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

PORTLAND, Maine - This year’s Maine ballot features five citizen-initiated referenda and a bond issue. Maine Public’s Irwin Gratz talked with longtime political columnist Al Diamon to get his thoughts on the issues and the campaigns being waged around the measures. Al writes the column, “Politics and Other Mistakes,” for several Maine publications.


PORTLAND, Maine - Several southern Maine water utilities now have plans for how they might share water resources in the future.

Norm Labbe, of the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water district, says the plan isn't a direct response to the recent drought.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

BRUNSWICK, Maine-  A number of visitors,  and one Downeaster passenger train, were able to escape Saturday's downpour by ducking into a new rail facility set to go online next month. 

PORTLAND, Maine - A survey done for Colby College and the Boston Globe shows a growing, bi-partisan desire for compromise on political issues.  

Dan Shea, a professor of government at Colby's Goldfarb Center, says the most recent poll results show a shift in attitudes over the last six years:

"Spring of 2010, very few strong conservatives and Republicans wanted to compromise," Shea says. "I think that they thought they were going to win the mid-term election - which, of course, they did.  And they sort of stuck with that for a while.  Now that's changed."

PORTLAND, Maine - Water flows in the Mattawamkaeg, Piscataquis and Saint John Rivers have fallen to levels not seen in 80 or more years of record keeping.

National Weather Service forecaster Maureen Hastings, in Caribou, says the low-flow readings are a sign of growing drought conditions in parts of northern Maine.

"Something interesting we had seen coming through some local social media is that the rivers are so low people are able to walk across them," Hastings says. "And that includes the Saint John River, so, of course, that may have some issues there."

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

HERMON, Maine - Brenda Garrand, Sam Surprise and Irwin Gratz usually gather to talk about political advertising - how it looks and sounds, the strategies that may lie behind it.

PORTLAND, Maine - It rained Sunday - all day if you were along the coast.   And that's news, of course, because of the drought that has been intensifying across the state.

As much as an inch of rain fell along the coast from Portland to Bar Harbor. But Tom Hawley, the hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, says not everyone got wet. 

"The most rain fell right along the coastal plain.  Once you got up into the mountains there was very little.  A tenth of an inch of less.  Some places up in the mountains didn't get anything."

There will be an electoral rematch in Maine next month.

Democrat Emily Cain will try to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who won Maine’s 2nd District seat in a contest against Cain two years ago.

University of Maine at Farmington political science professor Jim Melcher talked with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about the race.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Red Cross workers are already in Florida, helping the state with its response to Hurricane Matthew.  One of them is Aly Finn, who's currently in Sarasota.

"I'm starting as a shelter worker.  So, working in a shelter and basically doing all those things we have to do to meet the needs of the clients," Finn says. "And then I'll probably be switching over to a planning function, which will really give us the time to say, 'How can we mitigate some of these storms in the future? How can we make sure we're more prepared?"

University of New England

Donald Trump has announced another rally in Bangor a week from tomorrow. He’s trying to pry at least one electoral vote out of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

A poll released last month by the Portland Press Herald-Maine Sunday Telegram indicated he might just pull that off.

University of New England political science professor Brian Duff talked with Irwin Gratz about the presidential campaigns in Maine this year.

Gov. Paul LePage says he will use his next budget to push for fewer school superintendents.

“We’re spending the money on the administration of our schools and not in the classroom,” he says, speaking on WVOM Radio Tuesday.

LePage says far more populous states get by with far fewer administrators.

“The state of Florida, who ranks No. 7 in the best education system in America, has 3 million kids with 64 superintendents,” he says.

Maine Public/File

For this campaign season, MPBN is reuniting Sam Surprise and Brenda Garrand for their takes on campaign advertising. Surprise heads Surprise Advertising, Garrand is president of Garrand & Company.

We return to the race between Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin and Democratic challenger Emily Cain. As Garrand tells Maine Public Radio’s Irwin Gratz, that’s because some campaigns have yet to engage.

PORTLAND, Maine - Personal income in Maine rose seven-tenths of a percent in this year's 2nd quarter, federal figures show, but Maine still ranks 45th among states.

Earnings generated more than half of the increase, reflecting a rise in paychecks being seen around the nation. 

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine State police are still trying to untangle what happened last night that led to the shooting death of a Biddeford man.  

Maine Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland says there were several people at the apartment building at the time of the shooting.

"The shooting occurred about 1 o'clock this morning," McCausland says. "There were a number of people there, and our task now is to determine the circumstances of this shooting, which means interviewing a number of people."

The dead man is identified as Jonathan Methot, 30.  

Courtesy Suja Thomas

PORTLAND, Maine - They are the embodiment of the U.S. legal system:  a trial held before a jury of one’s peers.  But jury trials are happening less-and-less frequently. 

It’s the subject of a recently published book by Professor Suja Thomas of the University of Illinois College of Law, “The Missing American Jury:  Restoring the Fundamental Constitutional Role of the Criminal, Civil and Grand Juries.”