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

It didn't take long for the new coronavirus to slow Maine's economy.  The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis says Maine's gross domestic product shrank at a 6.3% rate in the first quarter of this year.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

As Maine reopens, there are more places for residents to go - and now more ways for them to get there. In southern Maine, the Greater Portland Metro Bus service is returning to regular weekday service on several of its routes, while other transportation companies also gear up to restore services.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

Maine's bicentennial celebration has been muted by the coronavirus pandemic. But, 100 years ago this weekend, despite the Spanish flu, the state celebrated its centennial.

Courtesy Christopher Bouchard / Bangor Daily News

Times like these often turn previously ordinary citizens into activists. Such has been the case with George Floyd's death at the hands of police. Protests against racism and white supremacy have spread to numerous towns across the country and throughout Maine over the last month.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Maine Turnpike traffic is on the rebound after falling by half this year during the earlier days of the pandemic. Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills says the upward trend started two weekends ago, under sunny skies.

Michael C. York / AP File

Pan Am Railways, the biggest railroad in Maine and one of the largest regional railroads in the company, is for sale. The railroad was assembled by financier Timothy Mellon in the early 1980s. Mellon bought the Maine Central, Boston and Maine, and Delaware and Hudson and merged them into the Guilford Transportation System.

The job markets in Maine’s three major urban areas began to recover in May. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released the data Wednesday.

Tom Porter / Maine Public File

State Education Commissioner Pender Makin told legislators Tuesday it could cost the state $328 million more to reopen public schools this fall.

Mark Fisher / National Geographic

To better understand the forces and effects of climate change, National Geographic funded a mission last year to Mount Everest. The expedition was documented in a special called "Expedition Everest," which will air Tuesday night on the National Geographic Channel. The lead scientist on the expedition was the University of Maine's Paul Mayewski, who heads UMaine's Climate Change Institute.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Unity College will continue remote learning when its new school year begins.  Unity, like most colleges, finished its spring semester with remote learning. 

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Maine Hospitals and physicians are the latest to warn that they will need financial help because of losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals are asking the state for $100 million in assistance, while independent physicians are seeking $20 million.

The town of Lincoln has been roiled by a number of racially insensitive or racist social media posts made by town and school officials and a local policeman in the last few days. Tony Hallett, a reporter for The Lincoln News, has been following the issue. Hallett talked with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about the posts and how the town is being affected by them.

Before the pandemic hit, Mainers personal income was on the rise.  That's according to federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, which reported Tuesday that Mainers' personal income rose 3.1% in the first quarter of this year.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Bowdoin College says only about one-third of its students will return to campus this fall. President Clayton Rose says planning for how to conduct the fall semester was based on considering the health of people on campus and off.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

After soaring in April to 10.4%, Maine’s unemployment rate retreated last month to 9.3%. The Maine Department of Labor reported Friday that private sector employers added 18,400 jobs, as pandemic restrictions on business began to ease, allowing some business activity to resume.