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.

A new exhibit at The Carrack Modern Art Museum in Durham features works from three generations of the Belans family. It includes photography by the late Herbert A. Belans reinterpreted and repurposed by his granddaughter, photographer and artist Leah Sobsey. Linda Belans, Leah’s mother and Herbert’s daughter, links the works with her poetry. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Leah Sobsey and Linda Belans about how an inheritance of old film negatives turned into a multi-generational family art...

The countdown to Election Day is on, and candidates are hitting the trail in North Carolina. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited the state earlier this week and democratic nominee Hillary Clinton stops in Winston-Salem later today, in a joint appearance with first lady Michelle Obama. What do the presidential campaigns do for candidates down ballot? And how close is the gubernatorial race? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest.

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Public Doman

Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Buck Newton are vying for the open seat left by Attorney General Roy Cooper who stepped down to run for governor. Stein served as Senior Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection under Cooper from 2001 to 2008. He is the former minority whip in the state Senate where he represented Wake County. The latest polls show Stein leading Newton . Stein has outraised Newton, and has spent more money on television ads . Attorney General Cooper refused to defend...

A gif image of a timelapse of host Frank Stasio's right underarm microbes grown at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab.
Courtesy Julie Horvath

They live in every nook and cranny of your body, from your belly button to your armpits. A new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences explores the secret world of human microbes. Host Frank Stasio speaks with biologists Julie Horvath and Rob Dunn about the implications of microbial diversity for human health, and about Frank’s own armpit ecosystem.
Stasio swabbed his armpits live on Facebook , at the museum's Genomics and Microbiology Research Lab. Horvath then...

Cover image of Wedding Bell Blues, a new mystery novel by Ruth Moose
Courtesy Ruth Moose

An eccentric yet beloved, homeless bride-to-be, her freshly-murdered fiancé and an evasive white rabbit are some of the residents of Littleboro , North Carolina, a town where mysteries abound. They are also the conjurings of author Ruth Moose , that come to life in her new book “Wedding Bell Blues” (Minotaur Books/2016). Host Frank Stasio talks with Moose about developing her cast of characters, and about picking up where her last book left off, a book she first wrote more than 25 years ago.

Headshot of Roy Cooper
Courtesy of Roy Cooper

With the election less than three weeks away, the national spotlight is on North Carolina as a key swing state in this election. The latest polls in the governor’s race show incumbent Governor Pat McCrory head-to-head with democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper . Cooper has outraised McCrory by millions and outspent him in television ads . The candidates met multiple times for face-to-face debates during which they sparred over House Bill 2, taxes, and environmental issues.Cooper’s...

Apprentice House

As a child growing up in Bristol, Virginia, writer Christine Hale says she was an unintended hostage to her parents’ abusive marriage and her family’s dysfunction. When her second marriage ended in a bitter divorce she stumbled upon Tibetan Buddhism as a path toward making sense of her life. Her new memoir, “A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations,” (Apprentice House Press/2016) weaves together memories from her journey toward acceptance. Host Frank Stasio speaks with...

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled it out on the podium earlier this week in their third and final debate of the season. It was the first time a Fox News anchor moderated a presidential debate.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Ken Rudin, the political junkie , about the candidates’ debate strategies and about their comedic spar at an annual charity roast.

Political pins show off the name and campaign slogans of former US Congressman Nick Galifiniakis.
Courtesy Ken Rudin

The son of two Greek immigrants, Nick Galifianakis was a surprising pick for politics in 1960s North Carolina. "Pick Nick", a new book by former UNC history professor John Semonche, published by Tidal Press, takes an intimate look into Galifianakis’s rise to political prominence, first as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and later as a United States Congressman. Host Frank Stasio talks with Semonche and Galifianakis about his political legacy and the infamous battle against...

Brett Villena

The Raleigh-based hip-hop group Kooley High started nearly a decade ago after its members had spent years trading rhymes with each other on campus at North Carolina State University. In 2004, some of Kooley High's members started a hip-hop club on campus called " H2O " and helped spark a grassroots rap scene in the city. The collective eventually decided to create Kooley High and started working with local producer 9th Wonder. Throughout the years, most members of Kooley High either moved to...

Princeville, Hurricane Matthew, Flooding
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The town of Princeville, North Carolina was established by freed slaves after the Civil War, and it is the oldest town incorporated by African-Americans in the United States. Hurricane Matthew put the town underwater, but leaders there are vowing to rebuild and reclaim the historical place. Members of the National Guard are pumping millions of gallons of water back into the Tar River while residents wait to see if anything is salvageable. Host Frank Stasio speaks with WUNC reporter Leoneda...

Judge Mike Morgan, a candidate in the N.C. Supreme Court race, standing by an American flag.
Courtesy Mike Morgan

The race for a seat in the North Carolina Supreme Court is one of many down-ballot races that may not be top of mind for most North Carolinians. However, this year’s race carries the potential for a significant political shift. Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan , a registered Democrat, says the N.C. Supreme Court is becoming increasingly politicized. He is fighting to win the seat of incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds , a registered Republican. If Morgan succeeds, he will tip the scales...

Vianney Le Caer / AP

The highly-anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation" tells the story of a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. The movie received critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year , but support for the movie has since waned as details about the creator’s controversial past resurfaced. In 1999, creator Nate Parker was accused of rape when he was an undergraduate at Pennsylvania State University. He was acquitted of the charges, but critics...

