Kristine Allen

Program Director

Kristine Allen is Program Director of WPSU-FM.  She also files feature stories for WPSU on the arts, culture, science, and more. When she's not at WPSU, Kris enjoys playing folk fiddle, acting, singing and portrait-sketching.  She is also a self-confessed "science geek."  Kris started working in public radio in college, at age 17, and says she "just couldn't stop."

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Kristine Allen / WPSU

The great, great, great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, is an author, lecturer and award-winning travel writer. She also has a masters degree in art history. She is on Penn State’s University Park Campus Thursday, December 6th to give a talk on “Dickens and Christmas,” at 4:00 in Paterno Library. She spoke with WPSU’s Kristine Allen about the publication of “A Christmas Carol.”

The Penn State Concert Choir in rehearsal.
Kristine Allen / WPSU

On the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, France, Great Britain and Germany signed the Armistice.  It was an agreement that ended the fighting of WWI as a prelude to peace negotiations. 

On Sunday, the day of that centennial, the Penn State Concert Choir will perform “MEMORIA: A Cantata for the Centenary of the Armistice.”  It was written by composer Scott Eggert, who lives in Annville, Pennsylvania.

Eggert was commissioned to create this music especially for the Armistice anniversary.  He says he was free not just to write the music, but to choose his own texts.

image: Associated Press

Tuesday (November 6) is Election Day.  The polls in Pennsylvania will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. To find your polling place, and for other helpful information, visit

Here are some helpful information and links for Election Day from the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro:

Photo: Penn State Law

David Frum is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, and a former speechwriter for George W. Bush.  He's a conservative, a Republican, and a fierce critic of President Trump.  His latest book is "Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic," which is out in paperback on October 9th.  In the book, Frum talks about the factors that led to the rise of Donald Trump, and other leaders like him around the globe.

Frum spoke with WPSU while visiting Penn State for a talk at Penn State Law.

Shirley Pechter, who performed at age 8 with the ensemble that later became the Altoona Symphony, looks at the orchestra's 90th anniversary program.
Teresa Cheung / Altoona Symphony

This Saturday, the Altoona Symphony Orchestra will officially open its 90th anniversary season with a concert at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona.

And there is a woman who was there at the start back in 1928. Shirley Pechter, now 97 years old, was part of the Altoona Symphony at the very beginning, when it was just a small group of musicians. Pechter spoke with WPSU's Story Corps in Altoona in 2013. 

"Russell Gerhart was the violin maestro in Altoona," Pechter said.  "And he started what he called an ensemble, which was a group of six of his students."

Photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

An American and a Russian vie for the World Chess Championship on stage as FUSE Productions presents the musical, "Chess," Thursday through Saturday, September 13-15,  at Penn State's Schwab Auditorium. WPSU's Kristine Allen reports the story blends intrigue, romance, a score that incorporates several musical genres, and of course, chess.

photo: courtesy of Steven Getz

Live jazz and a juried art show will take over Main Street in Lock Haven this weekend, at the 3rd annual Lock Haven Jazz and Art on Main Street Festival, or “JAMS” for short.

“It’s all in the same block, because we actually close it off,” says Carol Ann Simon Cillo, a mixed media artist and president of the Clinton County Arts Council.  She’s a co-founder of the festival.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program showcasing performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear a Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano by Andre Caplet, from the 2016 season of Music at Penns Woods; and the Symphony No. 3 by Franz Schubert, played by the Penn State Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerardo Edelstein, in October of 2016. 

Photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

Hundreds of citizens braved near 90-degree heat in State College on Saturday to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The sidewalk in front of the Allen Street gates, bordering Penn State’s University Park Campus, couldn’t hold the crowd. Some stood on the grass behind the gates, others held their homemade signs across the street. 

Photo: Min Xian, WPSU

John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, visited State College on Tuesday.  He attended two private events: a meeting with the Latino community, and a fundraising dinner for the Centre County Democrats. He and his wife, Gisele Fetterman, stopped by our studios to speak with WPSU’s Kristine Allen.

John Fetterman is currently the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania.

He was born and raised in the state, and holds a masters degree in public policy from Harvard.  The first time he was elected mayor, back in 2005, he won by a slim margin.

Photo: Courtesy of Capital Concerts

WPSU-FM invites you to celebrate Independence Day with us.  Join us for the following special programs on Wednesday, July 4.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence during Morning Edition - 5-9 a.m.

NPR voices will read the Declaration in a long-standing Morning Edition tradition.  Listen for your favorite NPR hosts!

Science and the Fourth of July – 1 p.m.

Photo: WPSU

WPSU-FM recently took-home several national awards for news and documentary programming from Public Radio News Directors Inc.  PRNDI announced the winners at its 2018 awards c banquet on Saturday, June 23, 2018.  The awards are given for work produced in 2017.  A total of 193 awards were presented to local stations at the PRNDI Awards Banquet at the DoubleTree Center City in Philadelphia, PA.  WPSU’s work was recognized in Division C (Stations with 1 to 3 full-time news staff). 

Here is a list of the awards won by WPSU-FM:

photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

A medical marijuana dispensary opened in State College Thursday. And it’s already doing a brisk business.

Angel Rodriguez is co-manager of Nature’s Medicines on North Atherton Street in State College. He says when the dispensary opened at 11:00am Thursday, there were scores of people already in line.

“We’ve had over a hundred and something people walk through our doors,” Rodriguez said, “asking questions, coming into to see what we are, what we represent, and picking up medication so it’s been a very good day for us.”

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania regulators have decided how they will disburse nearly $210 million that was raised last year from fees on Marcellus Shale gas wells.

