Eric Hodge

Host, "Morning Edition"

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.

In August 2004, he took over the Morning Edition slot where he enjoys the challenge of bringing North Carolina news to listeners each weekday. Eric moved to Carrboro from New York City in 2000. He worked for the BBC and XFM radio while living in London, England. He has also run his own music marketing company, worked for major record labels in both New York and London, and worked on the Grammy Award nominated Harry Belafonte project, "The Anthology of Black Music."

Eric grew up in Michigan, trained at the Broadcast Center in St. Louis with CBS's KMOX radio and worked at a variety of stations in the Midwest and upstate New York.

Ways to Connect

Car engine
Via Tsuji / Flickr Creative Commons

Drivers in North Carolina pay more when the check engine light comes on than motorists in other states. 

That's according to a survey from the organization Car M.D.  The annual state-by-state ranking found the average car repair cost came out to about $426 in the Tar Heel State.

John Howie Jr. and The Rosewood Bluff performing at a Back Porch Music On The Lawn concert in 2013
Kathryn Walbert / www.kathrynwalbert.com

John Howie, Jr. started off playing drums, but it wasn't long before he switched to guitar and began making some hard-core honky-tonk music, first in the Chapel Hill-based Two Dollar Pistols and now in his current band, The Rosewood Bluff.

The latest album is called "Everything Except Goodbye."  It's chock full of heartbreak, pedal steel, upright bass and John's baritone voice.

black bear
Casey Brown / Flickr/Creative Commons

Early Monday, officials were tracking a bear in the Five Points area of Raleigh. WRAL reported that information about the bear began to come in after midnight.

A mailman working in the area told WRAL News that a couple reported seeing the bear near a home under construction at the corner of Carroll and Whitaker Mill Road.

 

A picture of the 13th Amendment document.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

North Carolina's copy of the 13th Amendment is now on tour.  The document that marked the formal end of slavery in the US will be on display at the courthouse in Historic Edenton. 

Officials say the series of stops at historic sites across the state is part of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  The timing is also linked to Juneteenth. African Americans observe June 19th as when the last of the enslaved learned they were free in the summer of 1865. 

Sarah Koontz is a state archivist.  She said the document has to be handled with care.

A picture of the Fishing Pier at Ocean Isle Beach, NC.
Pubdog / Wikipedia

It’s National Rip Current Awareness Week. 

Rip currents killed at least seven people along the North Carolina coast last year, according to the National Weather Service.

Spencer Rogers is a specialist on shore erosion for North Carolina Sea Grant.  He says rip currents are a natural phenomenon that happen when narrow currents of water flow away from the coast.

Mike Birbiglia
The artist

Comendian Mike Birbiglia is headed to the triangle this weekend, for a gig at the Carolina Theatre.

Mike's film  Sleepwalk with Me won the audience award at Sundance in 2012. It was co-written by This American Life's Ira Glass.

The movie stars Mike and is about his own life -- trying to be a comic, and discovering he is a sleepwalker.

The stories are true, and they are really funny.

Chatham County Line
Michael Podrid / Yep Roc Records

“There’s a lot of growing up in this record,” says vocalist/guitarist Dave Wilson.

“We’re maturing in this world and seeing things through a different set of eyes – and that materializes in a lot of these songs.”

Chatham County Line is celebrating the release of their latest album, Tightrope from Yep Roc Records. The foursome stopped into the WUNC  studios to talk with Eric Hodge.

The interview begins with this song: Any Port in a Storm.

A picture of Joe Westerlund in a bird beak nose.
Spacebomb Records

Drummer Joe Westerlund is a busy man.  He plays with Triangle based band Megafaun as well as Califone and Durham's Mount Moriah.

But recently he's been working on something else altogether.  It's called Grandma Sparrow & His Piddletractor Orchestra. 

Westerlund describes it as a psychedelic children's song-cycle for adults.  It recons Frank Zappa, Monty Python and Firesign Theater.

A picture of the Airborne logo.
The US Army Institute of Heraldry / US Army

All American Week gets underway today at Fort Bragg to honor members of the 82nd Airborne Division. 

Events begin this morning with a four-mile division run with 20,000 participants. 

Wednesday is International Day, where military leaders from US allies will be invited to tour the base and attend a ball in the evening. 

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Risdon said the culminating events will be held Thursday when thousands will turn out to see the Division Review.

Back Porch Music on the Lawn Logo
WUNC / American Tobacco

Update: 12:28 p.m. Southern Culture on the Skids to has been rescheduled for  Thursday May 22 at 6 p.m.

Update: 12:06 p.m. Due to the weather, the concert tonight with Southern Culture on the Skids and the Letter Jackets has been canceled.  We're hope to reschedule -- stay tuned for details. We'll post updates on the main Back Porch On The Lawn Concerts page.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Fayetteville's city leaders are considering a property tax hike to fight crime. 

Officials say the proposed budget would raise taxes an average of $60 per year on a $150,000 house. 

Mayor Nat Robertson said the money would be used to put more officers on the street. 

“Our chief of police has asked us for 67 new employees,” Robertson said. “That includes 50-some-odd credentialed employees and support staff for them.”

Robertson stressed the spending plan is just a proposal, so far. 

A picture of Sylvan Esso.
Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso's eponymous album is full of catchy tracks, ripe for getting stuck in your head. "Coffee" is hypnotic, with a droning vibe that's infectious and profoundly danceable.