Headshot of N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds.
Courtesy of Justice Bob Edmunds

Down-ballot races in North Carolina do not generally conjure the hearty debate and civic attention of higher profile elections. But this year, the race for a seat on North Carolina's Supreme Court may also carry a significant ideological shift. Incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds , a registered Republican, is fighting to preserve his spot as a NC Supreme Court Justice, and with it, a 4-3 Republican majority on the court. Edmunds is running against Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan , a...

An image from Bright's series '#1960Now' that explores the parallels between the Civil Rights Movement and the current  #BlackLivesMatter movement today.
Sheila Pree Bright

Photographer Sheila Pree Bright first picked up a camera in search of a means of personal expression. After her first public exhibit, it was clear that not only did she have a gift for making beautiful images, but her work also sparked thoughtful and unexpected conversations about race, politics, and justice. Bright first came into the national spotlight with the series “Suburbia,” which explored black suburban life in Atlanta. Since then her series have continued to explore black spaces left...

Eric Loewen
GE

America’s reliance on fossil fuels is contributing to global warming, posing a threat to the future of the planet. Much of the discussion around mitigating climate change centers on sources like solar and wind power, while nuclear power is often left out of the conversation. Fear about safety and expense have hindered the development of nuclear power as a sustainable energy source for the United States, but Eric Loewen hopes to change that perception. He is the chief consulting engineer at...

Image of Reginald Newberne, a former North Carolina State Trooper, against a brick wall.
Laura Pellicer

A former North Carolina State trooper won a $3.75 million verdict in a long-running whistleblower case. State trooper Reginald Newberne claims that in 2000, a fellow officer told Newberne he injured his hand while punching a teen suspect. Newberne says he was hesitant about filling out an official report, but he later offered a detailed account of the incident to his superiors. Newberne was subsequently fired from his position in the Highway Patrol for a violation of the “truthfulness...

Black and white photo of renowned jazz singer Nnenna Freelon.
Chris Charles

Jazz singer Nnenna Freelon , and jazz guitarist Scott Sawyer , cut their teeth performing as a duo in listening rooms, bars, and even hotel lobbies back in the 1980s. Over the past decades, their individual careers have taken off, bringing them Grammy nominations and leading to collaborations with artists around the world. Both artists settled in the Triangle and are now pillars of the jazz scene in the state.
Host Frank Stasio speaks with Freelon and Sawyer about the evolution of...

Flooding along NC 211 near Lumberton make roads impassable on Monday, October 10, 2016.
Jay Price / WUNC

The sun may be shining, but rivers are still cresting in eastern North Carolina as a result of the prolonged rainfall from Hurricane Matthew. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC reporter Jay Price who is in eastern North Carolina for an update on the damage. Plus, Rob Young, professor of coastal geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, discusses the shortcomings of federal flood policy and the method of categorizing storms that...

LEARN NC, UNC School of Education.

Photographer Jon Crispin spent five years shooting a collection of more than 400 suitcases discovered in an attic at the Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate New York. The intimate portraits are widely acclaimed for adding a layer of humanity to patients who might otherwise only be remembered by their hollow medical records. When Rose Hoban, founding editor of North Carolina Health News, saw his work, she knew it could serve as inspiration for the Raleigh community that is trying to figure...

Headshot of Eric Fair, a former interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Amy Cramer

In 2004, photographs capturing extreme abuse of detainees at the American-controlled Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were released to the public, sparking a humanitarian outcry. That same year, Eric Fair was working as an interrogator at the prison. Fair's new memoir, "Consequence " (Henry Holt/2016) is an unflinching look back at his time at Abu Ghraib and the mental and physical pain he inflicted on detainees as part of military-sanctioned interrogations. Host Frank Stasio talks with Fair about...

An image of folk singer Leadbelly
Public Domain

Rock music has roots in many different musical forms. It is shaped by the blues and jazz. Meanwhile, the narratives in rock songs can be traced back to English ballads. As rock 'n' roll has grown over the years, so has its relationship with literature, specifically American fiction. "Novel Sounds: American Fiction in the Age of Rock and Roll" is a conference sponsored by the National Humanities Center that explores the reciprocal relationship between literature and rock music and how each...

Courtesy of Perfecta Visuals

​ What happens when women get up on stage dressed to the nines and are judged not for their beauty, but for their strength? Groups of women around the country have been exploring just that with competitive arm wrestling leagues. Two of these leagues are based in North Carolina, the League of Upper Extremity Wrestling Women in Durham (LUEWWD) and the Greensboro Arm Wrestling League ( GRAW L ). The competitors create characters, don costumes, and compete to raise money for charities that...

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Roy Cooper, left, and North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory participate in a live televised debate at UNC-TV studios in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016.
Gerry Broome / ASSOCIATED PRESS

With his back against the political ropes, Governor Pat McCrory was ready for a fight on Tuesday night. The Republican incumbent looked energized, confident, and threw jabs, hooks and overhand rights at his challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Greensboro Police Department

Guilford County prosecutors will not bring criminal charges against a white officer who aggressively attacked a black man. Greensboro City Council members repeatedly called for prosecutors to review the initial investigation. Dejuan Yourse was on his mother's front porch when he was punched in the face, wrestled to the ground, and subsequently arrested by Officer Travis Cole. Greensboro News and Record editorial page editor Allen Johnson says the video of the incident, captured by police body...

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