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
9:00 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

Stephanie Tyson
Credit www.sweetpotatoes.ws

Stephanie Tyson left her hometown of Winston-Salem, NC as a young woman with her sights set on Broadway. She didn't make it big on the Great White Way, but in recent years she has gained national renown - as a chef and restaurateur. Tyson and her partner Vivian Joiner are the women behind Sweet Potatoes, a Southern-food restaurant that has helped shore up revitalization efforts in downtown Winston-Salem. Tyson joins host Frank Stasio to talk about starting a restaurant, her journey back home and her new cookbook "Well, Shut My Mouth! The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant Cookbook" (John F. Blair Publisher/2011).

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State of Things
11:43 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Baskets of Plenty

For most of the 20th century, the small, northeastern North Carolina town of Murfreesboro was the basket-making capital of the world. The Riverside Basket Company employed 600 people, loaned its employees money to buy homes and even issued its own currency. Historian and educator Frank Stephenson has cataloged the history of Murfreesboro's basket-making heyday in his newest book. It is the 25th book he has written about northeastern North Carolina. He joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the past and present of the region that he calls home.

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State of Things
11:38 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Journey of Reconciliation

The Freedom Riders’ nonviolent efforts to integrate interstate bus transportation in the era of lawful racial segregation were inspired by the Journey of Reconciliation.

The story of the Civil Rights activists known as Freedom Riders is well-known. But the Freedom Riders’ nonviolent efforts to integrate interstate bus transportation in the era of lawful racial segregation were inspired by the Journey of Reconciliation, a two-week bus trip across the Jim Crow South in 1947. The Journey of Reconciliation was taken by 16 men – eight black, eight white – and the riders were arrested many times, including in Chapel Hill, NC where they were sentenced to serve on a chain gang. Derek Catsam, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the legacy of the Journey of Reconciliation and what happened when their bus rolled through the Tar Heel State.

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State of Things
11:32 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Naked and Hungry

Naked and Hungry
Credit ashley-memory.com

Pittsboro writer Ashley Memory never thought she had the endurance to complete a novel, but her dad’s encouragement changed all that. Seeing all the other novels out in the market, he told Memory that she could do it too. Her debut novel, "Naked and Hungry" (Ingalls Publishing Group/2011) features a protagonist who is a lot like her father. It’s the story of a man down on his luck who takes on big business when it tries to pollute the small town he loves. Host Frank Stasio talks to Memory about her debut novel, "Naked and Hungry."

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State of Things
12:33 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Exonerated Then Condemned

In 1989, soldier Timothy Hennis walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man, acquitted of the gruesome murders of Kathryn Eastburn and her two young daughters in Fayetteville in 1986. It was the second time he had been tried for the crimes. Jurors in the first trial found him guilty, but the N.C. Supreme Court overturned the verdict. The story of his 1989 acquittal prompted a book and a TV movie in the 1990s. Then, last year, Hennis faced charges for the Eastburn murders a third time. In that case, a military jury convicted him based on newly discovered DNA evidence.

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State of Things
12:20 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Pulphead

Book cover, ''Pulphead''

John Jeremiah Sullivan is a journalist, but not the kind who gathers the facts. His long form magazine pieces start with his personal obsessions and branch out from there. He has covered Michael Jackson, Axl Rose, post-Katrina New Orleans and his own house in Wilmington, North Carolina, which served a location for the popular teen TV melodrama "One Tree Hill." Sullivan’s work has been collected in a new book called "Pulphead" (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux/2011) and he joins host Frank Stasio today to talk music, television and other high parts of middle brow culture.

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State of Things
12:02 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Reflecting on the Clarence Thomas Confirmation Hearings

The publication of Anita Hill's new book, “Reimagining Equality,” has refocused the media spotlight on the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that took place on the floor of the U.S. Senate 20 years ago. In 1991, Hill, a former attorney-adviser to Thomas, publicly alleged that the judge sexually harassed her on many occasions during their time working together.

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State of Things
9:37 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Meet Deborah and Ken Ferruccio

Ken and Deborah Ferruccio are the accidental instigators of the Environmental Justice Movement. It all started in 1978, when the North Carolina government decided to build a landfill for toxic PCBs in Warren County. The Ferruccios were recent transplants to the area and were outraged at the proposal. They vowed to fight it. Along the way, they organized the community and tied environmental issues to race discrimination.

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State of Things
11:25 am
Fri October 21, 2011

The Queen of Rockabilly

Wanda Jackson
Credit WandaJackson.com

It’s been more than 50 years since Wanda Jackson first tore the paint off the walls with her signature rockabilly tune, “Let’s Have a Party,” and she’s still rockin’ today. These days, she’s getting some help from producer Jack White. Host Frank Stasio talks to Wanda Jackson about her rockabilly sound and her musical staying power.

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State of Things
11:18 am
Fri October 21, 2011

A Hollow Cup

A Hollow Cup
Credit chapelhillmemories.com

Alan Thompson grew up Chapel Hill, but not the one you know today. Alan was coming of age in the 1960s when the little college town was forced to confront its racism and dismantle segregation. He wanted to write a memoir about his time growing up in Chapel Hill, but that eventually morphed into his debut novel, “A Hollow Cup” (WingSpan Press/2011). It imagines a murder that takes place in a town that looks much like Chapel Hill, in the ‘60s. Host Frank Stasio talks to Alan Thompson about his novel and the history of Chapel Hill.

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