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
12:03 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

The Changing Place of Poverty

Winston-Salem, NC has the worst rate of family hunger of any metropolitan area in the nation, according to a new study by the Food Research and Action Center. Winston-Salem is only a particularly acute example of what's happening across North Carolina and the nation: increased hunger and poverty, and the suburbanization of poverty as it surges out of inner cities and pulls in the formerly middle class.

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State of Things
11:51 am
Wed August 31, 2011

The Resurrection of Nat Turner

The Resurrection of Nat Turner
Credit theresurrectionofnatturner.com

Author Sharon Ewell Foster spent the last five years researching Nat Turner, the slave who led a violent rebellion in Southampton County, VA in 1831. She found that Turner’s ancestors hailed from Ethiopia, that Turner was a man of strong spiritual faith and that there was much to be gained by whites in the Commonwealth of Virginia by painting Turner as a savage villain. Foster’s research led her to create a new series of historical fiction called “The Resurrection of Nat Turner.” The first book in that series, “The Witnesses” (Howard Books/2011), has just been released.

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State of Things
11:35 am
Tue August 30, 2011

How Shakespeare Says "I'm Sorry"

Book cover, ''Shakespeare and the Grammar of Forgiveness''

The public mea culpa has become akin to performance art in modern times. It seems a month seldom goes by without a celebrity, public figure or politician begging for forgiveness via the mass media. Repentance and forgiveness have not always been such public, interpersonal matters, however. In the days before the Protestant Reformation, forgiveness was up to God and God alone. In her new book, "Shakespeare and the Grammar of Forgiveness" (Cornell University Press/2011), Duke University English Professor Sarah Beckwith traces the roots of our modern understanding of forgiveness to the language of William Shakespeare's later plays. Host Frank Stasio talks with Beckwith about how we say "I'm sorry."

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State of Things
11:22 am
Tue August 30, 2011

The Magician King

Book cover, ''The Magician King''

Harry Potter paved the way for many fantasy novels, including one written by Time Magazine book critic Lev Grossman. "The Magicians" (Viking Adult/2009), took an adult look at the mythical world of magic and tackled issues of sex, drugs and existential angst. The sequel, "The Magician King" (Viking Adult/2011), is out now and continues its offbeat examination of the magical life.

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State of Things
10:51 am
Mon August 29, 2011

Meet Bo Thorp

Bo Thorp
Credit unc.edu

Cape Fear Regional Theatre has been presenting professional stage productions in North Carolina for nearly 50 years. The not-for-profit Fayetteville-based theatre company operates with help from the community and under the leadership of Bo Thorp, its artistic director. Thorp, the daughter of Italian-Austrian immigrants, has been devoted to theatre since her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina. When she lost her parents at an early age, plays offered her a sense of family and kinship – something she carried with her to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she continued to appear on stage and behind-the-scenes of theatrical productions on campus. When she arrived with her husband in Fayetteville in 1960, Thorp noticed that the community was lacking a cultural scene, so she co-founded the company that evolved into Cape Fear Regional Theatre. Just before celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary, Thorp joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her passion for fine arts, her family and her experience as a leader in Fayetteville’s creative community.

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State of Things
12:24 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

William Michael Dillon

William Michael Dillon
Credit wmdmusic.com

William Michael Dillon spent nearly 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. In 2008, DNA testing proved that he was innocent and he was set free. Dillon, also a musician, sings about his trials and tribulations in his first album, “Black Robes and Lawyers,” released this month.

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State of Things
12:15 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

Instruments of Justice

Instruments of Justice
Credit facebook.com

How many lawyers does it take to make good music? Well, if you’re talking about the North Carolina band Instruments of Justice, the answer is a lot. They’re the house band for the law firm Poyner Spruill LLP, and they’re up to 13 members – enough to make up their own jury with an alternate. Host Frank Stasio gets treated to an in-studio performance and talks to the band about life as music-making attorneys.

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State of Things
12:09 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Tasers, Policing, & Civil Liberties

Taser
Credit wikipedia.org

Last month, a Charlotte jury awarded $10 million to the family of a teenager who died after a police officer used a Taser on him. Hundreds of people have died over the last decade in similar situations involving police and Taser use. Opponents of the electroshock devices say they've led to an epidemic of police brutality; police say they're effective tools that reduce injuries and deaths caused by more traditional weapons. Host Frank Stasio discusses Tasers, policing, and civil liberties with Sam Walker, an emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and author of several books on policing and accountability; Katy Parker, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina; Darrel Stephens, former chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; and David Cole, law professor at Georgetown University and author of "Less Safe, Less Free: Why We Are Losing the War on Terrorism." (The New Press/2007).

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State of Things
12:23 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Good Divorce

As early as the late 1800s, the United States already had the highest rate of divorce in the world. It has pretty much maintained its status as a world leader of broken marriages ever since. The advent of no-fault divorces in the late '60s and early '70s only made things worse. Now a generation of people raised by split parents is struggling to forge their way through the uncertain bonds of matrimony. Jonathan Weiler and Anne Menkens are one couple who say they found a way to have a “good divorce.” They wrote about their efforts in a series of articles on the Huffington Post.

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State of Things
12:49 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Raymond Cobb’s Release from Prison By Lindsay Thomas

When Raymond Cobb last made an appearance on “The State of Things,” it was from Tillery Correctional Center in North Carolina’s Halifax County where he was serving his sixth prison sentence. Cobb, who is listed as a “habitual felon” by the state corrections system, was released in May. He says he will make good on the claims to stay out of prison that he made on the show in 2009. Cobb’s transition back into society has already proven smoother than ever before. He has found work, strengthened his relationship with his son and reunited with an old love named Pelvia Harris.

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