Sam Baker | KERA News

Sam Baker

Senior Editor and Morning Edition Host

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Sam worked in commercial television at NBC and CBS affiliates for six years before moving to public broadcasting. He was news director and Morning Edition host at KWGS-FM in Tulsa, Okla., for three years and moved to KERA in 1991. He has served on the board of Public Radio News Directors Inc. and is a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators.

As a volunteer, Sam for seven years produced a weekly series, Jazz in Words and Music, for Reading and Radio Resources, an agency serving the visually impaired. He is also a former member on the board of Southwest Transplant Alliance, a private non-profit organization that provides organs and tissues for transplantation.

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Texas has been a Republican stronghold in presidential races for the last 40 years. But Donald Trump has led Hillary Clinton by only single digit margins in recent polls. A look at why and what’s possible in Texas for Democrats in and after the November election.

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After a mammogram, no one wants to hear the words, “We found a spot on the image.” But it can be a problem for women with high density breast tissue – and it may or may not have to do with breast cancer. 

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Some of the 24 million people in the U.S. with asthma, or inflammation that narrows the airways, suffer severe symptoms: Like persistent shortness of breath. The inability to speak in full sentences. Or a chest that feels closed. Two new studies tout possible new treatments for severe asthma. 

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Women  experience menopause around  51 years old, on average. But combing through 32 studies involving 310, 000 women, researchers in the Netherlands concluded menopause before the age of 45 may increase risk for cardiovascular disease and death. 

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The extra lengths some go to for exercise.  Hot yoga’s grown in popularity over the years.  but exercise in a hot environment can be dangerous if you’re not careful. 

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The old saying goes “it pays to be nice.” Turns out a smile, saying good morning or paying the tab for the person behind you at Starbucks may payoff with  better health. A behavioral health counselor  talks about the health benefits of random acts of kindness. 

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There are more than three million cases of urinary tract infections in the U.S. each year. Antibiotics are the usual treatment. However, some believe cranberry juice can help.  

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The American Heart Association has recommended new limits on kids consuming sugar: Ages 2 to 18 should consume no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. No food or drink with added sugars for children younger than 2. 

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A new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center has found work productivity can be a key factor in measuring a patient’s recovery. The study’s lead author explains.

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A new UT Southwestern Medical Center study of electronic medical records from six Dallas-Fort Worth area hospitals found 20 percent of patients had one or more unstable vital signs when they were released within 24 hours of discharge. Doing so can lead to serious consequences. 

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Results from a recently published study show men twice as likely as women to die from sudden cardiac death. It’s the largest cause of natural death in the U.S., causing about 325,000 adult deaths each year.

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A biopsy involves removing tissue to find out if you have a disease or the extent of it. The FDA recently approved a less-invasive “liquid” biopsy for a certain form of lung cancer. But the possibilities are far greater.  

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It’s estimated more than 24 million Americans, age 40 and older, have cataracts. This painless clouding of the lens of the eye can cause serious problems.  But cataracts can be easily treated, especially if you catch certain symptoms early. 

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Hillary Clinton tonight accepts the Democratic Party’s nomination for President after a long primary battle with Bernie Sanders. But some supporters of the Vermont Senator continue to struggle with the idea, including some in the Texas delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

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A recently-published study shows some weight loss medications actually do help, but they’re not cures. An expert in non-surgical weight loss at UT Southwestern Medical Center says users of the drugs need to be clear about what they’re taking.

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A day after Texas delegates helped give Donald Trump the presidential nomination, Senator Ted Cruz takes the stage at the Republican National Convention. Texas was Cruz territory before he dropped out of the presidential race, and getting all the delegates behind Donald Trump last night took some effort behind the scenes. 

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Sales of meat substitutes are soaring because of concerns about personal health and the environment. But not all products are as healthy as advertised. Reading the nutrition label is important. 

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Fever, sneezing, a rash are obvious signals something may be physically wrong. But the body also sends “silent” signs you may ignore - signs of something far more serious. Here are six of them, according to Dr. Sentayehu Kassa, lead staff physician at Parkland Hospital's Vickery Health Center. 

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Sweets laced with marijuana. Police are seeing more cases of pot-laced cookies and candies made and sold in states where recreational use of marijuana is allowed, and then imported into states like Texas where marijuana remains illegal. Moreover, they look like the kind of regular treats kids would consume.

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A study published in 2015 found more than half of American adults had diabetes or pre-diabetes in 2012. Managing the disease usually involves medication, especially insulin. But exercise can also be effective - even preventive at times. 

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved changes to the nutrition facts label on packaged and processed food, beginning with larger, bolder type to make it easier to read. What  you will and won’t find on the label has also changed.

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When they can’t get opioid painkillers, a growing number of addicts turn to anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium for a cheap high,  but with serious consequences. Some call it "the poor man's methadone."

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Epilepsy affects about three million people in the U.S. alone. But while people associate seizures with the disorder, a lot of myths persist about epilepsy. 

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Higher demand for housing across North Texas pushed up residential property values nine to 13 percent in the latest county appraisal notices. But those higher values can mean higher taxes. Homeowners who believe they owe less have a recourse: They can file a protest with the county appraisal district by May 31.

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Enlarged prostate is a problem common to men over 50. Doctors usually recommend medication or various forms of surgery to address the problem. However,  the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 approved a quicker, less invasive alternative treatment using steam.

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Millions of people use statins to lower cholesterol, but some have complained about muscle pain after taking the drug. A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic found links between the pain and the medication. 

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Speak too long or too loud and you can end up hoarse or worse if you don’t learn to use your larynx correctly. It's the sound source for the human voice, and it regulates breathing and swallowing. 

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About 50,000 people are diagnosed with some form of head and neck cancer each year, most often older men. But research indicates an increase among younger people - partly because of an rise in cases of the HPV virus.

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Millions of people use various types of fitness trackers (wrist bands, clip-ons and smart watches) to help keep in shape. However, some online product reviews question their reliability.

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Sepsis is the body's overwhelming response to infection. It's potentially life-threatening, and recently killed actress Patty Duke. More than 200-thousand cases of sepsis are reported each year, but you can survive it if it’s caught early. 

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