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

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Mid-South environmentalists are concerned about tapping the vast Memphis Sand aquifer for some industrial uses, and whether the pumping is safe. The Sierra Club's recent legal dispute with the Tennessee Valley Authority over the use of water to cool a natural gas power plant has some Shelby County citizens asking if government should have more oversight.


Her Father's Music: A Redemption in Blues

Dec 12, 2016
Zandria Robinson

Zandria Robinson's father was a "complicated country contradiction." She loved his kindness, suffered his sins, and tried hard to understand what made him the man he became. In some ways, his favorite music was the ultimate guide to his soul. Robinson is a native Memphian and a professor at Rhodes College. Her story, "Listening for the Country," is excerpted from Oxford American magazine's latest music issue, now in bookstores.

Caroline Bauman

When TNReady test scores are delivered next week, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson says the results may be "disheartening," and will confirm the need for his proposed restructuring plan. In the short term, two elementary schools, Dunbar and Carnes, are scheduled for closure. 

U.S. Education Secretary John King urged Tennessee and other states to stop using corporal punishment in schools, a practice he called “harmful, ineffective, and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities.” He says schools should explore disciplinary measures that create a positive school climate and promote nonviolent techniques for conflict resolution.

 


Just City

When the Shelby County Courts system installed a new computer program on Nov. 1, some computer glitches were expected. But no one anticipated what some have called "chaos."


Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Three years ago, bass player David Parks teamed up with DjDnyce (K97) and created a “jam session” of local musicians. The event, called “Lyfe is Dope,” soon became more of a cultural attraction, bringing together hip hop visual artists, fashion designers and filmmakers. Parks, who now lives in Los Angeles and tours with the like of Justin Bieber and Jason Derulo, talks with us about the music business and what it takes to succeed.

 


 

Courtesy Playhouse on the Square

Memphis loves its holiday traditions. But there's something special about this year's "Peter Pan" at Playhouse on the Square. For one, it's the 25th time the company has staged the production. But for another, now's just a very good time for kids to remind us that... well... that there's hope. Take a listen:


Brandon Dill

Treating addictions -- from nicotine to the current deadly epidemic of opioids and heroin -- has just become another nationally recognized area of research in the Memphis medical community. 


Photo Courtesy of Keith Gaskin

Joining a wave of anti-Trump sentiment across the country, hundreds of Memphians participated in protests during the weekend. 

On Friday night, about 100 demonstrators marched in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. And on Saturday afternoon, hundreds marched in a "Walk for Solidarity" down Main Street from Court Square to the Memphis Civil Rights Museum.

Click here for the most recent results from the Shelby County Election Commission.  

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