Ed Ronco

All Things Considered Host

Ed Ronco came to KNKX in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KNKX’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

Don Wilson / Port of Seattle

The world can feel dangerous these days.

The recent terror attack in Nice, France, and the attempted military coup in Turkey are just two recent examples. But KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it’s important to temper our fear with knowledge.

Matt Rourke / AP Images

Donald Trump is now the official Republican presidential nominee. Delegates from every state cast their votes during a floor session Tuesday night at the party’s national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. And as Republican leaders, and Trump, look toward the general election in November, the party’s youngest members were gathered to talk about the future of the GOP, and what they can do in order to reach out to other millennials. Washington state delegate Jack Bell says he went to a youth caucus meeting with about 20 other young Republicans.

John Allen / Flickr

Usually, when we check in with our travel expert Matthew Brumley, he’s talking to us about some far-off destination that we need to reach by plane or boat or train. But this week on “Going Places,” he’s traveling by the book.


Below, find our favorite books that are either about travel, or make us want to travel. And add yours to the list, in the comments section at the end.

Matthew’s List

Michelle Lee / Flickr

Let’s be real: It is difficult to leave the Pacific Northwest in the summer. So we asked travel expert Matthew Brumley to find a place that’s nearby, but still feels like a good getaway from the hustle of daily life.

He talked to us from the town of Ganges, on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.


Getting There

Tom Colins / Flickr

A judge in Pierce County has thrown out two initiatives aimed at giving people in Tacoma a bigger say in development projects. The group “Save Tacoma Water” circulated petitions for two ballot measures. They would have required a public vote on development projects planning to use more than a million gallons of water a day.

Michael LaFreniere is the spokesman for the grassroots group Save Tacoma Water. He says today’s ruling undermines the ability of citizens to put forward local initiatives.

Grotta Giusti

Traveling can take a lot out of you. The flights, moving from city to city, trying to see everything — it can be exhausting. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says when he's on the road, he looks for opportunities to rejuvenate at spas and saunas. He estimates he’s been in about 70 of them, in 10 different countries.

His first time visiting a sauna was when he was living in Denmark, and some friends invited him to go with them to Sweden in the winter.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

It's a big weekend for the Seattle Men’s and Women’s choruses, performing Friday for President Barack Obama, and tonight and tomorrow for the public, at McCaw Hall in Seattle, in a musical farewell to their retiring director. Over 35 years, Dennis Coleman has been in front of not only the two choruses, but also some of the biggest changes in LGBT history.

This story begins in 1981.

mout1234 / Flickr

This week on Going Places, we head to the south of France. It's popular among visitors from outside and within Europe, thanks in large part to its sunny and warm Mediterranean climate.

Danna Brumley is the wife of KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley, and the Brumley family Francophile.

“I studied the language. I worked at EuroDisney. I did everything I could to stay in the country,” she said.

Last year, she spoke to us from a cafe in the town of Arles, in France's famed Provence region.



You might know Mandy Patinkin as CIA operative Saul Berenson on the Showtime television drama “Homeland.” Or maybe you know him as Inigo Montoya from the film “The Princess Bride.” But Patinkin’s career began on stage. He won a Tony for the role of Che in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Evita.” And he’s been a frequent presence on stage in the years since. 

Green River College

The president of Green River College is stepping down after six years on the job, effective immediately. No reason has been given for Eileen Ely's resignation, although union faculty have been calling for her to step down for years. They went on strike in May over proposed program cuts.

Nickay3111 / Flickr

Washington has more than 150 miles of coastline from the top of the Olympic Peninsula down to the mouth of the Columbia River. And KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley it’s worth exploring, and can offer you a variety of experiences, whether you want big fancy hotels, or just some tent camping in a quiet place.

There are lots of ways to make this trip. South Sound residents will probably want to head through Olympia and then up the Olympic Peninsula. Brumley takes a northerly route, starting from Seattle.

