Frank Stasio

Host, "The State of Things"

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.

From there he went to National Public Radio, where he rose from associate producer to newscaster for All Things Considered. He left that job in 1990 to help start an alternative school in Washington, DC. Frank returned to NPR as a freelance news anchor, guest host of Talk of The Nation and other national programs, and host of special news coverage.

He also presents audio theater workshops for children and teachers and conducts radio journalism workshops for broadcasters in former Soviet-bloc countries. He lives in Durham.

Donald van der Vaart

Donald van der Vaart was North Carolina’s top environmental official under former Gov. Pat McCrory.  When Gov. Roy Cooper took office, Van der Vaart demoted himself and was later placed on suspension after writing a controversial opinion piece in an environmental law journal. However, he recently reemerged as a candidate for President Trump's Council on Environmental Quality.

photo of Lauret Savoy
Kris Bergbom

Many Americans learn their history through teachers, textbooks and films. Personal histories, however, often come from stories told amongst families. But what if pieces of a personal history are still missing from those stories? And who decides which stories to pass on and which to bury?

photo of elderly man, seated in a rocking chair
Joe Zakko

When film aficionados around the state tune in to the Oscars this Sunday, there are a couple North Carolina connections to look out for. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was filmed in and around Asheville and is up for several awards. Another connection is in the short film category — a North Carolinian directed one of the films nominated for best short.

photo of a scarred football helmet

Football has remained one of America’s favorite forms of entertainment for years. Even as its ratings fall, the National Football League is estimated to have made $14 billion in 2017 alone. But science is finally catching up to the sport, and it suggests the big hits that delight fans do not come without a price. 

photo of Rachelle Faroul in the doorway of her new home
Sarah Blesener for Reveal

Starting in the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration practiced a policy called redlining, which permitted banks to deny loans to particular neighborhoods based on their racial or ethnic composition. That practice has been illegal since 1968, but African-Americans and Latinos continue to be denied mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts, according to new reporting from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

photo of Jennifer Pharr Davis on a big rock with a plaque
Maureen Robinson

Hiking through fields and forests has been life changing for Jennifer Pharr Davis. She is a professional hiker and adventurer. At just 21 years old, she set off on a solo hike across the entire Appalachian Trail, a path that covers 14 states and more than 2,000 miles.

child drinks soda
Staff Sgt. Matt McGovern / U.S. Air Force - Commons

Researchers have long been aware of a link between exposure to violence and obesity in adolescents. Now a new study is untangling some of the reasons that connection exists.

The study used smart phones to monitor adolescents in California and North Carolina. It tracked their exposure to violence and subsequent activity levels, fatigue, and consumption of fast food and soda.

The black community owned 0.5 percent of America’s wealth at the end of slavery, and today that number has barely increased. A typical white household is 10 times wealthier than a typical black household, and the racial wealth gap is growing.

photo of carlota santana dancing
Flamenco Vivo

Nobody knows exactly how flamenco, a unique type of performance art, got its name. It emerged from Andalucia, Spain but has cultural ties to many ethnic groups including Indian gypsies, Arabs and Sephardic Jews. Although much of flamenco’s history is shrouded in mystery, one thing is certain: there is nothing quite like it. 

picture of Billy Graham
By Warren K. Leffler / U.S. News and World Reports

In the late ‘40s, Billy Graham’s crusades filled tents, and his showmanship quickly evolved into what would become televangelism. Graham earned the title “America’s Pastor,” and his sermons reached countless millions in close to 200 countries.

photo of Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Courtesy or Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a spiritual scholar who believes the teachings of the perennial wisdom philosophy are the key to encountering the divine in a chaotic and divided society. The philosophy takes wisdom from spiritual leaders across different doctrines and finds the common truths in their message. 

photo of book cover for 'appointed rounds' picturing an umbrella
Mercer University Press

With 11 poetry books under his belt, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Michael McFee is no stranger to the written word. But there are some concepts too wide to grasp in lines and stanzas.


Enough with the damsels in distress. For the next installment of Movies On The Radio, we're looking for ladies who pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a woman on the big screen. We're talking smart, strong, three-dimensional characters who can save themselves, thank you very much.

photo of Billy Graham speaking a microphone
Henny Ray Abrams / AP Photo

Evangelist Billy Graham died this morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina at 99 years old. Graham was known to many as “America’s Pastor,” and it is estimated that his sermons reached more than two billion people.

