The State of Things

 

The issues, personalities and places of North Carolina right to you, every day in your podcast feed. Hosted by Frank Stasio and Anita Rao. Listen and subscribe on Google PlayApple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite shows. Tweet us @state_of_things and see more show content on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Billy Dee

What does it mean for a black journalist to remain neutral when writing about police brutality? Can young reporters be objective in their coverage of climate change?  Soon after the 2016 election, while working at American Public Media’s Marketplace, Lewis Raven Wallace wrote a blogpost saying: “We must change what we are doing to adapt to a government that believes in ‘alternative facts’ and thrives on lies.”

Carl Tanner's headshot
Courtesy of Carl Tanner

Growing up, Carl Tanner did his best to hide his vocal talent. He played keyboard in a rock band in high school but was reluctant to let out his booming voice. Eventually, a friend overheard him singing and pushed him to join the school choir. His natural ability stunned the instructor, and he started singing hymns at church, too.

Animated hands with words like 'calm, friendly, curious, inviting, attentive' frame an animated image of a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Pixabay

 

Parents in the United States typically have very little institutional support when it comes to raising children. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees workers 12 weeks of parental leave — but that leave is unpaid.

Lizzo sits naked with her long hair draping over her body.
Atlantic Records

The flute-wielding singer and rapper Lizzo is the artist of the moment. She secured the most 2020 Grammy nominations of any artist, including nods for best album, song and record.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Are wood pellets a renewable energy? In 2009, the European Union declared wood pellets a “carbon-neutral choice,” and in 2018 the EPA followed suit. Yet pellets are less efficient than fossil fuels. To make the same amount of energy, wood pellets release more carbon than both coal and natural gas.

Even before the Civil War, the North Carolina General Assembly was reckoning with prohibition. Women led the charge against drinking mostly through church organizations and behind-the-scenes political advocacy.

Refugee  children pose for a photo in front of a school bus.
Courtesy of the New Arrivals Institute

Southeast Asian refugees first arrived in Greensboro after the Vietnam War. Now, more than 40 years later, the city continues to welcome families fleeing violence.

Quilla with a microphone over a mixing board, mid-performance.
Courtesy of Anna Luisa Daigneault

Since landing in Greensboro, Quilla’s cosmic beat-making has encouraged other women DJs to step into the scene.

Carrie Knowles in front of a microphone
Courtesy of Carrie Knowles

Writing has been a central part of Carrie Knowles’ life since she was a young girl. She pursued creative writing as her major in college, even though it went against her father’s wishes.

Protesters hold signs that read 'NO IRAN WAR.'
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The U.S. House of Representatives approves a resolution that would limit President Donald Trump’s power and require authorization from Congress before taking any additional military action against Iran. While Trump tries to calm the nation’s fears, the FBI and national security leaders believe Iran and its proxies still pose a threat.

Charlotte Jarvis

Semen is a potent substance, both literally and symbolically. It was described by Chinese proverb as “equal to ten drops of blood”; by Sumerians as “a divine substance,” given to humanity by the god of water; and by Aristotle as “the most perfect component of our food.”

Courtesy of the Verona Quartet

Attending a night at the symphony may conjure up images of an elaborate theatre, expensive tickets and an audience dressed in their finest. Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle is working to change that perception with upcoming performances featuring the Verona Quartet, COT’s inaugural string quartet-in-residence.

Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

200 families living in the McDougald Terrace public housing complex in Durham have been temporarily moved into hotels because of ongoing problems with carbon monoxide. The Durham Housing Authority put in place a voluntary evacuation order Friday as it conducts testing at the units. 

Poster of RLT's Curious Incident shows Michael in a red hoodie looking up at a night sky.
Courtesy of Raleigh Little Theatre

 
Actors make their living by telling the stories of other people. It is a craft marked by embodying a completely different life. But sometimes this process pushes out those who could most authentically tell the story. 

A surgery portrayed on a television episode
NBC

Television medical dramas have been a staple in Hollywood for decades. But just how accurate are those surgery scenes on NBC’s “Chicago Med?” Could Holmes and Watson really solve a crime using the science portrayed in the CBS series “Elementary?” It is Dr. Oren Gottfried’s job to ensure that medical facts align with the fiction of Hollywood. 

82nd Airborne paratroopers marching at Fort Bragg
Sgt. Kissta M. Feldner / U.S. Military

Iranian airstrikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq yesterday marked a response to the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In the past week, thousands of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg rapidly deployed to the Middle East and Marines from Camp Lejeune are now also on their way to reinforce U.S. military presence.

