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Steve Inskeep is host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First, along with Rachel Martin, David Greene, and Noel King.

Known for interviews with presidents and Congressional leaders, Inskeep has a passion for stories of the less famous: Pennsylvania truck drivers, Kentucky coal miners, U.S.-Mexico border detainees, Yemeni refugees, California firefighters, American soldiers.

Since joining Morning Edition in 2004, Inskeep has hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, Cairo, and Beijing; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "The Price of African Oil," on conflict in Nigeria. He has taken listeners on a 2,428-mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 2,700 miles across North Africa. He is a repeat visitor to Iran and has covered wars in Syria and Yemen.

Inskeep says Morning Edition works to "slow down the news," making sense of fast-moving events. A prime example came during the 2008 Presidential campaign, when Inskeep and NPR's Michele Norris conducted "The York Project," groundbreaking conversations about race, which received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for excellence.

Inskeep was hired by NPR in 1996. His first full-time assignment was the 1996 presidential primary in New Hampshire. He went on to cover the Pentagon, the Senate, and the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he covered the war in Afghanistan, turmoil in Pakistan, and the war in Iraq. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid gone wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of NPR News teams awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for coverage of Iraq.

On days of bad news, Inskeep is inspired by the Langston Hughes book, Laughing to Keep From Crying. Of hosting Morning Edition during the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, he told Nuvo magazine when "the whole world seemed to be falling apart, it was especially important for me ... to be amused, even if I had to be cynically amused, about the things that were going wrong. Laughter is a sign that you're not defeated."

Inskeep is the author of Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi, a 2011 book on one of the world's great megacities. He is also author of Jacksonland, a history of President Andrew Jackson's long-running conflict with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the removal of Indians from the eastern United States in the 1830s.

He has been a guest on numerous TV programs including ABC's This Week, NBC's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, CNN's Inside Politics and the PBS Newshour. He has written for publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic.

A native of Carmel, Indiana, Inskeep is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Looking back at more than 25 years in public service, Susan Rice — former U.N. ambassador for the United States and national security adviser to President Barack Obama — describes much of her career as a balancing act.

Sometimes, that meant toeing the line between her personal and professional life.

The actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has a childhood memory: In his family's living room in London, there sat a book called Our Man in Damascus.

It's a non-fiction account of an Israeli spy who infiltrated Israel's enemy, Syria, in the 1960s. Eli Cohen was publicly executed, but not before he obtained vital military secrets.

Sacha Baron Cohen now plays Eli Cohen in The Spy, a Netflix series that dramatizes that true story.

In a new short story by Edwidge Danticat, a mother and daughter need to have a hard talk. So they go out to dinner — which the daughter finds ironic. "The daughter thinks, why do people wait until they're in a public place with a mouth full of food to reveal the most horrible news," Danticat says. "And a lot of us do that! You're like, let's go out to dinner, I have some news for you."

The novelist and poet Sinan Antoon grew up in Baghdad, Iraq — a city that's known many years of sorrow.

He was born to an Iraqi father and an American mother, and lived there until 1991. That was the year of the first U.S. invasion of Iraq, when he hid in the basement of a restaurant as U.S. bombs fell.

Antoon later moved to New York. But after the United States bombed Baghdad again in 2003, and took over Iraq, Antoon went back to make a documentary film.

You might know it best as the time machine in 1985's Back to the Future: The DeLorean was an unmistakable sports car with doors that flapped open like wings. Now, a new film starring Alec Baldwin explores the past of its automaker, who designed for the future.

John DeLorean rose through the ranks at General Motors, recasting Pontiac from a sleepy brand into one known for American muscle cars. He was forced out of GM and founded the DeLorean Motor Co.

Social scientist Arthur Brooks says you should really think twice before calling someone a liar.

"When you're talking to somebody else, you're not positioned to say that that person is a pathological liar," he says. "What you know, or what you believe, is that person is saying something is untrue — and that's what you should take on."

Brooks' new book is called Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt. It aims to guide people on different sides of the political divide to have constructive conversations.

At the beginning of Esi Edugyan's new book Washington Black, it seems the narrator is not going anywhere.

It's the 1830s, and the narrator, a boy named George Washington Black, is enslaved on the British-controlled island of Barbados. He seems likely to be worked to death in sugar cane fields — until he's carried away.

He's made into an assistant of a visiting white man, and they become friends. Sort of.

"Any true friendship between them is impossible because of the power imbalance – it's just too great," Edugyan says in an interview.

Junot Díaz wanted to write a children's book for more than 20 years. In the meantime, he wrote several grown-up books, including The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. He also won a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, among other accolades.

Now he has finished that children's book. Islandborn is about a curious, Afro-Caribbean girl named Lola.

In the midst of a primary campaign that has frustrated the fortunes of establishment candidates, it's striking to hear Ohio Gov. John Kasich say, "I don't get angry about many things in life these days." That's even more striking because he was referring to a recent spat with Donald Trump, one of the political outsiders who are leading the Republican presidential field.

This is the long story of a short street: Schnell Drive, two blocks of brick homes in Arabi, La., just east of New Orleans in St. Bernard Parish.

When we first visited in the fall of 2005, Donald and Colleen Bordelon were often the only two people on Schnell Drive. They had stayed in their home through the storm and the flood, and through the weeks after when the first floor was still filled with water.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now let's take a moment to remember E.L. Doctorow, who has died at the age of 84. E.L. Doctorow's books brought much of America and its history to life.

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is not the first time Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid has taken a risky approach to a novel. His The Reluctant Fundamentalist was written entirely in the second person. The bearded narrator of that book sits at a tea stall in Lahore, talking about his drift toward extremism while directly addressing "you," the reader, who is taken to be an increasingly jumpy and terrified American across the table.

Friends in Karachi had me over for a beer Sunday evening. It wasn't hard for them to do. Alcohol is broadly outlawed in Pakistan, but with so many exceptions and so little enforcement, you can usually find something — in this case, tallboy cans of Murree's Millennium Brew from a Pakistani brewery.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is raining in Newtown, Connecticut, where people observed a moment of silence seven days to the minute after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. NPR's Kirk Siegler is in Newtown; he's on the line. And Kirk, what do you see this morning?