Ed Ronco

All Things Considered Host

Ed Ronco came to KPLU in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KPLU’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.

Ed grew up in Wyandotte, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Ways to Connect

AP Images

Calling Jordan Spieth's win Sunday at the U.S. Open golf championship at Chambers Bay one of the wildest he'd ever seen, KPLU's sport commentator Art Thiel said the exciting finish might not make up for the event's shortcomings.

Spieth, 21, won on the final hole when rival Dustin Johnson three-putted from 12 feet out to lose by a stroke.

The epic, pressured end followed three days of player criticism of the dry, fast conditions at the University Place course which was holding its first-ever major tournament. 

"It was very dramatic finish to a wild week of both golf and controversy," Thiel said.  "There was a lot of controversy around the greens at the course. (The players) took to social media to rake it after it was done.

"It's a real blow for a lot of people who worked 15 years in Pierce County to make this dream happen," Thiel said.

"They are going to have to decide what is honest criticism and what is sour grapes."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.

Plenty To Do In London, No Matter Your Age

Jun 18, 2015
Gary Bembridge / Flickr

The Going Places mailbag – OK, fine, it’s an e-mail inbox – brought us a nice note this week, from a listener with a pressing travel question.

Abe in Redmond writes: “I am taking my 11 and 13-year-old boys to London in August.... I am curious about the less-obvious places you like to visit in the city.”

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley took his then-13-year-old son to London last summer, and he offered some advice:

Do It On Foot

Densho Digital Repository

A Seattle group is building an online encyclopedia to catalogue the stories of Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II.

The group “Densho” received more than $360,000 from the National Park Service for the effort.

The money will also help Densho work with other organizations, to connect Japanese Americans’ stories with more contemporary examples of injustice.

AP Images

Mike Trostel is the senior historian and curator at the U.S. Golf Association museum in Far Hills, N.J., and is among the thousands of people in the Puget Sound this week for the U.S. Open.

We sat down with him to talk about the history of the U.S. Open, and about golf's future. Our conversation took us from the first U.S. Open in Rhode Island, to the moon, and back.

Here are five things we learned from Trostel:

1. It took a long time for golf's premiere event to head west.

The first time the U.S. Open came to the west coast was in 1948 – in Los Angeles – more than 50 years after the event began. This is the event’s first time in the Pacific Northwest.

Bologna A Window Into Italy's Food, Political Divide

Jun 11, 2015
Lorenzoclick / Flickr

Bologna is in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It’s famed for its food (Bolognese sauce anyone?) and is often considered one of Italy’s culinary centers.

“And yet there are hardly any tourists here,” says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley. “You walk through Florence and it’s elbow to elbow. Same with Rome and Venice. But you come here and you get a little slice of real Italian life.”

It’s also a good jumping off point for short trips to other famous Italian locales.

Three Things You Might Not Know About Tour Guides

Jun 4, 2015
Earthbound Expeditions

If you’ve ever traveled abroad – especially with a group – you’ve probably met up with a local tour guide at your destination. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has been leading tours around the world for nearly 30 years. He says local guides are key experts that bring a lot of knowledge to a trip. But there are other layers of guiding that happen behind the scenes. Here are three things you might not know:

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

Travel over long distances can wear you out. As anyone who’s flown a great distance can tell you, the sudden change in time zones can wreak havoc on your body. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has been almost every continent on the planet, and has a lot of experience fighting off jet lag. Here's his advice:

Before The Trip

Exercise more. If you’re already pretty active, keep it up. If you’re kind of sedentary, maybe take a few more walks. You don’t need to get “in shape” before a flight, of course, but it helps to be more alert.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Travel brochures and websites can often paint a picture of an “authentic” experience in a foreign country. But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says so often, what people consider an “authentic” is far from real.

Cultures are changing, especially in Europe. Travel advertisements often show you a romanticized version of what you’ll actually experience.

