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.

photo of a spread at Grady's Barbecue in Dudley, N.C.
Rien Fertel

North Carolina is the number two producer of pigs in America, and barbeque is by most accounts the state’s food. But historian Rien Fertel argues that most barbecue writing is hyperbole. 

In his new book “The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook The Whole Hog,” (Touchstone/2016) he examines the history of the southern barbecue art, and the wide range of mythology surrounding the meat and those who tend to it.

An image of the painting "Gassed" by John Singer Sargent
Courtesy of David Lubin

World War I was called the "war to end all wars." And many artists expressed their frustration with or support of the war through paintings, sculptures, films and posters in the years following the conflict.

In his new book, "Grand Illusions: American Art and the First World War" (Oxford University Press/2016), David Lubin shows two dozen artists' interpretation of World War I and how the war influenced popular media.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Before there was rock 'n' roll, there was Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

She was a leading figure in birthing rock 'n' roll from gospel music in the mid-20th century. A group of Greensboro musicians will honor Sister Rosetta Tharpe with an evening of storytelling and music.

photo of North Carolina State Capitol Building
Nathanial Johnson / Flickr

Last night, Charlotte City Council members declined to vote on a repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance that prompted House Bill 2. The possible vote was part of a compromise deal with some state lawmakers.

An image of Saul Berenthal and his family
Saul Berenthal

As a Jewish child in Cuba, Saul Berenthal never felt like an outsider. His parents fled to the country from Eastern Europe during the Holocaust and eventually raised Berenthal in the Jewish and Cuban cultures. After the Cuban revolution, Berenthal and family came to the U.S. in 1960 to start a new life.

Hospital room
PROFotos GOVBA / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast  

Visiting the hospital in a rural area can be a challenge for Medicare patients because of scattered locations and a lack of healthcare professionals. But returning to the hospital for a follow-up visit is even more difficult, according to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Sallie Krawcheck has gone from Wall Street executive to leading Ellevate, a women's professional network.
A.E. Fletcher Photography

Note: This is a rebroadcast  

Sallie Krawcheck was once one of the most senior executives on Wall Street with top positions at Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch.

She held her own in a male-dominated industry, but after two public firings from those positions, Krawcheck took a different career path. 

Durham trumpeter Al Strong has released his debut solo album, 'LoveStrong Vol. 1.'
Chris Charles / Creative Silence

This is a rebroadcast.

Al Strong started playing music when he was seven years old after his dad got him a drum set for Christmas.

He bounced from the drums to piano, and eventually landed on the trumpet. Throughout high school and college, he studied jazz. Now, he teaches the next generation of trumpeters at N.C. Central University in Durham.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 The countdown to the conventions is on. Just a short time ago, it looked like the GOP convention would be the stage for the most drama. But Donald Trump has steadily eliminated his competition. And now all eyes are on the democratic ticket. Will Bernie Sanders go all the way to the Philadelphia convention? And how does his decision affect Hillary Clinton's chances to once again reside in the White House? In North Carolina, lawmakers are working on the state's budget, but they do so against the backdrop of continuing controversy over House Bill Two. Does that affect their priorities?

Image of Eugene from the new opera Body Politic
Scott Bump

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 has been making national headlines for the past two months and has inspired a wide range of social action. There have been both pro and anti-HB2 rallies on Jones street, businesses have left the state, and performers have canceled appearances in protest. The law inspired a different response in two UNC School of the Arts alumni who were inspired to bring their artistic work to the state.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

Two environmental groups could be on the hook for $10 million if they want to continue their battle against Duke Energy. Last week’s ruling by the state Utilities Commission against The Climate Times and North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN) used a state law provision that has never been used before. The money is slated to cover costs incurred by Duke Energy because of the delay caused by the appeals process.

'Boy Erased'

May 18, 2016
An image of author Garrard Conley
Colin Boyd Shafer

Growing up in a small town in Arkansas, Garrard Conley dealt with strict social codes on what it meant to be man and a Christian. He was outed as gay to his parents at the age of 19.

Alex Prolmos / Flickr Creative Commons

The latest numbers from the Pew Research Center show that the number of Americans who say they believe in God has declined in recent years. And millennials are much less likely than older Americans to belong to any religious faith.
 

But despite these trends, psychiatrist and researcher Harold Koenig argues that science shows that religious belief is good for mental and physical health.

