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A Q&A with WBUR’s New On Point Host Meghna Chakrabarti

Questrom alum talks favorite subjects, why her MBA has been so helpful, and on being a tech nerd

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Hours after WBUR announced yesterday that Meghna Chakrabarti and David Folkenflik would be the new hosts of its daily, live, call-in radio program On Point, starting on August 20, Chakrabarti wasn’t celebrating. She was on the air, hosting Radio Boston, as she’s been doing for eight years.

After the show ended, we caught up with Chakrabarti (Questrom’13) by phone to talk about On Point, her radio career, how her MBA from BU has helped her career, and what subjects she geeks out over.

Has there been any single listener interaction you’ve had over the years that has really stuck with you?

On Radio Boston, we did a series on evictions in Boston, and for the last part we opened the phones for landlords and tenants to tell their stories. We got several calls of people telling these heartrending stories, being long tenants, getting 30-day notices. Nowhere to go in the city. We were having this conversation about policy, the transition of a major American city, and the callers brought this intensely personal, down-to-earth, real-life experience to it about why these policies matter. It made the series shine because it made it real.

With a show like On Point, what do you anticipate being one of yours and David’s biggest challenges?

One of the biggest challenges today is that it’s possible people might come to the program with already some preconceived notions about what they are going to hear. There’s always the challenge of misunderstanding. We are all human, people hear what they want to hear. One of our greatest challenges, but also opportunities, is to break through those preconceived notions. We are in a unique time, with information, journalism, how we talk to each other. That would be doing quite a service.

Forget about politics. What else do you anticipate talking about?

I am a tech nerd. I love space, I love space conversations. I love talking to inventors and innovators. Both David and I also have small kids, so anything to do with parenting and families.

Anything else that might surprise people?

[Laughs] I’m a really boring person. I’m a mom, wife, and a partner.

Talk about your MBA from BU. Why did you pursue it?

It was my favorite degree, honest, you can really say that. There came a time when I was reporting on transportation in Massachusetts, and every story came down to money. I needed to get more educated on business fundamentals. BU had this amazing part-time program at Questrom. I could go to school at night, people were bringing all these real-life experiences into the classroom. I concentrated in finance. Every time I talk to someone about money and finance now, people are annoyed that I know and understand balance sheets.

Were any particular classes game changers for you?

Oh, several. Negotiations was a game changer. Corporate finance, also a game changer. Investments, also. That’s three right there.

How will your experience hosting a show about Boston translate for you to a national audience? Are there issues here that you think will speak to that On Point audience?

Housing. Immigration. Education, public education especially. The middle class. Income equality. Those are defining features of Boston today, that people are absolutely living with across the country.

Doug Most can be reached at dmost@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on A Q&A with WBUR’s New On Point Host Meghna Chakrabarti

  • Kathleen on 07.28.2018 at 8:05 pm

    Good news about these hosts! Will Meghna still continue to host Radio Boston as well, or will a new host come in for that show?

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