WBUR announced today that a pair of familiar voices to its radio listeners, Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik, will take over permanent hosting duties of the live call-in radio program On Point.
“We’re excited for Meghna and David to carry on the tradition at On Point of inspired conversation and respect for a wide range of opinions,” WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz said in making the announcement. “On Point gives voice to Americans across the continent, welcoming them to share their thoughts with our guests and other listeners from communities across the United States.”
Chakrabarti (Questrom’13) will host On Point from Boston Monday through Thursday, and Folkenflik will handle Friday from New York. The program, which airs weekdays from 10 am to noon, has two million listeners through roughly 300 National Public Radio stations.
On Point had been without a permanent host since February, when Boston University decided that Tom Ashbrook should not return to the program following an independent review that verified allegations he had created an abusive work environment during his tenure as host of the program.
The program, which on Tuesday focused on the Trump administration’s proposed changes around protecting endangered species, was born in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in an effort to build a national dialogue around key issues. Though politics and breaking news are the show’s staples, it frequently veers into conversations around pop culture by bringing in writers, musicians, scientists, and artists to talk about their work and field listener questions.
Chakrabarti, who holds graduate degrees from both Harvard and Boston University, is a regular for both WBUR and NPR. She appears as a frequent fill-in voice on the midday program Here & Now and as the voice of the podcast Modern Love, a collaboration between WBUR and the New York Times.
“For the past ten years, I’ve been lucky enough at WBUR to hone a style of journalism that combines a reporter’s dogged, enterprising approach along with the freshness and intensity of live conversation,” Chakrabarti said. “It’s a privilege to bring that to a national stage and to work with David, who I’ve followed and admired for years.”
Folkenflik, NPR’s media correspondent covering journalism, the media industry, and those increasingly frequent moments where politics and the press collide, has been an NPR reporter for nearly 14 years. Prior to his radio career, he worked as the media critic and reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and his work has appeared in the Washington Post, Politico Magazine, and on CBS This Morning, among others.
In addition to handling Friday’s program, which will continue to include the “Week in the News” segment, Folkenflik will still cover the media for NPR from the New York City bureau.
“Our era calls for meaningful news and conversation about the issues, people, and events that define contemporary life,” Folkenflik said. “On Point will be infused with a sense of history, humanity, and humor—and it will endure as a forum where our listeners can themselves be heard.”
NPR CEO Jarl Mohn said that the new hosts bring to the microphone different backgrounds that will serve listeners well: “On Point, with its live call-in segments, serves a vital role in NPR’s mission by engaging listeners from member stations around the country in civil discourse.”
The search for Ashbrook’s replacement—or, as it happened, replacements—began in February, after Boston University decided that he would not return to WBUR.
Said Kravetz: “We welcome Meghna and David as they bring their journalistic skills, intellectual curiosity, and instinctive compassion to the important work of hosting On Point.”
Doug Most can be reached at email@example.com.