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

Fiscal policy in a pandemic. We discuss why COVID-19 is giving a bigger voice to economists with very different ways of looking at the deficit.

Guests

Stephanie Kelton, professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University. Senior economic adviser to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. Author of “The Deficit Myth.” (@StephanieKelton)

It’s been 15 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated our country. And while many of us remember the storm as an acute moment in history, a new book is making a case that the lead-up to Katrina made its impacts inevitable. We talk about the structural issues that affected our recovery from Katrina, and what more needs to be done.

Across the country this summer, we’ve seen vigilante militants incite violence at protests for racial justice. We talk to a former FBI agent who went undercover with right-wing militants in the 1990s about the groups’ overlap with law enforcement.

An announcement from the White House could expand rapid COVID-19 testing significantly as President Trump boasts about U.S. testing capacity. Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Michael Mina lays out the testing failures so far and how rapid tests could help get our lives back to normal in the pandemic.

President Trump defies the Hatch Act at the Republican Convention, the Gulf Coast is slammed by one of the most powerful storms in decades, and a police shooting in Wisconsin rocks communities across the country. We’ll talk about all that and more in our weekly news roundup.

Guests

Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter for Vox, with a focus on conservatism and the American right. (@cjane87)

We’re talking to voters who cast their ballots for Donald Trump in 2016. Four years later, they explain the issues they care about, what they think of the job President Trump has done, and how they’ll vote this time around.

Guests

Cheryl Johnson, farmer. Voted for Trump in 2016; undecided in 2020.

Matt Powell, marine veteran and car salesman. Voted for Trump in 2016; voting for Trump in 2020.

Tommy Stallings, real estate agent and gym owner. Voted for Trump in 2016; voting for Biden in 2020.

In the 2016 election, Vice President Mike Pence served as an important bridge between then-candidate Donald Trump and white evangelical voters. As the Republican National Convention continues, we’ll look at Pence’s record as VP, and the role he plays now.

The President Versus The Post Office

Aug 25, 2020

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has maintained under oath that his changes to the U.S. Postal Service have nothing to do with President Trump’s reelection. We talk about why it’s still significant that the president is going after a public institution, and the state of our democracy.

Guests

Lisa Rein, reporter at the Washington Post covering federal agencies, including the Postal Service. (@Reinlwapo)

A bipartisan report from the Senate Committee on Intelligence reveals new details about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. The report provides the most detailed account yet of President Trump’s relationships in Russia. Plus, the most prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin has allegedly been poisoned.

Columnist E.J. Dionne has called on progressives and moderates in the Democratic party to unite under what he calls a banner of decency, dignity and democracy. Does he think that’s happened?

The Prince George’s County jail in Maryland allegedly puts people with COVID-19 into cells dirty with body fluids. Staff throw supplies through the door. Many people at the jail haven’t been convicted. In fact, they haven’t even had their trials yet. So now, they’re taking the jail to court.

Guests

Alfonso Diantignac, formerly incarcerated person in Prince George’s County jail. He contracted COVID-19 while in jail and was released in May.

Read: Joe Biden’s ‘foreign policy and American leadership’ plan here.


Foreign policy is in the Democratic platform, but it’s not a big talking point at the party convention. Maybe it should be. We talk with global analysts about why any plan to rebuild the U.S. internally might also rely on restoring the nation’s position internationally.

We look back at the last century of voting and examine how women and women of color have impacted our politics.

Guests

Errin Haines, editor-at-large for The 19th, a nonprofit news organization reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy. (@emarvelous)

Is An Eviction Crisis On The Horizon?

Aug 17, 2020

The federal eviction moratorium has expired, yet a staggering number of Americans still can’t make rent during the pandemic. Without a safety net, are renters barreling toward an eviction crisis?

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?

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