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

The Last Good Girl

May 26, 2016
photo of "The Last Good Girl" by Allison Leotta
Allison Leotta

The statistics about campus sexual assault are staggering: one in five women is assaulted during her time on campus, and the vast majority of these assaults go unreported.

Advocates and survivors across the country have pushed to bring the issue to the forefront, and in the past few years, there has been increased attention paid to how universities are responding to students' needs.

Still From documentary
Erin Derham

Julian Price was born into money but spent most of his life giving it away.

A new documentary looks closely at how his social and entrepreneurial vision shaped downtown Asheville.

photo of a spread at Grady's Barbecue in Dudley, N.C.
Rien Fertel

North Carolina is the number two producer of pigs in America, and barbeque is by most accounts the state’s food. But historian Rien Fertel argues that most barbecue writing is hyperbole. 

In his new book “The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook The Whole Hog,” (Touchstone/2016) he examines the history of the southern barbecue art, and the wide range of mythology surrounding the meat and those who tend to it.

Image of Eugene from the new opera Body Politic
Scott Bump

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has been making national headlines for the past two months and has inspired a wide range of social action. There have been both pro and anti-HB2 rallies on Jones street, businesses have left the state, and performers have canceled appearances in protest. The law inspired a different response in two UNC School of the Arts alumni who were inspired to bring their artistic work to the state.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

Two environmental groups could be on the hook for $10 million if they want to continue their battle against Duke Energy. Last week’s ruling by the state Utilities Commission against The Climate Times and North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN) used a state law provision that has never been used before. The money is slated to cover costs incurred by Duke Energy because of the delay caused by the appeals process.

Alex Prolmos / Flickr Creative Commons

The latest numbers from the Pew Research Center show that the number of Americans who say they believe in God has declined in recent years. And millennials are much less likely than older Americans to belong to any religious faith.
 

But despite these trends, psychiatrist and researcher Harold Koenig argues that science shows that religious belief is good for mental and physical health.

State of Things Host Frank Stasio hosts a broadcast at the Duke Chapel on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 to commemorate the chapel's reopening.
Duke Photography

Duke University has reopened the iconic chapel at the center of its Durham campus after a $19 million renovation.

Crews have been working for a year to restore the limestone walls and ceiling that define the chapel's Gothic architecture. 

In a special broadcast at Duke Chapel, university archivist Valerie Gillispie told WUNC’s "The State of Things" the chapel has served as an institutional icon at Duke for nearly 90 years.

Nedda Ibrahim

More than 100,000 Iraqi refugees have resettled in the United States in the past decade. But for the most part their stories are underreported and their life experiences are invisible to the wider American public. An art exhibit on view at William Peace University this weekend tries to change that by shining light on the work of 10 refugee artists whose work represents the rich and storied history of Iraqi art, and the diverse experiences of Iraqi refugees settled in the Americas.

An image of  Katharine Wright sits beside Wilbur, ready for her first takeoff at Pont-Long in France in 1909.
Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University

Note: this is a rebroadcast from May 20, 2015

The state of North Carolina has many claims to fame, but there is likely none more popular or controversial than the slogan on the state license plate: “First In Flight.” The phrase commemorates the spectacular achievement of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright who piloted their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.

NASA

Doug Wheelock has spent more than 178 days in space. He has been on six space walks, and describes the experience as trying to do a “ballet dance on fingertips,” where the slightest movement goes a long way.

In his almost two decades with NASA, he has spent six months as the Crew Support Astronaut for the International Space Station, served as liaison with Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Center, and trained both Russian and American astronauts for space trips. 

Michelle Lanier

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.  

NaShonda Cooke

In 2010, humorist and blogger Ann Imig was looking for a way “give motherhood a microphone.” She coordinated an event in her hometown in Wisconsin where women from all walks of life gathered to share their stories about motherhood.  Now, writers from across the nation gather to continue this trend by sharing their experiences of mothering—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Isle of Shoals
North Carolina Museum of Art

Childe Hassam was an incredibly prolific impressionist painter who made thousands of works throughout his career. A great majority of his paintings document the life and landscape of Appledore Island, a small island off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.  A collection of 39 of these paintings is on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art until June 19.

