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How Radio Gets Made With Managing Editor Anita Rao

State of Things Managing Editor Anita Rao
Elie Gardner
State of Things Managing Editor Anita Rao takes listeners behind the scenes of the show in 2018.

It was a big year in North Carolina news. The man known to many as “America’s Pastor,” evangelist Billy Graham, passed away at the age of 99. Hurricane Florence tore through the state causing billions of dollars in damages, and protesters toppled the confederate Silent Sam statue on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

There is so much great cultural production going on in this state, and it's so nice to hear Natalie and Mark shine a spotlight on what's happening and connect their personal experience to the work of artists who are making work all around us. — Anita Rao

“The State of Things” covered all of that and more, and host Frank Stasio talks with Managing Editor Anita Rao about the many moments that shaped this year. Rao shares a new partnership between the show and the Southern Oral History Program, a collection of over 5,000 interviews housed at the Center for the Study of the American South. She takes you behind-the-scenes of “BackChannel,” the recurring series connecting culture and context with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal. And she explains the “Monday Meet,” a special feature each week that spotlights one person with deep roots in North Carolina.

Rao also reflects on what it feels like to sit in the host chair, which she did for five weeks this past summer. While Rao filled in as a guest host she talked about topics ranging from the deep history of Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form, to what it means to be a fat activist, to the rise and reign of rosé. 

I loved how my brain worked when I was hosting. It was a very meditative experience. You can really only focus on one thing at a time. — Anita Rao

Listen to all of Anita’s favorite segments of the year:

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.