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

Image of Ken Dodge, professor of public policy at Duke
Duke University

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year . There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments. A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support. Researchers at Duke University have been picking apart this metaphor and studying the role that long-term interventions...

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.


Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year . Tens of thousands of African-Americans called Appalachia home in the early 20 th 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. Her family’s story is...

Image of Chang and Eng Bunker
Wikimedia Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year . Conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker toured the world in the mid 1800s, putting their bodies on exhibit for a wide array of audiences. They eventually settled in rural North Carolina, became slave owners, and fathered 21 children, but they were never able to escape the public eye. While many accounts of their lives focus on their disability and exhibitions, scholar Joe Orser wanted to explore what their story tells us about the changing racial and...

REEL SOUTH

The American South has a long history of compelling, lyrical, and diverse storytelling. But many of the nationally-known portrayals of the region—like “Duck Dynasty,” “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” or “Swamp People” —still rely heavily on stereotypes. A new anthology series attempts to change the national conversation about the past, present, and future of the region. “ REEL SOUTH ” is a collaboration between UNC-TV , SCETV , and the Southern Documentary Fund that seeks to elevate independent...

Don Taylor is a professor of public policy at Duke University.
Duke University

Eighty percent of people who die in the United States are on Medicare, making end-of-life policies a crucial component of the Medicare system. This month marks a number of significant changes to Medicare’s policies including the once-controversial funding for physicians to discuss end-of-life issues with their patients as well as updates to the hospice payment system. Host Frank Stasio talks with Don Taylor , professor of public policy at Duke University, about changes in end-of-life policies...

The image of Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. Durham-based printmaker Bill Fick is making prints of this image to spur conversation about what iconography means in the digital age.
Bill Fick

Martin Luther King Jr. has become a symbol of the civil rights movement. His portrait is often displayed alongside those of presidents and religious figures. For many, his image evokes the ongoing fight for racial equality, but his image also spurs controversy. Not everyone agrees about how to use it, and more broadly, whether he should be considered the central civil rights icon. A panel of experts at the Durham County Library will discuss the power of the image and what contemporary...

In the experimental film 'From Here' dancers represent indigenous people taken away from their homeland. It's one of many films exploring the concept of freedom featured in the 'Let's All Be Free NC' film festival this Saturday.
Unusuality Productions

Tariq Nasir grew up in an environment where he thought often about the meaning of freedom. He was born in New York, spent his early years in Palestine, and fled to Jordan with his family during the 1967 war. He vividly remembers crossing the border to visit his grandparents in Jerusalem and how differently his family was treated when they used their Jordanian passports instead of their American passports. As an adult, Nasir began to notice that while much of political rhetoric around...

Image of US Capitol
ttarasiuk / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama gave his final State of the Union address last night. He outlined his vision for the coming year and detailed what he sees as the biggest challenges for the nation moving forward. Host Frank Stasio gets a recap and analysis from Geoff Bennett , Washington reporter for Time Warner Cable News, and Political Junkie Ken Rudin . He also gets reaction from members of the North Carolina congressional delegation including: Rep. G.K. Butterfield , D-1 st ; Rep. Renee Ellmers , R-2 nd ;...

Toby was one of many 'learned pigs' that spelled words and solved math problems onstage in England and America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Basic Books

Pigs are a beloved part of North Carolina culture and vital to the state’s economy, but internationally their reputation is more divisive . In the new book “ Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig ” (Basic Books/2015) historian Mark Essig argues that we have loved and hated pigs for as long as they’ve lived among us. Essig examines pig biology and traces 10,000 years of human culture to explore how the clever, versatile animal ended up with such a complex reputation. Host...

