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

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.” 


PORTLAND, Maine - 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.  Maine hasn't yet been overrun by television advertising so far, but as Surprise points out, the fight for the 2nd Congressional District seat between Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin and Democratic challenger Emily Cain is underway over the air.

PORTLAND, Maine - Chet Lunner is a former editor of the Portland Evening Express newspaper. But the biggest story that he's encountered, by far, is the one that happened after he left journalism:  the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. By then, Lunner was working for the federal government. As the 15th anniversary of the attacks approaches, Lunner talks with MPBN's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about where he was that fateful day, what it meant for his career in government, and what worries him today.


PORTLAND, Maine - The Federal Reserve's latest "Beige Book" assessment of economic conditions is out, and for New England, it finds some economic growth, along with scattered signs that the rate of growth is slowing.

The Federal Reserve says sales of retailers ranged from down slightly to up 2.4 percent over a year ago.   Clothing and footwear are selling well, but furniture and other household goods are lagging.

The Fed contacted seven manufacturing firms, six of which said their business is improving.

University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings says the school has begun a revival.

For more, listen to the full interview:


PORTLAND, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage's latest remarks have drawn bi-partisan criticism. But whether that will translate into action against the governor is less than likely.

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge won’t be reopened to vehicle traffic. A gear failed over the weekend, preventing the bridge from lowering into its proper position.

State Transportation Department spokesman Ted Talbot says the fix is just too expensive.

“Extensive repairs, upward of $1 million worth of repairs, would have been needed to get this back operable,” he says. “And, even then, it wouldn’t be necessarily guaranteed to operate smoothly and efficiently, like we need to have it.”

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's metropolitan areas saw declines in unemployment in June.

Joblessness fell below 4 percent in all three of the state's urban areas: down to 3.8 percent in Bangor, 3.5 percent in Lewiston-Auburn, and 3 percent in Portland-South Portland.

All of those figures were not only below last month's numbers, but were also below the unemployment rates for June of 2015.

Maine's average unemployment rate statewide was 3.7 percent, two-tenths of a percent higher than May's rate.