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.

Former U.S. diplomat Martin Indyk, who has spent his career trying to fix problems in the Middle East, says it’s time to rein in our grandiose vision for the region in exchange for something more attainable.


Martin Indyk, fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former U.S. ambassador to Israel. (@Martin_Indyk)

A thriving nation needs a growing economy … or does it? A lot of economists say maximum growth is bad for society and the planet, and they’re preaching slow-growth — or even no-growth — economics.

As N.H. voters head to the polls, we look back at the history of the state’s outsized influence in presidential elections and whether it’s time to loosen the Granite State’s grasp on primary politics.


Lauren Chooljian, politics reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio and host of the Stranglehold podcast. (@laurenchooljian)

Getting ready in New Hampshire after Iowa’s wobbly start. We’ll look ahead to what’s happening on the ground in the first-in-the-nation primary, and more.


Anthony Brooks, WBUR senior political reporter. (@anthonygbrooks)

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

Forget it, Jake. A new book examines the 1974 film “Chinatown” and the colorful, complicated and compromised Hollywood figures who made the troubling classic.


Sam Wasson, writer and social historian. Author of “The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood.”

Private companies like SpaceX are testing vehicles for manned space missions. We’ll peer out into the near future and next steps in human space exploration.


Ariel Ekblaw, founder and lead of MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative. (@ariel_ekblaw)

A digital fail severely delays the Iowa Democratic caucus results. Is it time to completely rethink electronic voting of all kinds in American elections?


Jessica Huseman, lead reporter for ProPublica’s “Electionland” project, which helps newsrooms across the country cover ballot access issues. (@JessicaHuseman)

As the world watches China deal with the spreading outbreak of coronavirus, we’ll take a step back and ask what China’s response says about how China is faring globally.

Have emergency rooms become the safety net of our healthcare system? We’ll speak with a doctor who says emergency care has turned into all care.


Dr. Amy Ho, an emergency physician in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Read here piece on emergency room overcrowding here. (@amyfaithho)

Caucus day in Iowa. We’ll talk about how Democratic candidates are trying to pull undecided Iowans into their corner. We’ll also look ahead to the New Hampshire primary, and next stages in the impeachment trial.


John Bresnahan, congressional bureau chief for Politico. (@BresPolitico)

We look ahead to Sunday’s Super Bowl and break down the big game between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.


Al Michaels, play-by-play voice for NBC’s Sunday Night Football. (@SNFonNBC)

Impeachment. Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Election 2020 latest. All unfolding at a critical moment. Our week in review panel will tackle the week’s big stories.


Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent at the New York Times. (@peterbakernyt)

Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. assassinated an Iranian general, Iran accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet and protesters took to the streets of Iran. So where are we now? We check in.


Farnaz Fassihi, reporter for the New York Times covering Iran. (@farnazfassihi)

The White House continues to make its case in the Senate impeachment trial. The president’s lawyers say he did nothing wrong. We’ll have the latest.

Deaths from the coronavirus surpass 130 in China. We’ll look back at lessons learned during the 2003 SARS outbreak and explore how to stop a pandemic today.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (@NIAIDNews)

Journalist and mother Sarah DiGregorio joins us to discuss her new book, “Early,” a deeply personal study of premature birth in the United States.


Sarah DiGregorio, author of “Early: An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human.” (@SarahDiGregorio)

Marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. And why three generations later, we must still never forget.


Anna Ornstein, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, scholar and writer. She is an Auschwitz survivor, who wrote about her experiences in the book “My Mother’s Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl.”

A new memoir reveals an unsavory depiction of tech startup culture. We’ll examine the influence of Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies — and how the public’s view of Big Tech is changing.

CRISPR, the breakthrough method for editing genes, has the potential to improve our lives. But one of its inventors warns us scientists may be tempted to change life itself — in ways we won’t like.


Jennifer Doudna, biochemist who helped invent CRISPR technology. Professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley.  (@doudna_lab)

It’s been 10 years since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Citizens United. We’ll look back at the last decade and take stock of the fallout.


Carrie Levine, senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity. (@levinecarrie)

The commercialization of the internet continues — those .org addresses nonprofits use may soon be owned by a for-profit company. We’ll talk about how it all works and what it means for the future of the internet.


Esther Dyson, founding chairwoman of ICANN from 1998 to 2000. (@edyson)

On the first day of President Trump’s impeachment trial, we reflect on the moment with two historians. They’ll share with us what they’ll be watching for and how past events might shed light on the present.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of a dream where his children would not be judged by the color of their skin. More than a half-century later, how should parents talk about race and justice with their kids now?


Melissa Giraud, social justice educator, researcher and advocate. Co-founder of EmbraceRace, an organization that provides resources for parents to teach their children about race. (@mgiraud)

What’s next for the impeachment inquiry? We’ll discuss the latest developments and look at new evidence still surfacing.


John Bresnahan, congressional bureau chief for Politico. (@BresPolitico)

Baseball’s sign-stealing scandal. We look at what’s fair and what’s foul in the state of baseball and sport.


Jeremy Schaap, host of the ESPN newsmagazines “Outside the Lines” and “E:60.” (@JeremySchaap)

Impeachment heads to the Senate. Democrats debate electability and gender. The U.S. and China strike a deal. The entire Russian government quits. The roundtable is here.


Kimberly Atkins, senior news correspondent for WBUR. (@KimberlyEAtkins)

Darlene Superville, White House reporter, Associated Press. (@dsupervilleap)

Pulitzer prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith spent a year traveling the country as U.S. poet laureate. Who did she meet — and what did she learn — about a nation that seems at odds with itself?

Boeing used to have high safety standards. One recently revealed employee email said the company now has a “culture of ‘good enough.'” What will it take to turn Boeing around?

Check out our past coverage of Boeing:

The latest news on the U.S.-Iran crisis. Democrats debate in Iowa. Impeachment trial developments. We look ahead to a busy week in the news.


Amna Nawaz, senior national correspondent and primary substitute anchor for PBS NewsHour. (@IAmAmnaNawaz)

The media’s coverage of Hollywood and lessons from press coverage of Harvey Weinstein.


Radhika Jones, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. She formerly served as the editorial director for the books department at The New York Times, deputy managing editor of Time and the managing editor of The Paris Review.  (@radhikajones)