Host Frank Stasio talks about the exhibit “American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals” with curator John Coffey, art historian Kathleen Burnside, and marine biologist Hal Weeks.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter

More than 400,000 children in the United States are living in foster care. The statistics about what happens to these children later in life are startling: only about 50 percent finish high school, less than 10 percent go on to higher education. Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an exception to this statistic, but she has devoted her life’s work to speaking out on behalf of her many former foster care siblings who continue to struggle.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

A federal district court judge upheld North Carolina's voter identification measures in a 485 page decision issued yesterday.

Flickr/Washington State House

 

Governor Pat McCrory announced his $22.3 billion proposed budget plan this morning, which represents a 2.8 percent increase in total state spending. He shared key provisions of his proposal, like an average 5 percent pay increase for teachers, but he will not release his full, detailed budget proposal until next week.
 

Image of two best friends
Flickr/ Stuart Seeger

Best friends are the constant in many people's lives. They rescue each other when a car breaks down. They join go on late-night quests for fast food. And they console and support each other in a time of need. The relationships of best friends have been fodder for movie plot lines for decades and exist in all genres.

Leesa Jones

The story of the American Civil War is often told through famous battles and important generals. But that narrative doesn’t accurately represent North Carolina’s civil war story. In this state, the impact of the civil war was felt more on the homefront, within the homes, families and communities of ordinary people. The North Carolina Museum of History has begun an effort to pay tribute to these lesser-known Civil War stories through the North Carolina Civil War History Center, set to open in 2020.

In Our Son's Name

When Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez lost their son Greg on September 11, 2001, they felt extreme sadness, grief, and fear for the future of their family.

But they also felt a lot of dread about how the U.S. government might react and what kind of international upheaval would occur in light of the attacks.

 

David Bolton

There is a kind of musician who stays true to his or her passion, no matter the cost.

They may have to hustle at side jobs to make ends meet, but they will do whatever it takes to make it to their gigs at local bars. While that narrative is somewhat romanticized, it holds true for many professional musicians.

Image of Malika Ndlovu
Malika Ndlovu

What is home? For many in Africa and its diaspora, the meaning of the word "home" has been altered, deconstructed and recreated by external forces like war, colonialism, and globalization. Narratives of home and decisions around the home have also been historically framed from the male point of view, while women bear the brunt of these decisions.

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

Best friends are there for one another during hard times. They join each other on adventures and are often the first people to offer up advice or a reality-check when it’s needed.

Movies about these friendships have been around for decades and range from lighthearted films like Dumb & Dumber that trace best friends' misadventures to more tender explorations of how friendships withstand life’s up and downs, like Beaches.

Image of Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Capitol Broadcasting Company

Jim Goodmon was immersed in the world of broadcasting as a young kid, watching his grandfather build Capitol Broadcasting Company from the ground up. He spent his teen years driving around eastern North Carolina giving away free TV antennas to encourage people to start tuning into WRAL.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

President Obama made history Sunday when he became the first president in 88 years to set foot in Cuba. He addressed concerns about human rights violations and political abuses and called for the lifting of the decades-long trade embargo. He was accompanied by a bipartisan congressional coalition, including U.S. Rep. David Price (D-NC). Host Frank Stasio talks with Rep.

Image of Breakfast Sandwich
From Orange Lavender & Figs: Deliciously Different Recipes From A Passionate Eater By Fanny Slater. Reprinted by arrangement with Atria Books, Copyright © 2016 Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater’s journey into the kitchen starts with what she calls the “brownie legacy:” a few years before she was born, her parents started business that revolved around her mother’s infamous brownies. As a young kid, Slater remembers watching her mother diligently hand wrap each brownie, and hearing stories about catering parties for Jane Fonda. She continued to spend time in the kitchen throughout her teen years, learning how to cook fresh and healthy meals from her father.

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