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

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.

Christopher Blank

In the United States, cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease for children between the ages of 1 and 14. And while childhood cancer is no longer a death sentence for most of the 10,000 annual cases, surviving it comes with a trade-off later in life.

After extensive screening of about 1,700 adult survivors of childhood cancer, researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis discovered that nearly all of them -- 98 percent – had at least one chronic health condition.

Key points of the study include:

Pages