people have been hospitalized as of 10 p.m. Monday. The number of people in either critical or intensive care has reached 2,051. The number of people that have been discharged from the hospital between 10 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Monday is 514.

Sean Davis
New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls captain and midfielder Sean Davis is one of many professional athletes who had their much anticipated seasons postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.  

The Red Bulls homegrown talent is practicing social distancing and staying in his Jersey City apartment during the shut down prompted by the virus that has created havoc in the sportsworld and everywhere else.

Davis spoke to SportsJam host Doug Doyle about being isolated from his family and his teammates while keeping in shape mentally and physically.

New York City is getting a big boost in supplies in its battle against the coronavirus. Mayor Bill de Blasio says a company in Indiana will be selling 50-thousand coronavirus test kits per week to New York City and starting in May some 50-thousand will be produced in the city through a partnership with city companies and universities. 

“Truly reliable major supply of testing.”

The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation has created the Louis Armstrong Emergency Fund for Jazz Musicians to provide much needed support to vocalists and instrumentalists in the New York metropolitan area.

Despite the coronavirus numbers climbing to more than 106-thousand in New York City, data shows progress. Mayor Bill de Blasio says social distancing is working.  New hospitalizations are down as well as the number of daily ICU patients and the percentage of people testing positive.

“When you see these numbers, take it personally. Recognize this represents the progress that you have achieved.   But we’ve got a lot more to do to keep that progress going to get to the point where we might be able to ease some of the restrictions and move toward normalcy.”

Senator Booker Bill Addresses COVID-19 ICE Detainees

Apr 13, 2020
Cory Booker
Office of Senator Booker

New Jersey has the most COVID-19 cases of any state among ICE detainees … 16 of the 72 cases in the U.S.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and WashingtonCongresswoman Pramila Jayapal are introducing a bill aimed at stopping the spread of the virus in detention centers.

There are also three confirmed cases among workers at detention centers in New Jersey … workers who will leave the facility and take the infection with them.


What to watch in a pandemic is new territory for a film critic. Nothing as WBGO film critic I'm expected to deal with not now. Or Ever. But here we all are.

I started with the conventional wisdom from the first time the world crashed in the age of movies, the Great Depression of the 1930’s leading into WWII: Happy pictures make an anxious and scared populace happy.

Newark Trust For Education
Newark Trust For Education

The Newark Trust For Education is an independent non-profit dedicated to coordinating and focusing ideas, people, and resources on the efficient and effective delivery of a quality public education to all children in Newark; and to creating broad and shared accountability for student success across multiple stakeholders. 

Cuomo: COVID-19 Curve Continues To Flatten

Apr 10, 2020

There are now more than 78-hundred dead in New York State from coronavirus and the number of positive cases has risen as well to nearly 162-thousand. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the coronavirus curve continues to be flattened and it’s lower than projected models.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we are slowing the infection rate.  That’s what the numbers say. That’s what the data suggests to us"

He says that’s because of social distancing policies.

Coronavirus update: N.J. to release ‘low-risk’ prisoners

Apr 10, 2020

New Jersey officials reported another 3,627 cases of coronavirus cases on Friday, with the state’s total now at 54,588.

Gov. Phil Murphy also said another 233 people have died, bringing the state’s total number of fatalities to 1,932.

N.J. to send some ‘low-risk’ prisoners home

New Jersey will begin to release “low-risk” people from state prisons whose age or health status puts them at risk of life-threatening complications from COVID-19, Murphy said Friday.