J Holt


Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

J studied documentary radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, in Portland, Maine, and returned to his home state of Connecticut to intern with the production team at WNPR. After that, he stuck around.

These days, you're likely to hear J during station breaks on the weekends, and covering "B" stories for WNPR: business, boats, and beer. In addition to Connecticut Public Radio, his work has aired nationally and across New England, and been heard at the Maine State Museum and Catie Talarski's Radio Adventure Theater.

Ways to Connect

J Holt / WNPR

The slow death of the textile industry in the U.S. was underscored last December by the closure of the last operating mill in Connecticut, the historic Warren Mills in Stafford Springs. That same mill is celebrating its re-opening under new owners. 

American Woolen Company

Textiles are once again being produced in Stafford Springs. Eight months after the Warren Corporation mills closed, ending the industry in Connecticut, the newly-reopened company has taken its first work order.

J Holt / WNPR

Flower-filled planters appearing on sidewalks and medians all over Hartford are sights long time residents have come to expect in the late spring and early summer. They've long been the most visible aspect of Hartford Blooms, a citywide beautification project, implemented by KNOX, and now celebrating it's 20-year anniversary. In recent years, however, Hartford Blooms' efforts have begun to extend well beyond just planters.

Brad Clift / WNPR

The Mystic River saw history this weekend as the world's last wooden whaling vessel, the Charles W. Morgan, made its way from its longtime home at Mystic Seaport to New London, where its restoration will be completed.

Courtesy of Mystic Seaport.

The only wooden whaling ship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan, will leave her home port of Mystic Seaport this weekend for the first time in more than 70 years.

J Holt

By the time Bristol's West End Pizza was ready to open its doors on Saturday morning, there were a dozen patrons already outside, waiting to get in. You may have heard of a flash mob. Well, this is a financial version. The family owned pizzeria was the target of a "cash mob," which is essentially a group of people joining forces to give a business a really good day. 

J Holt

Many cities promote minority and women owned businesses by hiring them to provide services. But Hartford is going one step further -- with a mentoring program. 

Shane Kelly is an ironwork contractor, and his company, Kelly Steel, has been a certified minority-owned business for years. He wants to expand his business into more areas of his industry. "I've been apprehensive, you know," he said. "No one wants to mess up."

J Holt

As they contemplate the first anniversary of super storm Sandy, some shore dwellers have given up and moved inland. Others are still determined to rebuild and continue. One shoreline restaurant is about to embark on its second major comeback.

redlegsfan21 / Wikimedia Commons

On the surface, air travel appears very much the same as it did before the government shutdown. But there have been big changes behind the scenes. Even when there isn't a government shutdown in effect, most people involved in putting planes in the air are invisible to travelers.

J Holt

Hartford's Downtown gained another dining option this week, and one that's been a long time coming. For the two institutions behind it, fresh food and good coffee are just the starters. WNPR's J Holt has more.

When the Downtown branch of the Hartford Public Library underwent a major renovation in the early two thousands, a three story tall, glass walled atrium space was built right up front, with the intention of it becoming a cafe.

J Holt

Yesterday, Mystic Seaport celebrated another major milestone in its effort to restore the only wooden whaling ship left in the world. 

On Sunday, the crowd overflowed from Mystic Seaport's shipyard, to boats spread across the river, and any piece of shoreline with a view. 

White- "Ladies and gentlemen," 

That's Seaport President Steve White.

White- "Welcome to the launching of the Charles W. Morgan on her 172nd anniversary. Welcome!"

Johnathon Henninger

After a nearly decade long presence in Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood, a popular coffee shop and community hub closed its doors at the end of June. WNPR's J Holt brings us its story.


The story of the closing of La Paloma Sabanera Coffee House is a hard one to tell right. There's the recession, controversy over the new Hartford busway, an absentee landlord and a difficult rent negotiation, and even some tough winter weather. 

J Holt

A significant milestone was reached Friday in the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan- Mystic Seaport's 172 year old wooden whaling ship. 

Mystic Seaport president Steve White addressed over two hundred people gathered beside the giant wooden hull of the Charles W. Morgan.

White- "...the last surviving whaling ship on the face of the of the earth, and the oldest commercial ship afloat in the western hemisphere..."

J Holt

Businessman Chris Runyan isn't one to follow a trend. In an online, downloadable world, he's built a successful brick and mortar business. And, in a time when companies are moving out of state, he relocated from Arkansas to Connecticut to do it. WNPR's J Holt met him.

When Chris Runyan moved to Connecticut in 2009, he came with the intention to start his own business.

Runyan- "My goal was to get 6 stores on the ground in 3 years." 

J. Holt

The 2013 Craft Brewers Conference was held in the nation's capital this past week, and it drew over 6,000 attendees from an industry growing steadily amid an otherwise struggling economy. As WNPR's J. Holt reports, Connecticut's Craft Brewing industry is experiencing an explosion of it's own.

Mark Sigman: "Basically we're just transferring the second round of water, hot water, into the mash tun here." 

