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 for 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 7 Peaks Island-to-Portland swims. Irwin is married and has a teenage son.

Ways to Connect

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

Northern Ireland trade consultant Mark O'Connell will tell a Maine audience Thursday that he's taking a wait-and-see approach to Donald Trump's election and the British vote to exit the European Union.


"We all need, sometimes, to be given a little bit of a, sort of, wake-up call,” O’Connell says, “that what we've been doing forever - effectively or ineffectively - may not be, you know, sustainable.


Maine’s unemployment rate was 3 percent last month, unchanged from March.

State Labor official Glenn Mills says the state’s labor market is pretty tight right now and that’s starting to show up in worker paychecks.

FILE: Senate Armed Services Senate Committee member Sen. Angus King, I-Maine questions Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Maine Senator Angus King told the PBS Newshour last night, the Senate Intelligence Committee will have to meet with new special counsel Robert Mueller to coordinate the investigations into Russian meddling and the Trump Administration:

“We don’t want to get in each others way, King said. “We don’t want to offer immunity, or have them offer immunity that would compromise either one of our investigations.”

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

An index of real estate activity in Maine has hit a new high.  

"It's pretty exciting," says Paul Peck, president of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association. "The real estate market is strong. All segments are strong. It's great for employment. It's great for the state. It's great for tax revenue."

Peck says the state's major urban areas and their immediate suburbs are seeing the strongest growth. He says developers are building a mix of residential, retail and commercial projects, reflecting modern desires to live in more walkable communities.

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday that it may be time for the Justice Department to look at the possibility of appointing an independent counsel to investigate questions surrounding President Trump's dealings with former FBI chief James Comey.

But Collins, a Republican, told NPR's Morning Edition, "we may have it backwards. Perhaps it would be more effective if the congressional hearings and investigation were completed.  Because that would be a far broader inquiry and more evidence will come out."

Maine ended last year with sluggish economic growth.  

Figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that the state's gross domestic product grew by a rate of less than 1 percent - seven-tenths of a percent - in the fourth quarter of 2016.  

That was slightly better than the four-tenths of a percent growth rate in the third quarter, but well shy of the more than 3 percent growth rate the state generated in the final quarter of 2015.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press/file

Republican members of Maine's congressional delegation continue to resist calls for a special prosecutor in the wake of President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, splitting with their Democratic counterparts on the issue.

Sen. Susan Collins says she remains confident that the FBI can investigate any Trump campaign ties to Russia.  Collins spoke to the PBS Newshour Tuesday, shortly after Comey's firing.

PORTLAND, Maine - Gas prices in Maine are down nearly four cents a gallon over the past week.  

Patrick DeHahn, an analyst with online price tracker Gas Buddy, says several factors are at work, including lower demand in the U.S.

"As we approach the summer driving season, there's an anticipation that demand goes up," DeHahn says, "and, so far at least this year, demand has been off of last year's high.  According to the Energy Information Administration, year-to-date consumption is down by about 3.5 percent."

Joel Page / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine - When Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage nominated a successor to Public Advocate Tim Schneider, perhaps no one was more surprised at his choice than the man he picked, Barry Hobbins. Hobbins, a longtime Democratic state legislator, will go before a legislative confirmation hearing May 9.  Hobbins talks with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

University of Maine System Trustees have approved a first step in the University of Southern Maine's master plan:  They've given the green light to an $80 million capital campaign.  

Most of that money will pay for construction of a 1,000-seat performing arts center on the Portland campus. USM President Glenn Cummings says the facility will serve several functions.

Learn about the latest news from outside Earth’s orbit. We'll discuss NASA's Casini space probe and its discoveries around Saturn; prospects of lunar space tourism, and, the latest on the search for Planet X.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - How do we get - and keep - people healthy? Some would say a visit to the doctor is a must. But Ron Deprez, president of the Public Health Research Institute in Deer Isle, tells Irwin Gratz that’s only part of the answer. The rest is detailed in a recent Maine Policy Review article Deprez wrote entitled “Population Health Improvement.” Here's an excerpt of their conversation.

Population Health Improvement is a new way to look at the health status of a community that focuses on the population's health, not solely a patient's. We'll learn why some believe this perspective can offer a better way to address a number of health problems in communities, including: obesity, diabetes, food security, behavioral health and drug addiction.

Guests:  Ron Deprez, president of the Public Health Research Institute (Deer Isle, Maine) and an associate research professor at the University of New England.

PORTLAND, Maine - South Portland and Scarborough will conduct pilot projects soon in collecting food waste for composting. 

South Portland's pilot will begin in May.  Travis Wagner, an Environmental Policy Professor at the University of Southern Maine, will be evaluating the program, "trying to figure out the percentage of people that participate on a weekly basis, and then trying to measure the amount of food waste that's actually collected."

Wagner also says he'll try to talk with participants to find out if there were any "barriers" to their participation.   

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram launch a series this Sunday that attempts to put a human face on the opioid crisis.  Maybe too many faces, says Dieter Bradbury, the publication's deputy managing editor for news.  Bradbury spoke about the series with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host, Irwin Gratz.