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.

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State of Things
11:30 am
Thu November 10, 2011

The Tarball Chronicles

Book cover, ''The Tarball Chronicles''

Last year, the world watched in horror as nearly five million barrels of crude oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was caused by the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling for BP. The company frantically tried to cap the spill in the following months. Finally, last July, workers were successful. The world’s outrage subsided, and its attention waned. Not so for Wilmington-based writer David Gessner. He went down to the Gulf of Mexico during the spill to get a first-hand account of what was happening. His experiences there are documented in a new book, “The Tarball Chronicles" (Milkweed Editions/2011). Host Frank Stasio speaks with Gessner, an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about the BP oil disaster.

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State of Things
11:52 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Marsalis on Mirth and Melancholy

Branford Marsalis
Credit Photo Credit: branfordmarsalis.com

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis is a living legend in the jazz music world. The Grammy Award-winner has been busy with composing original music for the Broadway production of “Mountaintop,” a narrative that imagines the last night of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. before his assassination in Memphis, TN.

Marsalis also just completed production on a new album called “Songs of Mirth and Melancholy,” a collaboration with pianist Joey Calderazzo, a fellow Durham resident. This week, Marsalis will be honored with a North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor.

He joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the latest achievements in his esteemed career.

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State of Things
11:28 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Down Along the Haw

The Haw River winds through much of North Carolina, but few people know how important the river is to the state. Today, the river provides habitat for animals, a recreation area for tourists, and a source of drinking water for many communities. But the river hasn't always been so healthy; it was severely polluted in the past, and only recently has started to recover.

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State of Things
11:02 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Church and State

As voters across the country go to the polls today, host Frank Stasio examines the long, tangled history between religion and politics in American life. Joining him is Jon Elliston, an investigative reporter with the Carolina Public Press who has recently written about newly released documents describing the relationship between the Rev. Billy Graham and President Richard Nixon. Also joining the conversation is Rev. Nancy E.

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State of Things
11:17 am
Mon November 7, 2011

NC Literary Lights: Meet Robert Morgan

Robert Morgan
Credit www.robert-morgan.com

Writer, poet and historian Robert Morgan has earned the title “unofficial poet laureate of Appalachia” with his vigorous, spare language and his unflinching observances of the natural world and human nature. His bestselling books include "Boone," a biography of Daniel Boone; and the Appalachian love story, “Gap Creek.” Morgan was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and raised on the storytelling traditions of the mountains. His newest books are “Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of Westward Expansion” (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill/2011) and "Terroir" (Penguin Books/2011), a collection of poems. As part of our series, “North Carolina Literary Lights,” host Frank Stasio talks with Morgan about his life and work.

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State of Things
1:13 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Wake County School Board Elections Redux

Voters in Wake County's District 3 have one more school board vote to cast. Democrat Kevin Hill and Republican Heather Losurdo will face off in a runoff election on Tuesday. The result will decide which party will rule when the new school board takes office in December. It's been a long campaign season, and the Wake schools debate continues to attract national attention. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC reporter Dave DeWitt about the election and the new student assignment plan at the heart of the controversy.

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State of Things
1:07 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

The Great Flood

Film still from ''The Great Flood''

On Christmas Day of 1926, after torrential rains, the Mississippi River broke its levee system in 145 places. Whole towns were swamped or washed away and 246 people were killed in seven states. Then in April of 1927, fifteen inches of rain fell on New Orleans in 18 hours and that city's levees broke. By May of that year, 25,000 people had been displaced by the floods and the Mississippi River south of Memphis measured 60 miles across. Many of the people fleeing the rising water were Delta blues musicians. They headed north and settled in Chicago where they established a new genre of windy city blues. Filmmaker Bill Morrison has been fascinated by those musicians and their journey for decades. Known for his experimental films that pair atmospheric footage with music, he has teamed up with jazz legend Bill Frisell on a new project called "The Great Flood." The film combines found footage with Frisell's original composition. Morrison and Frisell join host Frank Stasio to discuss the project, which screens with live music this weekend at Duke University.

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State of Things
1:01 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Kim Arrington

Kim Arrington
Credit www.kimarrington.com

When singer-songwriter Kim Arrington delivers a tune, you can’t help but wonder if she’s in love. Although amore is a common theme in many of her lyrics, the emotion in Arrington’s music comes from the sincere passion she has for singing. Her forthcoming CD is called “Getting II Yes” and to raise money for its production, Arrington is performing a series of living room concerts to get the word out about her music one community at a time. She joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her new album and play live in the studio.

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State of Things
12:42 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Carolina Public Press

Carolina Public Press
Credit carolinapublicpress.org

Journalist Angie Newsome saw a need for more investigative reporting in the western part of North Carolina, so she founded the Carolina Public Press. It’s a non-profit, online publication that reports on the 17 westernmost counties in the state. The project is funded through the generosity of foundations, donors, businesses and other organizations. Host Frank Stasio talks to Newsome about the Carolina Public Press and some of the news it's covering.

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State of Things
12:25 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

The Kruger Brothers

The Kruger Brothers
Credit krugerbrothers.com

Swiss brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger have played music together since they were very young, but their band never seemed quite complete – until they met New Yorker Joel Landsberg. Landsberg shared their love of musical creativity and everything started coming together. The trio began playing for Swiss audiences, eventually making their American debut in 1997. The band is now based in North Carolina, a place they credit for inspiring their early sound. The Kruger Brothers perform tonight in Raleigh, but first they join host Frank Stasio in the studio to talk about their alliance and their music.

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