CHICAGO (Nov. 18, 2020) — Today WBEZ 91.5 FM, Chicago’s NPR news station, announced Sasha-Ann Simons as the new host of its flagship midday talk show, Reset. An award-winning journalist, Simons joins WBEZ from public radio station WAMU 88.5 in Washington D.C., where she was a program host and national correspondent reporting on issues of race, identity and economic mobility.
Simons brings significant experience to WBEZ, having hosted WAMU and NPR’s 1A; local newscasts of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and WAMU’s The Kojo Nmandi Show. She has also served as a contributing reporter for PBS Newshour. Her first day hosting Reset will be December 14.
“Sasha-Ann is a tremendously talented host with a knack for getting to the heart of the story in her interviews, and we’re thrilled she’s joining the team,” said Dan Tucker, Reset executive producer. “Her skill behind the mic and the wealth of knowledge she brings from her reporting on race, identity and economic mobility will help Reset grow and thrive as it enters its next chapter.”
Simons is a native of Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Toronto, Canada. After graduating from Ryerson University, she went on to work in various Toronto area newsrooms before moving to public media as a radio and television journalist at WXXI News, the PBS and NPR member station in Rochester, N.Y. During her tenure there, her work as a program host and reporter earned a New York State Broadcasters Association award for Best Locally Produced TV Show, and a New York State Associated Press award for Best TV Feature. More recently, Simons earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, and in 2020, she earned a Dateline Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her work highlighting marginalized communities throughout the nation’s capital.
“It is a great honor to host Reset and a huge responsibility I don’t take lightly. I’m excited to make Chicago my new home and to explore the region with curiosity and affection,” said Simons. “I look forward to merging the national conversation with the big stories of the Midwest, while holding those in power accountable. I will meet this remarkable moment in history with empathy, new energy, and the solid journalism that WBEZ has brought to its listeners for decades.”
Simons’ appointment as Reset host follows the departure of Jenn White, who was named the national host of 1A earlier this year after more than four years at WBEZ. In recent months, Justin Kaufmann served as Reset’s main interim host, along with other hosts including journalists within the WBEZ newsroom.
“Through this complex news cycle, listeners have come to rely on Reset to understand the day’s most important news and what it means for them,” said Israel Smith, managing director, programming and audience development for WBEZ. “Sasha-Ann’s curiosity and her ability to ask just the right question at the right moment make her an ideal choice to lead our program into the future.”
Reset airs weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to provide a daily conversation that keeps Chicagoans connected to each other, to newsmakers, and to the top stories of the day during midday listening hours. The show strives to reflect the complexity of the city and region and to connect deeply with the many diverse communities WBEZ serves. For example, its Closing the Gap series offers ongoing conversations about the critical gaps that exist in and around Chicago such as life expectancy, income inequality, and health care. Reset also features the weekly Friday News Roundup panel discussion and frequent contributors like Dennis Rodkin and Karen Weigert.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Reset has started to include weekly segments such as an infectious disease expert to answer listener questions about COVID-19, as well as “Read, Watch, Do” which focuses on things to do during the stay-at-home order in Illinois.
In addition to broadcasting live on WBEZ each weekday, Reset is available as a podcast. Listeners can find Reset on social media on Twitter @WBEZreset.