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

State Senator Rich Funke is not seeking reelection, and two candidates are vying for his seat in the 55th District. This hour, we talk with Democratic candidate Samra Brouk and Republican candidate Christopher Missick about their platforms, their priorities for the district, and their perspectives on a range of issues impacting Rochester and New York State.

Our guests:

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First hour: Samra Brouk and Christopher Missick, candidates for the 55th Senate District

Second hour: Understanding depression and the impact of mental health concerns

Longtime Republican State Senator Joe Robach is not seeking reelection, and two candidates are vying for his seat. This hour, we have our first of several conversations with the candidates about their platforms and priorities for the district, as well as their perspectives on a range of issues affecting citizens.

Our guest:

  • Jeremy Cooney, Democratic candidate for State Senate, 56th District

*Note: Republican candidate Mike Barry was scheduled to participate in this discussion, but cancelled unexpectedly.

Fans in Kansas City booed when both football teams on the field linked arms in a show of unity. This happened not during the national anthem, but before the game -- it was intended as a show of strength. The vocal response of the limited crowd has convinced some observers that fans shouldn't be in stadiums at all this year. Sports Illustrated regional writer Pete Smith argues, "The biggest takeaway from the first game of the season between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans was the NFL shouldn't have fans in the stands. Not because of COVID-19, but evidently the country is so divided, so broken that even a modicum of respectful behavior is simply beyond our grasp."

Our guests debate the merits of putting fans in the seats during this pandemic season:

  • Pete Smith, editor of Sports Illustrated Browns Digest
  • Andre Hudson, local college professor and Bills fan
  • Evalyn Gleason, longtime Bills fan

https://jeremycooney.com/

First hour: Jeremy Cooney, Democratic candidate for the 56th Senate District

Second hour: Should the NFL have fans in the stands this season?

With physical distancing guidelines leading to more separation and in some cases, isolation, in communities, the pandemic is disrupting some support networks for people struggling with addiction. NPR reported last month that drug overdoses are spiking during the pandemic -- increasing about 18 percent. Fatal overdoses have also increased. Meanwhile, the ways in which addiction medicine is provided is changing, specifically, via telemedicine.

September is National Recovery Month, and ROCovery Fitness is raising awareness and celebrating recovering during its annual 5K and X-Challenge this weekend. We talk with ROCovery founders and members about how their work has changed during the pandemic. Our guests:

  • Yana Khashper, co-founder of ROCovery Fitness
  • Sean Smith, co-founder of ROCovery Fitness
  • Hugo, member of ROCovery Fitness
  • Cate, member of ROCovery Fitness
  • Dr. Holly Ann Russell, M.D., founder and director of the Addiction Medicine program at Highland Family Medicine

The second Black Kids Matter Rally is set to take place Saturday at Harris Whalen Park. It was organized by local moms who wanted to create a family-friendly BLM event. From drum circles to story time to a short march, the organizers hope to raise awareness of the movement among Rochester's youngest citizens.

We talk to the mothers about the event and broader issues related to diversity, inclusion, and equitable education in our community. Our guests: 

  • Nicolette Ferguson, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer
  • Kristen Turgeon, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer 
  • Ahlia Kitwana, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer
  • Melody Wollgren, Black Kids Matter Rally organizer
  • W.D. Ferguson, Black Kids Matter Rally participant
  • Keegan Turgeon, Black Kids Matter Rally participant

First hour: Discussing the challenges of addiction during the pandemic 

Second hour: Previewing the second Black Kids Matter Rally

We discuss the life and legacy of award-winning poet Lucille Clifton. Clifton was a Buffalo native whose work celebrated Black womanhood, identity, and resilience. She won the National Book Award for Poetry and was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

BOA Editions is publishing a new collection of her work. Our guests discuss that collection – “How to Carry Water” – and how it intersects with current events. We also discuss BOA's upcoming Dine & Rhyme event honoring Clifton. Our guests:

  • Sidney Clifton, television and film producer, and daughter of Lucille Clifton
  • Cornelius Eady, poet and co-founder of Cave Canem Foundation
  • Peter Connors, publisher for BOA Editions
  • Alison Meyers, executive director of Writers & Books

Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson says the newly formed commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) was not informed of Daniel Prude’s death. Johnson says the commission has important work to do and can help lead the city forward. He joins us to talk about the Prude case and what we should expect of city leaders.

Our guest:

  • Bill Johnson, former Rochester mayor and co-chair of the RASE Commission

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