A Public Affair


John Quinlan

John Quinlan


Carousel Bayrd

Carousel Bayrd


Karma Chavez and Tim Hansel

Karma Chavez & Tim Hansel


Allen Ruff

Allen Ruff


Esty Dinur

Esty Dinur

A Public Affair is WORT‘s daily hour-long talk program. It aims to engage listeners in a conversation on social, cultural, and political issues of importance. The guests range from local activists and scholars to notable national and international figures.

Join the conversation!

Listeners may call in and ask questions of the guests. Callers are asked to pose a question relevant to the subject at hand and refrain from calling more than once per week. You can join us on social media as well!

For booking questions

Please contact Molly Stentz at (608) 256-2001 or newsflash@wort-fm.org.


The End of Local Talk and News on WTDY

12/3/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

wtdy On Monday December 3rd, host John Quinlan spoke with a panel of guests on the future of local radio talk and news in Madison.   Midwest Family Broadcasting chose to lay off their news and talk staff at the radio station WTDY in Madison late in the day before Thanksgiving. The panel John brought together discussed efforts to restore more local progressive programming to the air, and to find longtime local radio personality John “Sly” Sylvester another home in local radio. The studio guests included former WTDY News Reporter Dylan Brogan, News Director Amy Barrilleaux, and News Anchor Deana Wright. John also spoke to Mike Dickman from the group Give Sly the Mic and media reform activist Barbara Wright. Former WTDY Station Manager Glen Gardner also joined John by phone from Boston.   Photo: Left to right, Barbara Wright, John Quinlan, Deana Wright, Amy Barrilleaux, and Dylan Brogan.     Read more about the issue: Wisconsin State Journal Isthmus   Read more about Give Sly the Mic     Listen to the entire program:

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The Suffering Grasses and the Crisis in Syria

11/30/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

The Suffering Grasses On Friday November 30th, host Esty Dinur interviewed Iara Lee about her documentary film “THE SUFFERING GRASSES: when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” Iara Lee is a Korean Brazilian film producer, director and activist who works mainly in the Middle East. Esty also spoke with Middle East expert Professor Jennifer Loewenstein who added to the discussion of the film and the crisis in Syria. “The ongoing conflict in Syria has become a microcosm for the complicated politics of the region, and an unsavory reflection of the world at large. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, NATO’s toppling of Moammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the complicated politics of the region, this film seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps. In all such conflicts, large and small, it is civilians—women and children, families and whole communities—who suffer at the leisure of those in power. While focusing on the plight of those caught in the crossfire of the hegemons, we seek to unravel the conflict by exploring the motivations of its actors—the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Free Syrian Army and other geopolitical players like the United States, Israel, Russia, China, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, the Gulf countries… When elephants go to war, it is the grass that suffers. This is a film about the elephants, but made for the grasses.” Read Iara Lee’s piece in The Huffington Post:” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/iara-lee/the-only-true-revolution-in-syria-is-nonviolent_b_1519844.html#s=more226651 Read more about the film, “The Suffering Grasses:” http://www.culturesofresistance.org/suffering-grasses   Listen to the entire program:

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

11/29/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

interfaith-peace-builders-delegation-olive-harvest-137 On Thursday November 29th, host Allen Ruff talked with Tsela Barr and Veena Brekke, two individuals who just came back from a peace delegation to Israel and Palestine with the group Interfaith Peace Builders. The delegates just returned this past week from Gaza and and the West Bank. Permission for foreigners to obtain passage to Gaza is rare, and thus these interviews provided listeners with a vital opportunity to understand daily life in the Palestinian territories and how this existence is being affected by the current conflict. Allen spoke with Tsela Barr who just came back from a peace delegation to Gaza on November 12th. During the second half of the hour Veena Brekke joined in the conversation. She recently returned from a peace delegation to the West Bank. According to their website, “Interfaith Peace-Builders believes in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.” Tsela and Veena shared with WORT listeners their fascinating experiences from both Israel and Palestine.   Read more about Interfaith Peace Builders on their website: http://www.ifpb.org/ Listen to the entire interview:

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Slow Democracy

11/28/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

slow democracy On Wednesday November 28th, host Tonya Brito spoke with author Susan Clark about her new book “Slow Democracy.” “Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, and slow money helps us become more engaged with our local economy, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered. In Slow Democracy, community leader Susan Clark and democracy scholar Woden Teachout document the range of ways that citizens around the country are breathing new life into participatory democracy in their communities. In Slow Democracy, readers learn the stories of residents who gain community control of water systems and local forests, parents who find creative solutions to divisive and seemingly irreconcilable school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizen-led actions that are reinvigorating local democracy and decision making. Along with real-life examples of slow democracy in action, Clark and Teachout also provide twenty simple guidelines for communities, and citizens, to use as ways to reinvigorate their local democratic process. With a future more and more focused on local food, local energy, and local economies, Slow Democracy offers strategies to improve our skills at local governance and to reinvigorate community democracy.” -Chelsea Green Publishing Read more about “Slow Democracy:” http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/slow_democracy:paperback Listen to the entire interview:

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US Relations with China

11/27/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

US-China_flags On Tuesday November 27th, host Cynthia Lin spoke with Henry Rosemont, distinguished professor emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and visiting professor of religious studies at Brown University. They discussed US approaches to relations with China. Rosemont recently said, “If President Obama bases U.S. relations with China on principles of competition and criticism, the new regime of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will almost surely respond in kind, and the governments of both countries will become less capable of dealing with their own internal large-scale problems. “Moving to a policy based on cooperation on the other hand diplomatically, militarily and economically — both countries can contribute to solving their own and each other’s problems at the same time, as well as problems more worldwide in scope. As the major power in the relationship, the initiative for a new policy must lie with the U.S., especially with all the anti-China rhetoric that infected the recent election campaign.” Read Rosemont’s piece “Is China a Threat?”: http://www.fpif.org/reports/is_china_a_threat Listen to the entire interview:

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Solutions to Homelessness

11/26/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Homeless On Monday November 26th, Brenda Konkel subbing for John Quinlan focused on ways to alleviate homelessness in Madison. She spoke with a number of Madison officials who are searching for ways to help the homeless community including County Board Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner, Michael Basford from Housing Initiatives and Linda Ketcham from the Madison Urban Ministry(MUM). Housing Initiatives is an organization that has been searching since 1993 to meet Dane County’s ever-growing need to house homeless persons and families affected by severe mental illness. Since 1971 Madison Urban Ministry(MUM) has become an important force in Madison promoting social justice that has galvanized social change in and around Dane County. Together with the leaders of these organizations as well as the County Board Supervisor, Brenda tried to figure out how to forge ahead in finding solutions to homelessness in Madison.         Read more about MUM: http://www.emum.org/ Read more about Housing Initiatives: http://housinginit.blogspot.com/ Listen to the entire program:

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The Plight of Occupy Madison

11/23/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

OccupyMadisonII On Friday November 23rd, Esty Dinur focused on the future of Occupy Madison for the first half of the program. She interviewed Four members of Occupy Madison: Ron, Betty, Dan and Brian who discussed their recent eviction. According to their website, “Occupy Madison has gone through a number of evolutions and revolutions. We are in midst of writing an accurate update to the past few months, much from the initiative by Brenda Konkel, and much documentation can be found on her blog: http://www.forwardlookout.com. Currently the physical site is located at Token Creek Park. Donations stream in, despite the distance. Donations are being taken for the site and its residents through Occupy Wisconsin as well as drop offs to the site directly. Much gratitude for the support many of Madison’s citizens offer. Community building at its best.” For the second half of the show, Esty interviewed Jason Louise Huberty & Rebecca Kemble discussing the state of the unconstitutional Capitol crackdown & the Solidarity Sing-Along. Read more about Occupy Madison: http://occupy-madison.org/ Listen to the entire program:

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Thanksgiving Special: Occupation and Resistance of Native Peoples

11/22/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

Ike On Thursday November 22nd, Allen Ruff brought listeners a Thanksgiving special with Will Williams, member of Veterans for Peace and anti-war peace activist.   Allen spoke with Williams about themes of occupation and resistance and how these concepts relate to Thanksgiving and the occupation of native lands and resistance of the native peoples.                   Listen to the entire program:

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The Milkweed

11/21/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

PeteHardin On Wednesday November 21st, Andy Heidt, subbing for Tonya Brito, spoke with Pete Hardin the Editor and Publisher of The Milkweed Magazine.     Pete Hardin started The Milkweed in June of 1979. Over more than three decades, the paper has become the standard for dairy reporting in the United States. Hardin, 62, brings his years of experience and contacts in the U.S. dairy industry to the pages of The Milkweed. Read more about The Milkweed: http://www.themilkweed.com/WhoWeAre.htm               Listen to the entire interview:

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Hip Hop and the Green Party

11/20/12 12:05 PM | A Public Affair

RosaClemente2 On Tuesday November 20th, host Cynthia Lin spoke with Rosa Clemente, a grassroots organizer, hip-hop activist, journalist, and entrepreneur. Clemente recently said, “The Green Party is no longer the alternative; the Green Party is the imperative.” Clemente was the 2008 Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate and supported Jill Stein in the 2012 election. According to Jill Stein’s website, “There is something taking place with the relationship between Hip Hop and the Green Party. Maybe it’s because the Green Party, much like Hip Hop, can be blamed for a mess much larger than itself with no regard for the truth. Maybe it’s because both of them have spent their whole existence fighting corporate media and corporate influence and getting shut out of the conversation. Maybe it’s because they are both stuck in a world where the “mainstream” dictates definition, and your perspective, your contribution, your base isn’t acknowledged if it isn’t validated by the very thing it seeks to challenge. Maybe it’s because they both imagine a world where education is accessible to all, there are no more evictions and no more foreclosures, where food production, resolving community challenges and culture is localized, and more money is spent on education and housing than on war and imprisonment. Or, as 2004 Green Party Presidential candidate David Cobb put it, “maybe it’s because Hip Hop and the Green Party are both revolutionary calls for such systemic social political and economic change that you just can’t get it until you get it.” Whatever the case may be, it is a relationship that keeps expanding. That expansion was given to us not just by the natural development of our economic and political situation, but also by leaders like Jared Ball and Rosa Clemente.” Cynthia interviewed Clemente about hip hop, her work with the Green Party, and the post-election future of the nation. Read more about Hip Hop and the Green Party: http://www.jillstein.org/hip_hop_and_the_green_party_jared_ball_and_rosa_clemente_were_right Listen to the entire interview:

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A Public Affair
A Public Affair
News & Culture
Weekdays @ Noon
John Quinlan, Carousel Bayrd, Tim Hansel, Karma Chavez, Allen Ruff, & Esty Dinur
A Public Affair is WORT's daily hour-long talk program. It aims to engage listeners in a conversation on social, cultural, and political issues of importance. The guests range from local activists and scholars to notable national and international figures.

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