J. Holt

The 2013 Craft Brewers Conference was held in the nation's capital this past week, and it drew over 6,000 attendees from an industry growing steadily amid an otherwise struggling economy. As WNPR's J. Holt reports, Connecticut's Craft Brewing industry is experiencing an explosion of it's own.

Mark Sigman: "Basically we're just transferring the second round of water, hot water, into the mash tun here." 

J Holt

Over 50,000 students world wide will participate in the First Robotics Competition this year, and forty five teams are based here in Connecticut. WNPR's J Holt brings us the story of one of those teams.

In early January, teams of students gathered in high school auditoriums nationwide, for the kick off of an annual competition geared toward engaging young people with science and technology. 

MC- "So who's excited for the 2013 game?"

Crowd- "WOOHOOO!"

When Hurricane Sandy blew across the Northeast it caused devastating damage to the boating industry. The losses could amount to more than half a billion dollars. And as WNPR’s J Holt reports, Connecticut’s marine industry is still feeling the effects four months later.

Town Center Project

Oct 15, 2012
Sheldon Oak Central

Urban redevelopment is often more art than science. Cities faced with brownfield sites or vacant lots face a challenge to pick projects that will fit with the needs of a community and yet also be a commercial success.

This summer, WNPR’s J Holt followed the story of one such renewal site in Hartford’s Upper Albany neighborhood.

We’re riding east on Albany Avenue in Hartford with local resident Denise Best.

J Holt

Teaching business can be a pretty rigorous discipline, and sometimes a bit dry. But Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business has embraced an unconventional teaching tool - one that involves its professors taking to the stage. WNPR’s J Holt has this report.

In the black box theater at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Performing arts, the cast of Glengarry Glen Ross is taking their places backstage as a sold out crowd assembles in the lobby, and after a final check of the lights, 

Alistair Highet “And, I guess that’s it.”  

MDC's Clean Water Project

Aug 20, 2012
J Holt

The impact the Clean Water Project has had on Hartford traffic is well known to area residents and commuters. Less well known are its affects on small businesses. The MDC is working to improve both issues, but satisfying all stakeholders has proven to be difficult. WNPR’s J Holt has the story. 

J Holt

Late last week it looked certain that Hartford's last remaining duckpin bowling center would close, as its owner faced mounting expenses and changing priorities. But one day after a last ditch effort to save Highland Bowl failed, the historic business experienced a dramatic turnaround. WNPR's J Holt was there.

Getting On The List

Dec 12, 2011
J Holt

Municipal contracts can be an important source of income for small businesses. But it’s not always easy to find a way through the maze of red tape to get the work. Hartford has been trying particularly to help small contractors, and women and minority-owned businesses to benefit from city contracts. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story.

Rosemond Frett has been in business in Hartford for fourteen years, but she’s never had a contract with the city itself. She says when she first registered her company with the state in 1997, she did seek out opportunities.

J Holt


While they were once called “necessaries”, there hasn’t been much need for them since plumbing moved in doors. That hasn’t discouraged one Connecticut small business owner. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of a craftsman who’s built a business around building outhouses.

Kathy Dillner- “I just love this. It makes me so happy to look at it. You know, I always wanted one.”

Revisiting the "Amazon Tax"

Aug 26, 2011
J Holt

The passage of an internet sales tax in Connecticut earlier this year was highly controversial. Even the commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services warned the state might suffer economic damage. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of one company dealing with the consequences of the new law.

Warchol- “Go get it!” (Dog panting)

That’s Josh Warchol and his dog Jesse. For the last three years, Josh has been senior engineer for a small software company called Fanzter

J Holt

From changing market forces, to waning interest, a family business can face challenges on all fronts. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story of a New Britain family that has kept their company moving forward with a balance of tradition and flexibility, and now has their fourth generation engaged in the business of making meats.

About 20 years ago, Joe Perez and some friends went to see former New Britain Red Sock Ellis Burks play at Yankee stadium. Every time he came by their seats they’d shout,

J Holt

If you imagine a summer camp based on a farm, kids learning about crops and barnyard animals probably come to mind. But profit margins and business plans? Not likely at the top of the list. WNPR’s J Holt brings us a story of one farm taking camp in a new direction.

Kozby World Fashions

Jun 21, 2011
J Holt

According to a study released this spring by the Kauffman Foundation, immigrants are more than twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses. Kola Zubair came to Connecticut from Nigeria because it was the one state where he had family, but he also found the supportive environment he needed to start his own clothing design company. WNPR’s J Holt brings us this story.\

Chion Wolf

J. Holt, WNPR

Connecticut’s marine industry is one of many facing tax increases in governor Malloy’s proposed budget. But those in the industry say the changes could have unintended consequences. 

Early April is a quiet time for boating here in Connecticut. Most pleasure boats are still tucked under winter covers, but for Connecticut boatyards this is just as important a time of year as any other.

At pilot’s point marina in Westbrook, Rives Potts is inspecting a 46 foot sailboat that his yard has been rebuilding in one of their sheds.