Will Michaels

Daily News Producer

Will Michaels started his professional radio career at WUNC.

He was first an intern while studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. As a part of his internship, he worked for a semester on the daily national show, The Story with Dick Gordon. Will concentrated on radio while at college, studying under veteran NPR reporter Adam Hochberg. He began as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC's radio news magazine, and then became an anchor and managing editor for the program in 2009, when it was named the best college radio news program in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Will came back to WUNC after graduation in 2010 as the producer for the local broadcast of Morning Edition, rising before the sun to help host Eric Hodge gather and present the news. In 2014, he produced WUNC's My Teacher series, part of the North Carolina Teacher Project. He joined the team for The State of Things later that year.

In 2016, Will became WUNC's first Daily News Producer, creating content for WUNC newscasts and periodically filling in as host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Outside of radio, Will holds a seat on the board of the North Carolina Governor's School Alumni Association. He attended Governor's School in 2005 for drama, and still considers himself a theatre geek at heart.

Ways to Connect

North Carolina NAACP

The Chapel Hill NAACP is holding a prayer service in honor of Maleah Williams, the 1-year-old who was shot on Christmas Day, and died of her injuries.

Veteran journalist Chuck Lewis says investigative journalism has declined over the years as newsrooms shrink and costs of longer, in-depth reporting grow.
Roger H. Goun / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Chuck Lewis has had a long career as an investigative journalist. He has worked for national news shows, including CBS News' "60 Minutes," and he helped to create the Center for Public Integrity. 

But in the decades since he started digging for the truth, the reporting industry has suffered a serious decline in investigative reporting.

multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Flickr Creative Commons

This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired earlier this year.

College athletics programs are under a lot of pressure to make money for their schools. That means, among other things, keeping players academically eligible.

Jeanmarie Schubach

As the new year approaches, “The State of Things” takes a moment to reflect on the highlights of 2015 with the program’s producers.

Some of producer Will Michaels’ favorite segments include conversations with behavioral economist Dan Ariely and U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). 

He also chose segments with Dudley Flood, the man who helped to desegregate every one of the state’s public schools and the story of Robert Brown who was a human bridge between corporate America and the civil rights movement. 

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

For the next "Movies on the Radio" show, The State of Things wants to know about your favorite movie in which food is one of the leading characters.

From Stanley Tucci's "Big Night" to the animated "Ratatouille" or the classic "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," these are movies that make your stomach rumble.

Send an email to sot@wunc.org with your favorite food movie, and you could be a part of our next Movies on the Radio program.

Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, has been tabbed as the next UNC system president.
LBJ Foundation / Flickr Creative Commons

The controversial hiring of Margaret Spellings as the new UNC system president has received national attention for its political implications.

Some professors say her background as Secretary of Education under the George W. Bush administration is a signal of more divestment in higher education.

But some of Spellings' former colleagues say she is just what the UNC system needs to connect with a Republican legislature.

John Williams is fond of saying that he does not have problem children, but children with problems.

Williams is the principal of Phoenix Academy High School in Chapel Hill, an alternative school that has no school resource officers.

In the last three years, Phoenix Academy has become a model high school for other alternative institutions in North Carolina.

Image of wood pellets, which are causing an environmental controversy in North Carolina. Though the energy source is carbon neutral in theory, that's not always true in practice.
Andrew_Writer / Flickr Creative Commons

The wood pellet industry is booming in North Carolina, thanks in part to high demand from Europe. Power plants burn the wood product to create energy, but wood pellet companies are cutting down trees at a higher rate than anticipated, raising questions about whether the practice really is carbon neutral.


Harold Martin is the first former student of North Carolina A&T State University to lead his alma mater.

During Martin's tenure, the school gained the distinction as one of the top universities for land grant scholarships in the country and third in the UNC system in sponsored research funding.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
United States Government

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) broke ranks with his Republican colleagues to vote against a proposal that would restrict the country's intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Jones said he would not vote for a measure that provides any funding for the program that allows those refugees to resettle in the United States.

A drawing of a bank bag and money before a Texas flag.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Bank robbery is an American criminal tradition, with heists laying the scene for some of Hollywood's most exciting movies.

In this week's Criminal podcast, host Phoebe Judge talks with Clay Tumey, a Houston man who became a real-life bank robber. That's the subject of this week's episode of Criminal, a podcast recorded at WUNC.

Clay Tumey had always been fascinated by bank robber: For him, it was a romantic, exciting crime. His friend Audrey Fernandez recalls Tumey chatting about plans to rob a bank, even as a teenager.

