On Point

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On Point
Genre News: analysis, commentary, features, interviews, specials
Running time c. 110 min.
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Home station WBUR
Syndicates National Public Radio
Hosted by

Meghna Chakrabarti

David Folkenflik
Created by Graham Griffith[1]
Recording studio Boston, Massachusetts
Original release 17 September 2001 – present
Opening theme "Everything Is Alright"
Website onpoint.wbur.org
Podcast Podcast/RSS feed

On Point is a one-hour call-in radio show produced by WBUR-FM in Boston and syndicated by National Public Radio (NPR). The show addresses a wide range of issues from news, politics, arts and culture, health, technology, environmental, and business topics, to many others.

It is distributed to over 290 public radio stations[2] across the United States by NPR.[3] On Point averages more than two million podcast downloads[4] a month.

The show was originally created by Graham Griffith,[1] and first broadcast on 17 September 2001, to provide special coverage in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.[5] The show's popularity led to it becoming a standalone program, first broadcasting under the On Point name on 4 February 2002.

Tom Ashbrook[edit]

Tom Ashbrook was the long-running host from 2002 to 2017, prior to that he was a Boston Globe foreign editor.

Tom Ashbrook hosted most weeks during his time with the show, but went on medical leave in November 2007, to undergo heart bypass surgery.[6] He resumed full-time broadcasting January 2, when he discussed his medical journey in a show with his doctors and nurses.[7]

On November 5, 2014, Ashbrook announced a period of personal leave to care for his wife, Danielle, who had been suffering from cancer. She died the next day, November 6, 2014, at age 60.[8] After nearly two months away, Ashbrook returned to On Point on January 2, 2015.[9]

Ashbrook was put on leave from On Point at the beginning of December of 2017, when a group of current and former WBUR employees alleged he created a "toxic and emotionally unsafe work environment" [10] for staff through bullying and publicly humiliating colleagues. Specific allegations filed by initially 11 (and later "at least 23"[11] ) staffers included "Tirades directed at young women in the studio, name calling and belittling critiques of show ideas during meetings, "Creepy” sex talk, inappropriate touching, hugs and back or neck rubs after a dressing down."[12]. Ashbrook denies the allegations[11]. In 2018 the program commenced being hosted by fill-in hosts including Ray Suarez and Jane Clayson.

On February 14, 2018, WBUR announced they had dismissed Ashbrook as a result of the complaints of the work environment.

On July 25, 2018, WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti (host of the local program Radio Boston) and David Folkenflik (NPR's media correspondent) have been announced as new hosts of the program starting August 20. Chakrabarti will host Mondays-Thursdays while Folkenflik will host Fridays and remain as NPR's media correspondent.[13]

Notable coverage[edit]

The show traveled to Shanghai, People's Republic of China, to broadcast a week of programming from April 14 to 18, 2008.[14] Topics ranged from the Beijing Olympics to Chinese cinema. Among the guests were leading China analysts, officials and journalists. A new website was launched to coincide with the trip.[15]

In the run-up to the 2008 presidential campaign, the show interviewed Barack Obama, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, John Edwards, Ron Paul, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Sam Brownback. Election commentators included Donna Brazile, Tom Brokaw, Bob Shrum, Dana Milbank, Tony Fabrizio, Joe Klein, EJ Dionne, Pat Buchanan, Peter Hart, and Hendrik Hertzberg. The show traveled to both the Democratic and Republican conventions, broadcasting live in the morning and at night.[citation needed]

Time and location[edit]

On Point is broadcast live from Boston, Massachusetts on WBUR FM (90.9 MHz) from 10 a.m. to 12 noon ET, occupying the former time slot of The Connection, and repeated from 7 to 9 p.m. Most frequently, each two-hour broadcast is divided into two separate hour-long standalone segments, with the first hour tending to be more serious and news driven, and the second often focusing on an entertainment figure or cultural phenomenon. The host interviews guests who are experts on topics being discussed, and listeners are invited to call in discuss their thoughts.

The first hour segment of Friday's show almost always consists of an analysis of the previous week's news headlines. The Friday news analysis segments usually feature senior editor of The Atlantic Monthly and historian Jack Beatty as a news analyst, as well as, typically, two or three other guest commentators.

Jane Clayson, former CBS morning anchor and correspondent, is commonly the show's fill-in host; NPR's Jacki Lyden, John Harwood, Anthony Brooks, Jessica Yellin, James Hattori, and Ray Suarez have also hosted.

It is led by senior producer Karen Shiffman and directed by Eileen Imada.[16]

The On Point theme music, "Everything Is Alright", comes from the Four Tet album Pause.[17]


  1. ^ a b Vigneron, Peter (February 2013). "Tom Ashbrook: Point Man". Boston. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "About On Point with Tom Ashbrook". On Point with Tom Ashbrook.
  3. ^ "About The Show, On Point". Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  4. ^ "About On Point with Tom Ashbrook". On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  5. ^ "Tom Ashbrook". Trustees of Boston University. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  6. ^ "WBUR's "On Point" Host Tom Ashbrook on Six-Week Medical Leave". bu.edu.
  7. ^ "Back from Bypass". onpoint.
  8. ^ "Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, at 60; brought world of experience to MIT". Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  9. ^ "A Year End Note From Tom Ashbrook, On Point". Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  10. ^ "'On Point' host Tom Ashbrook accused of 'creepy' sex talks, unwanted touching of co-workers". 11 December 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b "More Allegations Made Against 'On Point' Host Ashbrook And WBUR". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Details Emerge About Accusations Against Ashbrook". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  13. ^ Chakrabarti And Folkenflik Will Be New 'On Point' Hosts 90.9 WBUR-FM Boston, July 25, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  14. ^ "China and the Olympics". onpoint.
  15. ^ "china.onpointradio.org". Archived from the original on September 12, 2008.
  16. ^ "About the Show". On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  17. ^ "What are the theme songs for NPR's programs?". NPR. Retrieved 2015-01-07.

External links[edit]