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

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 Zeahah, 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.


Chalkbeat TN

A recent report by EdBuild, a nonprofit that researches educational disparities, argues that the gap between poor and affluent students is widening in Shelby County. The report criticizes laws that allow municipalities to "secede" from larger urban districts.

WKNO-TV

On this week's Behind the Headlines, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland discusses the budget, Memphis 3.0 and more with Bill Dries, senior reporter for the Memphis Daily News. 

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Jun 21, 2017

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Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

The journalist and occasional provocateur Wendi C. Thomas recently penned an article for the Christian Science Monitor about the ongoing economic challenges facing the City of Memphis fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. She says that while poverty-fighting initiatives here can make a difference, laws must be changed at the state and federal level to address longstanding inequity.


A bill that lowered the fees to expunge criminal records might have been seen as soft on crime, or too forgiving of wrongdoers. Instead, state representative Raumesh Akbari, a south Memphis Democrat, was able to get rare bipartisan support for it during this past session of the Tennessee General Assembly. Gov. Haslam signed the bill into law last week.  


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