John Dankosky

News Director/Host

John is News Director of WNPR and Host of Where We Live.  He started working in radio at WDUQ Pittsburgh in 1988, and has spent most of his career in public media.

Since coming to Connecticut in 1994, he’s helped to build WNPR’s award-winning newsroom – cultivating one of the most talented news staffs in public radio. He has reported for NPR on politicseconomic redevelopmentdrug crimeassisted suicidetribal recognition, immigration and a surprising number of stories about sports.  He’s also worked as an editor at NPR in Washington, and as a regular fill-in host for NPR’s Science Friday in New York.

John has won national and local awards for his reporting, and Where We Live has twice been honored by PRNDI as public radio’s “Best Call-In” Show.  He’s also won awards for editing nationally distributed documentaries on care for the chronically ill, the evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11, and the mental health of children.

In 2010, John accepted an appointment as the Robert C. Vance Endowed Chair in Journalism and Mass Communication at Central Connecticut State University, having previously served as an adjunct journalism professor at Quinnipiac University.  He has hosted countless political debates, along with live panel discussions for The Connecticut Forum, the Mark Twain House and Museum and The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

John is a native of Pittsburgh who tells anyone he meets about the Steelers, the Pirates, the Penguins, The Andy Warhol Museum and Primanti Brothers sandwiches.  He lives in Winsted with his wife Jennifer, and cat, Dirk.


Where We Live
10:30 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Taking a Ride Down the Connecticut River

Bongaboo, Creative Commons

It flows from the upper reaches of New Hampshire through the heart of New England...and winds its way through our state - twisting, turning, sometimes flooding, and eventually emptying into Long Island Sound.

The 410-mile-long Connecticut River was recently designated America’s first National Blueway.

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Where We Live
12:03 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Convention(al) Wisdom

NewsHour (Flickr Creative Commons)

We’ve been hearing for years that political conventions used to mean so much more. That these rallies actually helped parties to “decide” on candidates. Our own history with conventions goes all the way back to the beginning...1766 to be exact, in Hartford. It was organized by the “Sons of Liberty.”

Look at how far they’ve come. Last week on the Daily Show, former RNC chairman Michael Steele said he thinks conventions will change even more.

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Where We Live
2:40 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Middletown Gets Remixed

Jason D. Neely

We're surrounded by cool technology. Skype allows us to talk to people on the other side of the world. We have iPods that let us carry thousands of songs in our pocket.

But how about an iPhone app that lets you record the sounds of your hometown, then remix them into a unique audio portrait? That’s the idea behind Middletown Remix a project that running from now until May at Wesleyan University and the town it calls home.

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Where We Live
12:26 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

New Book on Pete Seeger "In His Own Words"

Asterio Tecson (Flickr Creative Commons)

Pete Seeger may be one of the most important folk singers of the 20th century. But he’s more than a musician – he’s a political activist and an environmentalist too. At age 93, he is still thriving. He was even featured on the Colbert Report in August.

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Where We Live
11:42 am
Fri August 31, 2012

The Connecticut Senate Horse Race

Chion Wolf

A new poll out from Quinnipiac University shows former wresting executive Linda McMahon leading Congressman Chris Murphy in their race for Senate.

It’s one of two polls out this week. The other was conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters. It has Murphy up by 4 points.

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Where We Live
11:00 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Connecticut's Space Case

Royalty-free image collection

Two stories this summer have had us thinking about the stars... and a bit about our own backyard.  

The death of Neil Armstrong - the first man to walk on the moon - has made many nostalgic for a time when the American space program captured the world’s imagination.  The local connection?  

The iconic Apollo spacesuit was designed by Connecticut’s own Hamilton Standard.  That company - now Hamilton Sunstrand - just announced job cuts at its aerospace division.

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Where We Live
11:13 am
Tue August 28, 2012

What Do You Mean, "Middle Class?"

porziuncola (Flickr Creative Commons)

During the countless speeches at the national conventions, there’s group that you will hear about over and over again: the middle class.

But how big is the middle class? In February, Mitt Romney drew fire for comments he made on CNN.

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High Speed
10:32 am
Mon August 27, 2012

High Speed Rail Set To Speed Through Connecticut


You’ve probably seen the plans: Amtrak wants to build high-speed rail in the Northeast running trains from Boston to Washington at 220 mph to make the trip in 3 hours!

Amtrak is betting that rail can once again compete with cars and planes to get us where we want to go, faster, more efficiently, and with less gridlock.

But there are a few problems with the plan here in Connecticut.

First,"we don't have money today to run the railroad that we try to operate today."

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Where We Live
12:06 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Say Hello to "Goodnight Blue Moon"

Chion Wolf

Today, we’re in our studio 3 for some live music with the New Haven indie-folk band “Goodnight Blue Moon.”

They’ve been playing as a band in the area since 2008...but many of them have been playing songs together for much, much longer.

Erik Elligers is the lead singer and plays guitar. His wife Nancy plays cello and his brother Sean plays trumpet. Along with Mathew Crowley and Henry Lugo, they’ll be playing songs from the band’s new record, “How Long.”

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A Gamble
10:29 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Regional Roundtable: Casinos, Lobsters, and Presidential Politics

MGM Springfield

Could we someday have the “Springfield Strip?”  

Yesterday MGM unveiled their plans to revive the struggling Massachusetts city by pumping 800 million dollars into a gambling resort, entertainment complex, and housing development. It’s one of several proposals on the table as Mass tries to take on Connecticut casinos.

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Bugs Bite
12:30 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Itchy, Annoying and Sometimes Deadly Mosquitoes


Mosquitoes are one of those things that we learn to deal with. We put the bug spray on, light the citronella candle, and try to keep the itching to a minimum. But for some people, those skeeters are deadly.

Yesterday, the Dallas, Texas region saw its 11th death of the year from the West Nile Virus. More than 200 people have been infected by the disease. And here in Connecticut, officials announced the first case of West Nile last week. The Agricultural Experiment Station has found mosquitoes carrying the virus in dozens of towns across Connecticut.

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Off Track
12:43 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

CTfastrak: Is It On Track? A Busway Update

Courtesy CTfastrak

The busway planned between Hartford and New Britain has been dubbed CTfastrak, perhaps to get out from under the divisive political connotations of “busway.” But as the plans start to take shape, local politics are again playing a role.

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Where We Live
12:19 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Connecticut Eccentricities

Joe Mabel (Wikimedia Commons)

What makes your town unique or puzzling? What local history is important about where you live? What makes you proud to be in your part of Connecticut? Today we look into all the nooks and crannies that make our state eccentric. We'll answer burning questions like:

Why is Mystic half in Groton and half in Stonington? How did the Quiet Corner get its name? (Litchfield County’s pretty quiet, too)

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Primary in August?
11:05 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Rise and Shine! Primary Morning in Connecticut

Chion Wolf

It’s primary day in Connecticut!  The last time Governor Malloy was on The Colin McEnroe Show, he said it doesn't make any sense to have hold primary day in August. Yeah, it’s a little hard to drum up much enthusiasm for a trip to the polls when its 87 degrees and sunny, the Cape is calling, or you are deep in the woods.  

But, at least the candidates have tried to keep things interesting - with high-stakes primary contests in a race for Senate and the 5th district seat.

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Nuclear Power
11:51 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Powering Connecticut

Dave L. (Wikimedia Commons)

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany is undertaking a massive effort to eliminate its eight nuclear power plants. It will rely on more wind and solar power, and less on coal.

The Germans may spend as much as $250 billion over the next several years just to get this plan started. Japan, meanwhile, despite a worried public, is still considering how much nuclear power they want to have part of their future energy mix.

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Need Shades?
11:09 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Artificial Lighting and Our Health

Chion Wolf

Remember those big storms that left many of us in the dark for days and even weeks? We all went scrambling to power up our computers, recharge our smart phones, and grab a bite to eat in a warm and well-lit restaurant. The dark didn’t feel quite right.

But, maybe a little more dark is what we need.  

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Funny Looking
11:43 am
Thu August 9, 2012

The Wild History of CT's 5th Congressional District

Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives; Wikimedia

Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District is kind of funny looking.

It’s been that way since 2002, when the state lost a seat in congress and had to jam together two “normal looking” districts. This made for an epic battle for control of the seat...but it also made for one of the strangest and most entertaining political arenas in our state.

