About Me

Currently a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, I study urban sociology and inequality. Originally from Western Pennsylvania, I am particularly interested in how changes in regional economic structures effect stratification and mobility opportunities, particularly for the working class. I also participate in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Heard on a Recent Road Trip through Appalachia

I have been travelling a lot the last few months. In addition to several conferences, I have made several trips by car between SC and PA, visiting friends and family at home over the summer.  One of the things I enjoy about this trips is the chance to listen to some good music and some good stories. To reflect on all the things I have been thinking about, and to learn knew things through the radio programs I enjoy.

On this recent trip on a Sunday afternoon, I listened to more live radio than I usually do as I traveled through the mountains of West Virginia.  Often I will listen to podcasts that I have already downloaded, but I this trip I gave the live broadcasts more of a chance.  And I am glad I did. I heard a lot of interesting things from programs I don't listen to as much as others.

One very interesting program is Inside Appalachia. It has a small town feel, but encompasses several states.  The episode I heard featured a great NIMBY story about folks struggling with coal ash.  Growing up on the edge of Appalachia, and having relatives who are truly Appalachian, I have always been interested in this program. But this particular episode was good.

I also heard this great interview with director Kevin MacDonald about his move Life in a Day, which is a cool project.  He crowd-sourced video from all over the world from one day, compiled it and edited it into a movie. I am excited to see the result.

And a trip through the mountains would not be complete without some music.  Mountain Stage is often a great live music program. On this trip I happened to hear a good chunk of this episode, most of the songs the Steeldrivers performed. Listening to their music as I drove through the mountains just made sense.

Of course, all of this was heard over public radio.  There's been some debate about the value of government funding of public radio.  Here is a video of Fred Rogers defending PBS.  I think he said about all that should need to be said in support of public broadcasting.  (BTW, Fred Rogers was from western PA and produced his show there, too).

Good stuff.