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WKCR: The Malaria Mystery


The Malaria Mystery was the third of a four-part, summer-long series of multiple-part episodes of The Best Medicine on WKCR-FM.

We could completely eradicate malaria worldwide, say experts like Drs. Johanna Daily and Myles Akabas of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. If so, why haven’t we? Malaria kills about half a million children die each year; that’s the equivalent of five to seven jumbo jets of children crashing per day. What might new treatments look like? How do we improve health care in malaria-infested regions? And what will it take to move business and political leaders to fund the final eradication of the disease? In this three-part series, we try to unpuzzle the science and logistics of ending malaria. Continue reading “WKCR: The Malaria Mystery” »

WKCR: Love in the Name of Alzheimer’s


Love in the Name of Alzheimer’s was the second of a four-part, summer-long series of multiple-part episodes of The Best Medicine on WKCR-FM.

“Giving another human being dignity is purposeful,” says Meryl Comer, “it gives you a calmness, and — although it’s very, very difficult — a sense, that’s where you are meant to be.” The Emmy-winning television journalist, and author of a memoir of her husband’s developing Alzheimer’s disease, joins a young filmmaker and doctor teaming up to educate the public on brain health, a neuroscientist leading research toward new treatments, and a patient who — humorfully — describes Alzheimer’s from within. What does Alzheimer’s teach us about radically caring for each other — and embracing the transitory nature of mental clarity? Continue reading “WKCR: Love in the Name of Alzheimer’s” »

WKCR: The Wisdom of Down Syndrome


The Wisdom of Down Syndrome was the first of a four-part,  summer-long series of multiple-part episodes of The Best Medicine on WKCR-FM.  The Best Medicine was a radio show and podcast that uses story-telling to shed light on medicine through a new prism. The show considers medical conditions not only as biological science, but as a shared human experience, a source of compassion, and a well of hope. The Best Medicine was a production of WKCR 89.9 FM and WKCR HD-1, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Society is increasingly providing, to individuals with Down Syndrome, resources tailored to enrich their lives. As this happens, we all learn lessons about accomplishment, ability, compassion, and what makes every human valuable. Researchers, meanwhile, are finding new ways not only to help Down Syndrome patients achieve their dreams, but are also discovering special skills — such as non-verbal communication and unique kinds of emotional awareness — which the condition seems to engender. We speak with a leading advocate, a neuroscientist, and a mother and her daughter with Down Syndrome, about the insights of this sometimes beautiful, sometimes challenging, medical condition. Continue reading “WKCR: The Wisdom of Down Syndrome” »

WKCR Late City Edition: Andrew Cote, New York City’s Most Prominent Beekeeper


Originally airing in October 2014 on WKCR 89.9 FM, which covers the New York metropolitan area, this is my half-hour interview with Andrew Cote, New York City’s most prominent beekeeper and founder of Bees Without Borders, a charity which teaches beekeeping in some of the world’s poorest countries.

NPR: The Renovation of Yale’s Brutalist Paul Rudolph Art & Architecture Building

Yale's Art and Architecture Building, designed by master brutalist Paul Rudolph

Two versions of this broadcast originally aired: one, for the local news, and one for the national. It’s a challenge to describe architecture — especially complicated, unusual architecture — on the radio. What follows is both scripts.

Original air dates: August 8 and September 5, 2008.

Yale University is in the last stages of renovating one of its most important pieces of architectural history: the Rudolph Building, formerly called the Art and Architecture Building, on the corner of Chapel and York Streets. The protective sheeting has come off the exterior, to reveal, once again, its large, tall slabs of concrete, its blocky structure, its giant windows. The building is the work of Paul Rudolph, who headed up the university’s architecture department in the late 50s and early 60s, and it is considered just about the first example in America of the style of architecture known as “brutalism”. WSHU’s Erik Campano looked at the building, inside and out.

Continue reading “NPR: The Renovation of Yale’s Brutalist Paul Rudolph Art & Architecture Building” »

Patheos: Series on Global Health and Humanitarian Aid

carHealth crises in the Global South cannot be underreported. In the United States, they get far, far too little media attention, proportionate to the amount of coverage of the latest fad diet or cosmetic surgery trend. For example, 780 million people do not have access to clean water. 3.4 million die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene related causes. How many stories have you seen in the last year in American media about water in the developing world? You can probably count them on one hand.

Health care is a moral issue. That’s what makes it, by nature, a religious issue. So I’ve made global health and humanitarian aid the focus of an ongoing series of articles as part of my work on journalism of religion at Stories Untold.

