Anita Rao

Producer, "The State of Things"

Anita Rao is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. She loves excessively-long dinner parties and hopes to one day live up to her mom's nickname, "Sheila, The Chocolate Eater."

Ways to Connect

wildfire photo
Stuart Palley for Reveal

Wildfires continue to sweep through the Southeastern United States. More than 28,000 fires have burned approximately 1.5 million acres of land in the region so far this year, according to The National Interagency Fire Center.

Photo of comedian Josh Gondelman
Yvette Albinowski

Comedian Josh Gondelman has earned the nickname the “nicest man in comedy,” for his inherently decent and astute comedic style. But many in that world may also consider him to be one of the luckiest men in the business because comedy writing is part of both his day and night jobs.

Image of Attica uprising
ASSOCIATED PRESS/ New York State Special Commission on Attica

Forty-five years ago, New York state police raided Attica Prison, a maximum-security institution in a small town in upstate New York. The standoff and takeover led to the deaths of 39 men in what has become known as the "Attica Prison Uprising." Scholar and historian Heather Ann Thompson considers the uprising to be both one of the most important civil rights events of the 20th century and a pivotal moment in criminal justice history.

Michelle Lanier

Note: This program is a rebroadcast. It originally aired May 2, 2016.  

Michelle Lanier’s roots in North Carolina are so deep that she describes “every branch of her family tree having at least a sapling that crosses into the state.” She has a great-grandparent who preached at the oldest black Episcopal church in the state, one who was salesmen on Durham’s Black Wall Street, and one who helped establish the state’s first black high school.  

Image of NC Author Belle Boggs
Courtesy of Belle Boggs

Note: This is a rebroadcast. This program originally aired September 6, 2016.  

photo of Rissi Palmer
Rissi Palmer

Note: This is a Rebroadcast. This program originally aired July 15, 2016.

Singer-songwriter Rissi Palmer exploded onto the country music scene in 2007 with a self-titled album. She sang alongside Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, and her single "Country Girl" was the first song by an African-American woman artist to make the country Billboard charts in almost two decades.

Image of Dyanna Taylor and Dorothea Lange
Paul Taylor

Dorothea Lange is best known for her portraiture photography documenting America’s Great Depression. Her image “Migrant Mother” depicts a destitute woman with three children in California. It is one of the most recognized photographic portrayals of that era. When Lange passed away in 1965, her granddaughter, Dyanna Taylor, inherited one of her cameras and began to follow in her footsteps.

 

Image of Luray Performing Live
Courtesy of Luray

Shannon Carey grew up playing guitar in a musical family. She wrote her own songs in high school, but then started a career as a social worker and put her passion for music to the side. Years later she witnessed both of her younger brothers pursuing their musical dreams, one alongside the now-famous Bon Iver, and decided to pursue her own musical career.

Image of South African guitarist Derek Gripper
Coutesy of Derek Gripper

South African musician Derek Gripper has been playing classical music since he was 6-years-old. But after years of studying in Cape Town, he felt uninspired by the classical guitar repertoire available to him, so he set off on a journey to discover musical inspiration from around the world. He traveled first to South India, and then explored Brazilian music before he happened upon the instrument that changed the direction of his career: the kora.

Image of Ralph Snyderman with his parents
Courtesy of Ralph Snyderman

Ralph Snyderman had his first formative experience in a hospital when he was 12-years old. His grandmother was very ill, and it quickly became clear to him that being a physician was the most important thing he could do with his life. 

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

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.”

Image of newspaper front pages reporting on Trump's win
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A long and heated campaign cycle is over, and Donald Trump is poised to become the 45th president of the United States. Many analysts are calling Trump’s win the biggest upset in modern political history. As politicians and analysts examine the results, world leaders are also joining in the conversation.

Roy Cooper at a podium with his wife, addresses his supporters in Raleigh. North Carolina gubernatorial candidates Cooper and incumbent Pat McCrory are locked in a tie with their race likely heading to a recount.
Brian Batista / WUNC

Last night, North Carolinians watched as successful candidates for President, U.S. Senate, and State Supreme Court took to the podium to thank crowds of exuberant supporters in their acceptance speeches. But one race is still undecided: the race for North Carolina's governor. Only a few thousand votes separated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory from his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. 

