Joseph Cooper

Host Topical Currents

WLRN Radio's Joseph Cooper says producing and hosting Topical Currents is the most rewarding experience of his long radio career, which began at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in the 1970s.

"It's now an obsession, but I never thought talk radio would be in my future. The wide, wide range of topics, research and reading keeps me hustling all week," he says. "It's similar to a daily newspaper column because, essentially, we write an essay to frame each show before conducting the interviews and taking calls and then it all starts over again for the next day's program."

Topical Currents is put together by a small production team, which includes producer Richard Ives and technical director Bonnie Berman. Syndicated food and dining columnist Linda Gassenheimer frequents the program, as well as a handful of expert regular contributors and regional reporters.

Topical Currents is a sub-tropical blend of regional issues and politics, local profiles, author interviews, "At Your Service" programs, South Florida history and any topic listeners might banter about around the proverbial "water cooler." It was first broadcast in January 1999.

Cooper is often asked to name his "favorite" interview subject.

"Hmmmm," he says with the hint of a smile. "Not necessarily the celebrities or famous authors but the one I've just done. Well usually.

Ways to Connect

(3-1-2017) Has any city had as much influence on Miami as the one to the south, separated by ocean and politics?

That city of course, is Havana. With five centuries of history, it struggled with piracy and slavery, was in constant revolution against Spain, and a tenuous relationship with the Americans.

We speak with author Mark Kurlansky, whose latest work is HAVANA:  A Subtropical Delirium.

(3-2-2017) Charcoal Restaurant Chef/owner Ken Lyon. He’s a caterer, past owner of Fratelli Lyon in the Design District and now his new venture is in  Wynwood Yard. The restaurant is constructed from used shipping containers.  It has a unique menu based on two Josper ovens.  These are closed ovens that are fueled by charcoal. He will bring food to taste.

Restaurant News: Laine Doss gives a restaurant review. 

Dinner in Minutes:

Wasabi Crusted Salmon with Pan Roasted Ginger Corn and Broccoli  - a simple sauce gives salmon an Asian flavor – and in minutes

(3-2-2017) Today’s Topical Currents focuses on The Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews, now named "MCCJ", its annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner, and the prestigious Silver Medallion Award, for advancing respect among people of all cultures, religions and races.

(2-28-2017) On today’s Topical Currents, we visit with Dr. John Kelly, the President of Florida Atlantic University.  FAU serves more than 30,000 students on six campuses along more than 100 miles of Florida’s east coast.  Its main campus is in Boca Raton, but it is the lead state university for Broward County.  It operates the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in St. Lucie County’s Fort Pierce.

Learn more about F-A-U with its President, Dr. John Kelly

(2-27-2017, originally aired 8-31-2016) Today’s Topical Currents recounts the history of Miami’s Virginia Key, and its place in South Florida civil rights history.

Historically, Virginia Key Beach had been an area of approved African-American recreation area.  They were prohibited on all other beaches.  In the ‘50s and ‘60s, it was a vibrant, but still strictly segregated area.

(2-23-2017) The Mango Gang Reunited -  interviews with 3 of the original gang, in studio, Chef Norman Van Aken and Chef Allen Susser, by phone Chef Mark Militello.  They talk about how the gang started and how their style of cooking changed the South Florida Culinary scene. Also a look at the South Florida restaurant scene with Matt Meltzer.

(2-23-2017) How many listening now really have a handle on what services your mobile phone offers, what you’re using, and what fees are involved?

Today’s Topical Currents begins with Sun-Sentinel columnist Doreen Christensen, and “Doreen’s Deals.”  She’s done the work . . . just listen for answers, concerning new deals on cell phone services.

(2-22-2017) Today’s Topical Currents celebrates 70 years of UNICEF:  The United Nations International Children’s Education Fund.  Worldwide, countless numbers of children have been helped . . . but the work also goes on in South Florida, in both high school and University.

(2-22-2017) On today's Topical Currents, we look at the art of living clutter free. 

Impossible?  Probably.  So we’ll speak with professional organizer, Amanda Sullivan.

She’s even helped hoarders, so what you consider a mess is probably easy to consolidate.

One trick:  Just take a minute or two before bed to tidy up a bit.  She calls it, “a last sweep.”

(2-21-2017)  Today’s Topical Currents features Sebrina Maria Alfonso, conductor of Fort Lauderdale’s South Florida Symphony Orchestra.

The talented Maestra answersthe question, “why aren’t there more female classical music conductors?” 

In concerts throughout our region next week, Sebrina Maria Alfonso conducts works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff and Nielsen.

(2-14-2017) Today’s Topical Currents begins with geophysicist Dr. Stephen Haggerty, a Distinguished Research Professor at F-I-U. 

Among other things, Haggerty researches diamonds—and gives evidence about their cosmic origins.

Also, Valentine’s Day  relationship (and "non-relationship) tips, with life & motivation coach, Barb Boschetto

(2-13-2017) Today’s Topical Currents is an “At Your Service” South Florida Gardening edition.  It’s been quite a mild South Florida winter, so far.  

We call upon Broward Master Gardeners Dr. John Pipoly and Teri Goldsmith for advice about gardens, landscapes, fertilization and pest control.

And of course . . . we take your gardening calls.

mastergardener@broward.org

www.broward.org/parks

(2-9-2017) Linda Gassenheimer's Food and Dining: Valentine’s treats, with Salty Donuts' Chef Max Santiago. Are donuts taking over the spotlight from cupcakes? He talks about why they are becoming so popular, secrets to a great donut, and he brings some for us to taste – including a surprise Valentine's special.

(2-9-2017) Today’s Topical Currents features a look at one of the most fabulous South Florida attractions . . . Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.  The beautiful Italian palace on Biscayne Bay celebrates its Centennial this year.

(2-8-2017) Today’s Topical Currents looks at the Miami Today newspaper, which has served the business community for more than 30 years.  We visit with the paper’s driving forces:  editor Michael Lewis, and its Vice-President, Carmen Betancourt-Lewis.

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