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

Author Wayne Dowdy emerges from the archives of Memphis' Central Library with a new book of incredible, and mostly-forgotten "only in Memphis" historical events -- one for each day of the year. 


Christopher Blank

Anita Norman, 17, bested 365,000 other high school students nationwide in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington DC. Her recitations may amaze you.

A national cooking competition challenges the taste buds and instincts of teenage cooks to transform one of the most maligned meals of childhood. Shelby County Schools will represent in Washington.

In this week's Capitol Hill Conversation, we look at some of the laws passed in the General Assembly this year, and the winners and losers in the legislature. 

Christopher Blank

A new exhibit at the Cotton Museum explores female beauty in a city where cotton was once king. So what was the picture of beauty? Well, it depends on who's in the portrait.

Tennessee Brewery Untapped

 The historic Tennessee Brewery may not be around much longer. But before the building has a date with the wrecking ball, one group wants you to enjoy some suds in its courtyard, and maybe even help figure out a way to save this Memphis landmark.

Pierre Kimsey talks with Tommy Pacello from the Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team and attorney Michael Tauer. 

Governor Bill Haslam promised pay raises for teachers. Memphis Senator Jim Kyle wanted $2 million for rape kit testing. Neither will be included in next year's state budget.

In this week's Capitol Hill Conversation, WPLN's Bradley George talks with Andrea Zelinski of the Nashville Post and the Nashville Scene about how the budget will impact legislators in the coming year.

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. 

Commercial Appeal

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

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: