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

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.


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.

Image of Mount Moriah
Lissa Gotwals

North Carolina-based band Mount Moriah has been together for almost a decade.

Their latest record 'How to Dance,' marks a turning point, as they focus less on personal identity and more on looking outward to examine how mythical and spiritual experiences have shaped their direction.

They recorded this album in home studios with the help of long-time collaborators and friends who have supported them along the way. 

Image of Masked Tree Frog
Robin Moore

Frog populations around the world have been in decline for the past four decades.

And many scientists argue that more than birds and other mammals, frogs are the true “canary in the coal mine” because they are disappearing from seemingly pristine and protected areas.

The Knights is a NYC-based orchestral collective that's flexible in size and repertory. Their concert opens the inaugural season of new Asheville-based arts organization Free Range Asheville.
Sarah Small

Asheville is quickly becoming a go-to national destination for music, art and culture.

And the new organization “Free Range Asheville” is aiming to make the city’s cross-disciplinary art scene accessible to people of all ages and economic backgrounds.

They open their inaugural season with a performance by “The Knights,” an orchestral collective that is adapting classical music for a modern audience.

Image of Omid Safi with students on a trip
Omid Safi

In the past decade, Omid Safi has become one of the country’s leading voices in discourse around Islam and Islamophobia. 

His public commitments range from writing a weekly column for the public radio program “On Being” to being a go-to expert for national networks like NPR and Al Jazeera.

Scuppernong Books hosts a monthly public series called 'Ask A Muslim Anything' for participants break down barriers and learn more about Islam.
Deonna Kelli Sayed

Hate crimes targeting Muslims, their mosques and businesses tripled in 2015, according to a study from California State University, San Bernadino. And Islamphobobic rhetoric has been ubiquitous in political discourse since the deadly attacks in Paris and California. 

But how are Muslims affected in North Carolina? A new ongoing public series at Greensboro's Scuppernong Books, “Ask a Muslim Anything,” brings together diverse Muslims from the state with other members of their community for an “informal chat about Muslimy things.”

Melissa Radcliff is an advocate for children with incarcerate parents as the executive director of Our Children's Place.
Melissa Radcliff


Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year.

More than 2.7 million children in the United States have an incarcerated parent and more than 25,000 of those children live in North Carolina. But while conversations around mass incarceration are on the rise, the stories of these children often remain invisible. 

For Jonathan Weiler and Anne Menkens, their divorce started their love story.
Anne Menkens

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And while the holiday inspires some to roll their eyes at cheesy Hallmark cards and endless consumerism, others embrace the nudge to celebrate their loved ones.

Two UNC-Chapel Hill staff recently decided to document their own nontraditional love story in a new book. Jonathan Weiler and Anne Menkens met in the early 90s when they were both graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Flamenco originated in the 18th century in the Andalusia region of Spain and has grown since.
Angelica Escoto

Flamenco is an art form with a relatively unknown history. It was first documented in literature in the mid-1700s as a passionate, rhythmic, and rich tradition with firm roots in Andalusia, Spain.

The group Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana embodies this tradition and has been working to bring the spirit of flamenco to American audiences for more than three decades.

'Loves in need of love today' in Stefanie Jackon's 'Orpheus Soul Brothers' series
Stefanie Jackson

Artist Stefanie Jackson thinks of her drawings as works of fiction; they express emotions and evoke memories, but they focus on telling stories instead of documenting factual events.

Much of Jackson's work stems from important historical moments in African-American history that directly touched her own life, like the economic decline of Detroit, Michigan, or the devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.