Michael Monks

Host of Cincinnati Edition

Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.

He's the publisher/editor/chief reporter for Northern Kentucky's River City News website who spends his weeknights covering city government or school board meetings.

Ways to Connect

ce friday
Jim Nolan / WVXU

In 2011, Hamilton County's infant mortality rate ranked the second worst in the nation. Thanks to efforts by local organizations and agencies over the last several years there has been an improvement – last year the county recorded the lowest number of infant deaths in its history. But Hamilton County still has an infant mortality rate that is far higher than the national rate.


Teenagers accused and convicted of serious crimes face harsh sentences when tried as adults.

pantsuit podcast
Courtesy of Pantsuit Politics

In November 2015, Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers launched their Pantsuit Politics podcast with the goal of listening to each other first and talking politics second.


According to a report from the Federal Reserve, education debt held by U.S. households went up more than six times from 2001 to 2016. And many parents are either going into debt or not putting money into their retirement savings in order to help their children pay for college.

baseball revolutionaries
Courtesy of Amazon

This season you may notice Major League Baseball players wearing a patch on their uniforms that reads "MLB 150."


Now that we are into the growing season the first thing most of us notice is just how well the weeds are doing in our yards and gardens. While some of us tackle the job of clearing dandelions, nut grass and clover by hand, others rely on chemicals to eliminate weeds. And many of them will go about it the wrong way, applying too much, too little or too often.

erin gruwell
Erin Gruwell / YWCA

Eight women from the Cincinnati area will be honored as the 2019 YWCA Greater Cincinnati Women of Achievement next month. The annual celebratory luncheon will feature a keynote address by Erin Gruwell, whose life was portrayed by actress Hillary Swank in the 2007 film Freedom Writers, based on Gruwell’s 1999 work, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them.

Bidvine from Pexels

A construction labor shortage in the U.S. in recent years means secure, good-paying jobs are available for young people who want to learn the trade. For students who may not be college-bound, entering a trade right out of high school mean gaining job experience with no college debt.

Art by Jonathan Queen/ design by Kevin Necessary

Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977. In 1979, to celebrate Margaret Thatcher's election as Britain's first female prime minister, her party placed an ad in the London Evening News that read, "May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations." That's how popular the movie, and the phrase, "May the force be with you," had become.

welcome house
Michael Monks / WVXU

Welcome House of Northern Kentucky hopes to open a transitional shelter for men, offering services that would help homeless men find stable housing and employment after their stays.

The Covington-based organization, which primarily focuses on the female homeless population, purchased 601 York Street in Newport earlier this year with plans to open the new shelter that would serve roughly three dozen men at a time.

FC Cincinnati submits a request to the City Planning Commission for a zoning change to the property north of its future stadium in the West End. Neighbors, angry about displacement, spoke out against the proposal. That prompted a majority on City Council to pass a motion declaring they will not approve the zoning request unless the team finds homes for the people being displaced.

thomas massie john kerry
Gage Skidmore, London Embassy / Flickr Creative Commons

An exchange earlier this month between Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie and former Secretary of State John Kerry, during House testimony on climate change, went viral on social media. The back-and-forth, which centered around whether Kerry’s bachelor of science degree made him a "scientist" qualified to discuss the matter, resulted in supporters of both politicians claiming victory. Kerry asked Massie at one point, "Are you serious?"

Gen Z workforce

This May, a new wave of students will graduate from college as many Americans reach retirement age and employees are in demand. This time it is Generation Z, the group of young people born between 1995 and 2012, who will join the ranks of Baby Boomers, Gen X'ers and Millennials on the job. So, who is this new generation of employees poised to enter the workforce en masse and how do employers retain fresh young talent?


Last Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Since then, there have been more than 80 mass shootings – defined by the FBI as an incident in which there are at least four shooting victims who are either killed or wounded – in the United States.

