Inside Appalachia

Sundays 7am & 6pm

Inside Appalachia tells the stories of our people, and how they live today. Host Jessica Lilly leads us on an audio tour of our rich history, our food, our music and our culture.

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with help from public radio stations in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Affiliate Stations

  • Allegheny Mountain Radio – WVMR 1370 AM Frost, W.Va.; WNMP 88.5 FM Marlinton, W.Va.; WVLS 89.7 FM Monterey, Va.; WVMR 91.9 FM Hillsboro, W.Va.; Radio Durbin 103.5 FM; WCHG 107.1 FM Hot Springs, Va. - Saturday 7 a.m.
  • WETS, 89.5 FM, Johnson City, Tennessee - Sunday 6 p.m.
  • Morehead State Public Radio - WMKY 90.3 FM in Morehead, Kentucky, Saturday 6 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.
  • Appalshop Mountain Community Radio - WMMT 88.7 FM in Whitesburg, Kentucky - Sunday 11 a.m. & Tuesday 6 p.m.
  • WEKU 88.9 FM Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky - Saturday 6 a.m.
  • WSHC 89.7, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia - Sunday 9 a.m.
  • WUOT-2, 91.9 FM, Knoxville, Tennessee - Tuesday 7 p.m.
  • WVCU 97.7 FM, Concord University, Athens, West Virginia - Wednesday 5 p.m.
  • West Virginia Public Broadcasting - Sunday at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • WMOV 106.7 FM, Ravenswood, West Virginia - Saturday at 8:00 a.m.

Ways to Connect

Jesse Wright, WVPB

On today’s show, we’ll hear from people who write novels, short stories and newspaper articles, each one telling Appalachia’s story in his or her own way.


Charles Kleine

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll take a look back at the story of Mark Combs— a comedian, an actor and dog owner moving from West Virginia across the country to chase big dreams. What could possibly go wrong?

And we’ll get a new update on where he is now. 


Jesse Wright/ WVPB

On this special Halloween episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re doing something a little bit out of the ordinary for us—we’re suspending our disbelief.

Telling and retelling stories is part of our Appalachian tradition. Long before TV or the Internet came along, a well-told tale was often how our ancestors entertained each other and kept the crisp chill at bay as the darkness of winter approached. 


Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Jeannette Walls grew up poor in America. She wrote about it in her memoir "The Glass Castle," which has remained on the New York Times bestsellers list for more than eight years. She spent most of her childhood west of the Mississippi River, but her father, who was originally from West Virginia, eventually brought her family back to McDowell County, where she lived for four years. In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll listen back to an interview Jessica Lilly did with Walls in 2017, just before the movie inspired by her book was released in theaters. 


Daniel Walker/ WVPB

The Inside Appalachia team is hitting the road and heading to Beckley for its first LIVE Listening Party the evening of Bridge Day. Join us for an evening of live interviews, videos, art and music. The event will be at the Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre in Beckley on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. -- and it’s free. Seating is limited, so don’t forget to RSVP.


Janet Kunicki/ WVPB

Since the War on Poverty in the 1960s, federal funds to help revitalize coal country have poured in from Washington, D.C. And in recent years, a new federal push has brought millions of dollars worth of funding to projects that are intended to create jobs and retrain people in coal country for work in other fields. There are also a number of state initiatives to help generate job growth. But have these projects worked? 


West Virginia Public Broadcasting is showcasing the inspiring work of its Inside Appalachia team during its inaugural listening event at the Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre in Beckley on Saturday, October 20, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

courtesy Emily Hilliard

Here in Appalachia, it’s apple season. Did you know that Golden Delicious Apples originated right here in West Virginia? In fact, apples are our state fruit. Apples have been a major agricultural industry for the Mountain State. 


AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Coal miners and their families in Appalachia take great pride in their work and the fellowship that surrounds coal mining. As Jeremy Brock, one former Kentucky coal miner, put it: "It's a culture. It's a brotherhood."

“Once you get used to it, I wouldn’t do nothing else," he told the documentary project, Humans of Central Appalachia, in 2016.

Jim Antonini, an occupational health science researcher, fields a ball at shortstop for Chico's Bail Bonds. As team captain, Antonini is in charge of the always-entertaining game write-ups that recap the misery suffered by the Morgantown softball team.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As we head into the final weeks of summer, this week on Inside Appalachia we explore the impact of baseball throughout the region. We’ll learn about the history of early baseball in the coal camp towns of southern West Virginia, and go inside the legendary baseball bat factory — the Louisville Sluggers. And we’ll meet a man who went from living in an isolated timber town in Pocahontas County, West Virginia to being a professional umpire for the Cincinnati Reds.

Molly Born/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia we're revisiting an episode from earlier this year, exploring issues in our region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We’ll hear from a teenager getting ready for an LGBT formal. We’ll learn how difficult it can be to access healthcare in eastern Kentucky for one gender nonconforming Appalachian.

Daniel Walker/ WVPB

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re going on a road trip to meet people who are working in Appalachia to preserve American culture and traditions.

