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

The problems plaguing Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks were the focus of an emergency meeting in Dare County last night.  The waterway has been closed to large boat traffic since Hurricane Sandy and a series of other storms in November made it too shallow to safely pass.  Local officials say the annual economic impact of the inlet is nearly seven-hundred-million dollars.  Warren Judge is the chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners.  He says the General Assembly and the area's Congressional delegation are well aware of the problem:

New research from Duke University may help make an effective vaccine for HIV-AIDS. Four years ago a potential vaccine showed some protection for about a third of recipients, but was not an overall success. Barton Haynes is a senior author on the latest study and the director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. He says the research looks at how that original vaccine achieved limited success.

North Carolina could be doing a better job of preventing tooth decay in children. A new Pew Center report gives the state an "F" for taking care of kids teeth. Doctor Bill Maas is a public health dentist and a policy advisor for the Pew Children's Dental Campaign. He says painting a clear plastic sealant coating on the permanent molars of second graders is an efficient way to prevent cavities.

WUNC's Back Porch Music hosts, Keith Weston and Freddy Jenkins, join Eric Hodge to chat about this past year's memorable acoustic and roots music releases and to remember some of the important musicians who left us this year.

Picks mentioned in the conversation:

Artist - Album Title
I Draw Slow - Redhills
Midtown Dickens - Home
Darrell Scott & Tim O'Brien - Live: We're Usually A Lot Better Than This
The Grass Cats - The Mountains My Baby and Me
Matt Flinner Trio - Winter Harvest

Wilbur and Orville Wright launched their first successful powered flight 109 years ago today on the Outer Banks. A series of events at the Wright Brothers National Memorial this morning honor the anniversary. Fly-overs by Marine jets and Coast Guard planes and helicopters and a wreath laying ceremony will be part of the activities. Joshua Boles is a park ranger at the Memorial. He says the weather was a challenge for those manning that first flight.

There may be new hope for people threatened by Alzheimer's. A Duke University study released today outlines better ways to diagnose the disease early when treatments are more effective. A combination of three imaging and bio-markers were used on patients to see which one provided the most useful information to help in diagnosis. Doctor Jeffrey Petrella is an associate professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center and a lead author of the study.

A North Carolinian has been honored with the naming of a new Coast Guard ship. The cutter Richard Etheridge is named for the first African-American to lead a life-saving station. Commanding Officer Christian Lee says Etheridge started as a cook at the famous Pea Island Life Saving Station on the Outer Banks before working his way up to command.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials will find out this morning if the Nor'easter that skirted the Outer Banks yesterday added to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. NC 12 was washed out in several places and covered with sand in others. There was also damage to the tension cables on Bonner Bridge. Dara Demi works for the DOT. She says repairs could take several weeks.

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is the home of a new Matisse exhibit. It focuses on works collected by two sisters from Baltimore. Sarah Schroth is the senior curator and interim director of the Nasher. She says the Cone sisters made many trips to Paris and were friends with Matisse. They also met Picasso in 1905.

Fans of rides, animals and fried food are looking forward to the start of the North Carolina State Fair later this week. Organizers expect another good crowd after last year's attendance topped one million people. Brian Long is a spokesman for the fair. He says music is also a big attraction at the annual event.

The annual Mayberry Days festival begins today in Mount Airy. The four-day event celebrates Andy Griffith's hometown which was the model for the fictional Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show. Jessica Roberts is the director of tourism and marketing for the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce. She says popular events like a parade featuring people who were on the show will go forward as usual, but Griffith's death this past summer will be on everyone's mind.

Duke University medical officials have come up with guidelines for allocating scarce drugs. Supplies of some cancer medications and other drugs can sometimes run low at hospitals. Doctor Phillip Rosoff is the Director of Clinical Ethics at Duke University Medical Center. He says the protocol focuses on fairness.

Conservatives will discuss the environment today at Duke University. Politicians, academics and business leaders are among those attending and speaking at the event, entitled Conservative Visions of our Environmental Future. Jessalee Landfried is one of the organizers of the event and a Duke law student who's also pursuing a degree at Duke-Nicholas School of the Environment. She says these issues have become deeply partisan.

Tift Merritt

Raleigh native Tift Merritt has been releasing albums for a decade now. In that time her songs have caught the ear of fellow musicians like EmmyLou Harris who says Tift stands out 'like a diamond in a coal patch'. She's spent time in Paris and New York City, where she lives now, but enjoys returning to the Triangle --a place she still calls home. It was here where the U-N-C creative writing student got her start singing with John Howie, Jr. and the Two-Dollar Pistols in the late 90s.

Durham's Delta Rae

It's not just politicians speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week. Organizers have lined up a range of musicians to help keep attendees entertained and fired up. Tonight's performers include the Foo Fighters, Mary J Blige, Earth, Wind and Fire and James Taylor. But Taylor isn't the only North Carolinian playing tonight. Durham-based Delta Rae has toured with many bands since releasing its debut album Carry the Fire earlier this year.

