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?

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CAPITOL HILL CONVERSATION
7:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Tenn. Legislators Mull $100 Million Shortfall

In this week's Capitol Hill Conversation from Nashville Public Radio, legislators find themselves with a budget shortfall that may result in bad news for teachers. 

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ISSUES
11:44 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Columnist Wendi Thomas on Economic Inequality

Wendi Thomas
Credit Commercial Appeal

Newspaper columnist Wendi Thomas explores the growing economic gap in Memphis in a new series of articles for the Commercial Appeal. 

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THE CINEMA
7:30 am
Wed April 2, 2014

In Pictures: The Movie Palaces of Memphis

The tiny Optic theater on the right is just across from the Hotel Gayoso on South Main Street in 1907. The theater showed 5-cent moving pictures.
Credit MPLIC, Pink Palace Collection

In his new book, "Memphis Movie Theatres," author and historian Vincent Astor has assembled a treasure trove of photos from our bygone entertainment landscape.

In this interview, Pierre Kimsey speaks with Astor about some of the more notable marquees that once lined Downtown streets. 

Here are some of them:

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CAPITOL HILL CONVERSATION
7:30 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Should Cities' Mass Transit Be State Concern?

A mass transit project in Nashville could be stalled by the state legislature. This could be bad news for cities trying to get their own projects done.

In this week's Capitol Hill Conversation, WPLN's Bradley George talks with reporter Bobby Allyn about why mayors in Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville say it's a bad idea to let political parties in Nashville weigh in on how cities make decisions on their mass transit needs.

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CAPITOL HILL CONVERSATION
7:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

In Common Core Debate, Lawmakers at Odds with Governor Haslam

Tennessee lawmakers gear up for more battles over Common Core educational standards. Governor Bill Haslam may find himself in a tough spot.

In this Capitol Hill Conversation, WPLN's Bradley George talks about the most recent battles over Common Core with Tom Humphrey, the State Capitol reporter for the Knoxville News-Sentinel. 

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