Trey Kay

Independent Producer

Trey Kay
Credit Current.org

Radio journalist Trey Kay is host and producer of "Us & Them," a podcast devoted to telling stories from all sides of the Culture Wars. He co-produces the podcast with West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Kay also produced the 2009 radio documentary The Great Textbook War, which was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award, a national Edward R. Murrow Award, and a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton. He also collaborated on a traveling exhibit called Books and Beliefs, a companion piece for documentary. In 2005, Kay shared in another Peabody for his contribution to Studio 360’s “American Icons: Moby Dick” program.

His work has been recognized with two New York Festivals Awards: “I’m Not A Doctor, But I Play One At The Holiday Inn” (This American Life) and “A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.” (WNYC and NPR). He has been an associate producer for “News Wars: Secrets, Sources and Spin,” a two-hour report for PBS Frontline. Kay produced segments for Marketplace, Weekend America, Day to Day, Morning Edition, and The Next Big Thing.

 

Are America’s schools hostile to religion? There’s been a tussle over this issue since the early 60s, when the Supreme Court ruled that prayer and school-sponsored Bible reading were unconstitutional. Since then, evangelical Christians have claimed that God and religion have all but been driven out of education and secular Americans, concerned about blurring the wall between church and state, have been vigilant over any erosion of that separation. The fact is religion has been a part of America’s classrooms ever since there were public schools.

Gabriela Arp

Things have changed in the old neighborhood. There are cool little restaurants and cafes, funky little shops and a vibrant art and music scene. On one side, you have the newcomers— people who came here to open new businesses and live in this trendy neighborhood. On the other side you have the old guard — the people who grew up here, before it was trendy, and have been watching the place they call home rapidly dissolve all around them.

Hey, it’s Independence Day - the official birth of our nation! Watching fireworks on July 4th may be as close as some of us get to expressing a shared love of country with fellow citizens. As you very well know, there is a great deal of polarization in our nation. To work through many of our differences, we have to do more than just stand next to each other on patriotic holidays.

Alex Proimos (CC)

Places like Lake Tahoe, Nantucket and Colorado ski country are playgrounds for the wealthy. To make the playground run smoothly, there’s a dire need for people to cook food, bus tables, clean rooms, mow lawns, manicure golf courses and operate ski lifts. It all works well until those same workers don’t have a place to lay their heads at night.

Curt Truc

Trey Kay has observed how things have changed significantly for LGBTQ people where he lives in New York. But he’s not sure if anything’s changed in a more conservative place like West Virginia, where he grew up.

America and Iran used to be close allies, but since the Iranian Revolution began in 1979, the relationship has been akin to a bad divorce. After President Trump’s announcement to pull the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, cable news has been abuzz with political pundits and foreign policy scholars reacting to the latest chapter of the tortured relationship. But there are Iranian and American love stories that have worked out.

Ashley Rodgers, Texas Tech University

In today’s culturally polarized society, discussing whether the planet is warming and if humans have an impact on the climate is a topic that’s often avoided. Why? Because speaking about it can be akin to touching the “third rail” of religion and politics.

As the United States works through what the American Medical Association describes as “the worst drug addiction epidemic in its history,” we revisit the story of Dimitri. This former junkie was delivered from a 27-year heroin addiction by a controversial treatment that seems to work miracles for people addicted to opioids.

Back in 2015, we aired an episode called “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” that didn’t go over so well with a bunch of our listeners. We received messages saying that Trey mishandled a conversation between a physicist who defends climate science and a former public school teacher who’s an evolution skeptic.

Albert Melise

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen of Pakistani heritage, and Albert Melise, a former housing police officer in the Boston area, were unlikely to have their life stories intersect and become friends; but then September 11 happened.

Auschwitz Birkenau Under a Gitmo Sky
C.Puisney

For a little more than a century, there’s been at least one concentration camp somewhere on earth. The fact that camps still exist and that humans can justify forcing other humans into such inhumane living conditions is the “us and them” dynamic taken to the most vile extreme.

How old were you when you first learned that police may think of you as a threat?

You’ve never been told that?

Us & Them : The Talk

Feb 14, 2018

Despite all the fuss about sex education in America, students get precious little of it. Jonathan Zimmerman, an education historian, tells Trey how Americans spend more time arguing about what kids should learn about human sexuality in schools than they actually do teaching anything about it.

