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

Benny Becker/ WMMT

For many years we thought that black lung was a disease of the past. But it has actually stricken a whole new generation of miners, and in some ways, it’s worse than before. 

courtesy photo

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll hear stories of women whose grit and determination changed their own lives - and changed other people's lives, too. We’ll hear from women who overcame a lot of challenges to succeed as students, musicians, entrepreneurs and educators.

oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

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. The opioid epidemic is killing our friends and neighbors.

Adobe Stock

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll learn more about how children are being affected by the opioid epidemic and what’s being done to help them. 


Jessica Lilly

This week on Inside Appalachia, we discuss one part of coal's legacy: as mining companies have closed, the water companies they built and helped maintain have largely been neglected. Today, residents are struggling with crumbling water infrastructure that hasn’t been updated for, sometimes, 100 years. 

This week on Inside Appalachia: wildlife experts agree the Eastern Mountain Lion is extinct. So why do so many people across Appalachia swear they’ve seen mountain lions? Have they? What did they really see? WMRA’s Andrew Jenner and Brent Finnegan explored the stories behind mountain lion sightings in the mountains of central Appalachia. What they found, made them question the expert opinion.

STORYCORPS

We’ve teamed up with StoryCorps and Georgetown University’s American Pilgrimage Project for this episode about faith in Appalachia.

Adobe Stock

This week's Inside Appalachia is a special holiday edition.  We hear stories of Christmas past, present and hope for the future. We’ll check in with West Virginians still recovering from historic flooding that hit in 2016, find out how to avoid gaining weight, hear a story about a welcomed Star of David on a Christmas tree, and more. 


courtesy Ann Lockard

This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk about what brings people back home to the mountains of Appalachia. And we’ll hear about what happens when people finally do come home. Can the reality of home ever truly live up to our memories of it?


courtesy Joni Deutsch

Jewish communities across West Virginia are struggling to keep their traditions alive.

“It is actually kind of scary. I worry because a lot of people my age are moving away for, like, school or jobs and because of that the communities are getting smaller,” said Kirston Kennedy, a young Jewish Appalachian who inspired our show. 

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

So how do you say Appalachia? This week, our episode is about the many different accents, and pronunciations, of Appalachia. Many of those interviewed for the show said they have very strong feelings about pronunciation.

Much of Appalachia’s economy has rested on the boom and bust cycles of industries like coal and manufacturing for decades. It’s true that these industries have long put bread on the Appalachian table, but as those industries have faded in recent decades, jobs have grown scarce. 

So are there industries that might one day provide more financial stability to the region? This week on Inside Appalachia, we learn more about some unexpected and unique ways Appalachians are thinking outside the box to earn money, like growing industrial hemp, installing solar panels and even growing tea.

James Pintar/ Adobe Stock

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we're taking a look at the myths and truths of the wild turkey. We’ll find out if turkeys really can fly. We'll find out what wild turkeys can teach us about wild animals.

Wikimedia Commons/ Snoopywv

High-profile confrontations between African-Americans and police officers have fueled racial tensions across the country. How do we in Appalachia talk about how these issues affect us here in the mountains?

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The Vietnam War is often called America’s most controversial war. Many servicemen from Appalachia were pushed toward the front lines. More West Virginians, per capita, fought and died in the Vietnam War than any other state.

This week on Inside Appalachia, we hear the personal stories of five veterans who talk about the traumatic events of this war and how it affected their lives.


Kara Lofton/ WVPB

About 2.5 million children in the U.S. are being raised by grandparents or relatives other than their birth parents.

This week on Inside Appalachia, we hear a special series about grandparents raising grandchildren. Many are taking care of grandchildren who would otherwise be put in foster care, but the arrangement can be difficult for the grandparents themselves.


Benny Becker/ WMMT

Too many times, when stories of Appalachia are in the national spotlight, we hear shallow, shocking and grim stories. But they miss some of the most inspiring aspects to our realities: the struggle, the perseverance and the resilience.  On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia we’ll meet storytellers who work to help Appalachians tell their own stories, and capture the true Appalachian spirit behind the statistics.