Child actress Shirley Temple in 'Poor Little Rich Girl.'
classic_film (Creative Commons)

Child actors are big players in Hollywood. Shirley Temple is one of the most famous, with 17 feature films under her belt before she turned 10. There are several film stars today who began their acting careers when they were children, like Natalie Portman and Christian Bale.

Amanda Magnus

When Juana Ortega walked into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro last Spring, she was seeking sanctuary from deportation. But she may have also inspired a movement.

Martin W. Kane / UNC Greensboro

The rich resources of Congo are both a boon and a curse. Minerals like gold, silver, or coltan – a key component of cell phones and other electronic devices – are abundant. But their presence spurs corruption and resource battles among corporations, the government, and military groups. Congo was officially at war from 1996-2003, and the country continues to experience armed conflict.

Christy Hopkins trained in classical music, but her heart led her to the soulful sound of Americana blues.

Photo of Sarah Gaither
Courtesy of Sarah Gaither

 Multiracial people are the fastest growing demographic group in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the nation’s multiracial population will triple by 2060, but not much research has been done on this group. Sarah Gaither is hoping to change that. She’s an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, and she is also a biracial woman.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie

The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

photo of a man in a congregation, praying
Courtesy of Pastor Ronald Godbee

When Dr. David Casarett asks patients with a terminal illness what they would like to do with the time they have left, some stare blankly back at him. Others have a big list of family members they want to spend time with and to-do list items to check off.

photo of Versace, McGarry, and Ganz
Kerry Kehoe

In the past few years, Grammy-nominated jazz musicians Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz and Gary Versace all wanted a break from the chaos of modern American politics and world events. As the Durham-based trio headed into the studio to record new songs, they quickly noticed an emerging theme in their music: love.

photo of henderson county courthouse
Todd McDougal / Wikimedia Creative Commons

A brush with the criminal justice system for something as small as a busted tail light or speeding ticket has outlandishly large implications for people who cannot pay the fines, fees and surcharges associated with a court appearance. These costs add up for people, and they add up for the court system too. Last year North Carolina brought in more than $300 million dollars from assessing these charges.

photo of contest winners and judge at motorco music hall
Courtesy of Durham Magazine

You might find this PUN-believable, but there is an annual pun competition held in Durham each year. Contestants are matched up for one-on-one pun-offs until the final round, when the three top punners try to best each other to become the “Punster of the Year.”

students in a Chapel Hill elementary school.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

New research from the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation found that companies across the state are interested in making their businesses more family friendly. That includes policies from offering health insurance and family medical leave to paid time off, job-sharing and flexible work hours.

photo of Victor Lawe dressed as  the black panther in the studio with host Frank Stasio
Dana Terry

Weeks before the release of "Black Panther," presale tickets were on course to outsell all other superhero movies. It was one of the most tweeted about movies of 2017, despite not having a release date until February of this year.  Host Frank Stasio takes a look at the buzz behind the movie with comic book aficionados and scholars.

Photo of Donald Trump at a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of North Carolinians are satisfied with how things are going in the state, and there is a large political divide when it comes to how voters in the state perceive the new tax law.

Photo of hand holding two paint brushes in a 'v' shape
V-Day Raleigh

 When Eve Ensler first unleashed a string of feminist, body-positive, pro-sex monologues onto a New York City stage in 1996, the themes resonated with many women. “The Vagina Monologues” went on to have a successful off-Broadway run, an HBO adaptation and an annual performance slot on college campuses around the country, and even the world. They also spawned a global anti-violence movement called V-Day, which opened a chapter in Raleigh in 2016. 

Photo of Jacobson in Duke Chapel
Courtesy of Duke University

A few nights before Marcel Tyberg was arrested by the Gestapo, he gathered an intimate group in the organ loft of his hometown church and together they sang through two masses he had composed. Tyberg, who was part Jewish, was later captured in a night raid and died in Auschwitz.

Photo of Carlton-LaNey teaching a class
Courtesy of Iris Carlton-LaNey

Iris Carlton-LaNey is often impressed by the resourcefulness and strength of those living in poor, underserved and rural communities. As a social worker, she has spent a career observing how many in those communities have a strong commitment to hard work, family and religion. And those are values she recognizes from her own upbringing on a tobacco farm in southeastern North Carolina, where education was valued above all.