Christopher Blank

News Director

It all started with ghost stories. Dad convinced me that spirits lurked just outside my bedroom door at night. After years of night terrors, I began listening to LPs of spooky tales, memorizing them and acting them out around campfires on those balmy winter nights in South Florida. In this way, other children would suffer as I had.
Naturally, this dramatic flair evolved into a prestigious four-year engagement on the high school drama circuit where my mother’s rapturous reviews provoked standing ovations also from my mother.
One day, while working part time as a copy clerk at the St. Petersburg Times, an editor asked me why my hair was dyed bright orange. I explained that it was because I was “an actor.” Was my future decided out of pity? Out of concern for my mental health? I cannot read minds. However, the next thing that happened is that I was made a theater critic.
For more than a decade, The Commercial Appeal’s readers tolerated my opinions on everything from classical music to ballet. Even WKNO-FM let me create a little club for theatergoers.
When this fine radio station went looking for someone to tell stories of the “news” variety, I made the argument that Memphis is a city full of great stories; no other has a richer cultural narrative. The crossroads of America is a crucible of stories from all walks of life. Also, crossroads are known for ghosts and devils, and who doesn’t love those?
They totally bought the argument. So now, I’m looking for great stories. What’s yours?


7:30 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Capitol Hill Conversation: Guns in Parks Returns to General Assembly

From WPLN in Nashville, Chas Sisk and Emil Moffatt discuss new gun proposals in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Read more
7:30 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Philip Mudd on the Changing Face of Terrorism

Philip Mudd, former Deputy Director of the Counter-terrorist Center at the CIA, shares insights on terrorism with WKNO's Pierre Kimsey. 

Mudd is author of the book "Take Down: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda." He was also the Deputy Director of the National Security Branch at the FBI. He has recently moved to Memphis and works in the private sector. Read more about him here.

Read more
1:06 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

The Cuisine of Germantown Parkway: An Inside Taste

Cordova Farmer’s Market (1150 N. Germantown Parkway; 901-417-8407) has an extensive exotic produce section. As Biggs pointed out during our visit, "if you don't know what it is, it's probably good in a soup."
Credit Jennifer Biggs


Food writer Jennifer Biggs discovers more than 50 independently-owned restaurants and specialty food stores hiding along Germantown Parkway. But where to start eating? 


Read more
11:53 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Tennessee Lawmaker Defends Call for "N.A.A.W.P."

In a two-minute speech to the Tennessee General Assembly last week, Shelia Butt, a state Rep. from Colombia, said she was not racist.

Read more
7:27 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Culture Desk: How Beale Street Music Fest Gets Its Lineup

George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic returns this year to the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival
Credit Christopher Blank

The Beale Street Music Festival's 2015 line up is top-heavy with younger, hotter acts, says music writer Bob Mehr.

Commercial Appeal music writer Bob Mehr says the way festivals book their bands is changing, leading to stronger lineups on the circuit. 

Click here for a full roster of this year's Memphis in May Beale Street Music Fest.

Read more