“People become the poem” – Interview with Syrian-American Poet Amal Kassir

Central African Republic Needs Humanitarian Help Urgently

Religion, Healing, and Violence Against Women in Papua New Guinea

How a 19th Century Sufi Inspires Algerian Youth to Write about Human Rights

How Episcopal Leaders Made a Deal with the New York Post to Misreport on Sexual Miconduct

Note: this essay contains references to sexual assault and gender-based violence. Last update: January 7, 2016.
Starting in 2011, a pastor, now a priest, named Ginger Strickland, and her bishop, Pierre Whalon, as well as a number of other Episcopal Church officials, tried to cover up a sexual misconduct case in Paris and New York, in which I was the victim and which I originally brought to light. They used every tactic they could: invoking lawyers, pressuring newspapers, shutting off contact with me, physically barring me from church buildings, publishing false stories, emotional bullying, gaslighting, and so forth. These machinations may have, indeed, typically worked, 25 years ago, to suppress priest misconduct allegations. But nowadays we have the Internet, which allows most anyone to publish anything to the world. So, powerful people cannot cover things up the way they used to — and you, and I, and the rest of us regular people, are all the better off for it. Continue reading “How Episcopal Leaders Made a Deal with the New York Post to Misreport on Sexual Miconduct” »


Kathy Boudin

In April 2013, a number of media outlets pounced on Columbia University for employing Kathy Boudin. She’s a former member of the Weather Underground, a radical leftist group, and she participated in a 1981 botched robbery that left three people dead. In 1984 she was convicted of murder, and was released on parole in 2003. In 2008, Columbia’s School of Social Work hired her as an adjunct professor. Robert Redford’s film The Company You Keep  triggered happened to be being released in April 2013 while these media outlets began to focus their lasers on Boudin.

Since I’m a Columbia student, I have unusually good source access to this case. So I took it upon myself to try to separate the truth from the fiction in the press about Kathy Boudin. The following series of articles was the result:

Kathy Boudin: An Analysis from the Columbia Campus

Nine Columbia Students Interviewed About Kathy Boudin I

Nine Columbia Students Interviewed About Kathy Boudin II


Philip Johnson's Glass House, in New Canaan, Connecticut

Ever since American architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House was opened to the public in 2007, people have had the chance to inspect, close up, the house and its plot — which includes some traditional buildings, an artificial lake, and an art museum. Inspired by the Glass House, a beautiful conversation about modern versus contemporary  styles was recently hosted online by John Hill, a blogger, architect and professor based here in New York City. One of the commentators, architect and preservationist John Montague Massengale, grew up in the New York suburbs, near the Glass House. So did I. Massengale wrote about an experience rather idiosyncratic to our little corner of the world — an adventure also mentioned in the radio piece below.

 After I got my driver’s license, I used to sometimes go peer over the wall at the edge of the property, and once or twice Johnson came out and shook his fist before I drove away.

It was sort of a rite of passage for kids in the area who cared about architecture to have Philip Johnson’s fist shaken at them. Massengale has since argued trenchantly that a lot of suburban corporate architectural components are now being incorporated into new New York business headquarters — like the World Trade Center complex — and this is a development of which, perhaps, he’s not particularly fond.

…they are purposely isolated and apart form the surrounding city like a suburban, gated community … from the look of it, it will be a monstrously scaled landscape of foreboding spaces, underground shopping, and bland skyscrapers landing on bare concrete. The quality of the area is typified by Tower One: the 1,776-foot-tall boring and bland middle finger to the rest of the city.

The Civic Opening was also covered by Suzanne Stephens at Architectural Record.

The audio below is a segment for the Fairfield County Business Showcase, a weekly series I produced for WSTC/WNLK in 2007. (My General Manager required me to use this cumbersome name for the program, but I preferred just to call it, The Showcase, because, well,  it wasn’t just about business.) A group of Darien High School music students provided the a capella jingle at the beginning.

Here’s the audio, and the transcript is pasted below.

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WSTC/WNLK: The Gala Civic Opening of Philip Johnson’s Glass House (Air date: June 23, 2007)

Erik Campano: Right now, on Ponus Ridge in New Canaan, the Glass House is holding its inaugural gala picnic. Members of the inviting committee include the great painter Frank Stella, and groundbreaking architect Robert A. M. Stern. One of the tour guides at the Glass House, Peter, says the celebration includes one very big act.

Peter: …the Merce Cunningham dance troupe, who actually performed here and they’re gonna’ perform their exact same routine as they did in 1967.

Campano: Are they the same —

Peter: It won’t be the same people. [laughs] I knew you were gonna’ ask that!




Over a century ago, James O’Rourke made the first base hit in the National League. He played major league ball until the age of 54 — all the while a practicing lawyer with his LL.B. from Yale University. Later, as president of the Connecticut League, he hired the first minor league African-American player in baseball history.

O’Rourke is a proud son of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a once-booming city which now is among the poorest in the nation. An unfinished urban planning project had the entire neighborhood surrounding O’Rourke’s house destroyed in the 1990s — but preservationists managed to keep it up. It sat prominently, alone, among acres of weeds, and was viewable both from Bridgeport’s Harbor Yard ballpark, completed in 1998, and from I-95, the super-highway which split the city into two parts in the mid-20th century.

This 2008 radio piece for WSHU won first prize in the enterprise category from the Connecticut Associated Press Broadcaster’s Association. I created a version with still pictures so people could have a visual experience of the house and the people who fought — unsuccessfully — for its existence. It was demolished in 2009.

The script is pasted below.



Next to I-95 in Bridgeport sits a single, abandoned house surrounded by vacant lots. It’s fenced off, and it’s left legions of drivers – and Bridgeporters – wondering what it’s doing there. WSHU’s Erik Campano got a rare look inside that house – and learned how from, one day to the next, it risks disappearing into history.

[stadium atmo]