A Culture Of Relaxation In Italy's Lake District

Jun 8, 2016
Matthew Brumley / KPLU

Picture it: You walk out onto a patio in the early morning hours. Some church bells chime in the distance. You sip coffee. In front of you: the Alps, soaring out of a huge lake, with the towns of Bellagio and Varenna at your feet.

This is life along Lake Como, in northern Italy's Lake District. This place has a distinctive feel, says KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

Rino Peroni / Flickr

Wine, in Italy, is more than something to accompany dinner; It's a cultural experience and a source of national pride.

So says Natalia Mandelli, a guide and sommelier in Italy, our special guest on this week's Going Places.

"I feel proud to be Italian when we talk about wine," she said. "When we think about red wine, we always talk about French wine. But Italy has a very big heritage of local grapes."

Where To Find Wine

Courtesy of The Blind Cafe

This week on Sound Effect our theme is “Out of the Darkness,” but KPLU’s Ed Ronco and Ariel Van Cleave found that going into the darkness can shed a lot of light on the world around you, and even your own personality.

The Blind Café is a pop-up event that travels the country, offering guests the chance to have dinner in the dark. Not candlelight. Not a dimly lit room. We’re talking total, 100 percent, pitch black.

Tatyana A. / Flickr

All month, we've been following KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley as he journeys through Europe. Below, you can hear him in the Hungarian capital, Budapest; the Tuscany region of Italy, and the Italian city of Bolgona. 

This week, we went back into the archives for one of our favorite episodes of "Going Places." Brumley was in Vienna, standing near a church, getting ready to tape his segment with KPLU's Ed Ronco, back in Seattle.

And then, the bells started:

Vienna, Brumley says, was the Seattle of the 19th century -- an epicenter of music, coffee, and culture. 

Anita Hofschneider / AP

Here’s something you might not know: President Barack Obama’s mother graduated from Mercer Island High School. Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is in town this weekend to present a scholarship established in their mother’s memory. 

Soetoro-Ng told KPLU that she's not apolitical, necessarily, but she says when it comes to her relationship with her brother, President Obama, she prefers to focus on the family side of the equation.

Surprises, Music, Lots Of Food In Italy's Bologna

May 19, 2016
Roberto Taddeo / Flickr

Bologna, Italy, was an early home to higher education and music in Europe -- and it remains an epicenter of both. That's where we find KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley for this week's edition of Going Places.

We reach him sitting in the Piazza Maggiore, which looks at the Basilica di San Petronio and the Palazzo d'Accursio. It's in the palazzo that you'll find one of Bologna's great surprises.

neiljs / Flickr

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley is working in Europe this month. He’s been with groups in Budapest, Hungary, and was just recently in Berlin.

“I was in a 1910 ballroom, hanging out with some cabaret singers,” he said.

He’s not kidding.

But now he’s changed his pace a little. After a 90-minute flight to Florence, Brumley finds himself in Tuscany. The places he’s visiting are outside the city, and smaller than usual tourist destinations. But he says they’re very much worth the detour.

Cities To Explore

Matthew Brumley / KPLU

The Hungarian city we now know as Budapest has seen a lot. Originally two cities, Buda and Pest, it was fought over for centuries by the Romans and the Ottomans, among others.

In World War II, it was partially destroyed by British and American bombings. But now, Budapest is a prime destination for visitors.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley called in from the deck of the MS Amadeus Brilliant, on the Danube River in the heart of the city.

James Melzer / Flickr

Here at Going Places world headquarters (really just the KPLU newsroom, but go with it, OK?) we're big fans of travel experiences that allow for some unexpected discovery. But it's still good to be informed about your destination before you arrive, says our travel expert, Matthew Brumley.

Here are some tips on how:

Read Local News And Listen To Local Music

Brumley downloads local radio station apps and reads local newspapers before he heads to a vacation destination.

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Edvard Munch loved to paint outdoors.

“He actually left his paintings outside in all kinds of weather,” said Margaret Bullock, curator of collections at the Tacoma Art Museum. “There’s pictures of him painting in the snow, and pictures leaning up against the wall, in snowdrifts.”