New rules that take affect today at Duke aim to clarify and strengthen the University's protections for children. Officials say discussions were underway before the child abuse scandal at Penn State brought more attention to the issue. Kyle Cavanaugh is the Vice President for Administration at Duke. He says the new policy requires every member of the university community to report any suspected abuse of minors to campus police immediately.

Duke University researchers say there's evidence that early marijuana use has a negative impact on intelligence. The study examined routine cannabis users who began smoking before the age of 18. On average, subjects showed an 8-point drop in I-Q when measured at age 13 and then again at 38. Madeline Meier worked on the study and says that drop is significant.

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers are working to make it easier for hydrologists to share data on problems facing the world's water supply. The project is being funded by the National Science Foundation. Ray Idaszak works for the Renaissance Computing Institute at the university. He says his team is working to create the high-tech infrastructure to allow scientists to see and comment on each other's work.

State agriculture officials are predicting a record corn crop this year. That's good news for corn growers who will command higher prices thanks to a drought in the midwest. Ron Heiniger is a corn specialist at North Carolina State University. He says the crop in Washington county has benefited from plenty of rain.

Ron Heiniger: Well its big, I'm six foot one and it would take two of me and a little bit more, probably about 14 foot tall is a lot of this corn.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials are working on permanent fixes for last year's damage from Hurricane Irene on the Outer Banks. Two breaches along Highway 12 are covered with temporary bridges. Beth Smyre is a planning engineer with the DOT. She says permanent spans will be higher and longer than the temporary structures.

An environmental group wants North Carolina's coastal water to be cleaner. The Natural Resources Defense Council's new report on water quality says about three percent of the samples at twelve beaches exceeded bacteria levels set by the EPA. That's better than the national average of eight percent. Jon Devine is an attorney with the NRDC. He says the biggest cause of pollution on the coast is storm water runoff, but there are solutions.

Vince Gill
Durham Performing Arts Center

Country legend Vince Gill plays the Durham Performing Arts Center this Sunday night. After nearly 20 records, 14 Grammys and a truckload of Country Music Association Awards, he's back playing bluegrass again. And Gill tells WUNC's Eric Hodge it feels right to be doing it in North Carolina.

WUNC is a part of the American Graduate Project. It's a public media initiative looking at the drop out crisis across the country. As a part of this project we commissioned slam poets Kane Smego and Will McInnerney to teach a writing workshop at Northern High School in Durham. Over the last 10 weeks, Kane and Will taught a group of students how to use poetry to tell their own stories. Today is graduation day at Northern and three of the students from our workshop will be receiving their diplomas.


The dB's are back. This week, the legendary band releases Falling off the Sky. It's their first studio album in more than 30 years. The dBs began life in the late 70s in New York after growing up in Winston Salem. After several critically acclaimed records, members of the band went their separate ways -- but the music they recorded continued to influence fellow musicians.

That's the sound of a penny rolling round and round in a device called a gravity funnel. This was recorded at the Natural Science Center in Greensboro using WUNC's Make Radio iPhone app. It's part of a collaboration with the North Carolina Science Festival. You've likely seen this game, the coin launches from the top of a big round funnel and then spins, on edge, down to the collection jar underneath the hole at the bottom of the cone.

Kathleen Cleaver Source
Southern Oral History Program

In the final installment of Voices for Civil Rights, we hear some reflections on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole.

Kathleen Cleaver describes a loss in intensity in the movement over the years, while Ruby Sales frames the movement as part of a larger fight for human dignity. Finally, we return to Jamila Jones, who recalls how as a child she struggled to understand the segregation on her daily bus ride.

North Carolina fell to Kansas last night in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Tar Heels kept it close for most of the game, trading leads until the last few minutes. James Michael McAdoo came off the bench to lead Carolina with 15 points. After the game, visibly crushed senior Tyler Zeller described the moment the Heels realized the game was over.

North Carolina and NC State return to action tonight in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Tar Heels take on Ohio with all eyes on the point guard. Coach Roy Williams says freshman Stilman White will likely start for the injured Kendall Marshall.

Roy Williams: Stilman, yeah, he really is - he's the guy that's gonna play. Stillman and Jay Watts. As long as their heart's not beating so fast that they pass out before they get to the court, I think we'll still have five guys out there starting.

In the Jim Crow South, the black community faced frequent violence and intimidation. Today in our series Voices for Civil Rights, hosted by Eric Hodge, we hear stories of encounters with the Ku Klux Klan.

Seth Kotch shares excerpts of three oral histories conducted by the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Robert Hayling experiences sudden, horrific violence at a Klan rally in Florida.

In the third installment of our series Voices for Civil Rights, hosted by Eric Hodge, Seth Kotch shares excerpts of two oral histories conducted by the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Freeman Hrabowski describes a clash with his parents over joining the Civil Rights movement in Alabama, when he was just twelve years old.