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Inside Appalachia Has Turned 20. We Talk With The Show's Founders

Beth Vorhees, original co-host of Inside Appalachia.

Inside Appalachia is 20 years old this month — we celebrate the anniversary by taking a look back with Inside Appalachia founders Giles Snyder and Beth Vorhees.

We hear an excerpt from an award-winning episode of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Us & Them, and we visit West Virginia flat-picking guitar player Robin Kessinger and learn about his musical roots.

You’ll hear these stories and more this week Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

Celebrating 20 Years Inside Appalachia 

Do you remember where you were 20 years ago? America was coming up on the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush was president, and Barry Bonds hit his 600th home run.

And West Virginia Public Broadcasting was just launching a new show — Inside Appalachia, with Giles Snyder and Beth Vorhees.

Robin Kessingers’ Musical Roots

Robin Kessinger-3.jpg
Zack Harold
Robin Kessinger is a world champion flatpicking guitar champion, a style of music that transfers traditional fiddle tunes to steel string guitar. He learned much of his repertoire from his uncle Clark Kessinger, a renowned old-time fiddler.

Few West Virginia musicians cast as long a shadow as guitarist Robin Kessinger. He's a national award-winning flatpicker, who still spends his days teaching kids and adults their first chords. That's no surprise; he comes from a legendary lineage of players and tunesmiths.

Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Zack Harold has the story.

Kingwood March Exposed A Raw Seam Of Rage

Americans routinely confront each other over politics, race and religion. But there’s been nothing like the Black Lives Matter marches that erupted across the U.S. in 2020. A lot of these protests were attended by armed counter protesters.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s podcast Us & Them covered just such a march. The episode recently received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.

Host Trey Kay collaborated with reporter Chris Jones from 100 Days in Appalachia. Jones attended a Black Lives Matter march in Kingwood, West Virginia. The episode also included an interview with West Virginia Del. Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia, the only Black woman in the West Virginia Legislature.

The award-winning episode, “Kingwood March Exposed A Raw Seam Of Rage” is available from Us & Them wherever you listen to podcasts and at our home on the web at wvpublic.org


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Tyler Childers, Del McCoury, Dolly Parton, Michael Howard and Robin Kessinger.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @InAppalachia.

You can also send us an email to InsideAppalachia@wvpublic.org.

Stay Connected
Inside Appalachia Co-Host/Folkways Reporter, mason.j.adams@gmail.com, @MasonAtoms
Inside Appalachia Producer, blynch@wvpublic.org, @LostHwys
Kelley Libby is a Virginia-based public radio editor and producer. She currently edits for Inside Appalachia and its Folkways Reporting Project at WVPB. You can reach here at kelleylibby@gmail.com
Alex Runyon is a proud Huntington, West Virginia native. She attended Marshall University and earned degrees in creative writing and literary studies, dabbling in journalism, photography and women’s studies along the way. She worked as a freelance photographer and social media strategist before joining the Inside Appalachia team as Associate Producer. Alex enjoys writing and performing stand up comedy, hiking, screenwriting and playing board games. She lives in Huntington, West Virginia with her cat, Waylon Kittings. Follow her on Twitter @_AlexRunyon.