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.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Live From Litchfield's White Memorial Conservation Center

The boardwalk at White Memorial.
claumoho Creative Commons

For 50 years, the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield has provided a hands-on look at the natural diversity of northwestern Connecticut. With workshops, educational programs -- even its own Nature Museum -- the center has been teaching visitors about the various species and habitats found on the surrounding land. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed August 6, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Dog Days of the Campaign Season

Low turnout is expected in next week's primary. What impact will that have on the results?
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

We’re less than a week away from the Republican primary and the airwaves are filling up with more and more ads. But turnout is expected to be very low. Today is also the deadline for third party candidates Joe Visconti and Jonathan Pelto to submit their petitions to get on the November ballot.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Leaving Prison, and Re-Entering Society

After decades in prison, former inmates must re-adjust to an outside world that's very different from the one they left.
Credit Neil Conway / Creative Commons

After spending years, sometimes decades behind bars, inmates leave prison with little direction for moving forward. They face difficulties obtaining employment, education, and housing. Although Connecticut is a national leader on re-entry programs, a recent study finds nearly 80 percent of inmates released in 2005 were re-arrested within five years.

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Electricity Law
3:37 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

New Regulations Aim for More Transparency for Connecticut's Electric Consumers

Brian Cassidy Creative Commons

Consumer advocates say that new laws passed this year will help electric consumers dealing with higher-than-expected rates from so-called "third-party" electric providers. Many of these companies offer lower initial rates than the major utilities -- Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating -- but the rates can later spike, often without warning. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Consumer Check-In: Alternative Electricity Suppliers; Herbalife Nutrition Clubs

Elin Katz.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new “bill of rights” has gone into effect for Connecticut’s electricity consumers. The bill is aimed at creating greater transparency in the marketing practices of third-party electric suppliers -- after many consumers complained that their electricity bills were increasing without warning.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

A Conversation with Jazz Musicians Mario Pavone and Jimmy Greene; Transgender Youth

Tenor saxaphonist Jimmy Greene.
Chion Wolff.

Mario Pavone and Jimmy Greene are both veterans of Connecticut's jazz scene -- having grown up here, decades apart -- and both deciding to make the state their home.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Political Souls, Polls, and Jabs

Bill Curry is a political analyst and former Democratic nominee for governor
Chion Wolf WNPR

Connecticut is generally a “blue” state, but the latest New York Times/CBS poll paints it a different color in the race for governor. But the poll itself was a different color too. On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we’ll discuss the divided state of Connecticut with our team of reporters and analysts, including Bill Curry who says his Democratic party has lost its soul.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Restraint and Seclusion in Our Public Schools

Sarah Eagan.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Restraint and seclusion is a legal, albeit controversial, practice in our nation's public schools. Students -- often those with disabilities -- can be restrained and secluded against their will. This can result, and has resulted on many occasions, in injury to the student. Nationwide, there are 20 known cases of death because of restraint or seclusion in the past two decades.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Where We Vote 2014: Elizabeth Esty

Rep. Elizabeth Esty from Connecticut's 5th District.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The 2012 race for Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District seat was filled with campaign-related shenanigans. The person who came out on top was Elizabeth Esty.

She’s running for re-election this year in the “Fightin’ Fifth,” and she joins us for our Where We Vote series to talk politics, foreign relations, immigration, and more.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Gov. Christie Visits Connecticut Following Gun Bill Veto; a Local Perspective on Ukrainian Conflict

Nicole Hockley.
Chion Wolf WNPR

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is making headlines once again.

Just a few weeks ago, he vetoed a bill that would have restricted the size of gun magazines from 15 rounds to 10. The decision angered a number of gun control advocates, including some Sandy Hook parents.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How Effective Are Charter Schools?

The charter school issue is contentious but how good of a job do they do at educating children?
Chion Wolf WNPR

The recent FUSE scandal has raised questions about charter school oversight. Is this type of problem representative of the overall charter school system? We take a look at just how effective these schools are and how much oversight they have. We're joined by experts and we want to hear from you, especially if you have experience in the charter school system.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed July 23, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Migrating Children; Rt. 44 Tales; Chubby Checker Check-In

Dan Haar from the Hartford Courant is walking the length of Rt. 44.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy takes a strong stance on housing immigrant children in this state. We’ll talk about this story and more on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. Also, the Hartford Courant’s Dan Haar has been walking and reporting from Connecticut’s Rt. 44. He’ll take a load off to share some tales from the road. Chubby Checker (yes, that Chubby Checker) is also coming to town for a political fundraiser.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

The Culture and Design of Podcasts

Julia Pistell.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Radio has a very long and storied history, and is influenced by -- some might say ruled by -- some long-held, traditional practices.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Conversations With "Democracy Now!" Host Amy Goodman and Guitarist Yovianna García

Yovianna García.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Amy Goodman’s radio, TV, and Web program Democracy Now! has a wide following among people who think the mainstream media doesn’t let us hear enough voices from those who protest against powerful interests. This week, she visits the Mark Twain House and Museum to discuss her new book The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope.

This hour, we preview that event, with a conversation about the state of the news media today. We also listen back to a conversation with a Hartford-based guitarist who celebrates the music of her home country, Puerto Rico, while also exploring the classical repertoire.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 18, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan
Horia Varlan Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About Turtles

Red-eared slider.
Catie Talarski

There are currently some 57 turtle species living in the United States and Canada, 12 of which can be found right here in Connecticut -- including some sea turtles!

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a few of them poking around a nearby pond or basking on some sunlit rocks. Perhaps you’ve even rescued a few from the peril of oncoming traffic.

But there’s a lot more to these terrestrial critters than meets the eye.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Transgender Rights: "The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time"?

Susan Bigelow.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Those who identify as transgender Americans continue to face social stigmas, discrimination, and legal issues not often faced by other members of the LGBT community.

This hour, we talk with some transgender rights experts and advocates about what Vice President Joe Biden has called "the civil rights issue of our time."

We also check in with WNPR reporter Lucy Nalpathanchil, who gives us the latest on the case of transgender teen Jane Doe.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Connecticut Prepares for Sale of Medical Marijuana

Later this summer, certain patients will be able to legally purchase medical marijuana in Connecticut.
Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.

We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program. 

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From Birdcalls to Beantown
1:50 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

This Week on WNPR: Five Things Not to Miss

Hummingbird? Or Dinosaur?
The British Library Creative Commons

There's lots of news to digest this week, from birdcalls to Beantown. Below are a few things you shouldn't miss.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Israeli/Palestinian Conflict Escalates; LIRR Strike Looms; World Cup Preview

A missile from the Israeli Iron Dome.
Credit Israeli Defense Forces / Creative Commons

Once again, violence has escalated in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Rockets are now reaching northern Israel and that government is responding with barrages of its own rocket attacks on Palestinian targets. We talk with a local professor who recently returned from the region and studies this on-going conflict.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Is Boston Fit to Carry the Olympic Torch?

2012 London Olympics.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Creative Commons

We’ve spent a lot of time considering whether it’s a good idea to build a new minor league ballpark in Hartford to lure a team up the road from New Britain.  

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Cost of Clinton; Political Swiping; FOI Hit Again

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to students at UConn earlier this year.
Peter Morenus University of Connecticut

We learned that it cost $250,000 to bring Hillary Clinton to speak at UConn earlier this year. As the cost of higher education continues to soar, there are lots of questions being raised about this speaking fee. Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses this story, and we check in on the race for governor as candidates start buying air time for those omnipresent campaign commercials. Also this week, the Connecticut Supreme Court took another swipe at Freedom of Information laws.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 8, 2014

The Design of Workspaces Past, Present, and Future

Tony Amenta.
Chion Wolf WNPR

From the nineteenth century “counting house” to the modern-day cubicle, the layout of our workspaces has undergone some pretty radical changes over the years.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Financing Higher Education

Jeff Bartlett.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Some people say that bachelor’s degrees are the new high school diplomas; they are becoming more and more necessary for job seekers to be competitive in the job market. But as the cost of higher education rises, students who attend college are now saddled with decades worth of debt in loans. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 3, 2014

GI Bill Funds; Coast Guard Safety; the Future of the Department of Veterans Affairs

2011 New York Veterans Day Parade.
DVIDSHUB Creative Commons

Passed in 1944 -- 70 years ago -- The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, better known as the GI Bill, was designed to provide American vets with a number of benefits, ranging from business loans, to mortgages, to money that would help with their education. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

The Wheelhouse: Health Insurance; Charter Schools; Bridgewater Turns The Car Around

The Supreme Court of the United States.
Credit Mark Fischer / Creative Commons

It looks like the world'’s largest hedge fund won'’t build a new headquarters in Stamford…. What does that say about the state'’s economic development plans? A charter school organization faces investigations of its finances and operations. What does it say about the school reform movement? We’'ll look at those stories, plus the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and whether the employer-based insurance model makes sense today.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 1, 2014

With Proposed Hartford Stadium Come Questions, Concerns, and Criticism

David Panagore.
Chion Wolf WNPR

When officials from the City of Hartford announced it would build a Minor League Baseball stadium, many people were caught by surprise, including Hartford residents.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

A Conversation With Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson

Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A few months ago, I was asked to be part of a panel discussion about politics, and sat next to Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson.

During the panel, he said something that you don’t often hear out of municipal leaders in Connecticut -- that maybe one of our problems is that we have too many towns, or at least not enough cooperation between the ones we do have.

Regionalization -- it’s sometimes a dirty word in towns that value their “home rule” -- but it’s also seen as increasingly necessary as a way to provide public services at the best possible cost.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan
Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

Read more

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