April 30, 2006

The Leonard Lopate Show

Staff Bios

Leonard Lopate at Piano at Village Vanguard
Leonard Lopate at Piano at Village Vanguard

Leonard Lopate


Leonard Lopate studied painting with Mark Rothko and hosted a gospel music show in the 70's and early 80's. He also marketed records for Slim Whitman and Boxcar Willie, and knows enough Cantonese to order the best dim sum in Chinatown. As Lopate tells it, one of his most exciting guests was a mob guy in the witness protection program, who worked for both the Colombo family and the FBI. "He came in for a taping on a holiday when there weren't too many people around...I think it was Columbus Day...He was flanked by two armed bodyguards. I was fighting a terrible cough that day, and in the middle of the interview, my throat got so raspy, I pushed myself away from the mike, stood up and announced, 'Stop the tape! I've got to get some hot tea.' The mobster took my abrupt movement to be some sort of signal to an assassin and he threw himself on the floor to avoid being shot. The bodyguard in the studio reached for his gun, another guard was outside the door. Luckily, no shots were fired, otherwise I might not be here, but every so often I think about that guest, and wonder if there will ever be a time when he'll feel secure enough to stop throwing himself on the ground."


Melissa Eagan

Executive Producer

Long, long ago, before becoming Executive Producer of The Leonard Lopate Show, Melissa Eagan was a freelance writer in the wilds of Rhode Island, whose work appeared in such publications as The Christian Science Monitor, covering everything from windmills to shipwrights. She also edited the re-issue of James Franklin's historic Rhode-Island Gazette. A Greenwich Village native, she attended Lyceum Kennedy Francais, and graduated from Barnard College with a double major in English and French.

Sarah English

Sarah English

Assistant Producer

Sarah lives in Brooklyn. She likes to think about outfits and try on clothes, and she produces the "Listen to This" and "Poetry Break" features on the Lopate Show.

(Drawing: Sarah English as depicted by Maureen McMurray)


Brenna Farrell

Assistant Producer

Brenna got her start in radio as a blues DJ at college. Apart from falling in love with obscure murder ballads from the 1920s and 1930s, she spent her time at Harvard studying history, literature, and film.

(Drawing: Brenna Farrell as depicted by Sarah English)

Blakeney Schick

Assistant Producer

Blakeney Schick joined the Lopate crew in September 2004. While she loved her years at Bowdoin College, she is happy to return to her native New York. Blakeney produces the Back Story series and the Listener Letters segments.

Virginia Dorris

Contributing Producer

In addition to working for The Leonard Lopate Show, Virginia Dorris is a freelance writer who has written frequently about architecture, engineering and construction. She has a MS from the Columbia University School of Journalism and a BS in architecture from the University of Virginia. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 3 sons.

Bonnie Lafave

Contributing Producer, Please Explain

Bonnie Lafave worked for many years as a producer of national news and current affairs programming with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto. In 1996 she was awarded a Nieman Fellowship and spent a year studying at Harvard University. She subsequently moved to New Yok City where she now lives with her husband and two young sons.

Melissa Waldron Lehner

Contributing Producer, Ruth Reichl series

Melissa Waldron Lehner has been a producer of television, film, and radio for more than 15 years. She is the founder of Lions Tooth Media, a niche radio and television production company that focuses solely on the political, economic, and cultural perspectives of food. Before working for WNYC, she was the Co-Producer of a PBS current affairs TV series called World @ Large with David Gergen. series.

Alysia Abbott

Before joining the Leonard Lopate show, Alysia coordinated film shoots and special events at The New York Public Library. When not at WNYC, she spends her time writing for magazines and walking Dumbo'scobblestone streets with her husband and dog.

Barbara Cahn

Barbara Cahn

Barbara studied art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and New York University, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras. She is also a contributing producer for WNYC's Survival Kit. When not at WNYC, she can generally be found making pottery in her Greenwich Village studio.


Jenifer Hixson

Jenifer Hixson swears she learned more from listening to The Leonard Lopate Show than she ever did in college. She is a freelance writer, the producer of The Moth's StorySLAM and a member of the NY performance collective called Hearsay.

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