Molly Born/ WVPB

In parts of Appalachia, needle exchange programs have brought controversy, and they sometimes carry a stigma that such offerings enable, or even encourage, drug use. But supporters say the practice, especially when coupled with addiction treatment options for participants, can help get them on a path to recovery.

Shayla Klein

This week on Inside Appalachia, we explore the world of independent pro-wrestling.

While pro-wrestling is popular across the country and all around the world, the sport has a rich and storied history here in Appalachia. In this episode we’ll take a glimpse at the action, intensity, and drama (real-life and otherwise) that happens between the ropes.


Southern Foodways Alliance/ Gravy

Being a farmer isn’t easy. One woman in Georgia found that getting assistance as a black farmer can be especially tough.

Shirley Sherrod said she found discrimination in the federal government’s farm assistance programs, and she and other farmers fought back in the biggest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. Listen to the episode to hear the results of the lawsuit, and what it meant for farmers across the country.


Carrie Neumayer/ KyCIR

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll learn about the life of  Kentucky politician and pastor Danny Johnson, and the investigation that exposed a long line of questionable actions that preceded his rise to power. 


West Virginia University

Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. 

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear a special report from The Uncertain Hour, a podcast from American Public Media's Marketplace. Their investigation, which first aired in December, centered on a lesser-known but significant aspect of the opioid crisis: how Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin, its highly addictive pain medication.

Brittany Patterson/ WVPB

Coal has dominated Appalachia’s energy economy for more than a century. But natural gas is emerging as a new economic force, bringing with it jobs, infrastructure needs and new environmental concerns.

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear why some are worried about the risk of water contamination from major gas pipelines being built through parts of West Virginia, projects which also promise jobs in the region.


Charles Kleine

A comedian, an actor and dog move from West Virginia across the country chasing big dreams. What could possibly go wrong?

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re talking about two things you’re likely to find on a supper table in Appalachia: Jell-O and mason jars.

A group of teens walks on the campus of West Virginia State University to the Rainbow Formal, the state's first LGBTQ prom.
Molly Born / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this week’s show, we’re exploring issues in our region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We’ll hear from a teenager getting ready for an LGBT formal. We’ll learn how difficult it can be to access healthcare in eastern Kentucky for one gender nonconforming Appalachian. We’ll also take a look at efforts in West Virginia to provide legal protection to people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Carol Guzy/ NPR

Can Trump bring coal jobs back to Appalachia? We’re a year-and-a-half into his presidency, and some people, like coal operator Barry Estep, are hopeful.

“Maybe this is a light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been hoping for, to get things turned around and changed some.”

But others are not so sure that coal has a long-term future. 


courtesy Bil Lepp

This week, we’re listening back to a popular show we did back in 2016, featuring award winning storytellers— telling some whopping tale and lies.

We’ll be featuring storytellers from the West Virginia Storyteller’s Guild, all of whom have competed and won prizes across the country. 


Arbuckle Creek, Minden
Brittany Patterson

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll visit Minden, West Virginia, where residents are asking the federal government to consider adding their town to an official list of places most seriously contaminated by hazardous waste. But this nearly 40-year-old program’s budget has faced repeated cuts over the past 20 years. We’ll learn about how that may affect cleanup efforts for communities that are designated as U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Superfund sites.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hey Appalachia lovers. We are starting a new summer series all about getting outside, enjoying wild wonderful recreational activities, and staying safe while having fun. We need your help! Please send us your hidden gems, outdoor favorites and organizations that are doing awesome things to help people enjoy the great outdoors. This series is not just about being outside in West Virginia. Please send us your eastern Kentucky, southeast Ohio, southern Pennsylvania and southwestern Virginia spots too.

These could be favorite spots for:

1. biking

Roxy Todd/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on Inside Appalachia we’re going to listen back to an episode we originally aired in 2017, about veterans who are turning to traditional farming, for therapy.

We’ll travel to Sugar Bottom Farm in Clay County West Virginia to meet Veteran Eric Grandon, the first veteran to go through the Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program.


Adobe Stock

The 10 counties in the United States most at risk for an HIV outbreak are all in Central Appalachia, according to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Compiled after a 2015 outbreak of the disease in southern Indiana, the report found that places with a combination of high poverty, low access to health care, and rampant intravenous drug were mostly likely to experience a similar outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C.

Last year on Inside Appalachia we aired an episode about Grandparents raising grandchildren. Our newsroom just won a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for this series, so today, we’re listening back to this important story.  

courtesy Partnership for Appalachian Girls' Education

Our region has challenges, from the economic decline of the coal industry, to the opioid epidemic, there’s work to do in our communities. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear from several people who are trying to reinvigorate our region with opportunities for change. We’ll also hear from some younger voices in Appalachian, North Carolina about growing up in the mountains.

 


Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Several federally funded job-training programs have emerged in recent years designed to help revitalize coal country. In 2017 alone, the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership focused on economic development since the mid-1960s, approved more than $150 million in projects for the region. But how successful are these programs, and what are the challenges?

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