Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Durham City, Durham County, Aging, Parks and Rec
Durham Parks and Recreation

End of the year and New Year holiday events were popular across the Triangle in recent weeks, but one of the biggest parties was the senior holiday party in Durham. The event sells out every year and is mostly attended by African Americans, despite the area’s diverse population, according to the city's parks and recreation officials. The party is an example that may lend credibility to new research on “social status” and race.

On Episode 8 of American Songster Radio, host Dom Flemons speaks with his recent musical collaborator, the legendary English guitarist Martin Simpson. 

Dom Flemons and Martin Simpson have worked together since 2014, when the pair received a joint commission from the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Since then, they’ve completed multiple duo tours and released Ever Popular Favourites, an album that celebrates the longstanding mutual influence of British and American music.

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast with a look at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

This time Eric Hodge sits down with Charlotte, North Carolina's Benji Hughes to discuss his song "Peacockin' Party" from the album Songs In The Key Of Animals. Hughes says he wasn't trying to take himself too seriously for this record, and what he ended up with is a batch of catchy songs about animals.

Lopez, Kristina

The History Lesson

It sounds like a kid’s fantasy: A giant wave of sugar. The reality was not so sweet.

It was a cold January day in Boston, 1919. And, at a distilling company with the deceptively pleasant name of “Purity,” a calamity was brewing… in the form of a giant steel storage vat full of molasses.

Lopez, Kristina

Natalie Mering makes gorgeous music under the name Weyes Blood. Her new album “Front Row Seat To Earth” sets soaring vocals against lush horns and almost classical-sounding piano.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave, and sometimes we ask them to wildly unqualified celebrities, but today, we are joined by the veritable “Post-er” guy and gal of etiquette. Get that? See where I’m going with that?

Get a Sweet Taste of Cuba With Guarapo

Jan 6, 2017
Lopez, Kristina

Regular listeners of the show may know Brendan and Rico led a tour of public radio fans through Havana back in November. In fact, you can see a few snapshots from their trip here.

Director Mike Mills got his start in the music biz — making videos for acts like Air and Moby, and designing posters for The Beastie Boys. But he’s probably best known for his feature film “Beginners” — which earned it’s star Christopher Plummer an Academy Award.

An image of bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull
Gina Binkley

Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sierra Hull has been playing music professionally since she was just a kid.

Now, at 25, Sierra has released a new album that is a departure from her previous work. "Weighted Mind" features a more stripped down version of Sierra Hull's sound- a departure from her earlier works. “Weighted Mind” is nominated for a Grammy.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hull about her life and career, and she performs songs from her new album.

Live from Boston

Jan 6, 2017
Salman Ahmad
Photo by Allison Evans

Sofija Stefanovic is a  journalist investigating internet scams who forms a special relationship with someone online.

Tara Clancy runs into some complications when she and her wife decide to have a second baby.

Paul Munafo needs a new liver when he receives a midnight call from the hospital.

Salman Ahmad came upon some serious roadblocks on the road to becoming a rock musician.

Sound Opinions Show

Jan 5, 2017


ANNOUNCER COPY: Coming up…Jim and Greg talk to Grammy Award winning artist Esperanza Spalding about defying musical genres and breaking into the boys club of the jazz world. Then, they’ll revisit David Bowie’s death one year later.



America's digital dumping ground

Jan 5, 2017

You got that new computer or phone you wanted for the holidays – but what happens to your old gadgets? They might not end up where you expect. Next time on Reveal, environmentalists follow the global trail of America’s electronic castoffs.

Actor John Wayne aims his gun in the 1956 Western film 'The Searchers' by John Ford.
Wikimedia Commons

From gunslingers to saloons, for the next episode of "Movies on the Radio," The State of Things is asking, what are your picks for the best Western films of all time? Are you a fan of John Wayne classics like “Stagecoach,” Western satires like “Blazing Saddles, or genre-bending releases like “Django Unchained”?

An image of acrots Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the film 'La La Land'
Summit Entertainment

Whether it was action blockbusters like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” or sci-fi thrillers like “Arrival,” Hollywood offered a dynamic mix for audiences in 2016.

For this month’s Movies on the Radio, listeners picked their favorite films from the past year, including critically-acclaimed movies like “La La Land” and “Moonlight." 

A group shot of members of the Community Music School's Jazz Ensemble
Courtesy of the Community Music School

The Community Music School of Raleigh has been offering affordable music lessons to low-income students for 23 years. This year may be its last unless donors come through to support the school and its mission to offer affordable music education.

Durham County Library, Books, Durham City, Bond Issue
Durham County Library

There’s good news for Durham County Library patrons and some not so good news. The good news is the main branch of the Durham County Library is about to undergo a multi-million dollar makeover – a full reconfiguration.  The bad news - the library will close January 15 and won’t reopen until 2019.