Courtesy of SkyStar

The City of Newport approved a ground lease with Skywheel, the large observation wheel slated for the riverfront.

chelsea clinton book
Courtesy Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton's fifth children's book introduces readers to a variety of endangered animals and the threats to them. Like her other books, including the #1 New York Times best selling picture book She Persists, Clinton has focused on encouraging activism in her young readers.

cincinnati district 3
Screengrab / Blue Goes Green Vimeo

As the City of Cincinnati figures out how to proceed on a proposed new Police Department District 5 headquarters, can it learn from its previous work in building a new District 3? Former City Councilwoman and filmmaker Laure Quinlivan believes so.

being muslim in the midwest
Courtesy of Rosemary Pennington

The Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, the Goethe-Institut, promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange. In collaboration with radio producers and broadcasters from the U.S. and Germany, the Goethe-Institut produces The Big Pond podcast, which covers topics ranging from music and sports to religion, language and society, and provides a multifaceted look at life in Germany and in the U.S.

Michael Monks / River City News

As urban areas suffered decline in the late 20th century, the Commonwealth of Kentucky launched its Main Street Program, with a focus on revitalizing historic business districts. The Kentucky Main Street program turns 40 this year, and its annual conference is taking place in Covington this week.

earth day
Amy Sancetta / AP

The first Earth Day was held April 22, 1970. Since the day that many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement, generations have grown up learning about how we affect the environment, and great strides have been made in reducing pollution and developing sustainability programs. But we are still faced with massive plastic waste in our oceans, rapidly diminishing animal habitat worldwide, continued air and water industrial pollution and multiple species in danger of extinction.

ce friday
Jim Nolan / WVXU

There are 138 people on death row in Ohio, but Governor Mike DeWine has suspended all executions until the state finds a painless way to administer the death penalty. Robert Van Hook was executed in Ohio, in July, 2018. Will he be the last?

organ donation
Scott Kissell/Miami University

April is National Donate Life Month. According to preliminary data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), the 36,527 organ transplants performed in the United States in 2018 set an annual record for the sixth straight year.

bird scooter
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati could have more electric scooters on the road this summer. Companies Bird and Lime already have e-scooters operating in downtown, Over-the-Rhine and four other neighborhoods. Bird has also set up shop in Newport and Covington. Now, Cincinnati City Council has recommended that Bird be allowed to expand into Evanston, Avondale and North Avondale.

anne savage
Courtesy Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The next speaker in the 2019 Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's Barrows Conservation Lecture Series is Anne Savage, Ph.D., founder of Proyecto Tití, a program designed to conserve Colombia’s most endangered primate, the cotton-top tamarin.

Shankar Vedantam
Douglas Sanders / NPR

Hidden Brain, heard on WVXU and WMUB Saturday afternoons at 2:00, uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, and the biases that shape our choices.

American Atheists
Courtesy American Atheists

On Good Friday hundreds of atheists are expected on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati as part of the 2019 American Atheists National Convention being held here April 19-21. The weekend features workshops and a lineup of speakers, including a keynote speech delivered by Jim Obergefell, whose landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges helped secure marriage equality in 2015.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signs what has been commonly referred to as "The Heartbeat Bill" into law. The law bans abortion from the point a fetal heartbeat is detected. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and other opponents of the legislation say they will fight it in court.

Pete Rightmire / WVXU

Without pollinators, our food supply would collapse. Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce.

fcc rendering april 2019
Courtesy of FC Cincinnati

"99 years old, that was her home," Kim Dillard says of her aunt's home on Wade Street in the West End. "She didn't expect to uproot or anything. She didn't expect this, none of us do." Dillard's 99-year-old aunt, Mary Page, will have to relocate now that FC Cincinnati has purchased the apartment building, which borders the site of the team's future stadium.

like harvey like son
Courtesy of Harris Media

On May 30, 2018, local teacher and ultrarunner Harvey Lewis set out to beat the fastest known time for completing the Appalachian Trail. His 78-year-old father acted as his crew chief. Together, they navigated remote wilderness and unpredictable weather on their 2,190-mile journey. And their adventure was documented by a local film company to produce the movie Like Harvey Like Son.