Mary Beth Kirchner

Mary Beth Kirchner is a veteran independent producer who has worked for the past 20 years developing award-winning programming for public radio and network television. For more than a decade, her programs have focused on the brain.

Kirchner has worked under the auspices of the Dana Foundation in New York, a leading funder of neuroscience, to create the public radio documentary series, Gray Matters, which has been heard on over 250 stations nationwide. Produced from 1998-2008, Gray Matters featured more than 20 hour-long documentaries on cutting-edge brain science, with topics ranging from Alzheimer’s disease and addiction to neuroethics and the arts. Kirchner has also produced three Friday Night Specials for ABC News Nightline on the brain with correspondent Robert Krulwich. It has been a great passion of hers for the last decade. In a recent review of her work, one media critic wrote, “It seems probable that no other radio producer has examined so many aspects of what must be the most important part of our human anatomy.”

With an extensive track record in public broadcasting, Kirchner has received over 50 national and international awards, including a duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, and three Gold Medals from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for her documentaries, radio dramas and music series, selected as public radio's best cultural programming of the year.

Kirchner started her own production company in 1993 after having served as national programming director for radio at WETA, Washington, DC. Prior to that, she was executive producer at the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Telecommunications. Her productions include collaborations with National Public Radio, Public Radio International, the Smithsonian Institution, Carnegie Hall, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the Western Folklife Center, the BBC, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Asia Society, NHK (Japan's public broadcaster) and ABC News.

Session(s) by Mary Beth Kirchner: