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

Former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr Creative Commons/ USDA

Representative Barney Frank served in Congress for more than three decades.

His momentous career was marked by personal and political achievements; he was the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay, he helped bring about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he co-authored the far-reaching Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

A collection of Blue Bell Wrangler artifacts showcasing their position as a player in both the work clothing and westernwear markets
Evan Morrison

Jeans are one of the most ubiquitous clothing items—found in both high-end designer boutiques and on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

Although they originated as work garments for miners, farmers and cattle workers, they have since become a more everyday item.

Periodical Cicada Shells
Bill Reynolds

Arthropods comprise the great majority of the animal kingdom. Although many humans see them mostly as pests, they are vital to our everyday lives. They are pollinators, decomposers, and a nutrient-rich food source for a wide range of species.  

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences celebrates the world of bugs this Saturday with BugFest, a daylong event with entomologists, scientists, and more than 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities.

Pictures from Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia, which partially inspired Null for his book
Matthew Neill Null

Writer Matthew Neill Null calls West Virginia a museum of failed enterprise. He argues that industries like logging, coal mining, oil extraction, and now hydraulic fracturing, have irreversibly marked the state’s history and landscape.

Null has a long personal history with the area—his family has lived there since before it became a state, and his writing aims to explore the lesser-known stories of the land and the people who lived on it.

Amiri Baraka
The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

Amiri Baraka, born Everett LeRoi Joins, was a poet, playwright and political organizer whose career spanned more than five decades.

Father Michael Lapsley with Desmond Tutu
Institute for Healing of Memories

Father Michael Lapsley is a South African liberation activist and priest who knows firsthand what it is like to experience trauma. In 1990, a mail bomb intended to assassinate him caused him to lose both of his hands, an ear, and an eye.

The truce signing in 2003 with Reo Hatfield, Bo McCoy and Ron McCoy
Ron McCoy and Jerry D. Hatfield

The Hatfields and the McCoys are two of the most well-known American families. Their legendary family feud ended more than a century ago but continues to capture the American imagination to this day.

In the past two decades, direct descendants of the patriarchs have been working to reunite the two families and reintroduce their heritage and story to the American public.

Pianist Pamela Howland creates musical arrangments using the sounds of The Beatles with a classical music influence.
John Chapman

Pianist Pamela Howland has had a long love affair with legendary Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin. She wrote a one-woman show about his life and documented his roots in a film.

Dale Watson
Sarah Wilson

Guitarist Dale Watson feels out of place in the modern country music world, and he is perfectly OK with that. The Texas musician believes the genre has changed so much that it lost its identity, so he created a new genre of his own—Ameripolitan.

Ameripolitan music is original music with prominent roots influence, and the genre’s tagline is, "We’re not about leaving country music behind, we’re taking the ‘real’ country music with us."

'Poet' looks at the life of poet George Moses Horton
Don Tate

George Moses Horton was born into slavery in Northampton County, N.C. in the late 18th century. He was enslaved in rural Chatham County for most of his life, yet he built a remarkable career for himself off the plantation.

As a child, George secretly taught himself how to read, and as a teenager he began making trips to Chapel Hill where he composed poems for students on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.