Q&A: All Things Considered and weekend hosts Mary Engisch, Marlon Hyde and Jenn Jarecki
We recently announced a new local radio host lineup for All Things Considered, our afternoon news magazine program from NPR, as well as weekend mornings and early afternoons.
Co-hosts Jenn Jarecki, a Vermont Public producer, and Mary Williams Engisch, weekend host since 2019, will shape the local news and sound of All Things Considered, which airs weekdays from 4-6:30 p.m. Jarecki will host Mondays and Fridays with Engisch hosting Tuesday-Thursday.
Engisch also will continue hosting on Saturdays from 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. Vermont Public News Fellow Marlon Hyde will host Sundays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mitch Wertlieb will continue to host Morning Edition.
We caught up with the trio recently; here are some things you probably don’t know about them.
What drew you to hosting a live radio program?
Mary: As a kid who struggled with communication, I knew I could always turn on the nearest radio and find voices there who could verbalize bigger concepts, make sense of the news of the day or explain feelings in ways I couldn’t. To this day, that one-on-one, direct connection with live radio helps me build my own language, communication and comprehension skills. Now, my hope is that connection provides the same thing for someone else.
Marlon: When I was little, anytime I was in the car with my parents we had the radio on. In New York there is a wide variety of stations, and I always thought it would be awesome for my voice to be what people heard as they are going about their business of the day. In college I had the opportunity to run my own radio show and I loved it. The show was based around hip-hop, Caribbean culture, and storytelling. People would walk through the student center bobbing their heads and just show love for the show. When a hosting opportunity opened up at Vermont Public, I jumped. The rush I get from live hosting is a great feeling.
Jenn: I've been an All Things Considered fan for years and felt bonded to the show well before I ever, ahem, considered throwing my hat in the ring to host it. My career at Vermont Public began in development, but when I transitioned to programming producer this past spring, substitute hosting All Things Considered and Morning Edition became integral aspects of my new role. After just a few live shows — and a lot of training, patience, and insight from my wonderful colleagues — I was hooked. Hosting a live radio program that is committed to science, evidence, and fact-based news — one I already listened to and admired — felt like a natural fit.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Mary: I’m often of three minds each day: thinking about the latest local news and how national news affects us, gardening information, and Vermont music. That’s because I’m often working simultaneously on All Things Gardening, Safe & Sound and news interviews!
What’s something our audience might find surprising about you?
Marlon: My focus in high school was electrical wiring and installation. I can say my ABCs in under four seconds and I can talk really fast. I am not a good singer. I’m a huge tech nerd and I LOVE IT.
Jenn: Take your pick: I have a fraternal twin sister. I'm actually an introvert! I'm a graduate of North Hero Elementary and Rice Memorial High School. I've lived in North Hero, Burlington, South Burlington, Richmond, Montpelier, Duxbury, Jonesville, and Monkton (and Fresno, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Piedmont, Somerville, and Pittsburgh). I don't believe I'm related to Eugene.
Mary: I played football in junior high. I’m the youngest of 8. I lived in LA for 5 years. I owned and operated a small vegan cupcake/food business.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
Jenn: Definitely a morning person! Although guest hosting Morning Edition has taught me that I may not be that early of a morning person...
What’s one word that always trips you up?
Mary: It’s two words and they often appear together in newscasts - “Brattleboro” and “community.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
Marlon: I love storytelling, creating podcasts, cooking, and playing sports.
Jenn: My sentimental film favorite remains Hal Ashby's 1971 romantic dark comedy Harold and Maude. There's one scene in particular that is burned into my brain, and heart...Harold and Maude are sitting by the water, looking out toward the sunset, when Harold gives Maude a costume ring he'd bought during one of their adventures. He had the ring engraved to say, "Harold loves Maude." Maude reads the message aloud, and then says tenderly, "and Maude loves Harold" before promptly tossing the ring into the water. Harold gasps, but Maude holds out her arm and says "so I always know where it is." It's within this perfectly timed, beautifully written, expertly acted scene that we see, for so brief a moment that I've talked to viewers who missed it entirely, Maude's concentration camp tattoo, making her gesture — for this fan — completely unforgettable.
What’s the last great thing you read?
Marlon: Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God
Jenn: James Baldwin's Another Country. The first (violent, electric) chapter may be the most engrossing opening chapter of a novel I've ever read.
Mary: Katherine May’s The Electricity of Every Living Thing. The author decides to walk 630 miles on the coast of England to figure out why she was no longer coping well with everyday life. This approach mirrors my own in many ways - take the farthest route possible to untangle the thing that is right in front of you.
What’s your favorite food?
Jenn: Although I was a vegetarian for the better part of a decade, the pandemic changed things and, as it turns out, I roast a pretty darn tasty chicken! I start by covering the entire chicken with butter so that the rub paprika, herbs de Provence, brown sugar, dried thyme, salt, and pepper — really takes hold. Then I stuff it with fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme from our garden, alongside apples, pears, pomegranates, and oranges. Chef's kiss emoji here!
Marlon: My favorite food is fried sweet plantains. Plantains are the Caribbean cousin to the banana and it sweetens as they get ripe. My family came to the U.S. from Jamaica in the 90s. Whenever I would come home or go to grandma's house someone would be frying plantains. Between the sound of the oil popping and the sweet scent, I always walked through the door with a smile on my face.
Why public media?
Jenn: For me, it's fundamental, and comes down to trust. For-profit media isn't required to report deeply investigated stories, deliver fact and evidence-based news, or display truth in the advertising they allow. In other words, they aren't free from undue influence by design. I have little interest — or trust — in news organizations that must generate profit for shareholders and advertisers above all else. Public media, however, is free from undue influence, by design — we're talking about science, evidence, and fact-based news and entertainment that is accountable to its audience, not its contributors and underwriters.