Weekdays Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, FM 107.5, and WRUR 88.5 FM in Rochester, WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter

We talk all things cider! We preview Finger Lakes Cider Week, which kicks off on the 27th.

Our panelists share trends and discuss new developments within the cider industry. Our guests:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness. Those individuals are family members, friends, neighbors and community members; perhaps everyone knows someone who is struggling with a mental health issue.

Actor Sean Astin lived with a parent struggling with bipolar disorder. His mother was acclaimed actress Patty Duke, who devoted much of her life to reducing the stigma of mental illness. Now, Astin is doing the same. He’s coming to Rochester as a guest of East House’s annual Hope and Recovery Luncheon where he’ll share his story and message, but first, he joins us on Connections.

We also talk with representatives from East House about recovery, how to care for caregivers, how to eliminate the stigma of mental illness, and more. Our guests:

  • Sean Astin, actor and advocate for mental health awareness
  • Kim Brumber, president and CEO of East House
  • Chuck Montante, board member for East House and president of Westfall Associates
  • Beth Bloom, peer support specialist at East House


First hour: Actor Sean Astin on eliminating the stigma of mental illness

Second hour: Discussing the Finger Lakes cider industry

20 years ago, the film “American Beauty” was released. It won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2000. Today, it is routinely mocked. The Little Theatre has been highlighting films from 1999, which was considered one of the great years in cinema history. How could the critics in the Academy have been so wrong about a movie that was supposed to be the best out of all of them?

We reexamine suburban life, teenage angst, and the quest for meaning within the satirical film. In studio:

What happens when a television star is elected president? The question, this time, does not refer to Donald Trump, but to Volodymyr Zelensky, the newly elected president of Ukraine. The actor and comedian played Ukraine’s president on a satirical TV show, and despite no political experience, went on to win 73 percent of the vote in the runoff election.

Political analysts say voters who were tired of war and economic hardship rallied behind him to push out the political establishment. Zelensky’s victory is the latest among political outsiders harnessing the power of media to spread a populist message. What does that mean for Ukraine’s developing democracy? Our guests discuss the situation in that country and the power of political rhetoric. In studio:

  • Olena Prokopovych, associate professor of political science at Nazareth College
  • Randy Stone, director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester
  • Grant Cos, professor of communication with a focus on rhetoric at the Rochester Institute of Technology

First hour: Examining the effects of populism on Ukraine's developing democracy

Second hour: Discussing "American Beauty" 20 years after its release

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • The health risks of vaping;
  • Climate nihilism;
  • The keto diet;
  • Tax breaks for Midtown Athletic Club.

New research from Pew Research Center shows that American support for same sex marriage has almost perfectly flipped in the last 15 years. In 2004, 60 percent of Americans polled said they opposed same-sex marriage, while 31 percent said they supported it. In 2019, 31 percent of Americans polled say they oppose same-sex marriage, while 61 percent say they support it.

For the LGBTQ community in Gen Z, life is very different than it was for their parents and grandparents. We talk with an older lesbian couple about their lifelong journey towards accepting themselves and feeling accepted by others. In studio:

  • Barb Adams and Roz Pullara

Wednesday marked 18 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, and this hour, we have a discussion about how our guests’ perspectives about world issues changed as a result of the tragedy. Our panelists include people from two age groups: current (or soon-to-be) 18 year olds who were either not born or were infants at the time of the attacks; and current 36 year olds (or those just a bit older) who were 18 at the time of the attacks.

They share their thoughts on living in a post-9/11 world – as Americans who either have never known life before the tragedy, and as those who grew into adulthood after living through that time. In studio:

  • Samiha Islam, senior at Brighton High School
  • Arielle Mahoney, sophomore at Nazareth College
  • Ty Gagnon, local improviser
  • Sareer Fazili, past president of the Islamic Center of Rochester

James Brown WXXI

First hour: Perspectives of living in a post-9/11 world

Second hour: A local couple on their journey towards accepting themselves and feeling accepted by others