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers and advocates refer to the school-to-prison pipeline as a combination of laws and policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system.

But educators point to the underlying issues of race, class and gender as other contributors to the process.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Javonte Carver, a student at Durham Technical Community College, about his experience in Durham Public Schools and the broad issues that connect to the school-to-prison pipeline. 

The von Trapps
Ben Moon

Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and August von Trapp are descendants of the family made famous by the beloved musical, "The Sound of Music."

Their grandfather, Werner von Trapp, taught them Austrian folk songs as children, and it was during their childhood that they realized their voices blended perfectly in classical choral music. Today, with their legacy in mind, The von Trapps have created their own version of folk music with a touch of indie rock.

Blue Ridge Mountains
Christopher Sessums / Flickr Creative Commons

Duke Energy has scrapped a proposal to build new transmission lines in western North Carolina.

The decision comes after environmental groups raised concerns about the plans for 45 miles worth of towers from Asheville to South Carolina. The controversy attracted more than 9,000 public comments online.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie

With the passing of Congressman Howard Coble, North Carolina loses one of a vanishing breed: the old style politician.

Meanwhile, municipal elections across the country led to unexpected results in some places. Salt Lake City will likely have its first openly gay mayor, pending a recount later this month. 

In Houston, voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance for LGBTQ residents, and Jeb Bush's numbers fall as the Republican presidential primary continues.

Faith Community Church
NC Warn

State regulators meet this week to decide whether to expedite the implementation of a new law that would change environmental standards.

It includes a cut to the number of air quality monitors in the state and allows companies to avoid fines if they self-report an environmental violation. 

On November 12th, WUNC’s The State of Things and Leadership Triangle join forces to present an issues forum on the school-to-prison pipeline, one in a series of forums organized to educate the public on important issues facing our region. 

Frank Stasio talked live with Congressman Howard Coble 12/16/2014.
Ivan Saul Cutler / Governor Morehead Forum for Economic Development

Republican lawmaker Howard Coble died yesterday at age 84.

Coble represented North Carolina’s Sixth District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years.

He was known for strong constituent services and a dedication to reducing government waste.

The congressman appeared on The State of Things in December.

Nina de Gramont
Nina de Gramont

Wilmington author Nina de Gramont has based her newest novel on her own experiences during the offseason in Cape Cod.

The thrill of the deserted landscape makes for a unique experience, but the chill of an empty town provides the perfect inspiration for a love story that turns into a murder mystery. 

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The Greensboro Police Department is reviewing its records of traffic stops, after a New York Times article revealed deep racial discrepancies.

The newspaper's analysis found that Greensboro police searched black drivers more than twice as often as white drivers, even though they found contraband more often when the driver was white.

Michael Keenan Gutierrez
Rebecca Ames

Neal Stephens is a photographer who returned to his hometown in Colorado after World War I to find another war raging in the little coal town: a conflict between union miners and Neal's uncle, Seamus, who runs the mine.


In the course of the labor fight, the local sheriff is found dead, and Neal stumbles across a larger conspiracy that could end his family's mining company and land him in prison for murder.


UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is deeply divided over how to elect a new leader.

Some board members have called for the resignation of chair John Fennebresque after he called an emergency closed-door meeting to interview a candidate.

Emails reveal several board members accused Fennebresque of botching the hiring process which started after President Tom Ross was forced to resign earlier this year. 

The division represents a split within the Republican members of the board.

Produce, Shopping, Grocery Stores

The main principle of a cooperative organization is to give ownership to the people who use its services. Every member has a say in how the business is run and shares the profits.

But for African-American communities in the United States, cooperative economics have also historically been a method of survival. 

Roland Kays is the director of the biodiversity lab at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and a professor at N.C. State University. He has an interest in the ecology and conservation of animals, particularly mammals.
Roland Kays

Roland Kays has spent his life studying the behavior and history of animals.

It started in high school when he ran the eggs of a fruit fly through an x-ray machine at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The experiment did not yield the results he wanted, but it did lead to a life as a zoologist. 

Today, Roland has a number of expeditions under his belt, including trips to Africa and South America. In 2013, he was part of the team that discovered a new relative of the raccoon, called the olinguito.

Julia Dahl grew up in an interfaith household, which informs her work now as a novelist.
Chasi Annexy

Novelist Julia Dahl grew up in Fresno, California, as the daughter of a Jewish mother and Lutheran father. Dahl says contrary to her peers' assumptions, the experience did not confuse her as a child, but gave her a rare outsider's view of both religions.