“They’re selling you the cliché of a country – the little boy walking down the street with a French baguette, and the two people playing bocce ball in Italy,” Brumley said. “It’s getting harder to find that.”

James Melzer / Flickr

Summertime means the height of tourist season for many destinations in the northern hemisphere. That can mean big crowds at museums and other popular sites.

But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says there are ways to avoid the crowds.

Off-Season Travel

The dead of winter is a great time to see Europe, but anytime between October through March should work, Brumley said. The weather isn’t as nice, of course, but if you’re planning mostly indoor activities, what’s the difference?

On the first Wednesday of each month, the Fireside Room at Seattle's Sorrento Hotel fills up with readers. Some bring books, others tablets or laptops or smart phones. At 6 p.m., the room falls silent, and people read, together, for two hours.

In the gallery above, you can see what the Sound Effect team is reading.

And hear about how the Silent Reading party began -- and what makes it special -- from Christopher Frizzelle, co-founder of the event and editor in chief of The Stranger:

Heribert Pohl / Flickr

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Leipzig, Germany, was in economic ruin.

“They had an unemployment rate here in the mid-1990s of over 25 percent,” he said. “Now they’re under 5 percent.”

And it's gaining a reputation as "The New Berlin." Porsche, BMW and DHL all have major operations there now. And this city of more than 500,000 people is becoming a new center for art, music, and tourism.

Johannes Gaebler is a tour guide in Germany. He’s originally from Berlin, and was first in Leipzig in the early 1990s, not long after Germany was reunified.

Belgium Is About Blending In, Relaxing Like A Local

Apr 30, 2015
Antwerpen Toerisme & Congres / Flickr

  France, Germany and the Netherlands draw millions of tourists every year. Nestled in between those countries (and Luxembourg) is Belgium. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says travelers who overlook this country miss out on an important part of European history and culture.

Emigration Point

Antwerp’s harbor was where millions of Europeans said goodbye to their home continent. One of them was a German scientist who arrived in town, renounced his citizenship, and boarded a boat for the United States.

Daniel Peckham / Flickr

Amsterdam is the largest city in The Netherlands, and a hub for air travel in and out of Europe. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says there are similarities between western Washington and the Dutch capital.

“It’s a great city to get a bike and cruise around,” Brumley said. “There are some phenomenal museums here, and some great architecture.”

Coffee Culture

Eric Peacock / Flickr

King County officials are asking local voters to support a property tax hike so local law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency first-responders can get an upgrade for their aging radio system. 

“It’s about 18 years old. And the problem is twofold," said Marlin Blizinsky, with the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network. "One is that the system is wearing out.”

Moyan Brenn / Flickr

One of the casualties of the global economic crisis late last decade was Iceland's economy. Unemployment soared, banks toppled and protests ensued.

And then came tourism.

It wasn’t a silver bullet, but it helped bring Iceland’s economy back from the brink. The island nation’s popularity among global travelers is on the rise.

This One Time In Sicily, And Other Travel Surprises

Apr 9, 2015
Ed Ronco / KPLU

Picture it: Sicily, 2012.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley is in Palermo, checking in to a B&B for the night. They tell him the room has low ceilings.

“And that’s OK,” he said. “I’m not a tall guy.”

Santiago Duarte / Flickr

Craig Holt knows coffee.

In 1997, he started the Seattle-based Atlas Coffee Importers. Now, he travels to do business in coffee-growing regions of the world. One of those places is Colombia, in South America.

3 Places To Visit In B.C., Far Away From Vancouver

Mar 26, 2015
Philip Stone

Last week, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley highlighted a trip through British Columbia and along the Canadian Rockies, along the Alberta boundary. But the conversation was broad, and we thought it would be worthwhile to revisit B.C. and focus on some special places.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

So you want to get away for a summer vacation, but you'd rather not spend a fortune, and you'd rather not travel overseas. 

