Irwin Gratz

Morning Edition Producer

Irwin was born and reared in New York City and, while he never hiked miles to school, he did walk up six flights of stairs every day to the apartment his family lived in until he was nearly 19. Irwin remains a lover of subway rides, egg creams, and the New York Mets.

He moved to Maine in 1978 and worked a dozen years in commercial radio in Sanford, then Portland, before beginning to freelance for Maine Public Radio in 1990. He has been the local anchor of Morning Edition since September 1992.

Irwin served as chairman of the Maine Association of Broadcasters in 2015. From September 2004 to October 2005, Irwin served as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization. He holds a master’s in journalism from New York University. Irwin won a Yankee Quill Award in 2011 from the New England Newspaper and Press Association for his “broad influence for good, both inside and outside the newsroom.”

Irwin also has an interest in astronomy, which he indulges to this day as an occasional show presenter at the Southworth Planetarium in Portland. And he swims, a lot. Irwin has completed seven Peaks Island-to-Portland swims. Irwin is married and has a teenage son.

Ways to Connect

Troy R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News

Thursday's Bangor Daily News - and Maine Public's Maine Calling program Thursday afternoon - will be focusing on so-called "sober houses." Haven't heard that term before?  You're not alone.

Portland Jetport is resuming flight operations, after a twin-engine propeller plane made a belly landing there Thursday morning.

No one was injured, but the incident forced a number of inbound flights to divert to other airports, and it left outbound travelers stranded for a couple of hours. The aircraft involved was lifted, its landing gear deployed, and was towed off the runway.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Federal Aviation Administration's database shows the plane is registered to a small Waterville carrier.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

Some students at Cheverus High School in Portland have gotten a lesson in current immigration issues: They made a trip to the southern border region with teacher Haley Malm. "It's definitely asking kids to come out of their comfort zone," Malm says. "And, it's not your typical fun summer camp."  One of the students Malm recruited was Danielle Whyte, who had just completed her freshman year at Cheverus.  Whyte spoke about the experience with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

The federal government says Mainer's personal income grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year. That was just above the national growth rate, 4.3 percent, and just below the New England average, which was 4.8 percent.

The unemployment rates in Maine’s three urban areas remained pretty low in May.  

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that unemployment in Bangor was 3 percent, in Lewiston-Auburn 2.8 percent, and in Portland-South Portland 2.4 percent. 

All of those figures were unchanged from April and at or below the comparable state figure of 3.1 percent.

A solid economy and an aging workforce are both acting to hold down unemployment in the state.   

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The campaign over a home health care initiative on the November ballot began Tuesday – with its opponents.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

This weekend, Maine 1st District U.S. House Rep. Chellie Pingree went to the U.S. border in Texas, as part of a delegation of Democrats from New England who visited a dentention center for immigrants there.  Pingree tells Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz what she found out.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Friday is the last official day on the job for Maine Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais. He's been at his post a record seven years, and he shared lessons learned on the job with Maine Public’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Portland activists are asking Maine's congressional delegation to do something about the changes to asylum procedures that were announced yesterday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions said the United States will no longer grant asylum strictly on the basis of a threat of domestic violence.

These new guidelines could dash the hopes of many of the women seeking refuge in the United States, says Alain Nahimana, the executive director of The Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center.

Maine Public

The ranked-choice voting system is forcing candidates to think about how they are campaigning, and it will also make voters think twice about their choice. But perhaps no group has more to think about than municipal clerks, the people who will conduct next week's vote.

Whether you touch a screen, fill in an oval or put an X in a box, the way you vote changes next week. And that means changes for people like Sandra Fournier. "It's very stressful,” she says.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The Republican candidates in Maine's gubernatorial primary race are now hitting the airwaves with ads. Brenda Garrand and Sam Surprise have been watching them closely, and are back to comment on what they see and hear. 

Garrand is the owner of Garrand Mohlenkamp, Surprise runs Surprise Advertising. Garrand is also on Maine Public's board of trustees.  They gathered in our Portland studios earlier this week with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Editor's Note:  This interview was recorded late last month, and, since then, Mary Mayhew has released some campaign ads.

There was little change last month in the labor markets of Maine’s largest urban areas.  The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a .1 percent decline in joblessness in each of the three regions:  Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn, and Portland-South Portland.  

The unemployment rate in Bangor now stands at 3 percent, Lewiston-Auburn at 2.8 percent and Portland-South Portland 2.4 percent.  The statewide unemployment rate in April was 3.1 percent.

Veterans from the Falmouth American Legion Post 164 in the Memorial Day Parade
Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

On Memorial Day, Mainers across the state remembered those who died while serving in this nation’s armed forces.

During a commemoration Monday morning in Falmouth, Chief of Police Ed Tolan, told those assembled that, since the first shots were fired in Lexington and Concord, American men and woman have answered the call.

“Take the time, not just on Memorial Day, but every day to say thank you to a veteran and keep the fallen in your thoughts,” Tolan says. “And as a country we made promises to out veterans to honor the fallen and we need to keep those promises.”

Maine Department of Public Safety

If you hit the road this weekend, you'll have plenty of company. The Maine Turnpike is expecting an increase of 1.5 percent in Memorial Day weekend travel over last year's Memorial Day weekend.

Turnpike Authority spokesperson Erin Courtney says some things won't change, like the busiest times on the toll road.

"We definitely see the most traffic at the York toll plaza. Typically on Friday coming in; the hours of 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. there's typically heavy traffic there, and then again on Monday."

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

Campaign ads are finally filling the airwaves, especially in the top-of-the-ticket primaries for governor, Congress and Maine's 2nd District.  Brenda Garrand and Sam Surprise are back to comment on what they see and hear.  Garrand is the owner of Garrand Mohlenkamp, Surprise runs Surprise Advertising. Garrand is also on Maine Public's board of trustees.  They gathered in our Portland studios with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.