WXXI AM News

Megan Mack

Connections Executive Producer

Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming. She joined the WXXI News team from WHEC-TV, where she produced newscasts and "The Olympic Zone," and from the University of Rochester, where she served as an assistant director of public relations. Her background extends to television sports and entertainment, and to communications and social media management for non-profits.

Megan earned her B.S. in Television-Radio-Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and her B.A. in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory program.

Ways to Connect

When Governor Cuomo locked down the state at the beginning of the pandemic, businesses faced uncertainty and significant losses. When the economy began to reopen in Upstate New York, some businesses downstate got creative. A wine bar in New York City was one of them.

The team behind Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels NYC discovered property in Interlaken on Cayuga Lake and opened their new venture, Supernatural Lake, in July. The project is a wine bar, restaurant, and bed-and-breakfast, with the New York City-based staff now living in the Finger Lakes.

We talk to the team about their decision to shift their focus to Upstate, the economic impact of the pandemic, and what it means to get creative in the food and beverage industry during this time. Our guests: 

  • Caleb Ganzer, managing partner for Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels NYC and Supernatural Lake
  • Eric Bolyard, executive chef and managing partner for Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels NYC and Supernatural Lake

When we talk about campaign finance, those in favor of reform say corporate money in politics threatens democracy. But two social scientists say the influence of cash in politics is misunderstood and reform is not a cure-all. University of Rochester professor David Primo and University of Missouri professor Jeffrey Milyo say despite what many Americans believe, super PAC spending doesn't dominate campaigns. After analyzing decades of survey data from the public and experts, Primo and Milyo argue that changes in state-level campaign finance laws have little to no effect on attitudes toward government.

This hour, we talk about their research and their forthcoming book, "Campaign Finance and American Democracy: What the Public Really Thinks and Why it Matters." Our guests:

  • David Primo, Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor of Political Science and Business Administration at the University of Rochester
  • Jeffrey Milyo, professor of political economics, law and economics, and health economics; and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri 

First hour: Is campaign finance misunderstood?

Second hour: The story of Supernatural Lake

More than 3,000 local households will be part of a brand new community solar program — the first of its kind in the country. Here's the idea: Community solar is designed to enable households to receive the benefits of solar energy—lower electricity costs and reduced carbon gas emissions—without having to install panels on their home or property. But how does it actually work? Who pays for it? What are the drawbacks?

Our guests sort through the sometimes-complicated details to explain community solar, and what is coming to local villages. Our guests:

A new multi-agency effort aimed at helping local tenants facing eviction was announced Thursday morning. Legal experts say the pandemic has exacerbated the county's eviction issue, with attorneys bracing for double or triple the number of evictions in the next few months. The new effort — the Special COVID Intervention Part, or SCIP — will ensure that every landlord-tenant case will flow through a single part of the city court system. The program also gives tenants the opportunity to access legal counsel.

This hour, our guests discuss the program, how tenants can access it, and its possible impact on the looming eviction crisis. Our guests:

freeimages.com/John Evans

First hour: Discussing the SCIP program and its possible impact on the looming eviction crisis

Second hour: Exploring how community solar programs work

Experts in child health and education say the pandemic will have lasting effects on children's social and emotional needs and their overall wellbeing. Effective in April 2021, the Children's Institute will be ROC the Future's new anchor entity. Representatives from the two organizations say the partnership will enable them to better focus their work on the intersectionality of health and education. 

We talk with them about how parents and teachers can help children navigate this unprecedented time. Our guests:

The death of Daniel Prude has led to questions about how police are trained to handle a variety of situations. Marvin Stepherson retired as a police sergeant with 25 years of service in local law enforcement. He now teaches at Roberts Wesleyan, and comments regularly on police-community relations.

Stepherson talks about how he sees the Prude case and what kind of change is possible within police structures. Our guest:

  • Marvin Stepherson, professor of criminal justice at Roberts Wesleyan College, and retired police sergeant 

https://www.roberts.edu/facultystaff/marv-stepherson/

First hour: Marvin Stepherson on possible changes within police structures

Second hour: How to address children's social, emotional, and educational needs during the pandemic

Recent comments made by Fox Sports host Skip Bayless have led to controversy. Bayless criticized Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott for speaking out about his depression. Prescott's brother died by suicide, and the quarterback publicly shared his struggle and his desire to be vulnerable, genuine, and transparent. Bayless said he didn't have sympathy for Prescott's public admission, and said revealing "weakness" could reflect the team's ability to believe in him.

The incident has led to conversations about the stigma related to mental illness and the need for better understanding of mental health concerns. Our guests this hour share their experiences with depression and respond to the controversy:

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