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

This week on WKNO's Behind the Headlines, panelists discuss the future of Overton Park and the Brooks Museum's decision to build a new home in Downtown Memphis. Host Eric Barnes is joined by Emily Ballew Neff, executive director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Tina Sullivan, Executive Director of Overton Park; Alan Crone, Senior Policy Advisor for the city of Memphis; and reporter Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News. 

Christopher Blank - WKNO-FM

For 60 years, a small recording studio in South Memphis, near the corner of East Trigg and Willie Mitchell Boulevard, has survived changing music styles, economic ups and downs and generational shifts.

Royal Studios is now one of the oldest continuously-operating recording studios in the world.


WKNO-TV

This week on WKNO's Behind the Headlines, Paul Young, Director for Memphis Housing and Community Development, discusses tentative plans for the Fairgrounds and Coliseum, as well as neighborhood revitalization efforts with Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News and host Eric Barnes. 

WKNO-TV

This week on WKNO's Behind the Headlines, host Eric Barnes talks with Toby Sells of the Memphis Flyer and Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News about the future of the Mid-South Fairgrounds and Coliseum, the upcoming election, Overton Park and their late colleague Bernal Smith.

WKNO-TV

This week on WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines host Eric Barnes talks about potential changes to the Pinch District, the Cook Convention Center and more. Panelists include Kevin Kane, president & CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jennifer Oswalt, interim president & CEO for the Downtown Memphis Commission, and Bill Dries, senior reporter for the Memphis Daily News

claybornreborn.org

A once-abandoned church is now the first-ever Memphis building to be designated a "National Treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Clayborn Temple, at 280 Hernando St. next to the FedExForum, played a prominent role in the 1968 Sanitation Workers' Strike. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in the sanctuary on several occasions. Recently, the building has been re-activated as a community event space. 

Last month, Memphis visual art lovers were asked to imagine a new home for a local insitution.

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art's board of directors unanimously voted to consider moving out of its 100-year-old home in Overton Park. 

That possibility got even closer to reality last week as plans emerged to build a new museum on Front Street and Union Avenue on a piece of city-owned property newly designated for a cultural amenity. 

Brooks executive director Emily Ballew Neff speaks with WKNO's Christopher Blank on why the board sees the move as necessary.


WKNO-TV

This week on WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland discusses the ongoing battle over Confederate monuments, Downtown investments and changes to the city's sewer policies that could affect future growth in Shelby County's unincorporated areas. Host Eric Barnes and Bill Dries of the Memphis Daily News pose questions. 

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Four years ago, Commercial Appeal food writer Jennifer Biggs made an ambitious foray down Summer Ave. with the goal of eating at every local restaurant on the 10-mile strip. She recently revisited the more than 50 dining establishments to see if anything had changed. 


WKNO-TV

This week on WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines, panelists discuss the impact of changes implemented by the City of Memphis to its sewer policies as it attempts to rein in costly expansions to unincorporated areas of Shelby County. Host Eric Barnes and Memphis Daily News reporter Bill Dries speak with Heidi Shafer, chairman of the Shelby County Commission, Kelly Rayne, senior vice president of public policy with the Greater Memphis Chamber, and Alan Crone, senior policy advisor with the City of Memphis.

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