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 for 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 7 Peaks Island-to-Portland swims. Irwin is married and has a teenage son.

Ways to Connect

Senior Colleges

May 26, 2016

Maine has a network of 17 Senior Colleges where people who are 50 and older can take classes, volunteer, socialize and stimulate their minds.


Anne Cardale, Program Coordinator for the Maine Senior College Network

Jack Lynch, Vice Chair of the University of Southern Maine’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Advisory Board, and he also is on the lecture series planning board and is a popular OLLI teacher and avid student.

The Schooner Bowdoin framed by an ice floe above the arctic circle
Tom Stewart

The Arctic Schooner Bowdoin is approaching its centennial. The ship was built for Captain Donald MacMillan in 1921, a graduate of Bowdoin College who designed the vessel for voyages into what was, then, still largely uncharted northern waters.

The Maine Warden Service yesterday offered a detailed, written response to the story about game wardens in last Sunday’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

The story describes a poaching raid in Allagash that some experts found was over the top. And it describes an undercover warden who went so far as to illegally kill a deer in a bid to entice someone else into poaching.

This morning, MPBN begins a major expansion of public radio service to Maine.  We are launching our Maine Public Classical channel, which will broadcast some 160 hours of classical music programming, plus jazz, "Down Memory Lane" with Toby Leboutillier, and other offerings.  Irwin Gratz, of Maine Public Radio, talks with President Mark Vogelzang about the changes.

NASA via YouTube

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Mercury makes a relatively rare move across the sun Monday.

PORTLAND, Maine - Unemployment fell in all three of Maine's metropolitan areas last month. Figures out today from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that joblessness in greater Bangor fell from 4.3 percent in February to 4.1 percent in March.   

In Portland and South Portland, the unemployment rate fell from 3.3 percent in February to 3.1 percent last month.  Lewiston-Auburn saw the biggest decline - from 4.1 percent to 3.8 percent.

PORTLAND, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage has responded to yesterday's complaints that he held an illegal, private meeting with a blue-ribbon commission on education.

LePage, appearing on WVOM Radio in Bangor this morning, told hosts Ric Tyler and George Hale that "they made a big s--- show out of it and, as of yesterday afternoon, I have withdrawn the executive branch from that group."

Courtesy of the McKeen family

We learned Thursday that our friend and former colleague Keith McKeen died this week of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He had just turned 73.

During a conference call with reporters Monday, Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association, said the price charged by power producers for their output has fallen 30 percent since 2003, when adjusted for inflation.

It’s Thursday, and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on Maine politics. This week, Cynthia Dill, an attorney with the Portland firm of Troubh Heisler and former Democratic state senator, Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, a former Republican lawmaker, and Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in the Maine Senate as an independent.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Restaurant workers today highlighted another aspect of the minimum wage increase on this fall's ballot: In addition to raising the minimum to $12 an hour over a period of years, the measure will eliminate the lower wage paid to "tipped employees."

Heather McIntosh has worked in Portland's restaurant industry for 20 years. "We are the human capital," she said at a news conference in Portland. "We are the ones driving profits. We're the faces of the restaurant and we deserve one fair wage."

Irwin Gratz / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - This year's mild winter made travel easier and kept heating costs down.  So what was not to like about it?

"This had a devastating impact on our beloved winter traditions, including skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowmobiling, among other things that Maine families have enjoyed for generations." says Todd Martin, of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn says another tie replacement project will begin later this year.

But Quinn told Maine legislators this week that the project won't cause nearly as much disruption as a tie replacement project last year. That went on for months, forced late and canceled trains and depressed ridership.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage has reiterated his support for presidential nominating primaries in Maine.  The governor, appearing on WVOM Radio this morning, addressed the extra cost to the state of moving from caucuses to primary voting.

"It's not a lot of money in relation to making sure that people are involved in their government," LePage said. "And, I tell you, to me that's a price that's worth paying."

FORT KENT, Maine — Some mushers and their dog teams are still out finishing the Can Am Crown 250 in northern Maine. The first team to finish, led by Martin Massicotte of Quebec, crossed the finish line in Fort Kent around 5:45 this morning.

"I think this is his seventh victory here," says Race Marshall Don Hibbs. "He's been a very consistent musher for many, many years and he must work harder than the rest of us, so he deserves everything he gets."