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."


Arts & Culture
12:03 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Downton Abbey At The Biltmore

Costume expert Nancy Lawson tweaking the mannequins before the exhibit's opening.
The Biltmore Company

Biltmore House is bringing Downton Abbey to Asheville with a new exhibit featuring more than 40 original costumes from the show.

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The State of Things
12:02 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Bringing Back Radio Haiti, A Station That Told The Overlooked Stories

Some of the tapes from the Radio Haiti archive now housed at Duke University's Rubenstein Library.
Laura Wagner/ The Radio Haiti Archive

Radio Haiti was the first independent Haitian radio station and the first public media platform to broadcast largely in Creole.  

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The State of Things
12:00 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Turning An Old Idea Into A New Phenomenon

The participants in ARAPDIS find mental health therapy in the garden, sharing and observing the daily green delights.
Photo by Barcelona-based photographer Violeta de Lama, courtesy of Wil Weldon.

More and more people around the world are choosing to get their hands dirty—digging in the dirt in their backyard or at a community garden to plant produce.

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The State of Things
11:36 am
Mon February 23, 2015

The Life, Legacy, And Science of "Queen of Agrobacterium" Mary-Dell Chilton

Dr. Mary-Dell Chilton has spent the last 50 years studying gentically-modified plants. She won the 2013 World Food Prize, was recently inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and continues to serve as a the principal scientist at Syngenta.

Mary-Dell Chilton is a pioneer in the field of agricultural biotechnology.

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The State of Things
12:32 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

What Is A Hate Crime?

Speculation on motive surrounds the killings of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha.
Credit Our Three Winners' Facebook page /


Craig Stephen Hicks was indicted Monday on three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of three young people in Chapel Hill.  Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were shot to death inside their condominium in the Finley Forest community.

The parents of the deceased believe their children were targeted because of their faith. Chapel Hill police say the shooting was over an ongoing parking dispute, but local and federal law enforcement officials are still considering other motives like religious bias.

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The State of Things
12:31 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

The Role Of Emotion In Religion

Abraham is recognized as the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Wikimedia Commons/ Web Gallery of Art

Emotions are an important part of religious life for many people. Individuals often describe a feeling or sense of passion during a religious practice even if they cannot name the feeling.  

The academic study of religion and emotion is surging, but scholars are still struggling to find ways to measure and describe this phenomenon. Is emotion biological? Is it cultural? What can the study of emotion in religion tell us about religious intolerance or violence?

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The State of Things
12:35 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Yusor Abu-Salha In Her Own Words

Yusor Abu-Salha was killed Tuesday night, along with her husband Deah Barakat and her sister Razan Abu-Salha.
Credit StoryCorps

Thousands of people gathered on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus last night to remember three students who were shot to death on Tuesday: Yusor Abu-Salha, Razan Abu-Salha and Deah Barakat.

Last year, Yusor came to the StoryCorps booth in Durham with her former elementary school teacher Mussarut Jabeen.  Jabeen is principal of Al-Iman School in Raleigh.  During the StoryCorps interview, the two women discussed their lives, hopes and dreams for the future.

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The State of Things
12:08 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

The Fate Of The Independent Bookstore

The American Booksellers Association says that independent bookstores are not dying, and in fact they have been on the rise for five years in a row.
Credit Flickr/ Chris Alcoran


The digital age sparked a public discourse about the fate of the independent bookstore. 

Commercial giants like Barnes & Noble and Amazon loom large, but the American Booksellers Association (ABA) says the tides may be turning. They report that more than 400 new independent bookstores have popped up around the country since 2009. 

The ABA hosts its 10th winter institute in Asheville this week, featuring publishers, authors and booksellers from around the country. 

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The State of Things
11:50 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Domestic Violence: 'You Don’t Need To Be In Handcuffs To Realize You Have A Problem'

Domestic violence affects more than 150,000 North Carolinians each year. We spend the hour talking with survivors, activists, policy experts, community organizers and intervention specialists
Credit Flickr/Herald Post

Public incidents in the NFL in the past year sparked a national conversation about domestic violence. But millions of Americans are struggling with this issue in private. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four women and one in seven men in the United States will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes.

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The State of Things
12:12 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Meet Marco Williams, A Filmmaker Unafraid To Make You Uncomfortable

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell. 

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