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

Mitchell Oliver

North Carolina native Anne-Claire Niver has been singing since she was a young child. After studying music and vocal performance at UNC-Greensboro and traveling the world, she moved home to North Carolina and started work at a family-owned farm near Rougemont.

Each month WUNC's The State of Things travels to Greensboro for a live show at Triad Stage's UpStage Cabaret. The next show is Tuesday, May 19. The live broadcast starts at noon, but please arrive by 11:45 a.m. to be seated. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

We'll be joined by:

Image of author Katharine Ashe with a fan at a romance convention.
Katharine Ashe

North Carolina is home to a strong writing community. The state’s writing world has flourished in part because of an equally-strong literary ecosystem of publishers, independent bookstores, and readers. The inaugural Read Local Book Festival celebrates this literary ecosystem in downtown Durham this weekend with workshops, author dinners, and more.

Image of Eric Pickersgill's art installation
Eric Pickersgill

For some artists, making art is about creating something distinct from everything else that came before it. But in a new exhibit on view at The Ackland Art Museum, 11 artists explore the flip side of that artistic impulse. Their work raises questions about the value of creating new objects and explores the ethical and environmental implications of this work.

The office of The Sun magazine in Chapel Hill. The Sun celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.
Rachel J. Elliott

“The Sun” magazine has been a Chapel Hill institution for more than four decades. It started in 1974 when editor and publisher Sy Safransky borrowed $50 to get the magazine started. Safransky had no idea where he would find funding to keep the production afloat, but he was confident that his vision for a “personal, political, and provocative” magazine would bring together readers and writers alike.

In the wake of events in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) leads the Congressional Black Caucus at a tumultuous time for race relations in the country.

The congressman told Frank Stasio of WUNC’s The State of Things that he sees racial and socioeconomic tensions across the U.S. “There are Fergusons and Baltimores all across this country. It’s not unique to these communities. It could even be here in North Carolina,” Rep. Butterfield said.

Mary Davila

In 2010, Wisconsin-based blogger and humorist Ann Imig wanted to create a forum to “give motherhood a microphone,” so she planned a live performance event in her hometown. Five years later, groups of writers are gathering in 39 cities around the country to continue the trend by sharing their diverse experiences of mothering. Thirteen local writers from across the Triangle will share stories ranging from grappling with maternal guilt to caring for an aging mother.

Flickr/Fredrik Rubensson

Media consumers now have more information at their fingertips than ever before, and there is far more news available than any one person could possibly absorb. Writers and journalists are pushed to communicate more succinctly and shorten stories in order to pique readers’ attention.

But a group of artists are trying to buck this trend with an online venue that encourages writers to do exactly the opposite. At Length is a forum for long-form, in-depth writing, art, music and photography.

Student and teachers work in a physics lab at Central Piedmont Community College. Many first-generation students are low-income, and community colleges are the most affordable option for working towards a degree.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation / Flickr Creative Commons

When Judith Rosales visited UNC-Chapel Hill as a high school student through the Scholars' Latino Initiative program, she liked what she saw, but didn't quite know if there was a place for her at any college or university.

"I was never very confident that I would be able to go to college...it was really intimidating," Rosales told Frank Stasio of WUNC's The State of Things. 

Ursula Vernon's "Self-portrait."
Ursula Vernon

Ursula Vernon considers herself a “creator of oddities,” but she fell into this career by accident.

Her mother was a professional artist, so the artistic lifestyle held no mystery or appeal to her; she wanted to be a scientist. But after taking one art class in college she realized that art was her true calling.

Vernon has since authored a long-running text and graphic novel children’s book series called Dragonbreath and an award-winning adult comic called Digger.  

Host Frank Stasio talks to Ursula Vernon about her career, artistic style, and latest book “Castle Hangnail” (Dial Books for Young Readers/ 2015).

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