Evan Dawson

Connections Host

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

Ways to Connect

We talk with comedians about comedy and politics. Should political observations be part of comedy acts? Or are they too isolating? One of the most popular stand-up comedians on the national stage is Nate Bargatze. In a recent piece in the Atlantic Monthly, writer Tim Alberta profiles Bargatze, who he calls "the nicest man in stand-up". Bargatze avoids politics and topics that could be offensive. He told Albert, “I want to be able to sell out a theater in San Francisco one week and Mobile, Alabama, the next week.”

We discuss the approach with our guests, who are all stand-up comics:

  • Joel Lindley, comedian based in Rochester who has opened for Kevin Hart
  • Steven Rogers, comedian based in New York City who has opened for Brian Regan and was on the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert" 
  • Amy Stephens, comedienne, comedy show producer, and podcaster
  • Kai Von Doom, comedian based in Rochester

Conservative writer Matt Lewis warns that toxic masculinity is becoming a problem, particularly on the religious right. He points to numerous recent incidents at school board meetings across the country, in which men are trying to bully boards to adopt policies. Lewis also is concerned that both major political parties are ignoring "never Trump" conservatives.

He joins us for the hour:

  • Matt Lewis, senior columnist for the Daily Beast, host of Matt Lewis and the News podcast, and author


First hour: Matt Lewis on toxic masculinity

Second hour: Discussing comedy and politics

We're joined by Dr. Bradford C. Berk to discuss his new book, "Getting Your Brain and Body Back: Everything You Need to Know after Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, or Traumatic Brain Injury." Dr. Berk was permanently paralyzed after a biking accident in 2009. He was back to work as CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center one year later.

In his book, Dr. Berk provides advice regarding medical care, mental health treatment, and technology to aid in recovery. He joins us for the hour to share his message and his research. Our guest:

  • Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., board certified cardiologist; Distinguished University professor in medicine, neurology, pathology, pharmacology & physiology, and physical medicine & rehabilitation; founder and director of the University of Rochester Neurorestoration Institute; and author of “Getting Your Brain & Body Back”

On the 50th anniversary of the Attica prison riot, we welcome Deanne Quinn Miller. She was five years old when her father, a prison guard, was killed at Attica. She spent decades pursuing both the full story of her father's death and justice for everyone involved -- including the inmates of Attica.

Her new book is called "The Prison Guard's Daughter," and it's co-authored by longtime Democrat & Chronicle reporter Gary Craig. Both co-authors join us:

  • Deanne Quinn Miller, co-author of "The Prison Guard's Daughter"
  • Gary Craig, co-author of "The Prison Guard's Daughter," and reporter at the Democrat & Chronicle

First hour: Deanne Quinn Miller and Gary Craig on their new book, "The Prison Guard's Daughter"

Second hour: Dr. Bradford Berk on his new book, "Getting Your Brain & Body Back"

First hour: Special rebroadcast - Schools navigate emotional outbursts about masking

Second hour: Special rebroadcast - The cotton tote dilemma 

We talk to students about the disparities between Rochester City School District and suburban schools during the pandemic.

Our guests:

  • Sarah Adams, sophomore at East High School
  • Mercedes Phelan, Western New York and Central New York regional director for Citizen Action of New York, and parent in the Rochester City School District
  • Max-Yamil Cabezudo-Brown, former youth organizer at Teen Empowerment, and senior at Allendale Columbia School

A number of state lawmakers are pushing for stronger gun control laws. At the end of the session in June, Democrats rallied in favor of a new legislative package. It includes laws that would require people seeking to purchase a gun to clear a mental health evaluation and pass a drug test, with both being certified by a doctor. A second law would require potential gun owners to take a five-hour gun safety course, complete a live firing test, apply for a hunting license, and show proof that they have a safe storage depository for the firearm.

Republicans are critical of the bills. Many prefer stronger enforcement of the state's current laws on illegal gun ownership. Assemblymember Demond Meeks sponsors the latter bill. He joins us to discuss gun safety and the package of bills he hopes will become state law. Our guest:

CITY Magazine reporter Gino Fanelli recently paid $65 for a T-shirt at a local CBD store. An eighth of an ounce of marijuana came as a complementary "gift" with the purchase. As Fanelli reports, it's one way retailers are working around state law, which prevents retail sales of the plant. The law does allow adults to transfer or give up to three ounces of marijuana to each other without compensation.

This hour, we examine cannabis law and the future of the recreational market with our guests: