Jonathan McNicol


Jonathan started at WNPR as an intern in 2010 and was hired later that year as a producer out of WNPR’s New Haven bureau. In his work, Jonathan is always just trying to figure out a little bit of how the world works, while paying special attention to the absurd and the just plain goofy. He is as likely to produce a show on America’s jury system as he is a story on all the grossest parts of the human body. His work has been heard nationally on Here & Now and locally on WNPR’s talk shows, on Morning Edition, and on All Things Considered.

Jonathan comes to radio from a background in, of all things, graphic design. Some foods he detests with every ounce of his breathing guts include peas, blue cheese, and meat loaf. He lives in greater New Haven.

Ways To Connect

Judy Sirota Rosenthal

by Faith Middleton  

Life is a difficult journey, despite its beauty, and that makes us wonder if artists are ahead of the game in using their creative expression to work through challenging times. We talk with nationally recognized artist Joy Wulke, who is now living with cancer, yet continuing to plan for her future.

Justin Smith/flickr creative commons

Yankee Magazine food editor Amy Traverso poured through the archives going back many decades, in search of the best vintage recipes from readers. When I spotted this recipe for brown paper bag meatloaf, I knew we had to try it. And why drag out the suspense? We loved it!

Martin Fisch/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

If most Americans no longer exclusively watch the same three network TV channels, which were—long ago and in a galaxy far away—a measurement of popularity, how do we calculate what's popular now? How do we figure out what's popular in any realm—movies, books, music, chefs, reality shows, sports, politics, even the candy bar world? And, if you have something to promote, how do you make what you do crazy popular in a sliced and diced digital world?

Aislinn Ritchie/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

I'm featuring New York psychiatrist Dr. Mark Epstein's fascinating new book, The Trauma of Everyday Life, because it explains the big pay-off for learning to notice the small and big traumas we all experience daily in an unpredictable world. By comprehending these traumas, he says, we permit their release, which leads to less stress and a greater sense of feeling fully alive. Dr. Epstein is a Harvard trained psychiatrist with a private practice in New York City. He's interested in the interface of psychotherapy and Buddhist philosophy.

Abhi Sharma/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories.

tracy benjamin/flickr creative commons

Celebrate the end of summer with one of your last meals from the grill. This one's fresh and memorable, so savor every bite. I came up with what I call BLT Chicken by making a salad and adding flavors I love together—chicken, fresh corn, tomatoes and, I thought, why not? Let's butter and grill the cornbread. It has a little crispy edge that makes me swoon, caramelized and buttery on the tongue.

Listen, you're free to make the cornbread on a weekend, when there's time to do it from scratch, but feel free to use the supermarket as your prep chef. That's what my pal Jacques Pepin does; he buys supermarket stuff pre-chopped to save time. So you can buy the cornbread made, use a packaged mix, or use that time-honored family recipe. In fact, you can do so much of this on a Sunday night for Monday supper, including wash the greens, dice the scallions, make the dressing, make the corn and slice off the kernels, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Regan Walsh/flickr creative commons

Storage WarsCheaters, Hoarders — what's your favorite junk food TV? Why do we watch them, when we do? Do we test ourselves by seeing how others behave? Are reality shows for real?

Museum attendance is up in Connecticut, New York, and nationwide—what are people experiencing that adds to their lives? What makes something art? If you don't understand it, does that make you feel dumb? AND: A look at the groovy new 1960s hippie show at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Ralph Hockens/flickr creative commons

Happy New Year! It's Rosh Hashanah. The new television season is upon us. And… school's back in session.

Students, teachers, parents: How was your first day of school? What qualities and experiences made the start of school feel like the year might be exciting? What are your best tips and tricks for navigating that transition from the freedom of summer to the day-in-day-out of school?

Jude Adamson/flickr creative commons

It's 5:00, your future in-laws are coming to dinner and… well… is the chicken really supposed to be that color? And the bread seems to be a strange sort of shape. And, hm. Is something on fire?

Today: KITCHEN DISASTERS. Award-winning author Amy Bloom and senior contributor Chris Prosperi join Faith. We'll confess to our worst (best) horror stories, and we invite you to join the fun!

Ben Grantham/flickr creative commons

What is time?

