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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


The Wrongful Convictions in Malcolm X's Murder

Producer Shayla Harris and executive producer/co-director Rachel Dretzin talk about their Netflix docuseries "Who Killed Malcolm X?" which raises questions about the 1966 convictions of three men for the assassination and has led the Manhattan district attorney’s office to review the case.


New Bill to Legalize (and Limit) Gestational Surrogacy

New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan, 28th district), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, explains and takes questions on her new bill that would legalize gestational and genetic surrogacy, while tracking and regulating the practice to avoid the exploitation of the women who give birth. She also comments on the Senate's proposed changes to bail reform (not supported by the Assembly Speaker) and the possibility, that after 5 years of work, cannabis might be legalized this term.


Post-Presidency Politics

As we observe Washington's birthday, Jonathan Horn, former White House presidential speechwriter (George W. Bush) and the author of Washington's End: The Final Years and Forgotten Struggle (Scribner, February, 2020), talks about his years after the presidency. Myth tells us he returned to farming, but history reveals a deep involvement with the country's politics, plus other former presidents' political activities.


Checking the Campaign Coffers

Maggie Severns, POLITICO reporter covering money in politics, discusses the latest political news and talks about how the campaigns are poised to move past the early states and on to Super Tuesday.


All Crime, No Consequences for America's Elite

Michael Hobbes, senior reporter for HuffPost, co-host of You're Wrong About podcast, and author of The Golden Age of White-Collar Crime, talks about how lawbreaking by America's elite is a threat to society.


Brian Lehrer Weekend: Robert Krulwich's Radio Legacy, Lead Free in NYC?, Pretend You Know Me

Three of our favorite segments from the week, in case you missed them: Radiolab Cohost Krulwich Reflects on His Radio Legacy (First) | Can NYC Ever Be Lead Free? (Starts at 27:35) | Pretend You Know Me (Starts at 53:29) If you don't subscribe to the Brian Lehrer Show on iTunes, you can do that here.


Your Wackiest First Date Stories

On Valentine's Day, listeners share stories from first dates gone awry.


Albany Politics Update

Josefa Velasquez, senior reporter for The City, talks about the latest from Albany, including Gov. Cuomo's meeting with President Trump over the ban on New Yorkers using Global Entry, the attempts by some lawmakers to roll back the bail reform law and more.


Two Takes on the Week at DOJ

U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Judiciary Committee member and House Democratic caucus chairman, reacts to the latest from the Justice Department and looks ahead to the attorney general’s upcoming testimony before the Judiciary committee. Then, Katie Benner, New York Times reporter covering the Justice Department, talks about the Stone sentencing re-recommendations, the attorney general's comments about the president's tweets, and whether this week's actions by the president and...


Radiolab Cohost Krulwich Reflects on His Radio Legacy

Robert Krulwich, co-host of Radiolab, looks back on his long career, from network news to NPR to WNYC.


City Council Passes Bill to Get 'Reckless Drivers' Off the Streets

Brad Lander, Brooklyn City Council member representing Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington, talks about the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Law which would pilot a program that could result in the impoundment of a dangerous driver's car. He explains the law, how drivers can avoid losing their cars, plus talks about the plastic bag ban that goes into effect March 1, which he has long advocated for.


The Latest on the 2020 Campaigns

Joan Walsh, The Nation's national affairs correspondent and a CNN political contributor, talks about the latest news in the 2020 campaign, including why she thinks the other Democrats should welcome Michael Bloomberg to the debate stage next week.


When Should Kids Get Smartphones?

Micaela Birmingham, writer-director and executive producer at Scary Mommy, talks about her decision to not give her 11-year-old a smartphone and listeners weigh in with their stories.


Trump Wants to Make Travel Harder for New Yorkers

Letitia James, New York Attorney General, talks about the lawsuit New York State just filed against the Trump administration over its policy of banning New Yorkers from enrolling in the Trusted Traveler Program, plus other state legal issues.


A Fight Erupts Over Brokers' Fees

Ryan Deffenbaugh, Crain's New York Business reporter, discusses what drove the quick return of brokers' fees just one week after the state rule that renters can't be charged broker fees.


Can Bloomberg Outrun Stop and Frisk?

Dennis Walcott, president and CEO of the Queens Library, former deputy mayor and NYC schools chancellor under Bloomberg, talks about Bloomberg's candidacy and agenda, and the leaked stop-and-frisk tape. Your calls: should Bloomberg be allowed to outrun stop and frisk?


Sanders on Top After New Hamphire

With the Iowa and New Hampshire nomination contests tallied and the delegates apportioned, what's next as the candidates head to more diverse South Carolina and Nevada? Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown sociology professor, contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, contributing editor of The New Republic, and the author of JAY-Z: Made in America (St. Martin's Press) talks about what Senator Sanders' win means for the next stages of the primary, and other takeaways from last night.


Pretend You Know Me

What would you do if a stranger came up to you, hugged you, told you they were being followed, and asked you to pretend to be their friend to scare off the danger? It's more common than you'd think. We opened the phones for stories like this.


What Trump's 2020 Budget Promises

Dana Milbank, Washington Post op-ed columnist covering national politics, discusses Trump's new budget proposal, and how it may break many of the promises he has made.


Can NYC Ever Be Lead Free?

Despite laws on the books for landlords to check apartments for lead, and respond to complaints, thousands of kids a year test positive for elevated lead levels. Christopher Werth, senior editor at the WNYC Narrative Unit, Matthew Chachère, staff lawyer at North Manhattan Improvement Corporation, and Cordell Cleare, activist in the fight against lead poisoning, talk about the continued fight to get the city to enforce its lead laws.