An image of singer Beyonce
AP Images

Pop culture icon Beyoncé delivered a powerful message when she released her visual album "Lemonade" last month.

The work is a pop culture phenomenon and alludes to infidelity while portraying strong messages of black feminism. Meanwhile, as Beyoncé reclaims her personal narrative as a celebrity icon, the forthcoming film "The Birth of a Nation" reclaims the story of the Nat Turner slave rebellion.

Bill Ferris has been a leading documentarian of southern culture for more than five decades. His work has preserved the work of blues musicians, painters, writers and many more.
Marcie Cohen Ferris

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from Monday, December 7. 

When Bill Ferris meets someone, he usually asks, “Where are you from?”

The simple question prompts an important answer for the folklorist. For Ferris, a sense of place is integral to one's identity, and there is hardly a more influential and complex place in shaping identities than the American South. 

State of Things Host Frank Stasio hosts a broadcast at the Duke Chapel on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 to commemorate the chapel's reopening.
Duke Photography

Duke University has reopened the iconic chapel at the center of its Durham campus after a $19 million renovation.

Crews have been working for a year to restore the limestone walls and ceiling that define the chapel's Gothic architecture. 

In a special broadcast at Duke Chapel, university archivist Valerie Gillispie told WUNC’s "The State of Things" the chapel has served as an institutional icon at Duke for nearly 90 years.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Department of Environmental Quality has pulled the plug on SolarBees.

DEQ says it's removing the devices from Jordan Lake. SolarBees have been churning water at several spots on the lake in an attempt to reduce algae blooms, but a report from DEQ says there has been no improvement in water quality. 

The agency is reevaluating other measures that would limit runoff from the surrounding area, but developers are pushing back. 

An image of Duke anthropology professor J. Lorand Matory
J. Lorand Matory

Ethnic identity can be shaped by cultural practices and heritage. But in his new book, Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety in Black America (The University of Chicago Press/2015)

Nedda Ibrahim

More than 100,000 Iraqi refugees have resettled in the United States in the past decade. But for the most part their stories are underreported and their life experiences are invisible to the wider American public. An art exhibit on view at William Peace University this weekend tries to change that by shining light on the work of 10 refugee artists whose work represents the rich and storied history of Iraqi art, and the diverse experiences of Iraqi refugees settled in the Americas.

Craig Duffy / Flickr

From "The Godfather" series to "Pulp Fiction," some of the greatest films of all time are about crimes and the people who commit them.

Movie lovers are drawn to fascinating characters like Scarface and Hannibal Lecter. Hollywood has driven good people to love bad characters for generations.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about listeners' favorite crime films in the next edition of "Movies on the Radio."

An image of  Katharine Wright sits beside Wilbur, ready for her first takeoff at Pont-Long in France in 1909.
Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University

Note: this is a rebroadcast from May 20, 2015

The state of North Carolina has many claims to fame, but there is likely none more popular or controversial than the slogan on the state license plate: “First In Flight.” The phrase commemorates the spectacular achievement of brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright who piloted their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903.

When Dawn Dreyer was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, her therapist suggested that she make drawings as a way to cope with her depression.

The drawings evolved into a comic strip about a superhero called Bipolar Girl and Kacey the Wonderdog, who are in constant battle with The Creature, a villain who represents shame, depression and perfectionism. 

Most kids who grow up playing catch in the backyard dream about making it to the major leagues one day. For minor league baseball players, they are one step away to that dream. The Durham Bulls are one of the more well-known minor league teams thanks to the classic movie "Bull Durham."

For the team's players, life on the diamond includes regimented routines, long stints on the road and a chance to make it to the professional level.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The U.S. Department of Justice says North Carolina's House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act. It's the latest in the fallout from HB2 and could threaten billions of dollars in federal education funds.

Meanwhile, two different polls find conflicting results in North Carolinians' support of the law. And Donald Trump is assured the Republican nomination for president.

Political analysts are speculating about who might be Trump's running mate, and whether the establishment wing of the GOP will stand behind Trump in November. 

An image of Terence Blanchard
Henry Adebonojo

Jazz trumpet player and composer Terence Blanchard has worn many hats. As a kid growing up in New Orleans, he played alongside childhood friend Wynton Marsalis. In the 1980s he performed alongside jazz great Art Blakey, and in the 1990s, Blanchard began scoring films for director Spike Lee. Today he continues to develop his jazz style with his band The E-Collective.

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