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 Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of the Senate Armed Services committee met this morning to address cybersecurity and threats to the United States. President-elect Donald Trump denies any interference by Russians in his election. 

And new members of Congress took their oaths. What are the legislative goals for 2017?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Time Warner Cable News Washington Reporter Geoff Bennett talks about the inquiry and the latest political news from Capitol Hill.

Voting sign
Wikipedia Commons

A new report from the Electoral Integrity Project, based at Harvard University and the University of Sydney, indicates that North Carolina can no longer be considered a functioning democracy. 

An image of entomologist Holly Menninger with a cicada on her head.
Courtesy Holly Menninger

Entomologist by training, Holly Menninger has spent much of her life bridging the gap between the science happening in labs across the country, and the general public. As a high school student she was responsible for explaining the Ice Age to visitors at a local museum.

Actor John Wayne aims his gun in the 1956 Western film 'The Searchers' by John Ford.
Wikimedia Commons

From gunslingers to saloons, for the next episode of "Movies on the Radio," The State of Things is asking, what are your picks for the best Western films of all time? Are you a fan of John Wayne classics like “Stagecoach,” Western satires like “Blazing Saddles, or genre-bending releases like “Django Unchained”?

An image of acrots Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the film 'La La Land'
Summit Entertainment

Whether it was action blockbusters like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” or sci-fi thrillers like “Arrival,” Hollywood offered a dynamic mix for audiences in 2016.
 

For this month’s Movies on the Radio, listeners picked their favorite films from the past year, including critically-acclaimed movies like “La La Land” and “Moonlight." 

Simon & Schuster

Each new year brings with it resolutions and to-do lists. They are easy enough to make, but how do we stay motivated to actually do them? It is a topic behavioral economist Dan Ariely tackles in his new book, "Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations" (Ted Books/2016). Ariely is the author of bestselling books about behavioral economics, a Duke professor, and the founder and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight in Durham. 

Image of Sheri Castle on her first birthday
Courtesy of Sheri Castle

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from November 14, 2016.

Food and storytelling have gone hand in hand for Sheri Castle since she was a little girl. At the age of four, she wrote her first original recipe: a smoothie she called “Hawaiian Tropic Sunset Delight.”

Producer Laura Pellicer shares her favorite stories of 2016.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

For the final episode of our annual "Producer Picks" series,  veteran producer Katy Barron, and a rookie, The State of Things' newest producer, Laura Pellicer reflect on the stand-out stories from 2016. Barron and Pellicer are the behind the scenes actors that find fresh voices, make editorial decisions, and get the show to air every weekday. For this segment they step in front of the microphone to share their favorite segments they had a hand in producing. 

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

It has been a wild year in American politics. A crowded field of presidential hopefuls whittled to two candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

After months on the campaign trail, Clinton won the popular vote by the largest margin in history but Trump received more Electoral College votes. Meanwhile, President Obama finishes his eight-year stint in the White House. What legacy will he leave? Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the year in politics.

Great Dismal Swamp
By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region - Photo of the Week - Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (VA)Uploaded by AlbertHerring, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30924548

For more than a century before the Civil War, escaped slaves used the thick and shadowy brush of the Great Dismal Swamp as a hideout.

Image of a quilt made by Elizabeth Keckley
Kent State University Museum

In 1868, Elizabeth Keckley published the memoir “Behind the Scenes: Or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House.” She wrote in the preface, “I have often been asked to write my life, as those who know me know that it has been an eventful one.” 

Photograph of Producer Anita Rao with NASA Astronaut Doug Wheelock
Charlie Shelton-Ormond

As 2016 comes to a close, The State of Things staff goes “behind the glass” to join Frank Stasio for conversations about their favorite segments of the year.

An image of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond with hip-hop producer  9th Wonder
Anita Rao

As the year wraps up, "The State of Things" takes a moment to reflect on the highlights of 2016 with the program's producers. Some of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond's favorite segments include conversations with hip-hop producer 9th Wonder and hip-hop artist Rapsody.

