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The Brian Lehrer Show


Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.

Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.


New York, NY




Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.






WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 212-433-9692


Ask the Mayor: Coney Island; State Budget; Schools; & More

Mayor Bill de Blasio takes calls from listeners and discusses this week in NYC news, including the change to the "2-case rule" that frequently shut down city schools due to COVID-19 cases, the recently-passed state budget, gun violence and more.


Quitting Social Media During COVID

Jia Tolentino, staff writer at The New Yorker, talks about the recent trend of people who have recently quit, or taken a break from, social media platforms and takes calls from listeners about their experiences.


Brian Lehrer Weekend: Vaccine Passports; Vaccine Access; NYC Demographics

Three of our favorite segments from the week, in case you missed them. Vaccine Passports (First) | Vaccine Access Assistance (Starts at 35:20) | Joe Salvo & NYC's Demographics (Starts at 1:10:00) If you don't subscribe to the Brian Lehrer Show on iTunes, you can do that here.


Reimagining Vaccine Passports

Leana Wen, emergency physician, professor at George Washington University, contributing columnist for The Washington Post, CNN medical analyst, and former Baltimore Health Commissioner and the author of the forthcoming book Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health (Metropolitan Books, 2021), shares her thoughts on how to re-frame vaccine passports so they are less divisive, and explains how she believes proof of vaccination can give people more freedom, not less. Plus,...


Biden's Limited Executive Actions on Guns

Champe Barton, reporter at The Trace, a non-profit news site covering gun violence, talks about Pres. Biden's executive actions on preventing gun violence and their impact in New York and New Jersey.


Watching the Demographic Ebbs and Flows

Joe Salvo, just-retired chief demographer at NYC Department of City Planning, talks about which groups of people have come and gone and stayed over the course of his career.


What's in New York's $212 Billion Budget

On Tuesday, New York State’s leaders announced that they had reached a deal on a $212 billion budget. Jimmy Vielkind, reporter for The Wall Street Journal covering Albany, talks about what proposals made it in from taxing the rich to funding for undocumented workers.


NYC Schools Update: The Opt-In Period and a Complicated New Four-Case Rule

Jessica Gould, WNYC education reporter, brings the latest NYC public school news. NYC Pub School Parents - Two case closure rule is being replaced on Monday by a new rule that says four cases can cause closure IF it can be traced to a known exposure in school. Individual classrooms will still quarantine for 10 days per case. April 8, 2021


When Vaccine Passports and Politics Mix

While public health experts and (mostly-Democratic) politicians say COVID vaccine passports are key to safely getting back to everyday activities, others are worried about data privacy and equity. Dan Diamond, national health reporter at The Washington Post, talks about how they'd work, the politics of the system and more.


Understanding Puerto Rico’s 'Existential Crisis'

Alana Casanova-Burgess, host of La Brega, and reporter and producer for WNYC's On the Media, and Yarimar Bonilla, professor of Puerto Rican Studies and Anthropology at the City University of New York, monthly columnist at El Nuevo Día, and incoming director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, talk about how Puerto Ricans are weighing the many options for a new political future of the island. → EVENT: Alana and Professor Bonilla will be in a virtual discussion with...


Ask the Mayor 'Tryouts': Scott Stringer

Scott Stringer, New York City Comptroller and 2021 mayoral hopeful, takes calls from listeners about his campaign and the issues facing the City.


Needed: A New Way to Cover Mass Shootings

Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, talks about the journalism "summit" he convened to seek a new way to cover mass gun violence.


All NYC Adults Are Vaccine Eligible but Access Gaps Remain

As vaccine eligibility expands around the county the question remains: Is everyone eligible getting the shot and if not, is it because of hesitancy or difficulty scheduling appointments? In a series of conversations, Mitra Kalita, co-founder of URL Media and CEO and publisher of Epicenter-NYC, joins to talk about how some communities still face challenges in accessing the vaccine. Today she's joined by Victor Peralta, MD, a pediatrician at Elmhurst Hospital and a member of SOMOS Community...


How Far Will the New Queens DA go to Reform the Office?

George Joseph, WNYC/Gothamist reporter, talks about his story on two longtime prosecutors in the Queens DA's office whose conviction of three men in the 90s was recently vacated, and George Joseph and David Brand, managing editor of the Queens Daily Eagle, talk about how far the new DA, Melinda Katz, may go in reforming the office. →He Spent 24 Years Behind Bars Because Queens Prosecutors Broke The Rules. Was This Their Only Wrongful Conviction? (Gothamist, 4/5/21)


Your Pandemic Induced Social Anxiety

Listeners call in to talk about how they're anticipating a return to normal social life, and whether--in addition to relief and excitement--they feel any anxiety or ambivalence about resuming in-person social functions.


Rep. Suozzi on Infrastructure and SALT

U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi (D NY3, parts of Long Island and Queens), member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, explains his stance on not voting for the infrastructure bill unless the SALT deduction is restored.


Crystal Peoples-Stokes Hard Fought Win to Legalize Pot

Crystal Peoples-Stokes, New York State Assembly Majority Leader, talks about New York's historic vote to legalize marijuana and the latest on the budget negotiations.


The Injustice of Prison Food

Every Tuesday evening through May 4th, The Greene Space and the non-profit advocacy organization Worth Rises are holding virtual panel discussions about the business side of the prison industry, asking: who profits when people get put away? We're previewing those discussions with a weekly segment here on The Brian Lehrer Show. Today: People behind bars are six times more likely to experience food poisoning than those on the outside. Bianca Tylek, Worth Rises’s executive director, and Leslie...


Ask the Mayor 'Tryouts': Maya Wiley

Maya Wiley, 2021 mayoral hopeful, legal analyst and a university professor at the New School, takes calls from listeners about her campaign and the issues facing the City, including NYPD reform, eviction court and community employment resources.


COVID News Roundup: CDC Travel Guidelines, Vaccine Passports and More

Syra Madad, infectious disease epidemiologist, and senior director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program at New York City Health + Hospitals, talks about how to stay safe while traveling, attending outdoor entertainment events and more.