USDA/ Daniel Boone National Forest

In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we visit communities impacted by creation of flood-control lakes. Like the Village of Lilly, where back in the 1940s, about 40 families were pushed off their land along the Bluestone River in Summers County, West Virginia. Many of these families had lived there for more than 200 years. 

Inside Appalachia Host Jessica Lilly has deep roots to this community, as we hear in this episode. 

courtesy Emily Hilliard

Here in Appalachia, it’s apple season. And that means apple growers are sending this year’s crop to farmers markets and grocery stores. But the majority of the apples grown here get sent to manufacturers to be used in apple sauce and apple juice. By the way, did you know that Golden Delicious Apples originated right here in West Virginia?  In fact, apples are our state fruit. 

Jack Corn/ U.S. National Archives

Coal mine owner Andrew Jordon and environmental attorney Joe Lovett grew up together in Charleston, but have taken two completely different, even adversarial, paths in life. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear “Two Tales of Coal” from the Us & Them Podcast


Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

Eighty-seven year-old Jim Shaffer has had his hands busy since 1946. He is the last commercial broom-maker left in West Virginia. People from all over the country have come to see, and take home, some of Shaffer’s work.

A short film about Jim Shaffer is being screened at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress later this month at an event called "Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film". The video was produced earlier this year by Inside Appalachia, in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Program

Mark Regan Photography

Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. After decades of widely publicized campaigns with names like “the War on Poverty”, living on low income often comes an extreme sense of shame and self-doubt. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear different ways of reporting on financial security, or lack thereof. From a coal miner who lost his job, to a long-time welfare director, how do we talk about folks who are good at making do with what they have? How do we react when we hear these stories? 


EMILY SARKEES

There’s no place in America that’s gained a bigger reputation for country and rock and roll music than Nashville, Tennessee. So what does it take to make it there? Well, perhaps having West Virginia roots might help. There are so many talented musicians from our region who’ve found success in Nashville that some refer to the scene as the “WV music mafia.” But what about the folks who stay here in the Mountain State? What does it take to “make it” in the current music scene here?  


Emily Hanford / APM Reports

The start of a new school year can be a stressful time, but it’s also a season of transition, and of new beginnings. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear the conclusion to Crystal Snyder's Struggle to Stay story, as she juggles school, work and family responsibilities. And we travel to McDowell County, where people are exploring new ways to deal with a chronic teacher shortage. 


Claire Hemme

On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we go on a road trip along the backroads of Appalachia. We discover a rare orchid, a natural icebox and even get the story behind a bus on a rock. 

It's all to help launch a new series called Hidden Gems of Appalachia, celebrating the outdoors and the stories behind mysterious and wondrous places throughout these mountains.

Roxy Todd/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It’s been about 20 years since the opioid epidemic started. Appalachia has been called ground zero for this crisis, and the mountain state leads the country in drug overdose deaths. This episode of Inside Appalachia explores how the epidemic is affecting veterans, who are twice as likely to become addicted to opioids, compared with the general, or civilian, population. So some veterans are trying some alternatives to taking opioids for their chronic pain.

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President Donald Trump's Commission on the Opioid Crisis recently recommended that the president declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The commission said that such a declaration could free up money to fight the epidemic.

Back in April, we aired a special report about the opioid epidemic here in Appalachia. So this week, we’re going to revisit that story to remember how some Appalachians became addicted, and what a battle for sobriety can be like.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Appalachian economy is changing. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, hear from people who are switching careers, including former coal miners who are learning computer programming and non-traditional students who’ve graduated from college. Meet the next person in our Struggle to Stay series, a mother of two named Crystal Snyder. She’s also switching careers.

Benny Becker

Back in March, Inside Appalachia aired a report about a rise in the number of chronic black lung cases. Since then, NPR’s ongoing investigation uncovered an additional 1,000 cases of the worst form of black lung disease in Appalachia. 

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Do people who identify as LGBTQ struggle for acceptance in Appalachia? In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we explore how ideas about gender are changing across the country and in the region.

 

Still, some people, like 20-year-old Soleil-Dawe, who lives in Shepherdstown and identifies as gender queer, have found that coming out to their family isn’t easy.

 

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