For nine years Eugene Sonn was the familiar voice covering New Jersey politics and the state house in Trenton for WHYY, in partnership with WBGO FM in Newark, N.J.
While on that beat, Gene won several awards, including from PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Inc.) for covering former Gov. Jim McGreevey’s resignation speech in 2004. Other notable stories he covered then included the anthrax attacks on the postal system after 9/11, the 2006 state government shutdown, James Dale v. Boy Scouts of America (challenging ban on openly gay scout leaders, which went to U.S. Supreme Court), and racial profiling by the New Jersey State Police. While following wildlife biologists in 2003, Eugene Sonn “interviewed” a black bear in northwestern New Jersey. The bear had been captured in a leg hold trap and tranquilized before the biologists examined it and took specimens to help track the rebounding bear population. For the record, the bear did not like the idea that New Jersey was going to allow hunting for the first time in three decades.
After spending more than two years taking care of his first son and doing freelance reporting for various local and national outlets, he returned to WHYY in April, 2010 as Audio News Director. Under his direction, WHYY has won the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association Joe Snyder Award for Outstanding News Service several times. He lead the team through coverage of the Amtrak train #188 crash in Philadelphia, Pope Francis’ visit, the 2016 Democratic National Convention among other big stories.
Gene first came to our region to attend Swarthmore College. He spent three years working for public radio station WRVO in Oswego, N.Y. before leaving behind that town’s annual epic snowfalls. These days Gene lives in Bucks County and daydreams of spending more time biking on the quieter roads there. However, he and his wife Jess are busy raising two young sons. Having grown up in Carlisle, Mass., he’s still a rabid fan of the Boston Red Sox.