Kojo Nnamdi

Host

Kojo Nnamdi is host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, a live talk show produced by WAMU 88.5 that airs weekdays at noon. On Fridays at noon, Nnamdi hosts The Politics Hour on WAMU 88.5.

“Maybe the best radio interviewer in town” according to The Washington Post, Nnamdi welcomes a lineup of interesting and provocative guests who offer new perspectives about current events, political issues, social policy, art, science and other topics. The show encourages listener calls, creating a dynamic dialogue about issues that are important or interesting to the Washington, D.C., region.

Nnamdi is a native of Guyana who immigrated to the United States in 1968 to attend college and explore the civil rights movement. From 1985 to 2011, he hosted Evening Exchange, a public affairs television program broadcast by WHUT-TV at Howard University. From 1973 to 1985, Nnamdi worked at WHUR-FM, where he served as news editor and then news director, producing the award-winning local news program The Daily Drum.

In 2003, the Library of Congress selected Nnamdi as the keynote speaker for African American History Month, and in 2001, he was honored as a civil rights hero by the National Council for Community Justice.

In 2005, he was named a “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian magazine, saying, “Radio is more fun, more intimate than TV. I always want to make sure people are listening to something that helps them make intelligent decisions about their lives.” DCist, “a website about the Washington, D.C. area and everything that happens there,” named Nnamdi one of “DC’s Most Influential People” in 2007. Also in 2007, Washingtonian named Nnamdi one of the “150 Most Influential People in Washington.”

In addition to his hosting duties, Nnamdi has chaired the board of the Public Access Corporation of Washington, D.C., since 1997. He is also active in Guyaid, an organization devoted to the welfare of children in Guyana. In 2014 he was inducted into the Society of Professional Journalists D.C. chapter’s Hall of Fame, and in 2018, he was inducted into the D.C. Hall of Fame Society. The Kojo Nnamdi Show has won numerous awards, including multiple PRNDI and AP honors, as well as the National Association of Black Broadcasters Salute to Excellence award.

Nnamdi served on the Board of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center from 2003-2008. A proud nationalized American citizen for more than 20 years, his passions include cricket, Caribbean Carnival, poetry, jazz and jogging.

Monna Kashfi

Managing Producer

Monna Kashfi joined the Kojo team as Senior Producer in 2018 from the world of television, most recently with CGTN America, where she was the Emmy-award winning executive producer of a weekly magazine show with an international focus. Prior to that, she conceived and produced a weekly news and current events talk show. She’s coming back full circle to radio, as her first journalism job was at Voice of America. Throughout her career, she has worked on primetime newscasts, special events coverage, features and lifestyle reporting and documentaries – she values storytelling above all else (except perhaps homecooked Persian food). She’s a dog mom to a 13-year-old Maltese with a serious attitude problem and the two of them share a deep aversion to birds.

Richard Cunningham

Associate Producer

Richard Cunningham joined The Kojo Nnamdi Show in January 2020 as an intern, and now works as an associate producer. He was involved in student journalism at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he worked as the Assistant Opinions Editor of The Retriever and co-hosted a show on WMBC, the school’s radio station. Richard has been working in audio since the age of 16, when he became  a sound technician at his local church. Now on Team Kojo, he’s combining his two biggest passions: audio and journalism. Richard graduated with a major in Media & Communication Studies from UMBC. #GoRetrievers

Julie Depenbrock

Producer

Julie Depenbrock originally started on the show as an intern, back in January 2018. Before she decided to be a journalist, Julie was a teacher on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, where she taught first grade for three years. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and has contributed work to The Washington Post, NPR, Education Week and DCist. She also took a three-month sojourn from The Kojo Nnamdi Show in the summer of 2019 to earn her street cred as a Digital Producer in the WAMU newsroom. In a past life, she graduated with a double-major in French and English from Lafayette College. Julie’s a born-Marylander (and dressed up as a crab on a recent Halloween to prove it).

Kurt Gardinier

Producer

Kurt Gardinier joined Team Kojo in February 2020. He was previously a producer on the news magazine show Full Frame on CGTN America, where he was awarded multiple honors at the New York Festivals TV and Film Awards. Prior to that, Kurt was a senior producer on the award-winning daily show The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann. As a segment producer, he helped launch The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, and has worked for NBC, CNN, C-SPAN and various production companies. Kurt started his career in radio, both as a producer and on-air talent, and is happy to be back home on the terrestrial airwaves.

Cydney Grannan

Producer

Cydney Grannan joined The Kojo Nnamdi Show as an intern in January 2019, and now works as a producer for the show. She learned the craft of live daily talk shows at Oregon Public Broadcasting, where she was a production assistant for Think Out Loud. Before working in public media, she spent two years at a startup that manufactured baby and toddler meals where she was did everything from shipping and logistics to content marketing. Cydney grew up in the Bay Area and the Bay State, and she holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.

Kayla Hewitt

Associate Producer

Kayla Hewitt originally started on the show as an intern in the summer of 2019. She is currently a student at Georgetown University earning a degree in American Studies, as well as Film and Media Studies. At Georgetown’s news magazine, The Georgetown Voice, she has held leadership positions ranging from assistant leisure editor to podcast editor to multimedia executive. Kayla has lived in the Washington region since 2012, when she and her family moved to Northern Virginia.

Lauren Markoe

Producer

Lauren Markoe returned to The Kojo Nnamdi Show in the fall of 2019 after a stint producing Interfaith Voices, a public radio broadcast and podcast exploring the intersection of religion, politics and culture. Before her radio days, she covered government and politics at The Charlotte Observer, The State (Columbia, S.C.) and The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) She then switched to the religion beat, as a reporter and then managing editor of Religion News Service. She graduated from Yale College with a bachelor’s degree in history and Georgetown University with a master’s in foreign service. She was born and raised in the Bronx and is glad the Nats didn’t have to play the Yankees in the World Series.

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