Image of Sheri Castle on her first birthday
Courtesy of Sheri Castle

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from November 14, 2016.

Food and storytelling have gone hand in hand for Sheri Castle since she was a little girl. At the age of four, she wrote her first original recipe: a smoothie she called “Hawaiian Tropic Sunset Delight.”

The year in Reveal

Dec 29, 2016

This year on Reveal, we’ve dug into the issues that affect people's lives across the country. We told stories about worker abuse, toxic schools, women’s sports and private prisons. And so we decided to round out this season with something different: This hour, we look back at stories you, our listeners, said were the most memorable.

Vote: Best of DPD 2016

Dec 29, 2016
Lopez, Kristina

This week, we look back on some of the best interviews, meals, music, and more we’ve featured on the show from this past year. But we’d also like to hear what stuck with you in 2016. So, we’ve set up this slew of polls to below find out which moments you loved best.

If you need a refresher, you can click the answers within the poll to hear that particular segment. You can also leave a comment below if you want to explain why you loved a particular guest or moment, and we’ll be sure to feature you in a follow-up post next week. Happy voting!

Sound Opinions Show

Dec 28, 2016



In the 'OBITS' section we play a portion of Negativeland's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (Special Edit Radio Mix). The song makes use of samples of Casey Kasem swearing during a taping of his radio show. All expletives are fully bleeped. Bleeps occur at 17:44, 17:47 and 17:52 into the episode.

Photograph of Producer Anita Rao with NASA Astronaut Doug Wheelock
Charlie Shelton-Ormond

As 2016 comes to a close, The State of Things staff goes “behind the glass” to join Frank Stasio for conversations about their favorite segments of the year.

An image of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond with hip-hop producer  9th Wonder
Anita Rao

As the year wraps up, "The State of Things" takes a moment to reflect on the highlights of 2016 with the program's producers. Some of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond's favorite segments include conversations with hip-hop producer 9th Wonder and hip-hop artist Rapsody.

He also chose a conversation with members of the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team and recaps what brought identical twin comedians the Sklar brothers to the Triangle.

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond about his favorite conversations from 2016. 


Listener Letters: The Worst Gifts EVER

Dec 23, 2016
McGovern, Kathleen

This week we released our special holiday episode. Think of it like an audio-stocking stuffed with goodies: fantastic music, Yuletide reflections from Alton Brown and She & Him, whisky (OK, vicarious whisky, but still!). These are our holiday gifts to you, and we really hope that you like them.

Our holiday gift to you is a story we first brought you back in May. It touches on corrupt politicians and keeping the public in the dark. Don’t worry, it has nothing to do with this year’s election. In fact, this story takes us back more than 40 years. Consider this show a trip with the ghost of investigations past, where we take a look back at the Pentagon Papers – how they became public and why they’re so important.

Mismatch, Marriage, and a Marathon

Dec 22, 2016
Horace H.B. Sanders
Sean Carter

Jessica Lee Williamson follows love to a campsite and loses her sense of self.
  Horace HB Sanders gets married and divorced and then remarried.
Peter Sagal runs The Boston Marathon as a guide for a visually impaired man.

Holiday specials are a long-running tradition. Think “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And there are, as She & Him collaborators Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward told us, beloved holiday albums, too. Now in the age of the Internet, there are holiday memes.

Lopez, Kristina

We think the holidays merited a brand new edition of Guest List, in which an interesting person lists some interesting things. This time around our guest is Richard Lawson.

The DPD audience knows him as an esteemed member of our Small Talk cabinet, providing us with odd news of the week. Early in his career, he was, in our opinion, the most entertaining TV recapper in the world.

She & Him Spin a Sort of Christmas Playlist

Dec 22, 2016

After shedding a little light on their holiday traditions, the duo stopped built a party soundtrack that has just the right amount Christmassy vibes to set the tone for your next holiday soirée.

Zooey Deschanel: We would like to share with you our, sort of Christmas, sort of not Christmas, playlist.

M. Ward: As a gift to you listeners.

Zooey Deschanel: From us.

M. Ward: Are you ready?

Lopez, Kristina

The History Lesson

New-wave music was mainly known for flashy videos and enormous hair. But in 1984… Bob Geldof used it to fight hunger

It made sense. Bob fronted new-wave band “The Boomtown Rats.” But he’d also been an anti-poverty activist since age 13. So, when he saw a news report about mass famine in Ethiopia, he and Midge Ure of the band “Ultravox” figured they’d raise cash for the cause by putting out a song about it.

A second helping! Entertaining Advice from Alton Brown

Dec 22, 2016
Lopez, Kristina

Each week, our listeners send in questions about how to behave, and this time around, Alton Brown is sitting in the etiquette expert hot seat.

He talked with us recently about his new cookbook “EveryDayCook.” He is also a man who, among other things, was the toughest judge on “Food Network Star.” So he clearly has a few ideas about how things should be.