Campbell Conversations

Saturday at 6 a.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m.

Every week Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University, leads a conversation with a notable guest. Guests include people from central New York - writers, politicians, activists, public officials, and business professionals whose work affects the public life of the community - as well as nationally-prominent figures visiting the region to talk about their work.

The Campbell Conversations are longer interviews which encourage the character of the interviewee to be exposed. This allows you to learn more about the person, how they got to where they are, and where they plan to go. Grant attempts to go beyond the usual press conference questions and sound bites, which usually accompany a discussion about his guests.

Podcasts of the show are available via iTunes.

If you have any questions about an episode or any comments for Grant, feel free to contact him by email at gdreeher@maxwell.syr.edu at your convenience.

See also:  The Campbell Debates

The Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer" made the Steven Avery murder case a cause célèbre and made public celebrities of his two defense attorneys. this week, Grant Reeher speaks with one of those attorneys, Dean Strang. They discuss the Avery case, and the broader lessons about the criminal justice system that it points to, as well as Strang's experiences taking part in the film. 

As Syracuse Stage prepares to open its new season, it’s also welcoming new leadership. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Jill Anderson, Syracuse Stage’s new Managing Director, and Bob Hupp, the new Artistic Director. They discuss the stage, and what place theater has in the community.

On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his conversations with candidates for New York's 22nd Congressional District seat, a seat made open by Rep. Richard Hanna's retirement.  This week he talks with Kim Myers, the Democratic candidate.  On a previous program, he spoke with Republican Claudia Tenney.  Analysts have rated the race a toss-up, and it offers a contrast of positions and styles. 

The New York State Fair takes place in Syracuse from August 25-September 5. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with the fair's acting director, Troy Waffner. They discuss the history of the fair, why it's located in Syracuse, the renovations that have taken place over the past year, and some of the things fairgoers can expect to see at this year's fair. 

WRVO News File Photo

Central New York promises to provide some competitive elections this fall. One of them is in the 22nd Congressional District, which covers parts of 8 counties across central New York, the Mohawk Valley and the Southern Tier. That seat is open due to the retirement of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld).

We've heard a lot about infrastructure during this campaign season, and it's a perennial issue in central New York. This week on the Campbell Conversations, we're joined by Jack Kelly, who has written an intriguing new book on one of the biggest infrastructure projects in American history, and the biggest in upstate New York; the Erie Canal. Kelly’s book is called Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal. 

Poetry in America, and around the world, has undergone a lot of change in recent years.  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher provides a break from politics to speak with the Syracuse-based poet Christopher Citro, the author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy.  They discuss poetry’s recent history, new developments in poetry, Citro’s own approach toward writing, and poetry’s appreciation and fun.

In an instant, the Fukushima nuclear disaster changed the landscape and prospects for nuclear energy around the world.  But what’s happened since—how has the Fukushima area been rehabilitated, and how have returning residents dealt with the aftermath?  How lasting will Fukushima’s effects on nuclear power be, given concerns about global warming?  Joining host Grant Reeher this week on the Campbell Conversations is Steve Featherstone, a journalist who’s written recently for The New Republic on Fukushima a

Last November, the Great Law of Peace Center opened on Onondaga Lake, replacing the Ste. Marie Among the Iroquois exhibit.  The new center is focused on and driven by the history and culture of the Haudenosaunee and more specifically, the Onondaga Nation.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher is joined by Onondaga Nation Faith-keeper Oren Lyons, and Onondaga Historical Association executive director Gregg Tripoli to discuss the new center, the politics and negotiations involved in making the change, and the history of the Haudenosaunee and the Law of Peace.

Tom Fazzio

New York's 24th congressional district has changed party hands four times in the last four elections. The Democratic Party has targeted first-term Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) as someone it can beat this November in its quest to retake control of the House of Representatives.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues with a debate begun last week among the three Democratic candidates hoping to run against Katko under the Democratic banner.  The focus in this segment is on specific policy issues. 

Tom Fazzio

New York's 24th congressional district has changed party hands four times in the last four elections.  This year, the Democratic Party has targeted incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) as someone it can beat in its quest to retake control of the House of Representatives.  And this week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher moderates a debate among the three Democratic candidates hoping to run against Katko in November under the Democratic banner.  It's a lively and at times testy conversation. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The three candidates running for the Democratic nomination for central New York's 24th Congressional District seat are being more critical of each other as we get closer to the June 28 Congressional primary. The winner will go on to face incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in November. The three candidates, Colleen Deacon, Eric Kingson and Steve Williams, sat down for a debate with Grant Reeher on this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations. In this debate preview, the candidates were asked why voters should not re-elect Katko, who has been viewed as more of a moderate Republican.

The Syracuse Police Department has had tensions with the city’s Citizen Review Board, as well as ongoing conflicts with the county district attorney’s office.  This week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher talks with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler about those issues, as well as the national problem of police shootings of unarmed citizens and other police abuse—and the effect they have on police-community relations.  They also discuss the facts and the myths about crime in Syracuse.

