Category Archives: On Point

A word from Jonathan Dyer, EP of On Point

“How can you be a patriot in a country you no longer recognize?” That phrase has stuck with me. I was listening to retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson reveal how his long-time boss and friend, General Colin Powell, had come to reflect on that question in the days following the mob attack on the Capitol on January 6th. It had struck Wilkerson, too, when he read it on the cover flap of John Le Carre’s latest and final book, Silverview. 

Wilkerson was talking in a pre-recorded interview for On Point that we thought would be part of the next day’s show reflecting on the life of the former Secretary of State. I dropped into the studio to check in on how it was going — and the body language from the crew in the control room told me everything I needed to know. In cinematic detail, Wilkerson was describing the machinations behind Colin Powell’s speech at the UN in 2003, making the case for war in Iraq. At the time, Wilkerson was in charge of assembling the US intelligence used in Powell’s address. While writing the presentation, Wilkerson recalled Powell grabbing him by his jacket, shoving him into a room at the CIA and shouting at him, “I am sick and tired of this crap (not the word Powell actually used) on terrorism and terrorists, I’m not gonna present it.”  

The story of what happened next, as told by Wilkerson, was itself like something from a John Le Carre novel. It’s one of the most remarkable interviews Meghna has done all year and we rapidly made the decision that it would fill the entire hourWilkerson told us that he had received some 200 interview requests in the days after Powell’s death, but said yes to only one: On Point.  

I have long thought that behind great radio are great relationships; relationships that we have with our listeners and relationships that we build with our guests and interviewees. The listener places their trust in a host they connect with and the same is true for the people we invite onto On Point. So often, people open up to Meghna because they feel like they know her — and  they know she’s deeply intellectually curious and profoundly empathetic. 

It was incredibly rewarding to read similar observations about Meghna in the recent APM survey about what you’re hearing during On Point, and in our series, Amazon: The Prime Effect and The Longest WarMany listeners are giving you “great feedback about Meghna’s hosting and probing intelligence,” noting that it’s “a real differentiator from other shows.” And it sounds like we’re hitting the mark in producing shows that offer “the balance between deeply researched yet conversational and approachable.” A big thank you to everyone who took the survey and shared feedback, we appreciate your input. 

And speaking of special series from On Point, new ones are in the works. Look out for announcements about signature programming rolling out in February and April. 

And finally, I have to share this photograph of On Point Senior Editor Dorey Scheimer and Meghna Chakrabarti receiving the National Edward R. Murrow Award for news documentary (large market radio) at a gala celebration in New York’s Gotham Hall last month — Dorey’s smile says it all. I have written here before that I know On Point is not a documentary series, but this honor shows the power of what a show like ours can do and how we can reimagine what it means to be a modern radio program. I was more than glad to be there in Gotham Hall, along with a few other senior leaders and winning journalists from WBUR, proving that with a Covid vaccine and a negative Covid test you can party like it’s … 2021. 

Jonathan Dyer 

Executive Producer, On Point

On Point is looking for your feedback

Please provide input by October 31

On Point has spent the last several months covering Amazon – and how it shapes the global economy and how we live and work today – in their broadcast series, “The Prime Effect.” From this reporting, which ran as episodes of On Point, they also produced a three-part series of hour-long specials for you to air in July, August and September.

The On Point team is seeking station feedback on this recent series, as well as any overall feedback on the show. Thank you in advance for taking this brief 5-minute survey to provide your input. We will share your feedback with On Point for their consideration. Please provide your input by October 31.


A word from Jonathan Dyer, EP of On Point: August 2021

Hello there,

When I last wrote in May, I had been Executive Producer of On Point for just three months — and it was day one for our series, Amazon: The Prime Effect. Amazon has proved the perfect case study for the On Point treatment. It impacts our lives in so many more ways than most of us appreciate with an intentionality that is little recognized. The series has demonstrated how a show like On Point can deliver smartly produced, vibrant, original journalism.

Host Meghna Chakrabarti and Senior Editor Dorey Scheimer have taken us on quite a journey since then. In episode one, we learned just how relentless Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, was in his ambition from the outset. It’s fair to say that ‘relentless’ was a corporate value. Type ‘’ into your web browser if you need confirmation of that.

As we were putting together the episode about Amazon Web Services (AWS) , the company’s cloud computing arm, we tried estimating just how much of what we access online every day relies on AWS. Tim Bray, a leading engineer and former vice president of AWS, told us that Amazon has 50% of the cloud computing market, which is behind, in his words, “a very high proportion of things we access on the internet every day.” That Zoom call you were just on and the Netflix drama you binge-watched last weekend were both supported by AWS. Yes, Netflix relies on its biggest competitor to deliver its own product. What kind of power does that give Amazon? We should know that and that’s why I believe a project like The Prime Effect is essential listening for the public radio audience.

Most recently, in Episode 7, we learned that Amazon has partnered with more than 1,800 law enforcement agencies to enable them to access the Neighbors Public Safety Service — a digital platform that connects emergency services with Ring camera customers. Critics call Ring the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen. And to think that 20 years ago Amazon was primarily known for selling books and CDs. We hope your audiences have found the series engaging and insightful; and don’t forget, some of these episodes are available as specials in APM’s quarterly specials package.

This week, as violence and chaos unfolds in Afghanistan, we’re hard at work, preparing an exploration of America’s longest running war for our next series to follow The Prime Effect. What can we understand from looking back over the twenty years since 9/11? We promise deep, rich, powerful conversations in this series slated for September, as On Point — which began as “special coverage” after 9/11 — marks its own twentieth anniversary.

I’d be remiss not to share that the On Point team was humbled, and yet exceedingly proud, to be honored by The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) with the 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Award. Announced on Aug. 17, we won in the News Documentary category for What the President Knew. For this episode, we analyzed the early days before 9/11 and the COVID pandemic through the eyes of people who were at senior positions in the White House and national security services. The hour revealed what factors influence moments when Presidents make decisions that do not protect the safety of the American people. 

We are happy to talk to you about these episodes or any others. Share your feedback or questions about the show, anytime. Please reach out to your station relations representative – they’re always interested to hear from you! Keep an eye out for future communications from the On Point team – you’ll be hearing from us every few months. And I hope to run into you, virtually at least, at the PRPD conference next month. And thanks.

Jonathan Dyer
Executive Producer, On Point

On Point has a new Executive Producer: Jonathan Dyer joins the show on Feb. 16.

Jonathan Dyer: Executive Producer, On Point

Jonathan was Managing Editor at The World for more than a decade, a key figure in the leadership team overseeing more than 30 journalists in Boston and London. He also created and edited Boston Calling, a weekly BBC World Service broadcast and podcast heard by millions of global listeners.

Before that, Jonathan was part of the senior team that devised and launched The Takeaway. He got his start at the BBC as an engineer and has a keen understanding of every aspect that goes into getting a daily show on the air.