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 picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dick DeMarsico / Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Jr. is an inimitable cultural icon known for his vast contributions to the advancement of civil rights in the United States. A new play features an intimate portrait of the civil rights figure by putting his inner concerns and vulnerabilities on display.

Courtesy of Nancy Peacock

"I’ve been to hangings before, but never my own” is a line that came to author Nancy Peacock one day while she was on an early-morning walk.

Image of Shaw University President Tashni Dubroy
Terrence Jones / Shaw University

As a teenager in Jamaica, Tashni Dubroy struggled to understand chemistry. But after a breakthrough moment in her high school chemistry class, she fell in love with the science.

She moved to the United States to attend community college, and then to Raleigh to attend Shaw University.

In this Jan. 9, 2017 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump talks with reporters at Trump Tower in New York.
Evan Vucci / AP

President Barack Obama called for civil engagement and asked Americans to talk to each other “in real life,” rather than on the internet, in his farewell address this week. Meanwhile at President-Elect Donald Trump’s first news conference in his new role, he pointed to American economic gains since his election, and slammed media outlets for churning out “fake news.”

The Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and the LGBTQ Center of Durham join forces for the second year in a row for a fundraiser cabaret show. This year’s show is set in a dystopian near-future where a fictional character named Zee must fight for sex-positive liberation from the tyranny of an evil empire.
 

Sarah Gilbert via Flickr

Over the past five years, the rate of North Carolinian children in foster care has increased by 25 percent. Foster care organizations say they are struggling to find enough homes in which to place the kids.

News & Observer Reporter Madison Iszler speaks with host Frank Stasio about the main factors that have led to this increase of children in foster care, including the effects of North Carolina’s opioid crisis.

Image of Sherri Holmes
Courtesy of Sherri Holmes

How did one word both lift a white playwright to American fame and condemn a black actor to failure?

An image of the book cover 'The Second Mrs. Hockaday'
Algonquin Books

In the summer of 2014, writer Susan Rivers was busy researching historical documents in her local library when she came across something interesting. It was an inquest from 1865 about a young woman who was accused of giving birth to a child and murdering the infant while her husband was away fighting for the Confederacy.

Oliver Smithies at the ceremony immediately after the announcement that he had won a Nobel Prize.
UNC Health Care / UNC

Oliver Smithies, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2007, died Tuesday at UNC Hospitals. He was 91.

An image of an NSCU biology professor holding a St. Francis satyr butterfly
Jay Price

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from August 17, 2016.

For years, the Pentagon has partnered with conservation groups to protect hundreds of endangered and threatened species on military bases across the country.

The partnership started at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the early 1990s after a rare woodpecker was found and halted training on parts of the base. Since then, the military and conservationists have worked together to manage the bases' rich ecosystems.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from December 15, 2016.

President Obama signed legislation this week allocating $1 billion dollars to address the nation's worsening opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are on the rise, and current policies are inadequate in addressing the issues. 

Henry B. Moore, Library of Congress via Wikipedia

In the modern financial world, Wall Street is king, but that ascent did not happen without exploitation. In particular, African slaves provided capital for some of the nation's most powerful financial institutions.

Courtesy Samuel Peterson

Samuel Peterson has battled addiction all of his life.  When he was young, it was sugar. In his twenties, he turned to methadone and cocaine. As an adult, he moved to prescription painkillers and later heroin.

He eventually found sobriety, and in his 50s, Peterson enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also wrote a play. But underneath these life achievements was the pull of addiction.
 

An image of community organizer Bree Newsome
Courtesy of Bree Newsome

Activist Bree Newsome gained national attention in the summer of 2015 when she was arrested for scaling the flagpole at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and removing the Confederate flag. The act of civil disobedience took place in the wake of the killing of nine African-American people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

Courtesy of Dawn Sinclair Shapiro

For more than 70 years, programs around the United States forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of American citizens.

An image of bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull
Gina Binkley

Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sierra Hull has been playing music professionally since she was just a kid.

Now, at 25, Sierra has released a new album that is a departure from her previous work. "Weighted Mind" features a more stripped down version of Sierra Hull's sound- a departure from her earlier works. “Weighted Mind” is nominated for a Grammy.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hull about her life and career, and she performs songs from her new album.

 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. 

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