On Point on PRE News & Ideas

Weekdays 10 am - 12 noon
  • Hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti, Monday – Thursday; David Folkenflik, Friday

Go behind the headlines: From the economy and healthcare to politics and the environment – and so much more – On Point talks with newsmakers and real people about the issues that matter most.  Meghna Chakrabarti is your host  Monday – Thursday, and on Friday review the week's news with  David Folkenflik. 

Meghna Chakrabarti is a proven talent, hitting her stride. She’s recognized nationally for her work on Here & Now and the popular podcast Modern Love. Meghna has been the host of WBUR’s award-winning program Radio Boston and has served for the past five years as the permanent fill-in cohost at Here & Now.  She will host On Point Monday-Thursday from Boston.

David Folkenflik is NPR’s media correspondent, covering journalism, the media industry and the intersection between politics and the press. A highly regarded reporter for 15 years at NPR, David has been on top of major ongoing national stories including President Trump’s difficult relationship with the media. Before working at NPR, David was a media correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.  His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Politico Magazine, CBS This Morning among others. David will host On Point each Friday from New York including the popular ‘Week in the News.’ He will continue to cover the media for NPR based at the network’s New York City bureau.

Ways to Connect

Kamala Harris on the Democratic presidential ticket. Congress stalled over stimulus package negotiations. All that and more in our weekly news roundup.

Guests

Molly Ball, national political correspondent for TIME. Author of “Pelosi.” (@mollyesque)

This hour contains audio from ‘Corona Diaries,’ a project by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality. Find the full audio here and here


The pandemic has taken a toll on all aspects of life, including romantic relationships. We’ll dig into what’s keeping couples together or breaking them apart.

We’re going to be seeing a lot more of Senator Kamala Harris this election season. We talk about Biden’s vice presidential pick.

Guests

Sharon Wright Austin, professor of political science at the University of Florida.

Anthony Brooks, senior political reporter for WBUR. (@anthonygbrooks)

This broadcast originally aired on May 29, 2020.

This broadcast originally aired on June 23, 2020.


Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt joins us for a chat about parenting, loss, his many projects and keeping humor alive through a pandemic.

This program was originally broadcast on June 17, 2020. 


George Mpanga, better known as George the Poet, is a 29-year-old British spoken word artist. His new podcast is a genre-defying mix of music, poetry, storytelling, and personal narrative. We talk to him about his art, his push for social change and this moment now.

The Uncertain Science Of Election Polling

Aug 7, 2020

With the presidential election less than three months away, people are fixated on polls. Biden’s up, Trump is down – but is that really true? We discuss America’s polling obsession.  

Guests

Elliott Morris, data journalist for The Economist. (@gelliottmorris)

Three hosts of the breakout podcast “Teenager Therapy” give us a peek into their world with a discussion about the pandemic and the state of the nation.  

Guests

Gael Aitor, Mark Hugo and Isaac Hurtado, three of the five hosts of the podcast “Teenager Therapy.” (@TeenagerTherapy)

Should The Electoral College Exist? 

Aug 5, 2020

The electoral college has been a fixture of American democracy — and criticism — since the nation’s founding. We’ll explain why it endures.  

Guests

Alex Keyssar, professor of history and social policy at Harvard University. Author of “Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?” (@AlexKeyssar)

QAnon: A Look Inside The Online Conspiracy

Aug 4, 2020

Conspiracy theories have always woven their way through American history. But with the internet, and the emergence of QAnon, they’ve run wild.  

Guests

Adrienne LaFrance, executive editor of The Atlantic. (@AdrienneLaF)

This program originally aired on May 18, 2020.


What gives art meaning? Is it the shared experience of taking it in? What impact does physical distancing have on our consumption and appreciation of art, both performance and visual?

Some professional sports are back, but the fans in the stands aren’t. We’ll look at how the games are being played, and if the seasons can continue.  

Guests

Jason Gay, sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal. (@jasongay)

Det. Sgt. Heather Taylor joins us to talk about being a Black woman in law enforcement, the violence she’s experienced in her own life, and how that’s shaped her views and hopes for her career and country.

Guest

Det. Sgt. Heather Taylorpresident of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents many Black officers in the St. Louis region. Night watch homicide sergeant with the St. Louis Metro Police Department. (@HthrTylr)

James Baldwin's Lessons For America

Jul 29, 2020

We look back on the life and work of the great American writer and thinker James Baldwin.  

Guest

Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. Author of “Begin Again.” (@esglaude)

What It Takes To Develop A COVID-19 Vaccine

Jul 28, 2020

Vaccine development is complicated. We break down the process from testing to distribution, and bring you the latest on the leading contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Guests

Caroline Chen, health care reporter for ProPublica. (@CarolineYLChen)

We know that mothers are often disproportionately responsible for housework and childcare. And that’s even more challenging if you’re working. Now, the pandemic has made parents working from home and children attending online classes the new norm. So how has it affected the lives working moms?

The rise of Donald Trump on the political stage is the culmination of a seemingly inconvenient electoral coupling: big money interests and a more extreme right-wing populace of blue collar voters. Does the GOP represent “forgotten” Americans? Or does it represent the super-rich?

On Tuesday, President Trump signed a memorandum calling for the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the census count that determines House representation. But the power to make that decision, according to the Constitution, belongs to Congress. So what impact will his demand have?

Guests

Hansi Lo Wang, National correspondent for NPR covering the 2020 census. (@hansilowang)

Kermode bears, also known as spirit bears, are incredibly elusive. They live only in one section of British Columbia’s central coast, and a new study indicates the gene that turns their fur white is even rarer than previously thought. We’ll talk to two researchers from the study about the quest to protect and preserve the Great Bear Rainforest.

At the birth of this nation, Thomas Paine called for government baby bonds — savings bonds for every child. The idea has been given a fresh coat of paint, and is being proposed as a low-cost government program to tackle the vast inequality in today’s America.

We look back on the life of John Lewis, the civil rights icon and congressman who dedicated himself to the fight for racial equality. From his emergence on the national stage during the March on Washington in 1963 to his decades as a symbol of moral authority on Capitol Hill, we remember the man and his legacy of public service.

A Conversation With Jane Goodall

Jul 17, 2020

60 years ago, Jane Goodall first began her close observations of Tanzania’s chimpanzees. Equipped with simple binoculars, a notebook and patience, she transformed the way the world understood primates and wildlife. She joins us to look back on her legacy, and discuss the urgent challenges around climate and conservation.

In 2012, former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail for five years. He says his prosecution was driven by a politicized justice system. And he’s now making the case for why American democracy could be at stake without criminal justice reform.

A conversation with legendary civil rights activist Bob Moses and historian Taylor Branch on the history that’s being made in 2020.

The Supreme Court has surprised both the left and right with rulings on abortion, presidential power, LGBTQ rights and more. Is Chief Justice John Roberts showing that this court can rise above partisanship? We recap the biggest cases of this term and look ahead to the fall.

We discuss the lessons of the classic novel “Lord of the Flies.” Should humans be living by the notion of survival of the fittest — or survival of the kindest?

Libertarian extremists known as the boogaloo bois are now linked with at least two murders. We look at the origins of the movement.

Guests

Cassie Miller, senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center. (@cassiepmiller)

Could the U.S. be on the verge of a financial crash? That’s what Frank Partnoy considers in a recent article in The Atlantic. He joins us to talk about the possibility of a financial crash and the risks big banks are taking.

How the U.S. presidency became impossible. We talk to John Dickerson of CBS News about why he thinks the job is simply too much for anyone.

We look at a 14-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. What does a border mean in an interconnected world?

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