DMV Download from WTOP News

DMV Download is the only daily local news podcast created for Washingtonians. Every weekday afternoon, hosts Megan Cloherty and Luke Garrett go beyond the headlines with WTOP’s team of reporters and sources to bring listeners more on the biggest stories impacting the D.C. region.

Latest Episodes

‘It is a big deal:’ Why Virginia’s state elections matter

Virginia’s off-season election cycle is up and running with early voting starting on September 22. The previous election in the Commonwealth ushered in a new era of state politics — turning Virginia from blue to purple. But since the election of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin in 2021, a lot has changed like the fall of Roe v. Wade. To better understand the 2023 election and its local and national implications, we bring in WTOP reporter Nick Iannelli. He’s been covering the Youngkin administration from day one and Virginia politics more broadly. Nick tells us the state of play and what he expects on election day.
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Understanding DC real estate: Is it time to rent or buy?

With interest rates at a 20-year high and a low inventory in the DC real estate market, it’s an interesting time to be a potential home buyer. On the show, I talk to local realtor and social media creator John Coleman. He explains where the market stands and where it might be headed. We also hear from the Director of Communications and Outreach at Housing Counseling Services, Inc., Ronald Clarkson. He talks about programs in the D.C. area that provide zero interest loans to those who qualify.
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‘Poverty is expensive:’ Why this nonprofit wants to turn a profit

The shiny, new DC Central Kitchen HQ in the Buzzard Point neighborhood — with its nearly 7,000-square-foot production kitchen — is glassy, bright, open and marked by modern design. It almost looks like a tech start-up’s headquarters instead of a food kitchen’s. And that’s intentional, according to the CEO of DC Central Kitchen Mike Curtin. On the show, Curtin walks us through this new facility and explains why he thinks we need to stop “helping” people in need and start “investing” in people. For Curtin this is the key to solving poverty in D.C. and beyond.
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Chronic absenteeism: Kids are skipping class more and more

Students are filing back into cafeterias, gymnasiums and classrooms — but not as many as before. In the last three years, absenteeism has gone up and up nationally and locally. More and more students aren’t showing up to class consistently. To better understand this concerning trend we turn to WTOP Reporter Kate Ryan, who formerly taught high school at Montgomery County Public Schools. Ryan tells us what is going on here, why it matters, and what’s being done to reverse chronic absenteeism.
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Do I need to worry about COVID again? What about malaria?

COVID cases are on the rise in the D.C. region. Meanwhile, two new coronavirus variants are popping up and concerning scientists — EG.5 and BA.2.86. On top of that, Maryland reported its first locally transmitted malaria case in over 40 years. Should these emerging variants and disease worry us? For answers, we talk to Andrew Pekosz — virologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Pekosz explains what is going on with COVID and malaria, locally, and he gives us his risk assessment of the situation.
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After 50 years, a victim of clergy sex abuse speaks out

The scourge of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church has been well documented. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is now renewing calls that the Archdiocese of Washington release the names of known, hidden abusers. It’s a message Dan Ronan — a survivor of child sex abuse at the hands of a priest — echoes. On the show, Ronan tells his story of how Father Thomas Gannon sexually abused him as an 11-year-old boy in Chicago. He also talks about why Gannon wasn’t punished for this alleged assault and later became a respected professor at Georgetown University. Ronan walks us through this trauma and shares how he ultimately found peace 50 years later.
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As Commanders eye RFK, DC Council battles over bringing them home

The Commanders are the closest they’ve been to returning to the old-RFK stadium in Washington, D.C. Now that DC-native Josh Harris has bought the team from Dan Snyder and Congress has introduced bi-partisan legislation that would give the District a 99-year lease of the RFK site, the chances of a new Commanders stadium in D.C. is increasing. Yet, the DC Council would need to sign off on a new stadium and a battle is brewing over whether this is a good idea. On the show, we hear from At-Large Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen who stand on either side of the issue. 
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After 26 years, DC’s UFO lobbyist gets his day in Congress

Are we alone? Does extraterrestrial life exist here on earth? Are UFO’s real? Have we made contact with aliens? These questions are usually reserved for the world of science fiction, but they made their way into Congress last week at a House Oversight Committee hearing. For many, the hearing was a bit of a head scratcher, but not for Steve Bassett. He’s the first UFO lobbyist in Washington, DC and after more than a quarter-century of work he got his day in Congress. On the show, he tells his story and thoughts on extraterrestrial life.
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Before Oppenheimer: How DC became the unlikely birthplace of the atomic age

Years before Robert Oppenheimer led the Los Alamos lab that developed the first nuclear weapons, physicists in Washington, D.C., thrust the world into the atomic age — inside a narrow, zigzagging tunnel running underneath Chevy Chase. It happened at the Carnegie Institute of Science’s “atom smasher” in 1939. On the show, institute librarian, Shaun Hardy, and president, Eric Isaacs, tell this little known and unlikely D.C. story.
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Inside the deal: How the DC Council passed its emergency crime bill

Violent crime is on the rise in DC. Meanwhile, city officials have been at odds over how to address spikes in homicides and gun violence for much of 2023. But last week, the D.C. Council passed a number of crime bills with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s blessing. Ward 2 Council Member Brooke Pinto ushered in the new set of bills. She comes on the show to talk about this legislation, how it will make the city safer and what her plans are for future crime legislation.
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