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

Marco Williams is a filmmaker and film educator. Here he is filming Lloyd Knight, Marth Graham Dance company for the film Echo.
Marco Williams

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Marco Williams is a filmmaker who is not afraid of telling stories that others don't want to tell. 

He has produced more than a dozen documentaries exploring race, death, violence and the American psyche. His work has earned him an Emmy, a Peabody, and a litany of other documentary awards.

Coal fired power plant in Wyoming
Greg Goebel / Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this week the Obama Administration announced its EPA Clean Power Plan that directs states to lower greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants by around 32 percent by 2030.

Image of miner loading coal in Portal 31 in Lynch, Ky. in the 1920s.
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and the Appalachian Archives. These photos are part of the U.S. Coal & Coke and International Harvester Image Collection.

Tens of thousands of African-Americans called Appalachia home in the early 20th century, yet most popular representations of the region rarely include details about the black experience.

One young researcher sought to change that through an archival project that examines the history and culture of coal mining communities in eastern Kentucky. Karida Brown grew up in New York, but both of her parents are from Lynch, Ky.

Image of George A. Payne in 1975
David Payne

Critics have called David Payne the most gifted American novelist of his generation. He is best-known for fictional works like “Confessions of A Taoist On Wall Street.”

But in the past decade he has inched farther and farther away from fiction writing and started to take the advice that he gives to his own creative writing students: “write about the hardest material.”

Image of Eric Trundy, who has used comedy as a therapy for a traumatizing childhood.
Eric Trundy


Up-and-coming standup comic Eric Trundy says that comedy saved his life, and he means that in the most literal sense of the words. His childhood was filled with trauma, from physical and sexual abuse to abandonment, and he repressed those memories for many years.

Image of Glen Warren and his three children
Glen Warren

Glen Warren vividly remembers the first moments of single fatherhood: he was standing in the living room of his new mobile home with his three kids, and he quickly realized that he had no idea how to make them dinner. 

In the coming years he learned how to piece together meals, filed for child support, and worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. And through all of this, he became increasingly certain about one thing: fatherhood is incredibly important. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis skipped out on a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about ISIS last week and instead met privately with former Vice President Dick Cheney. This follows Tillis’ loud campaign criticism of former Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan for her attendance record at meetings related to ISIS.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a bill that widely protects Confederate monuments in the state. 

Image of Henrietta Bingham (middle) with her brother, nephews and nieces in 1942.
Emily Bingham

When Emily Bingham chose to become an author and historian she set one rule for herself: she would never write anything about her own family. The legendary Louisville media moguls had already been in the headlines far too much for stories about their family politics and lawsuits.

Image of Amber Flora Thomas, a poet and creative writing professor at East Carolina University.
Amber Flora Thomas

Amber Flora Thomas was in many ways destined to be an artist. Her mother is a painter, her father was a sculptor, and they valued creativity more than almost anything else.

She spent most of her childhood in cars, tents and trailers as they traveled from art show to art show. And though she tried to stray from a creative career and pursue a degree in political science so that she could become a lawyer, she found that she was continually drawn back to writing.

Image of Damon Tweedy, who is a professor psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke.
Stock Photography

When Damon Tweedy was in his first year of medical school, he learned a number of startling statistics that led him to the conclusion that being black is somehow bad for your health.

He heard over and over how black patients were faring worse than other patients in almost every field of medicine, but nobody seemed to be talking about the reasons for this disparity.