The Durham-based duo filmed much of the music video for "Coffee" in Carrboro months back.

Singer Amelia Randall Meath designed the video to explore different kinds of dance parties. She  is a fervent fan of contra dancing, which kicks off the video and inspired the lyrics. Meath taught band mate Nicholas Sanborn to dance for the occasion.

SwitchPoint 2013
SwitchPoint

There's a fascinating conference happening Thursday and Friday at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. It's called SwitchPoint. This is the conference for you if you're interested in things like using technology for good, social entrepreneurship and creativity/design.

The attendees are the kind of people who are doing the most interesting things in our society: printing 3-D organs, crowdsourcing crisis response via text, building medical devices out of broken toys.

Bobby Bare, Jr.
the artst

There's an honesty in Bobby Bare Jr.'s songwriting. A familiarity. He's a famous son, his dad is country music legend Bobby Bare. Bobby Bare Jr. was nominated for a Grammy award at age 6 for this song, Daddy, What If.

Bobby Bare Jr.'s latest album is Undefeated.

A picture of the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet.
Vbofficial / Wikipedia

Dredging has been suspended in the Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks.

The Army Corps of Engineers says the water is too shallow to allow the dredge access to the main channel.  Raymond Pugh owns Fin-Nagle Fishing Charters in Nags Head.  He said his boat is small enough to get through, but larger commercial fishing boats are having trouble and that's hard on the local economy.

A picture of the Durham Bulls mascot with the Merge Records logo.
Merge Records

It's a big year for Merge Records. The Durham-based label is celebrating its 25th birthday with a series of events, which has included concerts, limited release recordings and a 25K run.

Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance founded the label in Chapel Hill to promote their band, Superchunk. A quarter-century later, dozens of other celebrated artists have jumped on board, including the Grammy-winning Arcade Fire.

voting sign
Flickr creative commons

Last year the General Assembly passed new rules for North Carolina voters.  They include shortening the time for early voting and eliminating the ability to register when casting an early ballot. 

Veronica DeGraffenreid works for the State Board of Elections.  She says the deadline to register is at the end of the week.

UNC Athletics

Sylvia Hatchell still watches practice. The school has a satellite link that feeds to her iPad.

She still gives the post-game talks. Two minutes after the Lady Heels beat South Carolina on Sunday, she was on speaker phone in the locker room.

The player text her photos from the road. She says she works two to five hours every day, a lot of which is with Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder, who's been in charge since Hatchell took a step back the year to undergo treatment for Leukemia.

A picture of hands playing a video game controller
Creative Commons

The widely held notion – that people who play computer games are loners – might not be true after all.  A new study from North Carolina State University finds that gamers are expanding their social lives and often wind up meeting the people they compete against. 

Nick Taylor is an assistant professor of Digital Media at NC State, and worked on the study.  He says the findings were consistent regardless of the types of games being played.

A picture of a fire fighter responding after the 9/11 attacks.
Petty Officer 1st Class Preston Keres / US Navy

Pittsboro will break ground today on a memorial to 9/11 first responders. 

Organizers say town and Chatham County officials will take part, along with anyone who wants to bring a shovel. 

The site will feature a beam from the base of one of the twin towers that collapsed after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. 

Jody Allen is the president of the Chatham County First Responders Foundation Corporation.  He said the beam will point from the site in downtown Pittsboro toward ground zero in New York City.

Southern Culture on the Skids are Chapel Hill's legendary "bards of downward mobility." If you have no idea what we're talking about, you're in for a treat:

Here's some of our top four favorite song/album titles:

Remembering Senator Martin Nesbitt

Mar 11, 2014
Sen. Martin Nesbitt
NCGA

State Senator Martin Nesbitt will be laid to rest today near his hometown of Asheville.  The Democratic leader of the Senate died last week of stomach cancer after more than three decades in the legislature. WUNC's Capitol Bureau Chief Jessica Jones and WCQS news director David Hurrand joined Eric Hodge to talk about Sen. Nesbitt's legacy.

Joshua Starmer
Carol Bales

Joshua Starmer is a songwriter, a singer and a cellist. He can play just about anything, we suppose. At the end of 2012, he decided to spend 2013 writing and recording a song a month.

"It almost derailed every month. The very first month was make or break it. I was working on a song I thought was really good until January 28." Then Starmer, notes, he decided that song was about the worst he'd ever heard, and he scrambled to write something else.

The result is a remarkable collection.

The band Boneslinger will play at the event.
Boneslinger

Mardi Gras kicks off this weekend in both New Orleans .. and Durham, NC. Durham's celebration has been growing over the last couple of years. There will be a big parade on Fat Tuesday (March 4) starting at the bronze bull on CCB Plaza at 6 p.m., followed by eight bands performing on five stages.

The weekend begins though, with a celebration called "Hey Pocky Way- A Mardis Gras Primer."

Duke Photography

Last week's winter storm canceled the men's basketball game between fierce rivals North Carolina and Duke. 

Meetings between coaches, athletic directors and the Atlantic Coast Conference resulted in the contest being rescheduled for this Thursday night in Chapel Hill.  That means both teams will be playing four games in eight days. 

The Tar Heels beat Pittsburgh over the weekend while the Blue Devils got past Maryland.  Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told Sirius-XM it's a challenging week.

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