The old 5th was a simple diagonal line - stretching from Waterbury to Danbury.

The old 6th - its unhappy partner in a marriage arranged by the census - was a sprawling landscape of mostly rolling hills and suburbs.

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Where We Live
10:44 am
Wed August 8, 2012

The Future of Cities

Chion Wolf

TV shows and Sci-Fi books and  from the 1950’s and 60s brought us images of future cities filled with flying machines, moving sidewalks, helpful robots and meals at the push of a button.

Although we never quite got there,  we do have internet, a phone in our pocket that does everything and we sent a roving space lab on Mars.

But what do the visionaries of today have planned for the city of tomorrow?  

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Where We Live
10:49 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Why Is Algebra Necessary?

stuartpilbrow (Flickr Creative Commons)

“Is algebra necessary?” It’s a question that crosses the minds of many students struggling in high school and college math classes.

Professor Andrew Hacker wonders the same thing. His opinion piece about the math we teach to students has started a big conversation about how schools prepare people for the real world.

He wonders whether this stumbling block forces kids out of school early...whether it really helps with the 21st century tools we need.

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Where We Live
12:08 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans on Trial

U.S. Army (Flickr Creative Commons)

In the Civil War, it was called soldiers heart or nostalgia. In WWI, it was known as shell shock. These days, it's known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Talk to any veteran and they'll tell you: war changes you.

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Suburban Life
10:34 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Suburbs 4.0

Toronto Map Company (Wikimedia Commons)

Our federally-funded highway system has been called the greatest public subsidy to private real estate in history. Where’s that real estate? The suburbs. 

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Where We Live
11:22 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Mark Greenberg: Islam Is "a Cult in Many Respects."

Mark Greenberg.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Republican 5th congressional district candidate Mark Greenberg questioned whether Islam is a religion of peace.

"I don't believe in all manner, that Islam is a religion of peace and we have to be careful about that," said Greenberg on WNPR's Where We Live. "We got to be honest about it. We have to be able to be real about the fact that some people in that religion are out to kill us."

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Where We Live
10:40 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Reporter Roundtable on House and Senate Races, Swing States

Chion Wolf

In Connecticut, we’re only one month out from an important primary in two key races.

The Senate Race has lost a bit of its drama with front-runners Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon pulling out to big leads.

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Where We Live
10:25 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Paved Paradise

Picabu (Wikimedia Commons)

Picture a parking lot....what comes to mind? A sea of asphalt, white lines, birds pecking at discarded food. Don’t forget the stray shopping carts, bright lighting at night, and blinding glare by day. Not the most pleasant place.

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Where We Live
1:21 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Andrew Roraback on the Death Penalty, Health Care and Rowland

Chion Wolf

Republican State Senator Andrew Roraback is leaving the legislature to run for the 5th Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy.

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3:52 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak: "How Dare We Underestimate Children"

John Dugdale/HarperCollins Children's Books via NPR

Children's book author and Connecticut resident Maurice Sendak died this morning at the age of 83 in Danbury. 

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Where We Live
10:28 am
Thu April 26, 2012

The State of Play

Lou & Traci plus, creative commons

The Executive Director of the Alliance for Childhood talks about how important play is for young people. She’s part of a two-day creativity conference coming up in Ridgefield, CT.

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Where We Live
10:10 am
Thu April 26, 2012

Legislative Update With Keith Phaneuf

Chion Wolf

With everything else going on at the Capitol, it’s good someone is paying attention to the budget.

That someone is The Connecticut Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf.  Our budgetary Obi Wan Kenobi stops by to give us an update on the fiscal health of the state - along with news on the “hot button” issues like minimum wage and Sunday liquor sales.

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Where We Live
11:09 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Young People, Don't Go!

Connecticut has lost more of our 25-34-year-old population since 1990 than any state but Michigan. I’m no demographer - but that’s not good. Of course, big population shifts are happening around the country as baby-boomers retire – but Connecticut is poised for the most hardship, unless we turn this around quickly.

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Where We Live
10:03 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Robert Ballard on the Titanic

Inst. for Exploration & Inst. for Archaeological Oceanography

Dr. Robert Ballard is probably the world’s most famous explorer - in part because of his Titanic discovery - in part because of his tireless mission to uncover secrets of the deep.

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