The state's Public Utility Commission announced its plans Thursday.

photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

State College has hosted a summer arts festival for decades.  And a brand new festival comes to town June 22-24, 2018. WPSU’s Kristine Allen reports the first annual "Central PA Theatre and Dance Fest," includes more than 100 events, held at various venues in and around downtown State College.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we’ll hear a Bach viola da gamba sonata, played on viola and piano by two Penn State faculty members; “Capriccio Espangol” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov played by the Penn State Philharmonic; and from Music at Penn’s Woods 2017, we’ll hear a ballet suite from “Mother Goose” by Maurice Ravel, and a violin duo with an amazing cover of the hit song, “Hotel California” by the Eagles!

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we’ll hear an instrumental suite from the opera “Orfeo ed Euridice” by Chrstoph Gluck; Penn state guitarist Jonathan Gangi playing a sonatina by Jorge Morel; The Penn State Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerardo Edelstein playing the “Sigfried Idyll” by Richard Wagner; and the Penn State Symphonic Band playing “Four French Songs and Dances of the Sixteenth Century” by Robert Hanson.

photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

The Winner of WPSU's Annual Art for the Airwaves contest hails from the rolling hills, woods and farmland of Centre Hall. 

"I grew up on a dairy farm just about five miles from here," he says. "I have a financial planning practice that I've been doing for 24 years."

In Whiteman's house, you'll find his photographs on almost every wall and table.  And they make it clear he loves nature and wildlife.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we’ll hear the Symphony No. 2 by Jean Sibelius, played by the Penn State Philharmonic, led by Gerardo Edelstein; and Haydn’s Andante & Variations in F Minor, played by pianist Jose Ramon Mendez.

photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis 50 years ago.   WPSU’s Kristine Allen brings us memories of that day from residents of Central and Northern Pennsylvania.

Thanks to Kimberly Weinberg of The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, WPSU's Cheraine Stanford, and the listeners of WPSU for help with this story. 

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  WPSU’s Kristine Allen reports there are a couple of commemorations today in Central Pennsylvania.

MLK Plaza in downtown State College will host a public remembrance of Dr. King, starting this evening at 5:30. Penn State theatre professor emeritus, Charles Dumas will give a dramatic reading of King’s final speech; and some of King’s favorite music will be played by local artists.

(Photo: AP File Photo)

On April 4, 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. shocked the country. Where you alive then? If so, were you on that that day?  How did you hear the news? Whether you were around then or not: what has MLK and his message meant to you, personally? WPSU wants your thoughts, recorded in your own voice.

Photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

Pennsylvanians love their beer. The Brewers Association says that in 2017 more barrels of craft beer were brewed in Pennsylvania than in any other state in the U.S. California came in second.

But it’s not just businesses that are turning-out tasty microbrews.   Local home-brewers in Central Pennsylvania are getting into the act, too.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, flutist Naomi Seidman and pianist Christopher Guzman will play a Sonata for Flute & Piano composed in 1927 by Erwin Shulhoff; the Penn State Glee Club, directed by Christopher Kiver, sings “Draw on Sweet Night” by contemporary composer Casey Rule;  and we’ll hear the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra, led by Gerardo Edelstein, in the Symphony No. 3 in C by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Glenn Davis (courtesy of Altoona Community Theatre) / 7th Ave Photo, Altoona

For the first time ever, Altoona Community Theatre is presenting a Shakespeare play.  AS WPSU’s Kristine Allen reports this weekend's production of "Romeo and Juliet," which opens Thursday, will focus on  keeping the performance real and relevant, with modern costumes and music by the Talking Heads. 

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we’ll hear choral music in the African American tradition from Essence of Joy (“Striving after God” by Undine Smith Moore and “This is the Day” by Joe Pace); The Penn State Symphonic Wind Ensemble in a suite from the opera, “Mlada” by Nicolai Rimsky Korsakov (arranged by Dennis Glocke); And a Mozart concerto for two pianos from the Music at Penn’s Woods Festival, featuring pianists Christopher Guzman and Cecilia Dunoyer with conductor Gerardo Edelstein.

photo: NPR

NPR has a brand new weekly, hour-long show called “Hidden Brain."  The program explores the unconscious patterns behind human behavior. It incorporates NPR's signature storytelling style, and the latest scientific research about why we humans do what we do.  The idea started as a series of reports on Morning Edition, then became a podcast, and is now a weekly program.  WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with NPR's social science correspondent, Shankar Vedantam. He's the host of the new show, heard Sunday afternoons at 1:00 on WPSU-FM.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear cellist Kim Cook play music by Sergei Rachmaninoff from a concert in the Music Penn’s Woods Festival; an instrumental arrangement of “Sunrise, Sunset” from “Fiddler on the Roof,” by Jerry Bock, from that same Penns Woods concert, played by clarinetist Anthony Costa, oboist Timothy Hurtz, and pianist Ann Deighton; and  the Penn State Philharmonic, led by Gerardo Edelstien in Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8.

original photo: Paul M. Howey

B.J. Leiderman wrote the theme music for many public radio shows, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Marketplace and Science Friday. After decades in the music business, as a composer and performer, Leiderman has finally released his very first album of songs.  On Take Note, BJ Leiderman talks with WPSU’s Kristine Allen about his album, his obsession with the Beatles, and how to write catchy theme music. We also hear a bit of music from the album.

photo: courtesy of Scott Sackett & Paul Lamont

On Thursday, January 4 at 8:00pm, WPSU-TV will broadcast the PBS documentary, “Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua Dam” about the history of the Kinzua Dam in Warren County, Pennsylvania.