He also chose a conversation with members of the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team and recaps what brought identical twin comedians the Sklar brothers to the Triangle.
 

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond about his favorite conversations from 2016. 

 

The State of Things host Frank Stasio, NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea, and The State of Things managing editor Laura Lee
Anita Rao

As 2016 comes to a close, The State of Things staff go “behind the glass” and join host Frank Stasio to discuss their favorite shows of the year.

One of managing editor Laura Lee’s favorite segments was a conversation with Bill Leuchtenberg, professor emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill, about his book on the U.S. presidency. She also highlights a conversation with UNC System President Margaret Spellings recorded on her first day in office.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

   Lawmakers are back in Raleigh for yet another special session​the fifth of the year.This time they reconvened to consider repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, commonly called “the bathroom bill.” The Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance on the condition that the legislature repeal HB2. Now it appears the House may not have the votes needed for a repeal. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.​ 

Toby was one of many 'learned pigs' that spelled words and solved math problems onstage in England and America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Basic Books

Pigs are a beloved part of North Carolina culture and vital to the state’s economy, but internationally their reputation is more divisive.

An image of Negar Mottahedeh
Golbarg Bashi

It's easy to think of a "selfie" as a narcissistic way to accrue "likes" on social media and  flaunt your latest traveling adventures. But every "selfie" tells a story about the photographer's world.

Negar Mottahedeh, associate professor of literature at Duke University in Durham, says taking a selfie is a humanizing way to document history in the age of social media. In a recent speech at TEDxDurham, Mottahedeh illustrated the ways selfies can be used as tools for protest and citizen journalism.

Nathania Johnson

We asked our listeners to make their selections for favorite topic or most engaging conversation on The State of Things in 2016. 

Portrait of Marshall Rauch from 1962.
Courtesy Marshall Rauch

Marshall Rauch made a name for himself as the first Jewish senator in North Carolina. Before that he played basketball for Duke, fought in World War II, helped integrate Gastonia, and was the largest producer of Christmas ornaments in the world.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Rauch about his legacy and how his faith played a key role in everything he did including the Christmas business.

Meet Nancy Petty

Dec 19, 2016
Pullen Baptist Church

As an activist pastor at Raleigh’s progressive Pullen Baptist Church, Nancy Petty is often making news. She is openly gay and has championed marriage equality and LGBT rights. She has led Moral Monday protests and chairs the Reverend William Barber’s Repairers of the Breach board. Most recently her work has focused on facilitating interfaith dialogue with Raleigh’s Muslim community and fighting Islamaphobia and racism.  Her transformative journey from her small town upbringing in Shelby, North Carolina, paralleled major social shifts happening in the churches she has served.

Image of exhibit celebrating the history of The Scrap Exchange and Durham's Lakewood neighborhood.
Katy Clune

North Carolinians throw away 11 million tons of waste each year, contributing to the more than 200 million tons of waste discarded by all Americans. 

David Simchock

Balsam Range's new album, "Mountain Voodoo," has taken the band to the top of the bluegrass charts with its mix of bluegrass, gospel, and honky-tonk.

Band members Buddy Melton, Tim Surrett, Darren Nicholson, Caleb Smith, and Marc Pruett chat with Frank Stasio about hosting "A Bluegrass Kinda Christmas," and Raleigh's evolution as a haven for bluegrass musicians of all stripes.

Democratic governor-elect Roy Cooper
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

Governor-elect Roy Cooper fired back at Republican lawmakers Thursday in response to their attempts to limit his powers before he even enters office.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly meets this week in a special short session. Lame duck Governor Pat McCrory called the session to address disaster relief funding for victims of both Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the western part of the state.  
 

Todd Turner

When Sherrill Roland was in his last year of graduate school at UNC-Greensboro, he was charged for crimes he did not commit in the District of Columbia. 

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