Jon Kalish

The number one housing complaint in New York City during the winter months is a lack of heat. Tenants who want to force their landlords to provide adequate heat can call the city’s 311 line and request that an inspector from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development visit their home but there are a limited number of inspectors and home visits may occur when a tenant is at work.

Tenants can now use a tech tool to get action: a web-enabled thermometer that documents conditions inside their homes.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish fills us in on the Heat Seek device.

The ground-breaking comic strip Doonesbury has been with us for 50 years.

It was the first daily comic strip to win a Pulitzer Prize for tackling social issues, politics and war. The strip also been censored for some of those same reasons.

To celebrate Doonesbury's 50th anniversary, a new history has been published and comes with a thumb drive that has all 15,000 strips. WBGO’s Jon Kalish spoke with its creator Gary Trudeau and prepared this report.

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

The New Craze of Powering Up Electric Vehicles

Dec 23, 2020
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

  Electric vehicles are becoming more popular every year. And the charging stations needed to re-charge their batteries are becoming more widespread.

There are some motorists who decide not to buy an EV made by a major automaker and electrify their internal combustion engine vehicle instead.


WBGO's Jon Kalish reports on EV power in this feature.

Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Back in 1966 when the Vietnam War was raging, folk singer Arlo Guthrie started performing a song called Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.

The 18-minute talking blues tune was about a Thanksgiving gathering in Western Massachusetts, after which Guthrie and a friend were arrested for dumping some garbage in the town of Stockbridge.

The song was turned into a movie and despite its length became a Thanksgiving standard on rock radio.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish tells us how a New York radio station helped launch the song.

Village Halloween Parade
Alan Esner

The Village Halloween parade has delighted New York locals and tourists for nearly 50 years.

Jon Kalish for WBGO News

A project called "The Writing On The Wall" has been bringing writings by incarcerated individuals to public attention using unconventional avenues of distribution.

The project is a collaboration between two New Yorkers, a conceptual artist and a college professor.

Click above to hear WBGO’s Jon Kalish tell their story.

Luis Guzman
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

If you’ve watched movies over the past few decades, chances are you’d recognize character actor Luis Guzman.  In one of his most memorable roles, Guzman played an ex-con’s sidekick in the 1993 movie Carlito’s Way

Guzman has acted in more than a hundred films and dozens of TV shows. Born in Puerto Rico, Guzman grew up in New York and lived there till 1995 when he moved his family to Vermont.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish visited Guzman this summer in Vermont and brings us this story on the actor's connection to the Green Mountain state.

Pete Hamill
Rob Loud/Getty Images

Legendary New York-based writer Pete Hamill passed away this week at the age of 85.

The Brooklyn-born son of Irish immigrants dropped out of high school but went on to a career as one of the most respected newspaper columnists and editors and writers of memoirs and novels.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish got to rub elbows a few time over the years with Hamill and produced this appreciation. 

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

Jon Kalish
Jon Kalish

Here's a story about two city dwellers who moved from Washington D.C. to rural Vermont and are raising ducks and geese on a former dairy farm.

The Gold Shaw Farm is a startup based in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. 

The couple’s videos chronicle what they call a start-up farm. And as WBGO’s Jon Kalish reports, their YouTube channel has exploded with popularity.

Roy Nathanson
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

A Brooklyn jazz musician put together a band that played one song every day for more than two months during the coronavirus pandemic. The musicians gathered outside the home of saxophonist Roy Nathanson and performed for people in the neighborhood.

The daily ritual ended on Father’s Day but the project lives on with now weekly jam sessions and instrument lessons for kids in the area.

You can check out the website here.

Click above to hear Jon Kalish's feature.

"Shelf Life" gets New Life

Jul 5, 2020

The late Paul Bartel was a prolific independent film director who made Eating Raoul and other movies known for their dark humor.

His last film, Shelf Life, was critically acclaimed but never distributed. The movie’s premise, three siblings growing up in a bomb shelter, is resonating with audiences who are sheltering in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After sitting on a shelf for a quarter century, the film is about to have a new life.

Click above to hear Jon Kalish's feature.

Looters Clean Out a Fur Businesses in Chelsea

Jun 6, 2020

This week there was widespread looting in New York City.  In the Chelsea section of Manhattan, where WBGO’s Jon Kalish resides, looters cleaned out a fur business.

Residents of the block responded by throwing bottles from the rooftops and recording videos of the looters with their arms full of fur coats.

Jon reports on what happened.

Seeing Eye
Seeing Eye

There are 90 accredited schools around the world that train guide dogs for the blind. Many of them have been closed by the coronavirus pandemic. The oldest such school in the U.S. is the Seeing Eye located in Morris Township, New Jersey.

WBGO's Jon Kalish reports on how the the Seeing Eye is coping with the pandemic.


It has become apparent how social media have played a crucial role in helping people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the social media sharing has taken place on a national or international basis. But one social media network has been working in a hyper-local way.  

WBGO's Jon Kalish has the story of Nextdoor.

Father Ballecer
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Father Robert Ballecer is a Jesuit priest from California known for his high tech skills. He’s been living and working in the Vatican since 2018, setting up video studios and helping with social media projects.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish spoke with him earlier this week to find out what's the latest digital projects he's working on.

