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

What We Learn From FDR's New Deal

May 27, 2020

Lessons from the New Deal. It wasn’t one big package wrapped in political consensus. We look at the real, messy process that pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression.


Lizabeth Cohen, professor of American Studies at Harvard University. Author of “Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age.” (@Harvard)

Native American communities have been hit hard by the pandemic. We hear how they’re responding.


Dr. Michelle Tom, family practice physician currently working in two small ERs in Winslow, Arizona. She serves the entire southern region of Navajo Nation (roughly 17,000 people). (@drmichelletom)

This program originally aired on April 9, 2020. 

“The Good Place” creator Michael Schur joins us to talk about morals and being good during a global pandemic.

We look at what’s fair and foul in Major League Baseball’s proposal to return to the field this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Jeff Passan, senior MLB Insider for ESPN. (@JeffPassan)

17 years ago, the world was facing a different mysterious, viral respiratory disease. Dr. Ali Khan tells us what we should have learned from SARS.

The Pandemic's Child Care Problem

May 20, 2020

Parents are expected to get back to work — and they want to — but how can they do it without the child care they rely on? Can an economy fully recover without robust child care?

The class of 2020 is stepping out into an utterly transformed world. We talk with grads about their hopes and fears as they try to launch their lives and careers.


Jonathan Yubi Gomez, he is graduating from Lehman College later this month with a BFA in Fine Arts. (@JonathanYubi)

We check in on China's massive testing campaign in Wuhan, Beijing's efforts to reopen its economy and the impact of another low point in U.S.-China relations.


Brenda Goh, Reuters chief correspondent in Shanghai. (@brendagoh_)

What gives art meaning? What impact does physical distancing have on our consumption and appreciation of art, both performance and visual?


Helen Molesworth, curator-in-residence at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Former chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. (@AndersonRanch)

This program originally aired on March 24, 2020. 

It’s been more than 100 years since all of humanity has had to respond to a global pandemic on the scale of coronavirus. We’ll take a deep look at the origins, responses and lessons of the flu pandemic of 1918.

What We Learn From Pandemic Lit

May 14, 2020

Can pandemic literature serve as a tool to understand this pandemic? Authors Tom Perrotta, Geraldine Brooks and Lawrence Wright tell us what they think.


Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist. Her bestselling novel “Year of Wonders” draws on the history of the bubonic plague in rural England. (@GeraldineBrooks)

Handwashing can help kill the coronavirus. But you may be surprised by how short the history of handwashing actually is among humans.


Miryam Wahrman, professor of biology at William Paterson University. Author of “The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World,” published in 2016. (@MiryamWahrman)

We check in with several states that are moving forward with reopening. How have businesses adapted? Are people going back to work? And what’s happened to infection rates?


Rose Scott, host of “Closer Look with Rose Scott” on WABE, an NPR station in Atlanta. (@waberosescott)

The airline industry faces its greatest crisis yet with the pandemic wiping out most travel. When will we feel safe flying again?

Phil LeBeau, CNBC reporter covering the auto and airline industry. (@Lebeaucarnews)

A new report considers evidence that possibly suggests the coronavirus was circulating outside of China as early as late last year. We talk to epidemiologists about how that changes what we know about the virus.


Bill Hanage, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and faculty member in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (@BillHanage)

How Coronavirus Will Change City Life

May 7, 2020

Past pandemics changed the way of life in cities around the world. We look at how city features were inspired by history’s worst disease outbreaks.


Brian Melican, journalist, author and translator. (@melican)

Does the coronavirus spell the end of the global supply chain? Some manufacturing experts say supply chains have to get shorter in order to be stronger.


Ravi Anupindi, professor of operations research and management and technology and operations; faculty director at the Center for Value Chain Innovation at the University of Michigan. (@RAnupindi)

Astronaut Christina Koch spent a record 11 months in space, the longest spaceflight of any woman. She returned to Earth in February and is just completing her NASA-mandated readjustment period. What’s life like when you leave a space station, only to be confined in your own home under lockdown?

As states across the U.S. begin to get back to business — not as usual, but in phases — we take a look at the evolving retail landscape and how people will shop in a post-pandemic world.


Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN business retail reporter. (@nmeyersohn)

What day is it again? Has it been a year since February? Or a day? We take a look at the science behind how the pandemic is warping our sense of time.

At the end of the hour, we hear from Stephen Henderson, host of “Detroit Today,” about the loss of WDET listener and caller Tom Wilson

When the economy slows, so does the demand for oil. Prices have plummeted and storage tanks are filled to capacity. We look at the future of the oil industry.

Contact tracing. It’s infectious disease detective work. We learn all about the techniques and technology used to track down people who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.

Can we design cities that heal? We talk with an architect and urban planner about how to change the brick-and-mortar world for better human health.


Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group, an architecture and design. (@MASSDesignLab)

Normally, each night of April would be filled with sporting events. But these are anything but normal times. So what are we losing — economically, physically and culturally — in a world without professional sports?


Shira Springer, WBUR sports and society reporter. Contributing writer for the Boston Globe and SportsBusiness Journal. (@ShiraSpringer)

The coronavirus pandemic has jump-started America’s innovation engine as companies, institutions and entrepreneurs step up to the challenge.


Scott Cohen, co-founder of New Lab. (@Newlab)

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy.”

Søren Kierkegaard

If you’re at home more now — and doing less — does that actually feel better? We’ll talk about what the pandemic is teaching us about the endless urge to be busy.

As some places approach their third month of lockdown, we’ll check back in with a quarantine researcher about what’s working and what isn’t.

The coronavirus is affecting the most vulnerable elderly Americans. We’ll examine how nursing homes became such dangerous places for the people they’re meant to protect.


Louise Aronson, professor of geriatrics at the University of California. Author of “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life.” (@LouiseAronson)

International relations in the COVID-19 era. Could the pandemic usher in a new spirit of global cooperation … or harden international distrust?

Devastation for American small businesses. Federal relief funds ran out almost instantaneously. More may be on the way, but what can be done to save small business?


Jonny Liu, owner and founder of Mantra Coffee in Azusa, California.