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

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.

An imaged of the 'Lusitania.'
AP images

In many American history books, the sinking of the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania, is documented as the primary catalyst for U.S. involvement in World War I.

But acclaimed author Erik Larson says that historical narrative leaves far too much out. His latest work of nonfiction "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" (Crown Publishing Group/2015) tells the story of the day the ship sank, and the people who were on it when it went down. 

An image of organist Cameron Carpenter
Bucklesweet Media

Cameron Carpenter has had a unique perspective on the organ from a very young age. While many of us first discovered organ music in concert halls or church services, Carpenter discovered the organ through a picture in his Childcraft Encyclopedia set when he was four years old.

Image from Beertown production
Daniel R. Winters Photography

As the 2016 general election draws closer, conversations about what is important to American voters become increasingly polarized. These conversations also tend to happen in silos within particular partisan, academic, or journalistic circles.

Image of Kate Bowler with her son and husband
Kate Bowler

When Kate Bowler was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last year, she thought, “well, isn’t this ironic?” Bowler is a scholar of the prosperity gospel, the theology that those with the right kind of beliefs will receive God’s grace. As she grapples with her diagnosis, she reflects on life, death, and where faith fits into the picture. She wrote about it in the New York Times, "Death, The Prosperity Gospel, And Me."

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

For the first time in 15 years, North Carolina voters will consider a bond referendum on their primary ballot. The funds from the $2 billion ‘Connect NC Bond’ would go toward general improvement in higher education, infrastructure, and state parks, with nearly half of the funds slated for projects in the UNC System.

Image of blues musician Scott Ainslie
Scott Ainslie

When Scott Ainslie was just three years old, his mother found him sitting at the piano playing melodies from records she played around the house. His proclivity toward music seemed innate, and his musical career evolved from there. He went on to learn every instrument he could get his hands on from flute to guitar, fiddle, and banjo. But he has also devoted his career to learning the deep history of American music and translating those stories to a public audience.

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