They were exposed to salt air. Sand. Dirt. Bird droppings.

“He thought it was good for their character,” Bullock said.

For A Good Summer Getaway, Consider Staying Nearby

Apr 21, 2016
Cameron Birse / Flickr

The unseasonably warm weather of the last few days has KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley thinking about summer. Now is the time, he says, to start planning a summer vacation. And he says staying put in the Northwest is a great option.

This week, we offer advice for planning your trip, and a list of nearby getaways Brumley has found worthwhile.

Book Now, Cancel Later

Holland America

Christina Opalka has been researching travel trends for the cruise industry since the 1990s. This week, she offers her perspectives on why it’s worth your time to make your next vacation buoyant.

Not All Cruises Are The Same

There are megaships you can stay aboard for the entire trip, with restaurants, theaters, spas, pools and more. And then there are smaller ships focused on remote natural wonders, where you can get in a kayak with a guide and paddle near a glacier.

Natural Beauty And Turbulent History In South Africa

Apr 7, 2016
Matthew Brumley / KPLU

South Africa’s history includes apartheid, civil unrest, and political scandals. Just this week, President Jacob Zuma survived an impeachment vote on charges he used public money to upgrade his private home.

But the country is also a favorite among travelers, including our own travel expert Matthew Brumley, who was recently in Cape Town.

"I've been coming here for 10 years," he said, "and I'm going to figure out a way to move here at some point in my life. I'm sitting here looking at Table Mountain with what they call 'the tablecloth' over the top."

Chris Ford / Flickr

“I hope I miss my flight sometimes.”

Not words you expect to hear from a flyer as frequent as our travel expert, Matthew Brumley. But he's a huge fan of layovers, including those that begin when the pilot comes on and announces a flight delay before takeoff.

“I’m always very happy about that, because I’m thinking, ‘I think I’m going to miss my connection,’” he said. “I love layovers.”

It helps to know the city, or to even have friends there, Brumley said. But even if you don’t, a layover – accidental or planned – can be a great way to see a new place.

Ron Edmonds / AP File Photo

Washington Democrats head to caucuses on Saturday to figure out who their convention delegates will support for president. Republicans will decide how their delegates are awarded when the state primary happens in late May. Washington state has both a caucus and a primary.


Pat Robertson.

Or at least, he’s a large part of the reason. Back in 1988, the televangelist was running for president as a Republican. Much of his campaign was centered on socially conservative issues, such as abortion.

Brumley: 'Something Big Is Happening' In Cuba

Mar 24, 2016
Ramon Espinosa / AP


During his historic visit to Cuba this week, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro -- and ordinary Cubans, who are about to see big changes in their country. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley has visited the country dozens of times. In fact, he returned from his most recent trip the day before Obama arrived.

"Everywhere in Havana, they were desperately trying to fix everything," he said. "Ernest Hemingway's house was getting a fresh coat of white paint."

Photo provided

The book that put the plays of William Shakespeare into print for the very first time, nearly 400 years ago, is on display now at the Seattle Public Library. Many historians believe without it, we would not know about half of Shakespeare’s plays. KPLU’s Ed Ronco went to take a look, and he enlisted some help.

Ingmar Zahorsky / Flickr

Maybe it’s the busy primary election season that has us in this mindset, but we’ve been thinking a lot about voting lately. And our Going Places team wondered what it’s like in other parts of the world.

This week we hear from Danna Brumley, who is an experienced guide and world traveler, much like her husband, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

She and her family wound up in Costa Rica during an election once. She says the country is already festive for travelers, but on Election Day, it's like "New Year's Eve, all day long."

Dave Blanchard / OPB

New charges were announced last week in connection with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Harney County, Ore.

It is the latest turn of events in a saga that began last January, when armed militants took over the headquarters of the refuge – events that are documented in “41 Days,” a radio documentary from Oregon Public Broadcasting.