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

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.

Christopher Blank

    

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.

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. 

Remembering Bobby "Blue" Bland

Jun 28, 2013
Photo by Masahiro Sumori

Part crooner, part blues howler, the great Bobby “Blue” Bland had a voice that influenced the entire genre of soul music. “The Lion of the Blues” died at his home in Germantown on June 23, 2013. He was 83.

His memorial service was held at First Baptist Church – Broad on Thursday, June 27. The funeral procession, en route to Memorial Park Cemetery, made a detour down Beale Street, where Bland’s storied career began.

A group of musicians joined in playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” as the coffin and a string of Limousines passed the onlookers.

Christopher Blank

In the United States, cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease for children between the ages of 1 and 14. And while childhood cancer is no longer a death sentence for most of the 10,000 annual cases, surviving it comes with a trade-off later in life.

After extensive screening of about 1,700 adult survivors of childhood cancer, researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis discovered that nearly all of them -- 98 percent – had at least one chronic health condition.

Key points of the study include:

Christopher Blank

A warning to readers: this web posting of today’s WKNO radio story on National Doughnut Day can be dangerous to your waistline.

It includes graphic depictions of sugar-coated confections, including a delicious maple sugar-glazed doughnut with bacon sprinkles.

But before we completely savage your diet, let’s remember how National Doughnut Day started.

During World War I, Salvation Army volunteers went to France to help cook for soldiers in the trenches. Doughnuts were easy to mass produce.

Delta Air Lines


On Tuesday, June 5, Delta Air Lines announced that the Atlanta-based carrier will slash more than 40 percent of its service to Memphis International Airport by September.

Details:

Christopher Blank

It was ten minutes before the Memorial Day Grizzlies game against the San Antonio Spurs, and outside the FedExForum visitors were being urged to “believe.”

Believe, Memphis, that the team would come back after three straight losses and win the   Western Conference Finals. Everyone was sure this was going to happen.

In case you missed the game, it did not end with a blue Bear doing a victory dance on top of the Alamo.

Photo by Christopher Blank

On April 6th, 150 years ago, the epic Civil War battle of Shiloh took place along the Tennessee River, 22 miles north of Corinth Mississippi.

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