Joe Lee

Director & General Manager

Joseph Lee (Joe) is the Director and General Manager of WAER FM, a 50,000 watt National Public Radio affiliate owned and operated by Syracuse University.  His 30 year career in public media has been focused on providing enriching content that educates, enlightens, and informs civil discourse and cultural expression.

Recently, under his direction, WAER has combined traditional news reporting with the power of community engagement by creating the award-winning City Limits Poverty Project, a year-long examination of rising poverty in Syracuse, NY.  Prior to joining Syracuse University in 1992, Joe served as Program Director at WEAA FM licensed to Morgan State University in his hometown of Baltimore, MD.  He hosts the podcasts The 3-1-5 and Pop Life for WAER and his personal blog and podcast Life in HD.

Connect on Twitter: @jblee883

Few American families have skyrocketed from relative obscurity to the highest levels of fame and fortune the way the Jenner-Kardashian clan has.  Arguably, the person most responsible for the family’s success is matriarch Kris Jenner.  

In a new book, Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner, Authors Cathy Griffin and Dylan Howard take an unflinching look at Kris’s triumphs and losses, her crises and celebrations, famous friendships and family conflicts, and how her blind ambition drove the family’s fame and financial success.  Dylan Howard joins Joe Lee on the latest episode of Pop Life to discuss it all.

In this edition of City Limits: Winds of Change, we begin with how Georgia State University has dramatically narrowed the achievement gap by increasing the graduation rate by 74-percent within 15 years.  Author Andrew Gumbel discusses how the college dramatically turned things around for Black, low-income students.  We’ll then have a look into Syracuse area programs that guide students through school and lead them on a pathway to college or job readiness skills.

With $1 million earmarked for capacity building among black led non-profits in Syracuse, a local foundation now waits to assess the impact of its grant-making.  In this episode of City Limits Winds of Change, we examine how first round grant recipients of the Central New York Community Foundation’s Black Equity and Excellence fund are using their awards to strengthen their operations adapt to the challenges caused by the global pandemic.

The previous episode of City Limits examined efforts in the Syracuse community to use art to heal the emotional wounds created by instances of racial injustice, police brutality, and social unrest.  In that episode, you heard voices of members of the Black Artist Collective, an organized group of black artists dedicated to enhancing the growth and endurance of all Black arts. 

Representatives of the group sat with Joe Lee to explore the intersection of art and activism and their fight to create a permanent seat at the table.

Historically, black artists have long played an integral role in social justice movements by using their art and their voice to amplify anger and frustrations.  This City Limits episode examines how artists and arts organizations in Syracuse are working to support and sustain the racial justice movement.  This story features the voices of the Black Artist Collective, 100 Black Men of Syracuse, the Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse Stage and listeners like you.

How To Be A Person

Sep 30, 2020

An alarming number of today's kids leave home without knowing certain basic life skills.  From doing laundry to using a debit card to calculating a tip, there are things we want our children to know to move through the world with confidence and grace.

Shelter in Place, self isolation, self-quarantine - no matter what you call it, the reality is that we are home bound for the foreseeable future.

Being confined to home has its advantages: 1) we can isolate ourselves from the dangerous novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19; 2) we are discovering new methods of work productivity; and 3) it's creating new engagement opportunities to strengthen relationships with family and friends.

Covid-Conscious Eating

Mar 27, 2020

How well did you plan to shelter-in-place for the long haul?  Did you have time to consider how to build an appropriate pantry?   Did you think of foods that help boost the immune system?  How about appropriate processed foods?

How to Raise a Reader

Dec 9, 2019

There are so many things in the world competing for our children's attention.  The pull of digital devices, television, video games, and other technology all offer distractions from learning opportunities like reading.  So how do you raise a reader in this ever evolving world of technology and entertainment?

By Konstantin Silka - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

For some, fitness is a year-round commitment.  For others, getting in shape is a sporadic exercise.  How we shape and condition our bodies is important to how we feel emotionally and physically and we put a lot of emphasis on exercise and diet to look the best that we can.  But are we paying as much attention to what we put in our bodies to achieve optimal health?