This deceptively simple question is the single most important problem facing science as we probe more deeply into the fundamentals of the universe. All of the mysteries physicists and cosmologists face—from the Big Bang to the future of the universe, from the puzzles of quantum physics to the unification of forces and particles—come down to the nature of time. The fact that time is real may seem obvious. You experience it passing every day when you watch clocks tick, bread toast, and children grow. But most physicists, from Newton to Einstein to today’s quantum theorists, have seen things differently. The scientific case for time being an illusion is formidable. That is why the consequences of adopting the view that time is real are revolutionary.

TZA/flickr creative commons

Our brains are marvels, hard-wired by millions of years of evolution to boast a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to negotiate our complicated lives without overthinking every choice and decision we have to make.

Unfortunately, those ancient shortcuts don't always work to our advantage in our modern lives-when we don't also think slowly and rationally, those hard-wired habits can trip us up.

Camdiluv ♥/flickr creative commons

We all know love matters, but today, positive emotions expert Barbara Fredrickson joins Faith to show us just how much. Even more than happiness and optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people—even strangers. She demonstrates that our capacity for experiencing love can be measured and strengthened in ways that improve our health and longevity. Finally, she introduces us to informal and formal practices to unlock love in our lives, generate compassion, and even self-soothe.

Nick Perla/flickr creative commons

Fall is finally almost kind of here, and to celebrate we devote most of The Food Schmooze to apples. Amy Traverso returns with her book, The Apple Lovers’ Cookbook. Plus, Ruta Kahate and her Quick-Fix Indian.

peapodsquadmom/flickr creative commons

Today: The way the thoughts we have and the decisions we make are influenced by forces that aren't always in our control.

Johan Hansson/flickr creative commons

The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery—these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the groundbreaking ideas that push forward our lives, our society, our culture?

Derek Gavey/flickr creative commons

Join the Food Schmooze gang for a look at post-summer grilling. Plus, the cookbooks Wine Bites: 64 Nibbles That Pair Perfectly with Wine and The Book Club Cookbook: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors.

Elliott Plack, Flickr Creative Commons

Today we’ll talk to two veterans of the Iraq war. Brian Castner served three tours of duty in the Middle East, two of them as the commander of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit in Iraq. His book, The Long Walk, chronicles his "story of war and the life that follows."

When veteran Kevin Powers returned from Iraq, he turned his experiences there into The Yellow Birds, a novel about two young privates trying to stay alive at war. Castner and Powers join us for the full hour.

Lindsey Gira, Flickr Creative Commons

Beer Trials: America's Most Popular Beers Blind-tasted and Rated by a Panel

The essential guide to the world's most popular beers, The Beer Trials features brutally honest ratings, full-page reviews, and photos of the 250 most popular beers in the world, based only on brown-bag blind tasting. The Beer Trials also includes a complete reference to the major beer styles, flavors, and regions.

• The essential reference for anyone who enjoys drinking beer

Todd Binger/flickr creative commons

The Wave. Water waves. Not lazy surf lapping at your toes along the beach. Colossal, ship-swallowing rogue waves; scientists scrambling to understand the phenomenon; and extreme surfers seeking the ultimate challenge. Susan Casey’s account follows the exploits of boarders conquering suicidally large, 70- and 80-foot waves and the physicists trying to grapple with the destructive powers of 1,740-foot waves off the coast of Alaska and tsunamis in the Pacific. Casey is our guest.

Michael Grimes

The Criminal Justice Club is the book about Walt Lewis' conversion from a young ACLU liberal, who sympathized with the criminal, into an advocate for crime victims and longer sentences for violent and career criminals.

Lewis defines The Criminal Justice Club as a group of deputy district attorneys, public defenders, private defense attorneys, criminal court judges, and the career criminal who have been through the system many times.

Sarah Bresnahan/flickr creative commons

Long Wharf photo gallery

It's dangerous business adapting a film as iconic as It's a Wonderful Life for the stage. For one thing, you're begging audiences (and reviewers alike) to compare your new adaptation to the source material, even to reassess the source material itself at every turn. Those comparisons and reassessments are nothing approaching fair, but they happen anyway. So let's dispense with as much of that as we possibly can at the top here.

There are certain formulas you get used to if you regularly see any amount of dramatic theater. One of them starts with a Renaissance play that would’ve been seen as ribald when it was new. To that, a production adds whatever it needs to to make the play reek with ribaldry in the present day: vulgar language; vulgar humor of the sexual and toilet and anatomical varieties; even vulgar, outsized anatomical touches themselves, through makeup and costuming.