Often overlooked in considerations of the anti-nuclear movement are the distinctive contributions of activists of color.  In this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with Montgomery College professor Vincent Intondi, the author of the book "African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement".  They discuss the ways that Black anti-nuclear activism intersected with other important strains of Black activism and Black freedom m

Is democracy a sham, a pipe dream that keeps disappointing us? If so, then perhaps the problem is the way we think about democracy in the first place. This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with two highly respected political scientists who have recently co-authored a very provocative book on American democracy, titled "Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government".

On the eve of the New York presidential primary, Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher talks with two area party chairs. Janet Burman, who heads up the Syracuse City Republican Committee, and Mark English, chair of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee.  They discuss the controversies and turmoils in the nominating process, the restrictive voting rules in New York State, and aspects of the candidates’ campaigns and positions.

 

In 2013 Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher interviewed economist and author Richard Wolff.  Wolff predicted a political movement that looks very much like what the Bernie Sanders campaign has become. In this new interview, Reeher brings Wolff back as a soothsayer, to comment on the Sanders campaign, its significance for American politics, both now and in the future, and class-based politics more generally. 

In an interview that continues topics raised last week with Sarah Chayes, this week on the Campbell Conversations host Grant Reeher talks with Robert Grenier.  Grenier was CIA Station Chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan during 9-11, then served in Washington as CIA Iraq Mission Manager, and finished his CIA career as Director of CIA's CounterTerrorism Center.  

What can the political dynamics leading to extremism in the Middle East reveal about the political situation in the U.S.? This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with Sarah Chayes of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the author of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.

The upcoming general election will no doubt re-ignite debates over voter turnout and voter suppression.  On this week's episode of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher speaks with the two elections commissioners for Onondaga County, Republican Helen Kiggins Walsh and Democrat Dustin Czarny.  We find out why they think efforts to suppress voting have largely bypassed the state, and also why it's hard to implement other measures to make it easier to vote.  The short answer to both?  Politics.  

For the last two weeks on the Campbell Conversations, you've heard from two proponents of the preliminary Consensus Report regarding government consolodation in the Syracuse region.  This week on the program, host Grant Reeher talks with two critics, Syracuse City Councilor Khalid Bey and Town of Clay Assessor Rob Bick.  Together, they raise concerns about the need for change, the cost and tax implications of the recommendations, political representation, the impact on education and school taxes, and the process for considering and implementing the report.

Last week, Campbell Conversation host Grant Reeher spoke with former Congressman Jim Walsh and CenterStateCEO President Rob Simpson about the Commission on Local Government Modernization’s Consensus Report regarding government consolidation.  Their conversation continues this week, with a focus on the objections that have been raised about the report’s recommendations, and how those recommendations might impact taxes, schools, and other important aspects of life in Central N

It’s called the Consensus Report, but so far it’s generating anything but.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with two contributors to the Commission on Local Government Modernization’s report. Commission co-chair and former Congressman Jim Walsh, and CenterStateCEO President Rob Simpson. This is the first of a two-part series, and this week the focus is on the problems with the region’s current government structure, and the process for moving forward based on the Commission’s Report.

When columnist Sean Kirst announced he was leaving The Syracuse Post-Standard, there was a public outpouring of appreciation and loss.  Described as the heart and soul and the face of the paper, Kirst had chronicled the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the city and its people.  On this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with Kirst about his decision to leave, the place of writing in his life, his future plans, the newspaper, and some pressing local issues.

This week on the Campbell Conversations two local political analysts engage in a lively exchange with host Grant Reeher about the Iowa caucuses, the upcoming New Hampshire primary, and the remainder of the nomination process.  They also look ahead to the general election, and discuss whether the fundamental dynamics of presidential politics are changing. Chris Faricy is a political science professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and has prior experience as a field director in a Democratic congressional race.  Michael Backus is the Clerk of Oswego County, a former staffer for

WRVO File Photo

The 24th congressional district, a seat currently held by first-term Republican John Katko, promises to provide a lively and competitive race this coming November.  Three Democratic challengers have emerged, each emphasizing different strengths of background and expertise. 

This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher talks with two veteran Syracuse area lawmakers about the upcoming legislative session, and about the governor's influence over the legislature--and what his overall political agenda has been.  State Senators John DeFrancisco and Dave Valesky offer contrasting views about the governor's use of executive orders, and the need for legislative reform, but largely agree on what the session is likely to focus on, and share an optimistic view of the state budget being passed on time. 

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

The conflict between the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County over tax abatements for the development of the Inner Harbor of the city has raised questions about the working relationship between the mayor and the county executive.  On this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher discusses this conflict with both Mayor Stephanie Miner and County Executive Joanie Mahoney, in their first joint appearance to discuss the issue.  In a spirited but respectful conversation, the two executives set forward their views of what was done, what should have been done, and why.

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

After listening to WRVO's Friday news excerpt from the Campbell Conversations interview with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, the Post-Standard's Chris Baker wrote that it embodied a "a more civil approach to the dialogue than previous exchanges."  I want to expand on that impression.  

Matt Coulter / Syracuse University

WRVO Public Media will air the first joint interview with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney this weekend during "The Campbell Conversations." This is the first joint interview between Mahoney and Miner since a public dispute (and lawsuit) over county tax breaks given to a developer the city of Syracuse alleges it had previous arrangements with.

Pages