Head north, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Mark Stevens / Flickr

For an escape to the American Southwest -- with its open deserts, dark skies, and peaceful solitude -- begin in bright, noisy and busy Las Vegas.

That's the advice of KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley, but only because flights to the nightlife hotspot are relatively inexpensive. You can stay if you want, of course, or you can strike out into the countryside for some of the most beautiful scenery available in the United States.

5 Things To Expect If You Ever Go To North Korea

Mar 5, 2015
Jon Chol Jin / AP

For Americans, an independent trip to North Korea can be a risky venture.

A Lynnwood man was just returned to the United States after being imprisoned there for more than a year. And the U.S. State Department strongly urges Americans not to go to North Korea. But it’s not off limits. Tour groups have been able to visit.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

March 2 is the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known to readers everywhere as Dr. Seuss. He would have turned 111 this year.

KPLU's Kirsten Kendrick and Ed Ronco remembered the children's author during Monday's Morning Edition ... in full Seussian rhyme.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Editor's Note: KPLU's Ed Ronco and travel expert Matthew Brumley spent a week in Cuba, along with approximately 30 KPLU listeners, at the beginning of February. This week's "Going Places" is a reflection on that trip, written by Ed Ronco.

The view from the north-facing windows of Havana's Hotel Nacional looks at Cuba's most famous sidewalk, the Malecon. Here, joggers dodge crashing waves from the Atlantic Ocean on stormy afternoons, and young couples walk quietly, hand-in-hand, during the breezy night. On the weekends, it's busy with people of all ages drinking rum, smoking cigars, talking, singing, laughing and dancing. It stretches five miles along the shore of this country's capital city.

Kaitlyn Bernauer

On the morning of Sept. 29, 1995, a woman was alone in her Yakima home, feeding her baby, when she heard an unusual noise. She found a man in the house, wearing a white nylon stocking over his face.

She tried to run, but couldn’t get away. He put a mask on her and raped her. And when he was done, she was left tied to the crib that held her crying child.

5 Tips For Americans On Visiting Iran

Feb 19, 2015
Mohammadali F. / Flickr

Iran has long been on KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley's list of places to visit. He consulted tour guide Martin Klimenta of MIR Corporation about the value of traveling to the enormous Middle Eastern nation. 

Anupam Nath / AP Photo

Facebook: It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up, and the last thing I look at before going to bed.

Which begs the question: Am I addicted to Facebook? Or is it just a harmless pastime?

I went to talk to an expert, Dr. Megan Moreno at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She’s the principal investigator of the Social Media and Adolescent Research Team (SMART), which studies problematic Internet usage.

Martin Sojka / Flickr

Editor's note: This week on Going Places, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley sends a special guest in his place. 

Some 53 million people live in Myanmar (or, if you’re looking at an older map, “Burma”), in big cities and small towns, in the mountains and on the coast. The government is loosening its economic controls, and that has resulted in an influx of foreign money spent by visitors traveling from Asia, Europe and, more and more, North America.

5 Things To See In Chile And Argentina

Feb 5, 2015
alobos Life / Flickr

Travelers from the United States spend a lot of time abroad, mostly in Europe. Far fewer head to South America. You can get there from Seattle on American (via Dallas) or Delta (via Atlanta).

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has five things everyone should see and do in two South American countries: Chile and Argentina:

Nove foto de Firenze

Travelers to places outside the United States go for any number of reasons: To see a new culture, meet different people, speak another language, or even blend in to a new place far from home. Our travel expert Matthew Brumley says in most countries, there’s a way to do all of those things at once: Go to a sporting event.

Jeff Chiu/AP

For nearly 20 years, Edgar Martinez's double in the 1995 American League Division Series has been considered the greatest moment in Seattle sports history.

But then, last Sunday's NFC Championship happened. The Seahawks' comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 18 is sending Seattle to the Super Bowl for a second year in a row.

Does it trump Edgar?