Click above to hear their conversation.

Dick DeBartolo
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Dick DeBartolo is a cultural icon. He’s best known as a writer for Mad magazine, which he first contributed to in 1961. The following year he was hired as a writer on The Match Game, a popular TV game show.

58 years later DeBartolo is still in broadcasting, but not as a writer, as an on-air guest talking about gadgets.

His popular podcast is called Giz-Wiz.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish caught up with him recently to talk about the popular podcast and why he's enjoying it so much.

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

Kent Garrett
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

A new book titled The Last Negroes At Harvard chronicles the lives of 18 African-Americans who were part of Harvard University’s Class of 1963.

Kent Garrett, the book’s co-author, was one of them. WBGO's Jon Kalish caught up with Garrett and one of his classmates from Harvard.

Click above to hear the story.

ARChive of Contemporary Music
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

The ARChive of Contemporary Music in Manhattan has a collection of popular music that rivals that of the Library of Congress: more than three million recordings.

The archive is independent and gets no money from state or local governments. Because of rising rents, the archive is being forced to vacate its headquarters. But news of its predicament brought offers from all over the country and the archive has just announced that it will be moving to two different locations outside of the city.

Click above to hear Jon Kalish's feature.

Roam Robotics
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Time now for a winter sports story with a high-tech twist. This winter ski resorts in the western U.S. are renting a lightweight exoskeleton that enables skiers with bad knees to shred the slopes pain-free.

Roam Robotics has designed a new suit that is more cost affordable and not as heavy as earlier models.

WBGO's Jon Kalish brings us encouraging news for those who miss the slopes on the East Coast.

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Virtual Reality headsets are used to give gamers the experience of a virtual word using video and sound. Now three different companies are coming out with an add-on that adds scent to the VR experience.

This is light years beyond the failed Smell-O-Vision technology of the 20th Century.  WBGO's Jon Kalish reports on a Vermont start-up whose device will soon be used by psychologists treating veterans with PTSD.

Click above to hear Jon's feature on OVR.

The PAYS Energy Efficiency Upgrade Program

Aug 12, 2019

An innovative system to finance energy efficiency upgrades for renters and low-income people has been gaining traction around the country. The system, basically run by two men working out of their home offices in Vermont, is running in eight states.

Iving Burgie
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Day-O is one of the most widely heard songs of modern times. It recently debuted on the Broadway stage in a musical based on the movie Beetlejuice. For years it’s been played at sports stadiums and was even used as a wake-up call for astronauts.

Day-O was written by Brooklyn-born Irving Burgie, who turned 95 last Sunday.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish reports on Burgie's struggle for recognition of his accomplishments.

What a Ride! Sledding in New Hampshire

Mar 1, 2019
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

All around the Northeast, nearly every town has a great hill for sledding.  A place where you can pick up a bit of speed, and go for a ride on the snow. But imagine if the best sledding hill in town was an immaculately-groomed, 150 foot vertical drop down a winding luge run. WBGO’s Jon Kalish found just such a hill in rural New Hampshire.

Click above to hear Jon's report on all the fun.

Fans Enjoying Yiddish Version of "Fiddler"

Feb 15, 2019
Jon Kalish for WBGO News

More than 50 years after its Broadway debut, Fiddler on the Roof remains one of the most widely performed musicals in the United States.

A new version performed entirely in Yiddish was a surprise hit over the summer in Manhattan and now it’s been moved to the largest off-Broadway theater in the city.

Click abover to hear Jon Kalish's report.

Andy Biskin
Anja Hitzenberger

The late Alan Lomax was an ethnomusicologist, record producer, radio host and academic. Lomax is credited with bringing Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Lead Belly to a wider audience. 

Andy Biskin, a New York clarinetist who worked for him in the 1970's has taken some of the classic folk songs Lomax documented and re-interpreted them for a brass and woodwind ensemble.  Theresult is something jazz fans will appreciate.

Click above to hear the feature on Andy Biskin.

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.

Who Really Killed Senator Robert F. Kennedy?

May 11, 2018
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.

A Welcome Home for the Amazon Echo

Feb 9, 2018
Bill Boules
Jon Kalish for WBGO

A lot of people are putting the Amazon Echo and other so-called smart speakers in their home that use a voice interface to play audio content, look up trivia on the web, control home appliances and buy stuff on-line. The Amazon Echo has been embraced by blind people.

Click above to hear Jon Kalish's feature.

Seeing Eye: A Legacy That Continues

Jan 12, 2018
Seeing Eye
Jon Kalish for WBGO

The first institution to train guide dogs for blind people in the United States began in 1929. Two years later it moved to New Jersey and it's been here ever since.

Now located in Morristown, the Seeing Eye helps about 250 blind people bond with their new four-legged partners every year. WBGO's Jon Kalish visited the Seeing Eye.

Taking House Raising To New Heights

Nov 24, 2017
House Framing
Jon Kalish for WBGO

On this weekend after Thanksgiving we thought we'd re-visit a character in Maine we met on the WBGO Journal last spring. Gardner Waldeier has been producing videos for YouTube about his quest to build a house from trees on his property.

These days he's very grateful for friends and neighbors who helped him raise the frame of that house on a chilly weekend earlier this month.