Jeffries stands in uniform next to a sign that reads 'Lindsey Jefferies NC's First Female African AMerican Black Helicopter Pilot for the NC Army National Guard.'
Courtesy of Lindsey Jefferies

Captain Lindsey Jefferies was the first of her six siblings to graduate from college. As a child, her family struggled financially and was constantly on the move in search of better paying jobs and a lower cost of living. She hoped that getting a good education could be a ticket to a more secure future and set the goal of attending UNC-Chapel Hill.

Workers with a large tractor dig coal ash out from pit.
NC DEQ / Flickr

Duke Energy is expected to execute the country’s largest coal ash cleanup in the next couple decades. A settlement signed Dec. 31, 2019 between Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality decided the utility will excavate nearly 80 million tons of coal ash from unlined ponds and move it to lined landfills.

photo of writer David Zucchino
Becca Fox

 

Pulitzer Prize winner David Zucchino tackles Wilmington’s big lie in his latest book. Often called the Wilmington Massacre, early history described it as an unfortunate event where blacks were planning a race riot to overthrow whites. What history uncovered was a highly structured, highly coordinated coup planned by white supremacists to strip blacks of their newly-gained political power.

Pixabay

We’re STILL waiting on nominations for the Academy Awards. So, in the meantime, we’re making our own list!

What was your favorite film of 2019?

Send your nomination to sot@wunc.org for your chance to be on the next Movies on the Radio with film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon.

Press shot for Bell.
Mallory Talty

Jennah Bell’s love of music started with Disney movies and musicals. By age six she had matured past the soundtrack to “Annie” and discovered the magic of Stevie Wonder and the Beatles and began to understand the wide range of stories that music can tell.

Protestors holding signs.
Bob Karp

Five former employees of the Hampton Inn in Mebane filed a complaint in Guilford County Superior Court alleging wage theft totalling $24,681. They assert that money is from unpaid bonuses and vacation time, mileage reimbursement, a malfunctioning time clock and more.

Historical sign
Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/31557195515

The term “Underground Railroad” evokes the image of the legendary Harriet Tubman engineering daring escapes in a false-bottomed carriage or slaves following the North Star through dark woods. Researcher and longtime history professor Adrienne Israel says those popular images only tell a sliver of the story.

Trump at the rally in Michigan.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2020 is more than a presidential election year — it is also the beginning of a new decade. Does this mean a new era of politics?

Photo of the Cat's Cradle from behind the stage at a show.
Courtesy of Steve Balcolm

At 17 years old, he was barred from entering the front door of the Cat’s Cradle, so John Howie Jr. instead got on the stage of the Chapel Hill club.

The Come Up Show, Ebru Yildiz and Hans Watson

North Carolina musicians made waves on the national stage in 2019. Close to a dozen artists from the state, including Rhiannon Giddens, DaBaby and J.Cole, are up for Grammy Awards in 2020, and new talent keeps popping up.

roller derby skaters in the middle of a jam
Dutcher Photography http://bit.ly/35Ni1bm

2019 was a big year for the state of North Carolina: lawmakers held the second-longest legislative session in the state’s history, the city of Durham celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding, and a major hurricane hit the coast in September. State of Things producers were busy covering these stories and many more.

Protesters hold signs, one reads 'Love not hate makes America great.'
Anthony Crider

The segments produced by a State of Things producer are as diverse as the people who listen to the show. Dana Terry joins host Frank Stasio to share how diversity informs the stories they tell and highlights some of the standout moments of the year, including a conversation with Jacob Tobia, a gender non-conforming Raleigh native who ran off to Hollywood to make it big.

Holub-Moorman talking into a microphone at Motorco Music Hall.
Dalvin Nichols II / 8-bit Photog

The newest team member for WUNC’s daily talk show also produced the program’s first episode of the Embodied series, which explores topics related to sex, relationships and health. The series is hosted by Anita Rao and launched in July with an hour-long conversation about changing landscape of sexual education in North Carolina. Since then, the team has crafted weekly episodes for the series, featuring conversations ranging from fecal bio-art to intimacy through the ages. 

Producer Laura Pellicer in a field in Harnett County
Courtesy Sandra Davidson

 

 

In 2019, The State of Things met musical visionaries, people fighting to save endangered cultures, and folks who supported their neighbors through another devastating hurricane. The individuals and stories at the heart of those conversations stuck with State of Things producer Laura Pellicer throughout the year.

Pages