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

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.  

This is it. Time to play your part in the American Experiment. Polls are open today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Click here for a list of Shelby County polling locations.

Click here for a sample ballot.

Want to download an app to keep up with Tennessee election results when the polls close tonight? Click here.

Commercial Appeal film writer John Beifuss talks about two local documentaries premiering at this year's Indie Memphis Film Festival -- "The Invaders" and "Destroy Memphis."

Christopher Blank

For an entire year, reporter Daniel Connolly embedded in Memphis' Kingsbury High School to learn more about the challenges faced by children of Latin-American immigrants. As Shelby County's Hispanic population grows, so do questions of how to best prepare children for an uncertain future.

Learn more about the book at danielconnolly.net

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Every Memphis neighborhood has a unique character, sometimes the result of hard work by residents, and sometimes from the hard work of code enforcement officers. On its surface, blight takes the form of an aesthetic problem. But it’s one that generates an enormous amount of work for local government.


Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

After the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, the number of blight studies across the county grew exponentially. With better information, researchers and local governments began comparing new data sets to get a clearer picture of how to deal with blight.


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