Jonathan Bastian

Morning Edition Host

Jonathan Bastian is the host of Morning Edition on WFPL. He's also the host of, "Up Front with Jonathan Bastian," a weekly TV program, produced by WFPL, which airs on KY's PBS affiliate, KET.

Jonathan comes to WFPL from Aspen Public Radio, where he was the daily host of ‘All Things Considered.’

He’s also the founder and host of ‘Page by Page,’ a weekly interview program that was syndicated on multiple public radio stations across Colorado. He has interviewed many influential writers and thinkers, including Richard Russo, Sebastian Junger, Jim Lehrer, Jonathan Safran Foer, and many others. In 2011, he spoke with both winners of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and non-fiction. His work has aired nationally on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ and been published on


Local News
10:09 am
Fri January 18, 2013

The Politics of Extremism: How Did It Get So Bad?

Filibusters. Super PACs. Citizens United. Endless party squabbles. How did we get to this point?

That's the exactly the question that Thomas Mann of the  Brookings Institution has been asking. With Norman Ornstein, they co-authored, "It's Even Worse Than is Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the Politics of Extremism."

Mann diagnoses the situation historically, and ultimately provides solutions. I recently caught up with him for a live interview. Take a listen:

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Local News
12:27 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Is Louisville a Leader of Insourcing Jobs? The Atlantic Says Yes.

Appliance Park
Credit General Electric Pressroom

At its height, the General Electric Plant in Louisville employed 23,000 people. That was in 1973.

After that, the plant began to shrink — laying off more and more employees. Like other manufacturing giants, it followed the outsourcing trend, sending jobs overseas, and especially China.

By 2011, GE bottomed-out with less than just 1,900 jobs in the Louisville plant.

But in February of 2012, something began to change. New jobs were created. A new assembly line opened — the first since 1955.

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Local News
11:26 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Kiki Petrosino: Louisville's Rising Poet

Kiki Petrosino is poet to watch. In her early 30s, she's already published a highly-acclaimed first collection, "Fort Red Border" (Sarabande) and a chapbook, "The Dark is Here" (Forkift Ink).

A professor the University of Louisville, her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The New York Times, Tin House, Jubilat, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Her latest collection of poems will be released from Sarabande in 2013.

She spoke about the art of poetry — reading it, writing it, loving it — with WFPL's Jonathan Bastian.

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Local News
12:22 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

How Did TV Dramas Get So Good?

Breaking Bad. Homeland. The Sopranos. Madmen. Friday Night Lights. The Walking Dead.

Chances are you've lost weeks — if not months — of your life to one of these shows. I know I have. But where on earth did they come from? Why has there been this explosion of high-quality TV dramas?

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Local News
12:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Saudi Arabia: The Next Arab Tinderbox?

Saudi Arabia remains one of the last absolute monarchies in world. The royal family maintains control over the religion — and the billions of dollars in oil reserves.

This, coupled with a culture weary of outsiders, made reporting on the country tough for Karen Elliot. But after years of on-the-ground-research she produced a landmark book entitled, “On Saudi Arabia: It’s people, past, religion, fault-lines — and future.”

The New York Times called it one of the best 100 books of the year.

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Local News
1:16 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Understanding Hallucinations: A Conversation with Oliver Sacks

Through books like “The Mind's Eye,”  “Awakenings” and “The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat,” Oliver Sacks has achieved world-wide recognition for his work as a neurologist.

In his latest book, he examines one of the greatest mysteries of the mind: Hallucinations.

He explores this topic from medical, historical and cultural perspectives. But, as I found out, his interest in hallucinations comes from a very personal place. Throughout his life, Sacks suffered from hallucinations from the result of migraine headaches.

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Local News
12:23 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Barbara Kingsolver Interview | When a Novelist Tackles Climate Change

Barbara Kingsolver's love and knowledge of Appalachia is on display in her latest novel, "Flight Behavior." So is her passion for investigating climate change:

"It's the biggest un-talked about issue of our times," she said. "What I wanted to write about was the culture war — the difficulty of this conversation and why it is that we can all look at the same set of facts and walk away believing different things."

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Local News
1:32 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

The Origins of "The City on a Hill"

With the election season finally over, you may have stumbled upon a few phrases a  few (or a thousand) times. One of those is America being called or compared to “The City on a Hill.”

But where exactly does this phrase come from? And how has it woven itself so powerfully into our political rhetoric?

Dr. Richard Gamble of Hillsdale College  sought to answer these new questions in his new book, “In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth.”

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2:00 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Looking at the State Legislative Contests: GOP Hopes to Gain 10 Seats and Majority

  There are no statewide races on the ballot in Kentucky this year: no Senate contests, no constitutional offices. But there are tight contests peppered throughout the commonwealth. Republicans are trying to take control of the state House this year. They need 10 seats to do so.

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11:06 am
Tue October 30, 2012

The Poll King: Nate Silver Talks the Science of Forecasting the Future

Nate Silver has become a hot commodity — especially during the election season. He’s the whiz kid who predicted how 49 out of 50 states would vote in the 2008 election.

Four years ago he founded the website, which has since been incorporated into The New York Times website.

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