Trey Kay

 

On Friday, January 22nd, 2016, I was in New York City preparing to head to West Virginia. So was a blizzard called Jonas.

Dave Mistich

What do you do when a panhandler hits you up for some money? Whatever your answer is, what experiences or facts inform your policy for giving or not giving? People have strong opinions on this. With this episode we try to separate the facts, suppositions and ideology.

Just a few weeks ago, a listener wrote in to tell us that she “love, love, loved” our Amazing Grace episode. I actually know this listener; she grew up Jewish. I was kind of surprised that she was so moved by this episode. I assumed that Amazing Grace resonated with Christians, mainly. But, as a choreographer and teacher, she’s used many different arrangements of Amazing Grace in her work over the years. And she loved hearing the richer background of the hymn.

Stacy Kay

 

Merriam-Webster declared that the word for 2017 is 'feminism.' The term was the most-looked-up on their online dictionary, and there were 70% more searches for the word this year than in 2016. Trey feels this couldn’t be more timely because this year, he’s seen women effecting a change in the balance of power in ways that he’s never experienced before. In a way, he sees the whole thing like an earthquake that’s been a long time in coming.

Us & Them : His Name's DJ

Dec 6, 2017
Mitch Hanley

We revisit the story of “Steve,” a young New Hampshire man that we met back in the spring of 2016. In our episode called “The Changing Face of Heroin,” we followed him and his father as he reported for the last visit of a court ordered drug rehab program. As you can imagine, kicking a powerful opioid habit isn’t easy, but in many ways our guy remained committed to the program.

Wayne Casey

On November 21, 2016, William Pulliam, a 62-year-old white man, shot James Means, a 15-year-old African-American boy, after the two had an argument outside of a Dollar General Store in Charleston, WV. The shooting conjured memories of the death of Trayvon Martin after it was reported that in his confession, Pulliam told police, “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off of the street.” 

I speak with journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In an Age of Intolerance. In her book, she has a chapter titled “The Church Lady,” where she recounts her experience of her family moving from western New York to a town in Ohio. 

American Friends Service Committee South Region

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled tensions across the country. West Virginia is NOT a place where people are comfortable talking about these things.

But in Trey's hometown of Charleston, some of the key players are now bringing this tension out into the open.

Trey Kay

Two rivers run through Charleston, West Virginia. While most of the city is situated on the Kanawha, it’s the Elk River that demarcates the West Side from the governmental and business center of Charleston. Today, the West Side is the poorest neighborhood in Charleston.

At a time when the President of the United States questions the patriotism of African American football players protesting social injustice, we present the civil rights struggle of another African American who, nearly 50 years ago, broke a color barrier in the NFL — James "Shack" Harris, the first black player in NFL history to earn a job as starting quarterback.

Kenneth King Collection, West Virginia State Archives

The "Us & Them" podcast is about seeing the same story two ways… and nothing calls out for that treatment more than coal in West Virginia.

Joni Deutsch

In most schools, you're likely to find yourself labeled as a jock, theater geek, stoner or even a loner.

But at my alma mater in West Virginia, we had a unique "Us & Them" sorting classification: you were either a “hiller” or a “creeker.”

Scott Threlkeld/AP

The tragedy in Charlottesville, VA makes us wonder if it’s possible to reconcile different versions of history. This episode features two American foreign correspondents of color who’ve sought to answer this quandary, flying from Kenya to Louisiana to report on protests over the dismantling of Confederate monuments.

When conservatives and liberals fight about school curriculum, the disagreements aren’t just about science and history. Even math has been a battleground in the culture wars. 

Sunday dinner is a big deal in Deanna McKinney’s family. Deanna’s a de facto mom to her three sisters and two brothers -- when she moved to West Virginia from New York City, they came too.  These Sunday dinners are to remind the siblings that someone’s always got their back.

Deanna’s told the story of her son’s murder so many times, that she can recount it to me -- a relative stranger with a microphone -- while she picks out cornbread mix at the grocery store. His name was Tymel and his senseless death is an experience that has defined her life and informed who she is.

Us & Them: Amazing Grace

Jul 13, 2017

Everyone knows the song "Amazing Grace." People who don’t even consider themselves spiritual or religious find it meaningful. And while John Newton penned the hymn to connect with Christians, it has transcended that and become a folk song and an anthem for civil rights. But the origins of the song are just a bit more complicated...

Us & Them

Not that long ago, you could get locked up for being gay. 

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