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

A bill that lowered the fees to expunge criminal records might have been seen as soft on crime, or too forgiving of wrongdoers. Instead, state representative Raumesh Akbari, a south Memphis Democrat, was able to get rare bipartisan support for it during this past session of the Tennessee General Assembly. Gov. Haslam signed the bill into law last week.  


WKNO Mid-South Newscast for June 7, 2017.

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Memphis was socked by a powerful storm on Saturday, with winds up to 90 miles per hour. Approximately 188,000 MLGW customers were without power. The company's president Jerry Collins says it may take up to a week to get all the power restored. City leaders urge vigilance as this week's temperatures rise into the 80s. Here are some important links to resources. 

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

University of Memphis law professor Daniel Schaffzin runs a legal clinic that assigns students environmental court cases on behalf of the City of Memphis. It's much needed help for the city's fight against rampant blight. One student, Jordan Emily, took on a large apartment complex abandoned by an out-of-state owner. The case is one example of the legal challenges facing a city swamped with more than 800 similar cases.

Jessica Orians

One new marker commemorates a 100-year-old lynching. Meanwhile, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland addresses the future of Confederate Monuments.

 


When tourists visit Memphis, they might spend the day soaking in the music history. But when musicians make "the pilgrimage" to a famed recording studio, it's about finding the groove. Just ask U.K. recording artist Emily Barker.


Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

A photo and film exhibit at Crosstown Arts reflects on last January's Women's March on Washington D.C. Filmmakers Sara Kaye Larson and Joann Self Selvidge, along with Yalonda M. James, a photojournalist for the Commercial Appeal, wanted to put the viewer right in the middle of a march, and by extension, a movement.


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