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

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A "Yes" vote on the referendum would mean higher taxes in the check-out line. But is it worth free Pre-K classes for Memphis' 4-year-olds?

Roland Valliere, the new President and CEO of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, shares some thoughts about his first week on the job. 

Christopher Blank

If you've ever been out on the back roads near Jackson or Brownsville this time of year, you know why they call it the Tennessee Delta. Cotton is everywhere -- carpeting the fields, floating in the breeze like snow flurries. 

So it's fitting that this story begins in an antique cotton gin, a giant wood and metal machine about the size of a shotgun house, and twice as tall. This one is nearly a century old. In fact, this gin hasn’t ginned since the 1950s.

"We're still not completely finished putting it all together the way it was," says its owner John Freeman.

The Indie Memphis Film Festival kicks off on Halloween night this year. More than 40 movies will be screened as part of the festival. 

John Beifuss, film critic of the Commercial Appeal, shared some of his top picks for the festival, which are listed by day.

WKNO Art Department


It's sooo tempting... This article I’m reading, right now... About the government shutdown…It represents everything that’s in my brain. And with a single click, everyone I’m friends with -- and even a bunch of people I’m not -- will know where I stand. They’re gonna read this, and they’ll see the light. And peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars…

And that, my fellow Facebook users, is how all epic social media battles begin.

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, 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.