The Broadside

The Broadside

Each week, The Broadside highlights a story from the heart of the American South and asks why it matters to you. From news to arts and culture, we dive into topics that might not be on a front page, but deserve a closer look. Along the way, we explore the nuances of our home—and how what happens here ripples across the country. Hosted by Anisa Khalifa, The Broadside is a production of North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC. Find it every Thursday wherever you listen to podcasts.

Episodes

July 11, 2024 19 mins

Red wolves were declared extinct in the wild in 1980. But in a stunning success for conservationists, a captive breeding program reintroduced the animal less than a decade later. That effort has stalled in recent years. Today, there are fewer than 30 animals left in the wild, all located in an isolated corner of North Carolina. Ultimately, the iconic Southern carnivore’s biggest threat is also its best hope for survival: h...

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July 4th, 1776 is arguably the most important date in American history. That's when citizens of the colonies declared total independence from Great Britain for the very first time. But what if it wasn’t the first? This week, we travel down the rabbit hole of North Carolina’s Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and entertain a couple of shocking possibilities: either someone’s lying — or we may need to rethink everythin...

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The game of cricket is rapidly gaining popularity across the US. The country is currently co-hosting the Men's T20 Cricket World Cup for the very first time at venues in major cities like New York, Miami and Dallas. But if you want to see what the future of the sport in America might look like, you need to visit a field next to an airport in the small town of Morrisville, North Carolina.

Featuring: 

  • Hasham Malik, captai...
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June 20, 2024 17 mins

Sugarloaf Island protects the community of Morehead City from hurricanes and storm surge. But in recent decades, it’s begun to disappear. A multimillion dollar project is underway to save this North Carolina town's last line of defense from the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The plan's mix of science and engineering could offer a solution for coastal erosion across the country. 

Featuring: 

  • Celeste Gracia, Environ...
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In the last decade, the craft industry’s boom has steadily spread across Southern states. There are now thousands of breweries in the region (400 in North Carolina alone). But what exactly is a Southern beer?

Featuring:

  • Sean Lilly Wilson, Founder of Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC
  • Tinu Diver, Documentary Filmmaker
  • Owen Racer, Freelance Journalist
  • Todd Boera, Co-founder and Creative Director of Fonta Flora Brewery in Neb...
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June 6, 2024 21 mins

Earlier this year, an aquarium in a small-town in Western North Carolina claimed that a stingray named Charlotte got impregnated by a shark. Charlotte became an internet sensation in the aftermath and quite possibly the most famous fish in the world. Then, things got weird.

Featuring:

  • Emily Cataneo, reporter for The Assembly

Links:

  • Check out Emily’s deep dive on Charlotte the stingray at The Assembly here.
  • Watch ...
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Perhaps more than any other artform, the 20th century was shaped by jazz. And piano player and composer Mary Lou Williams was there at nearly every turn. In recent years, historians have documented and dissected her career and its big impact on American music. But the final chapter of her life—spent teaching at Duke University—was shrouded in mystery. Until now.

Special thanks to Chris Pattishall for writing and performing ...

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During his prolific six-decade career, Billy Graham traveled across the world preaching Christianity to millions. Along the way, he became one of the most influential religious figures in America. His prominence sparked friendships with several American presidents, and he became a regular presence as an advisor in the Oval Office. But his home was always in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. And this month, his home st...

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NASCAR is the most popular motorsport series across America, but its roots run deep as a regional sport in the South, especially in our home state of North Carolina. That history has heavily influenced the growth of motorsports in the US, which has produced a disproportionate amount of Southern drivers — and fans. But in recent years, a surprising new trend has begun to level that playing field: the explosion in popularity...

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When it comes to where our trash goes, for most of us it's out of sight, out of mind. But for the residents of a once-thriving Black community in North Carolina, it’s right next door. Sampson County is the site of the largest landfill in the state, and isn’t projected to be full for another 20 years. For the people who live next to it, this mountain of trash has dire consequences — and they want it shut down.

Featuring: 

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This week, we're revisiting a story from last year that's recently been back in the headlines. Discount stores like Family Dollar and Dollar General have become ubiquitous in the American landscape — especially in the South. They can be convenient and even necessary, but some advocates warn that their rapid spread is creating food deserts. But while pushback to dollar stores grows, researchers say that we need more data to...

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The majority of funding for state wildlife programs comes from hunting licenses and taxes associated with hunting, fishing and guns. But a generational decline in hunters and a deadly disease are threatening the foundation of that wildlife management system. In North Carolina, a coalition of hunters and conservationists are trying to head off this looming crisis in the great outdoors.

Featuring:

  • Guy Gardner, Co-manager ...
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April 18, 2024 12 mins

The grocery store banana as we know it is a monoculture, which means that from Tokyo to Tulsa nearly everyone eats the same variety. That lack of diversity makes the plant incredibly vulnerable, and it’s facing an existential threat in the form of a devastating fungus. The cure may be growing in an office park in North Carolina.

Featuring: 

  • Bradley George, Reporter at WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio
  • Matt DiLeo, VP of P...
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A little more than 75 years ago, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball's major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers. But integration in the South was slow going and took a slightly different path. This week, we look at what it took to integrate Southern baseball and how one group in rural North Carolina is ensuring that the next generation of young Black ballplayers get a chance at bat.

Featuring: 

  • Brian Patt...
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A decade ago, thousands of tons of toxic coal ash poured into the Dan River. The spill—the third largest of its kind in US history—was a devastating environmental disaster. But today, the event is perhaps best known for its legacy of legislation, as environmental activists and communities across North Carolina turned a local disaster into a national rallying cry for change.

Featuring: 

  • Celeste Gracia, Environmental Repo...
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North Carolina and South Carolina are home to the most restrictive public sector collective bargaining laws in the country. In fact, they’re the only two states that ban all government employees from unionizing. And that doesn’t show signs of changing anytime soon. But a group of educators in Durham, North Carolina isn’t letting that stop them from fighting for a seat at the table. 

This week on the Broadside, we ask what i...

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March 21, 2024 20 mins

Women have been playing basketball since the game was invented, but the most fervent fandom has always been reserved for the men's game — until now. We explore why it took so long for us to pay attention to women's basketball, and what that means for the future of the sport.

Featuring: 

  • Kate Fagan, journalist and author of Hoop Muses: An Insider's Guide to Pop Culture and the (Women's) Game
  • Kayla Jones, Graduate Assista...
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March 14, 2024 17 mins

Each year, as March fades into April, violent storms unleash dozens of tornadoes across a huge swath of the country. The Midwest is where most of these events occur, but scientists have begun to observe a major shift in traditional tornado patterns and the South is directly in the path. 

Featuring: 

  • Dr. Marshall Shepherd, Professor and Director of the University of Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program
  • Dr. Stephen Stra...
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March 7, 2024 21 mins

The South is the birthplace of all the big cola brands. Since the first Coca-Cola was poured in Atlanta in 1886, it's become an American icon. For many of us, these drinks are part of key childhood memories. But whether we're loyal to Coke, Pepsi, or something else, we don't drink as much soda as we used to. So why do we care so much about these brands and does soda even matter in this new beverage age?

Featuring: 

  • Ralp...
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February 29, 2024 26 mins

As the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Robert F. Williams led the small town of Monroe, North Carolina in protesting racism and segregation during the 1950s. But he was also head of a local NRA chapter that urged African Americans to defend themselves by meeting violence with violence. His story is one of the most fascinating and unusual in American history, and, in Monroe and elsewhere, it’s challenging how w...

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