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

In a two-minute speech to the Tennessee General Assembly last week, Shelia Butt, a state Rep. from Colombia, said she was not racist.

Christopher Blank

The Beale Street Music Festival's 2015 line up is top-heavy with younger, hotter acts, says music writer Bob Mehr.

Commercial Appeal music writer Bob Mehr says the way festivals book their bands is changing, leading to stronger lineups on the circuit. 

Click here for a full roster of this year's Memphis in May Beale Street Music Fest.

After a week of sleet and snow in Nashville, legislators get back to work discussing new bills. Nashville Public Radio's Emil Moffatt and Chas Sisk review a few of them.

Commercial Appeal film critic John Beifuss talked with us about Sunday's Academy Awards, along with the debate around films "Selma" and "American Sniper."

Beifuss predicts a best picture showdown between "Boyhood" and "Birdman." 

Christopher Blank

A box of chocolates, a nice dinner: Valentine's Day wouldn't be the same without the people who make the chocolates and the dinners.


Memphis radio and television veteran Tom Prestigiacomo pays homage to the people on the Memphis airwaves, and to one special voice we lost this week.

Zeke Logan, whose real name was David Millar, was one-half of the long-time morning radio show Drake and Zeke on 98.1 The Max. His down-to-earth sense of humor was a drive-time staple for many local listeners.

Royal Studios

It's been decades since a locally recorded song has topped Billboard. Royal Studios' "Uptown Funk" fixes that.


Graceland Too, a strange landmark in Holly Springs, Miss., was sold at auction last weekend. Here's what happened to the late owner's "magnificent obsession."

There was always something overwhelming and unsettling about a visit to Paul MacLeod’s house, which he had transformed into an eerie and claustrophobic tribute to Elvis Presley. He called it Graceland Too.

MovieMaker Magazine, once again, lists Memphis as one of the top ten cities for filmmakers to live and work in. Commercial Appeal film critic John Beifuss explains why.

In its 2015 list of the the ten best cities for moviemaking, Memphis ranked No. 7. The article noted that Memphis filmmakers generated 626 production jobs.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz spoke with WKNO about the President's proposal to make two-year community college free for all Americans.

Modeled after Republican Governor Bill Haslam's "Tennessee Promise," it was just one of many proposals offered during Tuesday's State of the Union speech centered on "middle-class economics." President Obama also pushed affordable child care, paid sick and maternity leave and equal pay for women.