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?

Ways to Connect

WKNO's News Director Christopher Blank recently interviewed three people about the current shutdown of the federal government over the funding of Obamacare. Listen below for thoughts by Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen, Shelby County Republican Party chairman Justin Joy, and Obamacare policy expert Paige Powell from the University of Memphis.

It's just a sad case of the leadership which is Republican being controlled by the Tea Party faction and making demands that are unreasonable and political in nature and shutting down the government... it's amateur night. 

Charlene Honeycutt

A video, which is posted on youtube.com, shows a couple of kids in a Memphis grocery store.

They approach a table where they have the option to taste a few different cookies. After a short discussion, they boys finally decide on which sample they want. Suddenly, an opera singer, who had been roaming the aisles, leaps into the video and sings an aria from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The Commercial Appeal

If you're in Memphis as a tourist, you probably just want to know where to find the best barbecue.

But if you're here for keeps, you'll want to check out this new menu of top local foods compiled by the Commercial Appeal's food writer Jennifer Biggs, along with reporter Michael Donahue. 

Wikipedia Commons

    In this interview, Governor Bill Haslam addresses a growing concern among businesses and government leaders in Tennessee -- a workforce that falls short of the educational needs to do the jobs. 

Some of the problems include:

Christopher Blank

Last Sunday, the annual Ostrander Award ceremony packed the Orpheum theater with hundreds of local actors, directors and stage technicians all hoping to win the Memphis equivalent of Broadway's Tony. As always, the coveted best musical prize was announced last.

Shelby County Schools Website

This week on the Behind the Headlines Radio Roundtable: guests Bill Dries, reporter for the Memphis Daily News, and Jane Roberts, education reporter for the Commercial Appeal, join guest host Christopher Blank for a discussion on Attorney General Eric Holder's desire to see drug sentencing reforms, as well as transition problems plaguing the Unified School District.

Christopher Blank

    

Christopher Blank

It's Sunday morning at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral and the collection plates are headed toward the altar. At the end of this processional, two kids are walking up the aisle with a large wicker basket filled with dozens of multi-colored, farm-fresh chicken eggs. When the eggs reach Laura Gettys, the canon pastor for the parish ministry, she blesses the lot of them.

Anna Kelly

On July 22, 2003, a particularly brutal summer storm hit Shelby County, causing widespread property damage and power outages that lasted between two and three weeks. 

Ten years later, various organizations say the city and county are now better prepared to deal with unexpected weather emergencies.

MLGW RESPONSE

Glen Thomas, supervisor of communications and public relations at Memphis Light, Gas and Water, says the utility was widely criticized for being unable to address customer concerns more immediately in the wake of the event. 

Remembering Bobby "Blue" Bland

Jun 28, 2013
Photo by Masahiro Sumori

Part crooner, part blues howler, the great Bobby “Blue” Bland had a voice that influenced the entire genre of soul music. “The Lion of the Blues” died at his home in Germantown on June 23, 2013. He was 83.

His memorial service was held at First Baptist Church – Broad on Thursday, June 27. The funeral procession, en route to Memorial Park Cemetery, made a detour down Beale Street, where Bland’s storied career began.

A group of musicians joined in playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” as the coffin and a string of Limousines passed the onlookers.

Pages