On Point

Weekdays, 9am - 10am
  • Hosted by Tom Ashbrook


On Point is broadcast for two hours daily across the country on NPR. The show’s lively conversation covers everything from breaking news to ancient poetry, and features writers, politicians, journalists, artists, scientists and ordinary citizens from around the world.

Broadcast live from 10 a.m. to noon ET, with listener call-in, from WBUR in Boston, the show airs on more than 210 NPR stations coast to coast.

International relations in the COVID-19 era. Could the pandemic usher in a new spirit of global cooperation … or harden international distrust?

Devastation for American small businesses. Federal relief funds ran out almost instantaneously. More may be on the way, but what can be done to save small business?


Jonny Liu, owner and founder of Mantra Coffee in Azusa, California.

At a time when the public needs information, local news is taking a major hit from the coronavirus. Can local news survive the pandemic, just when it’s needed most?


David Folkenflik, On Point co-host. NPR media correspondent. (@davidfolkenflik)

End-of-life care that provides clarity and dignity. We talk about the challenges of providing palliative care in the middle of a pandemic.

A look at the Strategic National Stockpile. Where is it, what is it? What should it be used for? We’ll talk with the man who was once in charge of the whole thing.


Greg Burel, former director of the Strategic National Stockpile. (@GregBurel)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

Got a question or comment about learning in the time of COVID-19? You can email Stephanie Jones at

What do we really want our kids to learn in this moment in history? Two education professors say throw out academics, we simply need to teach kids how to be.

Asian Americans face a wave of intense racism during the coronavirus pandemic. George Takei reflects on our past and this present moment.


George Takei, actor and activist. (@GeorgeTakei)

The Race To Develop A Coronavirus Vaccine

Apr 14, 2020

How do you quickly develop a safe, effective vaccine in the middle of a historic global pandemic? We’ll ask researchers who are trying to do just that.


Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. (@BIDMChealth)

To hear the radio diary about the bar-turned-grocery store selling items to New Yorkers in need, click here.

New York City’s battle with COVID-19: full morgues, empty streets and a lot of questions about how and why the virus hit so hard and fast. We’ll look back at the trajectory of the disease, how the city and state responded and what lessons can be gleaned for other cities facing outbreaks.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins us to talk about her new book, “Hell and Other Destinations.” She also shares her observations about the coronavirus pandemic and lessons we can take away from it about working together to solve global problems.

Find the “Novel Coronavirus HealthMap” here. Find all of NEJM’s coronavirus coverage here

The editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine talks about what we’re learning about the coronavirus and how that might shape the month to come.

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting some communities much harder than others. We’ll take a look at the disproportionate toll it’s taking on African Americans.


Kat Stafford, national race and ethnicity reporter for The Associated Press. (@kat_stafford)

“The Good Place” creator Michael Schur joins us to talk about morals and being good during a global pandemic.


Michael Schur, creator of NBC’s “The Good Place,” a comedy about the afterlife and redemption. Co-creator of “Parks and Recreation.” Producer and writer for “The Office.” Author of “How To Be Good,” out in 2021. (@KenTremendous)

To beat COVID-19 we have to understand how it spreads in communities and how it works inside individual bodies. We’ll take a look at the virology and serology of the coronavirus.

Finding joy in the midst of overwhelming world events. Celebrating personal triumphs even more than you would before. We’ll talk about why levity may be exactly what we need in a pandemic.

Alicia Keys joins us to talk about the challenges and setbacks she’s faced on her path from girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen to global pop superstardom, and about why she believes music is the artistic medium that helps us rally and heal.

We look at how people are staying active at home and the psychological benefits of movement.


Judy Van Raalte, psychology professor and director of the Athletic Counseling program at Springfield College. (@SpfldCollege)

For years, Sherry Turkle has researched how technology is pushing people apart. But in the face of a global pandemic, is technological communication the thing that’s bringing us together?

“What if everything we’ve been told about human nature is wrong?” That’s the question Rebecca Solnit is asking. The author, activist and historian explores whether disasters like pandemics reveal a surprising truth – that human beings are more generous, more altruistic, more hopeful than we commonly believe.

As India locks down 1.3 billion people, the world’s largest democracy is taking unprecedented measures in the country to fight the spread of coronavirus. But will it be enough?


Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, professor of global health at the University of Washington. Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.

There was plenty of economic hardship before coronavirus hit. We’ll discuss what the crisis means for people who were already struggling.

Cases of coronavirus are skyrocketing across the U.S. We’ll talk about the public health crisis, and the politics and economics of the pandemic, in our week in review roundtable.


Paula Reid, CBS News correspondent covering the Justice Department, the White House and legal affairs. (@PaulaReidCBS)

We discuss how faith communities across America are worshiping together during the coronavirus outbreak.


Elaine Howard Ecklund, director of the religion and public life program at Rice University. Professor of sociology. (@RiceRPLP)

Find Jamil Zaki’s kindness challenge here.

Coronavirus framed in a different light: we’ll talk about acts of kindness popping up in communities around the country.

It’s been more than 100 years since all of humanity has had to respond to a global pandemic on the scale of coronavirus. We’ll take a deep look at the origins, responses and lessons of the flu pandemic of 1918.

Online learning. Can it really replace the learning and community that’s being lost as campuses across the country are closed?


Justin Reich, assistant professor in the comparative media studies and writing department at MIT. Faculty associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab. (@bjfr)

Long before coronavirus spread around the world, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was sounding the alarm about a different, quiet epidemic: loneliness. We’ll talk to him about why so many Americans are suffering from loneliness and what we can do to take better care of each other even as we’re asked to be physically apart.

The coronavirus outbreak has devastated financial markets and sent shockwaves across the economy as the nation prepares for negative growth and massive job loss in the coming months. We’ll dig into the causes and how Washington is responding.

Taking stock of an incredible week in a global pandemic. We’ll have the latest facts and figures, the science and politics, and how we’re all coping with the coronavirus crisis.


Rick Berke, Co-founder and executive editor of STAT, a media company focused on health, medicine and science. (@rickberke)

What shows are you bingeing while you’re stuck at home? What favorite movies are you turning to? We’ll talk with critics about what you’re watching while spending more time at home.