Starting from the middle-top and moving clockwise, Thomasi McDonald as Dad, Amy White as Kimber, TJ Swann as Flip, Tosin Olufolabi as Cheryl, Marcus Zollicoffer as Kent and Moriah Williams as Taylor.
Curtis Brown Photography

When the LeVay family gathers at its Martha’s Vineyard home for the weekend, brothers Kent and Flip are excited to introduce their new partners to their parents. But like many planned family vacations, things quickly go awry—tensions rise and secrets are revealed. This is the premise for Lydia Diamond’s play “ Stick Fly ,” that examines race, privilege, and the lesser-known history of affluent African-American culture on Martha’s Vineyard. The production goes on stage at Raleigh Little...

Maureen, her dad and their dog Rusty in 1968.
Maureen Sherbondy

In this first week of 2016, many people are reflecting on the good and bad moments of the past year and what resolutions they have for the coming months. For poet Maureen Sherbondy this meditation on change is an important and ongoing process that served as the inspiration for her latest collection of poetry, “The Art of Departure.” In the first half of the collection, she explores the many ways one deals with losses like death, divorce, and children leaving the home. And in the second half,...

Headshot Photo of Terri Phoenix, the director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.
lgbtq.unc.edu

This is a rebroadcast of a program that aired last year . Terri Phoenix (T) grew up always feeling like an outsider. As a young child in a poor, fragmented family, Terri moved around more than 10 times before starting high school and was always the "new kid." But then Terri's isolation got worse when T came out in a small, conservative town in south Georgia with no visible LGBTQ community. Terri ran away from home but survived by connecting with at least one person who accepted T. Terri is...

Sociologist Kathy Giuffre studies creativity and social networks. Her debut novel 'The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato' blends a look at dive bar culture with ancient philosophy.
Kathy Giuffre

This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired earlier this year. Sociologist Kathy Giuffre has spent much of her career as an objective outsider who writes about cultures that are not her own. She studies artistic communities and creativity in the South Pacific , and eventually this work encouraged her to examine her own life and the spaces she grew up in. Her debut novel “The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato” (John F. Blair/2015) is based on her time in dive bars during graduate school at UNC...

Image of Host Frank Stasio, Avett Brothers' Cellist Joe Kwon, and SOT Producer Anita Rao
Charlie SHelton / WUNC

The year is coming to an end, and “The State of Things” staff is taking a moment to reflect on some of the year’s most memorable conversations. Producer Anita Rao’s favorite segments include a conversation commemorating Yusor Abu-Salha , one of the three Muslim students shot and killed in Chapel Hill in February. Rao also chose a piece that explores body image, fat shaming, and the social history of women’s bodies . She also picked a segment that shares the stories of three Latina women who...

(L-R) Gabe Fox-Peck, Annie Bennett and Philip Norris. 'Lady and the Tramps' after winning the 2014 NCCU Jazz competition.
Lady and the Tramps

The jazz scene in the Triangle has been steadily gaining ground in the past few decades. The region’s musical talents include Grammy-nominated acts like Branford Marsalis and Nnenna Freelon as well as budding young musicians who are hoping to become the next generation of jazz stars. Four of these young musicians perform together as “Lady And The Tramps,” a quartet of teenagers that perform mostly jazz standards. Two of the members were among 20 students selected in a nationwide search for...

Sara Foster is the owner of Foster's Market and has written a cookbook of the favorites from the gourmet restaurant.
Christopher Baker / Story Farm

Sara Foster was in many ways destined to open Foster’s Market, a gourmet restaurant and store in Durham, N.C. As a young kid she spent a lot of her time at her grandfather’s small country store in Tennessee, watching old men playing checkers and scouring the buckets of penny candy. She later went to culinary school in New York, juggled multiple gigs at restaurants and catering companies, and serendipitously landed a gig as a chef in Martha Stewart’s growing business. She eventually decided to...

Killo, Raleigh, NC, 2015
Caitlin Cary

Caitlin Cary is best known as a violinist, singer and songwriter who broke out with the band Whiskeytown . She later joined Tres Chicas , the NC Music Love Army , and other groups, but she says that while she was out on the road with her music, she always had to keep her hands busy working on a craft project. Her interest in fabric, embroidery, and collage continued to grow, and she has recently turned a lot of her focus toward her visual art. She is currently completing a six-month residency...

