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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Arts News
7:30 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Memphis Theatre: Black, White... and Purple

Tony Horne, center with his Ostrander Award for best direction, says Sunday's ceremony at the Orpheum theater was the best year in memory for African-American artists and productions.
Credit 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.

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BEHIND THE HEADLINES
5:49 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Radio Roundtable: Drug Sentencing Reform And Transition Troubles At The Unified School District

Credit Shelby County Schools Website

This week on the Behind the Headlines Radio Roundtable: guests Bill Dries, reporter for the Memphis Daily News, and Jane Roberts, education reporter for the Commercial Appeal, join guest host Christopher Blank for a discussion on Attorney General Eric Holder's desire to see drug sentencing reforms, as well as transition problems plaguing the Unified School District.

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MUSIC
8:20 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Elvis' (not quite) Memphis Soul Album

It may say "Stax" on the cover, but this new box set of Elvis music from RCA offers up a different kind of soulfulness.
Credit Christopher Blank

    

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Food
7:42 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Backyard Chickens Take Roost in Midsouth

A pair of youngsters deliver eggs to the altar of St. Mary's. Every Wednesday morning, they are baked into casseroles and offered free to the needy.
Christopher Blank

It's Sunday morning at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral and the collection plates are headed toward the altar. At the end of this processional, two kids are walking up the aisle with a large wicker basket filled with dozens of multi-colored, farm-fresh chicken eggs. When the eggs reach Laura Gettys, the canon pastor for the parish ministry, she blesses the lot of them.

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News and Features
7:00 am
Mon July 22, 2013

All Shook Up: Hurricane Elvis 10 Years Later

Anna Kelly

On July 22, 2003, a particularly brutal summer storm hit Shelby County, causing widespread property damage and power outages that lasted between two and three weeks. 

Ten years later, various organizations say the city and county are now better prepared to deal with unexpected weather emergencies.

MLGW RESPONSE

Glen Thomas, supervisor of communications and public relations at Memphis Light, Gas and Water, says the utility was widely criticized for being unable to address customer concerns more immediately in the wake of the event. 

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