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.

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

Whether it is a scathing satire or a chilling suspense film, plotlines about politics and the political process make for great drama. For this month’s edition of Movies on the Radio, listeners draw parallels between their favorite political movies and the current election season.

An image of an empty hospital bed
Public domain

Thousands of Medicaid recipients across North Carolina are being denied government-assisted funding for personal-care services. In April 2015, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Medical Assistance changed the requirements for personal-care eligibility.

Image of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
ASSOCIATED PRESS/ Eduardo Verdugo

Gabriel García Márquez was a Colombian writer and journalist best known for popularizing the form of magical realism. His work blends the fantastical with the real and political, and there is no better example of this than his seminal novel “100 Years Of Solitude” (Harper And Row/ 1970). The book is considered by many to be the most influential piece of Spanish fiction since “Don Quixote.”

Breakwater Studios

Rwanda & Juliet: In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The oft-quoted passage takes on new meaning in a production of Romeo and Juliet staged in Rwanda with both Hutu and Tutsi victims of the 1994 genocide. The documentary film “Rwanda & Juliet” follows the production of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy in Kigali, Rwanda in the spring of 2013.

Image of Michelle Moog-Koussa with the minimoog.
Courtesy of Michelle Moog-Koussa

More than 50 years ago, Robert Moog revolutionized electronic music with the invention of the Moog synthesizer. It was one of the first widely-used electronic instruments and has been featured in music by artists ranging from The Beatles to jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. But despite his immense career success, Moog kept his professional and personal lives separate. In fact, it was not until his death that his daughter, Michelle Moog-Koussa, began to learn about his professional influence.

The State of Things is broadcasting live from the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh:

Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP

The International Bluegrass Music Association is underway in Raleigh with the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards. The group The Earls of Leicester won Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row. The group led the field in nominations. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Lawless, editor of Bluegrass Today, about notable awards and emerging bands in bluegrass.

Claire Lynch Band

Bluegrass music traditionally draws inspiration from the back porches, front porches, swamps, mountains and hollers of the South. But for her new album, celebrated bluegrass artist Claire Lynch looked north. The album is called “North By South,” and it is a celebration of the often underappreciated catalog of bluegrass songs written by Canadians. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Claire Lynch about her Canadian muses and listens to some live music from the band.

Courtesy of Laughing Penguin Publicity

Kenny and Amanda Smith have been professional musicians as a duo for 15 years but have been playing music together as husband and wife for decades. The pair's new album is called "Unbound." Amanda Smith was a nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Kenny Smith was nominated for Instrumental Performer of the Year on the guitar in the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards.
 

An image of San Francisco 49ers players protesting the national anthem
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Since the beginning of the NFL season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has knelt during the national anthem in protest against racial inequality. Dozens of athletes have followed in Kaepernick's footsteps.

Meanwhile, protests erupted in Charlotte last week after police fatally shot a black man. Against this backdrop, new television shows like "Queen Sugar" and "Greenleaf" unpack narratives about contemporary black life.

Greensboro Police Department

The Greensboro city council says state officials should revoke the law enforcement license and reconsider charges against a white police officer who violated the department's use-of-force policy in a confrontation with a black man.

An image of the skyline of Charlotte, N.C.
Chuck Burton / Associated Press

In the past week, residents in Charlotte have protested throughout the city in response to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by law enforcement. The week's events created a lingering sense of civil unrest in communities.

Photo from Playmakers production of 'Detroit 67'
Jon Gardiner

Tensions between police and civilians are on the minds of many after last week’s shootings and protests in Charlotte. But a play on stage at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Playmakers Repertory Company makes it clear that these tensions are not new. “Detroit ‘67” tells the fictional story of a brother and sister working to stay afloat as their city faces increased economic and racial turmoil. The story is punctuated with music from the booming Motown music scene.

Image of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Debating
AP Photo/David Goldman)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off last night in the first presidential debate of the season. They butted heads about how to address racial tensions, the future of trade and business policy, and who is more fit to be president. Meanwhile, polls in North Carolina show the presidential and gubernatorial races are close, while Sen. Richard Burr appears to hold a slight advantage over democratic challenger Deborah Ross. 

So Good Pupusas

Chefs, writers, scholars and restaurateurs will gather over the next two days for the first annual Carolina Food Summit. By building community around food, they hope to change food policy. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Shorlette Ammons, community food systems outreach coordinator at NC A&T University; Inez Ribustello, co-owner of On the Square restaurant in Tarboro; and Cecilia Polanco of So Good Pupusas about the summit and their work in rural foodways and social justice.

Textiles
Wikimedia commons

 

Last night, presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded barbs about many subjects including America's economic strength. Economic stability is a key issue in the election and also in the lives of many Americans. 

As part of the NPR Nation Engaged project, host Frank Stasio asks, “What can we do to create economic opportunity for more Americans?” One possible solution is worker-owned businesses.

Jay Price/WUNC

Yesterday Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts lifted the midnight curfew that had been in place since Thursday evening. Demonstrations in Charlotte have been largely peaceful over the weekend even after family members and law enforcement released video footage of the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Adam Rhew, associate editor at Charlotte Magazine and a freelance journalist, about the video footage, the mood in Charlotte and next steps for both the investigation and the demonstrators.

Stefan Litwin is a piano composer and music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Hans Joachim Zylla

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from February 8, 2016. 

For Stefan Litwin, playing the piano is personal. Litwin was born in Mexico City in 1960 after his parents fled from the Nazis in Europe years earlier.

He grew up speaking three languages but always felt like an outsider. He went on to study piano in Switzerland and the United States, all the while channeling his family's experience in the Holocaust through composing music.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt at a BOT meeting in September 2016
Emily Kristina Gabbard / WUNC

The academic and athletic scandal at the University of North Carolina dominated headlines for years.

Allegations of paper classes and inappropriate assistance to student-athletes prompted internal and external investigations. And newly released correspondence shows what was going on behind-the-scenes in the midst of revelations about academic fraud. 

Gloria Steinem author photo
Annie Leibovitz

Gloria Steinem, 82,  is one of the most iconic figures of the American feminist movement. Her legacy as a journalist and activist includes co-founding and editing Ms. Magazine, publishing writings on the intersecting barriers to women’s rights, and decades of organizing on the front lines of national and international feminist movements.

Charlotte shooting protesters
Chuck Burton / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte's police chief says video footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott does not show 'definitive evidence' that Scott pointed a gun at officers before he was fatally shot.

political cartoon by Keith Knight
Courtesy of Keith Knight

Whether it's an editorial cartoon or late-night comedy show, political satire is able to inform audiences while adding some much needed humor. It has been a part of mainstream media for centuries, but has taken many forms over the years.

Taheshia Williams, center, tells her eyewitness account of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Scott's death on Sept. 20 led to protests and rioting.
Nell Redmond / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte police say 16 officers were injured last night in clashes with those protesting the fatal police shooting of a black man.

Jim Obergefell
Emma Parker

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states, Jim Obergefell's long-fought journey was complete. 

Project Orfeo

Sep 21, 2016
Les Todd, Duke University Photography

Musician Jonathan Bagg, of Duke’s Ciompi String Quartet, enjoys putting on performances that combine the intellectual power of words with the emotional nuance of music. His latest hybrid is called Project Orfeo. It weaves two compositions together with readings by acclaimed novelist Richard Powers. The text is from Powers’ most recent novel, “Orfeo” (Norton, 2014), about an avant-garde composer turned biologist. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Bagg and composer Scott Lindroth about the literary inspiration behind the performance.

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