President-elect Donald Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. He is seen on stage clapping at a rally.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Voters cast their ballots and elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. North Carolinians also re-elected Republican Richard Burr to the Senate, and Democratic Judge Mike Morgan as the newest  N.C. Supreme Court Justice.

Image of Flags Outside Climate Conference
AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy

World leaders and climate change negotiators gathered in Marrakech, Morocco yesterday for the first day of a United Nations climate talks conference. Leaders are following up on last year’s historic meeting in Paris where they developed a blueprint for reducing carbon emissions and voluntarily pledged to do their part to limit the rise in global temperatures.

Donna Helen Crisp has worked as a nurse in North Carolina for more than two decades. 

She thought she knew the healthcare system inside and out until one day she went in for a routine surgery, expecting only an overnight stay, and almost died from a chain of medical errors.

Lady Parts Justice League Graphic
Courtesy of Lady Parts Justice League

Hundreds of thousands of American women terminate pregnancies each year. But in the past decade, state governments around the country have enacted a series of laws that reproductive justice advocates argue impede women's access to safe, legal abortion.

Cover image for Death Faire
Courtesy of Tami Schwerin

Death and spirits are part of conversations this week more than most other times of the year. On Monday, many donned costumes of ghosts and goblins to celebrate Halloween, and yesterday others around the world gathered for festivals and celebrations to mark the first day of El Dia de Los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that honors the dead. But talking about death and dying is usually more taboo. While everyone experiences grief, illness, and death, these experiences are often kept private, discussed only with close friends and families.

WUNC

Wildin Acosta was 17-years-old when he came to North Carolina. He enrolled at Riverside High School in Durham and was a well-loved student. Last January he was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, and his case galvanized the local community. 

Image of chicago alderman
Courtesy of Michael Karlik

With fewer than 15 days until the election, it is nearly impossible to avoid conversations about politics. While some Americans may be tempted to unplug their televisions until it is all over, comedian Michael Karlik is doing exactly the opposite. Michael Karlik is a Colorado-based writer who is actively seeking out conversations about civics and government from every corner of America.

Headshot of Roy Cooper
Courtesy of Roy Cooper

With the election less than three weeks away, the national spotlight is on North Carolina as a key swing state in this election. The latest polls in the governor’s race show incumbent Governor Pat McCrory head-to-head with democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper.

An image from Bright's series '#1960Now' that explores the parallels between the Civil Rights Movement and the current  #BlackLivesMatter movement today.
Sheila Pree Bright

Photographer Sheila Pree Bright first picked up a camera in search of a means of personal expression. After her first public exhibit, it was clear that not only did she have a gift for making beautiful images, but her work also sparked thoughtful and unexpected conversations about race, politics, and justice. Bright first came into the national spotlight with the series “Suburbia,” which explored black suburban life in Atlanta.

Courtesy of Perfecta Visuals

What happens when women get up on stage dressed to the nines and are judged not for their beauty, but for their strength? Groups of women around the country have been exploring just that with competitive arm wrestling leagues. Two of these leagues are based in North Carolina, the League of Upper Extremity Wrestling Women in Durham (LUEWWD) and the Greensboro Arm Wrestling League (GRAWL).

Image of Dan River Girls
Dan River Girls

Each of the Winston-Salem sisters Fiona, Ellie and Jessie Burdette started taking music lessons at five years old. When the youngest sister, Jessie, turned 7, the three decided that it was time to combine their musical talents and form a band--the Dan River Girls. Their music ranges from traditional bluegrass to pop-rock. They released their first album last year and continue to play at venues and festivals around the state.

Jim McKelvey

The Piedmont Melody Makers has been jamming together formally and informally for years. The band is a who’s who of North Carolina old time and bluegrass musicians, and in the past year they decided to formalize their musical union and record an official album. “Wonderful World Outside” is a 16-track record with a blend of original tunes and covers.

 

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