Rob Jansen stars in the one-man play, 'The Tramp's New World,' which envisions a post-apocalytic world for Charlie Chaplin's character, 'Tramp.'
Manbites Dog Theater

Charlie Chaplin’s most well-known on-screen character was the “Tramp,” a bumbling man whose humor and playfulness guided audiences through some of the darkest periods of the early 20 th century. After the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, renowned journalist and film critic James Agee urged Chaplin to bring back the Tramp. He wrote a screenplay and sent it to Chaplin, insisting that the Tramp’s humor and grace were essential to help the world heal from this tragedy. Chaplin...

Pile of zines from the Bingham Center’s zine collections
Mark Zupan

We hear constantly that “pens and paper are dead,” and “screens are taking over our lives.” But there is one small corner of the world where pens, paper, scissors and glue are alive and well: the world of zines. Zines are handmade, self-published magazines that are about almost anything, from politics to music, arts and raw personal experience. Zines date back to the 1930s and first grew out of science fiction fan culture. They evolved through the ‘70s and ‘80s alongside changes in technology...

'Day and Night,' 1938, woodcut in black and gray, printed from two blocks, 15 3/8 x 26 5/8 in.
The M.C. Escher Company

Dutch-born printmaker M.C. Escher was a meticulous artist who drew inspiration from landscapes and the natural world. Although he had no formal scientific training, his work features complex mathematical objects and scenarios. The exhibit “ The Worlds of M.C. Escher: Nature, Science, and Imagination ” on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art through January is the most comprehensive Escher exhibition ever presented in the U.S. Host Frank Stasio previews the exhibit with curator David Steel...

Animation still artwork
Ammar Nasri and Zhou Quan

During the Jim Crow era, many businesses and establishments were not friendly to African-Americans which made traveling both inconvenient and dangerous for black families. As a mail carrier, Victor Green was acutely aware of this problem so he decided to use his professional network to help tackle it. Green connected with mail carriers around the country to put together “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” a guide that showed black travelers where they could go safely and who would house them if...

Andy Griffith and Barney Fife shoot their first scene on 'The Andy Griffith Show.' The production was supposed to revolve around Andy; but once producers saw the magic between Andy and Don, they set about reordering the show around their relationship.
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

“The Andy Griffith Show” was one of the first sitcoms to portray life in rural, small-town America. The show was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C. and traced the friendship of two quirky men: Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife. While much of the show’s legacy lives on through reruns and annual Mayberry Days Festivals, less is known about the real men behind “The Andy Griffith Show.” The new book “ Andy & Don: The Making Of A Friendship And A Classic American TV Show " ...

CJ Scarlet

This is a rebroadcast of a program that aired earlier this year . CJ Scarlet is an entrepreneur who believes that technology can curb violence. She founded the company 10 for Humanity that aims to use emerging technology to reduce acts of crime and violence by 10 percent in the next decade, starting with the Tiger Eye Sensor , a wearable personal security device that will record video footage and call the police when a wearer yells “help.” Scarlet’s personal and professional experiences have...

Orson Welles directed, produced, co-authored, and starred in 'Citizen Kane,' considered by many as the greatest film ever made.
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The 1941 film Citizen Kane is considered by many to be one of the best films of all time. Its daring subject matter, bold visuals, and unique style made Orson Welles a household name. Host Frank Stasio talks with Laura Boyes , film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and Marsha Gordon , film professor at North Carolina State University about the film's lasting legacy. The show is a special edition of Movies On The Radio recorded live with audience participation at The North Carolina...

Photo of Arab composer Suad Bushnaq
Suad Bushnaq

Suad Bushnaq was born and raised in Amman, Jordan. She composed her first piece of music, a simple birthday song for her brother, when she was just 9 years old. She is now one of a handful of Arab women composers in the world. Her compositions are featured in documentaries and films like “The Curve,” a feature film recently selected at the Dubai International Film Festival . One of her pieces also recently made its world premiere with the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra , a German-based...

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