Christopher Blank

News Director

It started with ghost stories, of a sort. The wood floors creaking at night, dad assured me, confirmed the presence of spirits in our home. Years of night terrors followed. Then years of transference. Thank you for attending my slumber party. Let me tell you about the noises, friends... 

Eventually, the joy a child finds in manipulating other children's emotions matures into a high school theater career. In that regard, my teen years were of the traditional, unpopular variety.

One day, a few years after college, an editor at the St. Petersburg Times pulled me aside from my part-time job sorting mail and delivering faxes. "Why is your hair orange?" she asked. "And did I see you unicycling in front of that theater across the street?" Few things a person does in the services of "Art" translate into being taken seriously as a human being. To my surprise -- to my eternal, immeasurable surprise --  this was the start of a career as an arts reporter and critic, first at the Times, then at the Memphis Commercial Appeal and for many magazines, journals and newspapers in between. 

In some ways, radio journalism is a back-to-basics medium; people tell stories, share insights, opinions, beliefs and experiences of the verbal kind. And for all the Tweets and Facebook posts and clickbait headlines that parade so stridently upon our psyches day-to-day, the surest way to convince someone that their house is haunted is simply to turn off the lights and let their ears confirm it.

 

Ways to Connect

Forty years ago today, Elvis Presley died in his Memphis home. As one of the world's biggest stars and a pioneering voice in rock and roll music, news of his death at age 42 would give rise to the cult of personality that endures still today. 


This week on WKNO's Behind the Headlines, Congressman Steve Cohen talks about some of the major issues facing legislators in Washington, from healthcare to the presidency. Host Eric Barnes is joined by Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News. 

On this week's Behind the Headlines from WKNO, Reid Dulberger, President and CEO of EDGE, and Shawn Massey, partner at the Shopping Center Group, discuss the use of PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) incentives for local commercial real estate projects in the urban core. They are joined by Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News and host Eric Barnes.

This week on WKNO's Behind the Headlines, journalists discuss grants for sanitation workers, the Beale Street Task Force, rape kits and more. Host Eric Barnes talks with Ryan Poe of the Commercial Appeal, Toby Sells of the Memphis Flyer, Bernal Smith of the New Tri-State Defender, and Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News.

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Summer is the season of camps, vacations and relaxation. For many teenagers, it’s also a time of first jobs. This year, Shelby County partnered with the nonprofit Clean Memphis to offer work experience and a paycheck to 100 young people. The job: help Shelby County tackle its blight problem.


On this week's Behind the Headlines on WKNO, leaders of Memphis 3.0 discuss the next phase of the city's comprehensive plan for the future. Host Eric Barnes talks with John Zeanah, deputy director of the Memphis & Shelby County Division of Planning and Development, Ashley Cash, comprehensive planning administrator for the City of Memphis and Eric Robertson, president of Community LIFT. 

WKNO-TV

On WKNO's Behind the Headlines for July 14, 2017, panelists discuss the impacts of blight in Memphis and some of efforts to curtail it, from clean up programs to legal solutions. Joining host Eric Barnes and journalist Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News is Janet Boscarino, executive director of Clean Memphis; Brittany Williams, Neighborhood Preservation Fellow; and Christopher Blank, news director of WKNO-FM. 

On WKNO's Behind the Headlines, host Eric Barnes talks with journalists Bernal Smith of the New Tri-State Defender, Toby Sells of the Memphis Flyer, Madeline Faber of High Ground News, and Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News about Memphis 3.0, South City, and more. 

On this week’s Behind the Headlines, host Eric Barnes speaks with community and business leaders about the transformation of public housing. Guests include Paul Young from the City of Memphis Housing and Community Development, Archie Willis with Community Capital and Marcia Lewis, director of the Memphis Housing Authority.

Molly Mulroy

Last fall, the City of Memphis began working on a comprehensive plan for its future, called Memphis 3.0. The plan seeks to improve infrastructure and education, reduce poverty levels, and address economic disparity.


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