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.

 

Lalena Price / WVPB

Black and Brown people in America continue to die at the hands of police officers and that's created a season of hate. George Floyd’s killing ignited a sense of racial outrage that has spread around the world. U.S. cities continue to see protests against police brutality and riots over racial injustices. We’ll hear about a new podcast “Sounds Like Hate” that looks at racial extremism, white power groups, the DNA of hate in America and specifically, the story of a woman who walked away from her life as a white supremacist.

Trey Kay

The coronavirus confronts every aspect of our society — with our health care systems front and center in the crosshairs. When hospitals canceled nonessential medical procedures at the beginning of the pandemic, it created an economic free fall.  U.S. hospitals have lost $200 billion dollars and laid off nearly a million workers.

The Vaccination Divide

Aug 5, 2020
Julie Weikle Blackwood

The race is on to develop a vaccination that can bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers around the world are working on an immunization to slow or stop the outbreak. As that effort ramps up, there’s clear evidence that childhood vaccination rates for existing infectious diseases have plummeted.

A graphic of Debbie Preece of Kermit, W.Va., lost two brothers to the opioid epidemic.
Trey Kay / WVPB

At the peak of the opioid crisis, drug companies sent 12 million hydrocodone pills to Kermit, W.Va., a town of about 350 people. Cars would line up at the one pharmacy with people waiting to pick up pain pills. The so-called pain clinics of a decade ago are gone. In their place, a continued need for addiction treatment and recovery resources.

Lalena Price

COVID-19 forces big changes in our society and for our medical systems. When patients with mental health conditions are forced to stay at home isolated, the resulting social distancing can be particularly dangerous. Counselors and therapists are just learning how to use virtual care and teletherapy to support their patients. One group of disorders, eating disorders, can affect a person’s physical health. If they’re left untreated, these conditions can become fatal. We’ll hear how one doctor treats her patients virtually, and helps them stay healthy.

Lalena Price

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal wing of the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Louisiana abortion law. The narrow decision may be a relief to abortion rights supporters, but political watchers speculate the ruling could ignite voters in November. It may bring out those who favor a presidential candidate determined to curtail abortion rights.

 

Forced Apart: Shadow Pandemic

Jun 25, 2020
Lalena Price

COVID-19 has forced millions to stay at home for months. Isolation can feed anxiety and depression and now tens of millions of Americans say that potent combination threatens their mental health.

Us & Them host Trey Kay speaks with mental health providers in West Virginia, as well as the people who've sought treatment during the pandemic or who'd like to get some help.

The Black Talk

Jun 19, 2020
Mitch Hanley

Much of the recent work of our Us & Them team has focused on our day-to-day experience as we live through a global pandemic. But we need to shine our light on the deadly consequences of police brutality. Racial inequality is America’s most toxic “us and them” issue.

COVID-19 Takes A Toll On Our Food Supply

Jun 11, 2020
Lalena Price

The coronavirus highlights many of our vulnerabilities, including the system we use to get food from the farm to the table.  Lately, the pandemic has forced U.S. farmers to face the unthinkable. They plowed under perfectly good vegetables when schools and restaurants shut down and their market vanished. Livestock producers have euthanized hogs and chickens. They couldn’t get the meat to consumers when workers got sick and packing plants closed.

WVU Department of Health Sciences and Lalena Price

It’s been about 10 weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country, including West Virginia. While state officials are now reopening businesses, the pandemic is far from over. Seventy-eight West Virginians have died due to COVID-19. Unemployment claims have reached 250,000.

But the pandemic has exacted another toll — it’s fractured many of our healthcare institutions.

Forced Apart: Same Pandemic, Unequal Education

May 28, 2020
Lalena Price

West Virginia’s 2020 school year, from kindergarten through college, is wrapping up unlike any other.  In recent years, Mountain State communities have been devastated by man-made crises and natural disasters, but nothing has affected the state’s education system like a world-wide pandemic.

The Legacy Of The Upper Big Branch Disaster

May 13, 2020
Joan Marcus

Ten years ago, the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in West Virginia. Twenty-nine men died and an investigation uncovered that a legacy of overlooked safety measures contributed to the disaster.

A new play called “Coal Country” focuses on the stories of the men and their families. It aims to put a spotlight on prejudice against the rural working class — to bridge a divide between city dwellers and those who work with their hands underground.

Nurse Eva Travels To A COVID-19 Front Line

Apr 30, 2020
Eva Crockett

The coronavirus pandemic prompts many reactions from people. Some people can be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Others step up to help where they can.

Us & Them host Trey Kay splits his time living in West Virginia and New York. A few weeks ago, he got a message from someone trying to help Eva Crockett, a West Virginian traveling nurse looking to help treat COVID patients in New York City hospitals.

Forced Apart: A Virus Creates New Divides

Apr 23, 2020
Lalena Price

A global public health crisis in the form of an invisible virus, now officially divides us from each other. We’ve learned to call it ‘social distancing.’ But the coronavirus is creating or reopening many layers between us and them.

 

Us & Them: The Connector

Apr 8, 2020
Trey Kay

In many cities and towns, there are people in charge, and there are people who get things done. Joe Slack is an instigator for community change in West Virginia’s Upper Kanawha Valley. He sees the needs in his region, one that’s been hit hard by one economic disappointment after another.

But Slack is a self-described squeaky wheel. He connects people, helps identify realistic opportunities and then works to make things happen.

Trey Kay

Appalachia is a unique region of the country. Its namesake mountain range boasts a tangle of thick forests where the economy has relied on forestry, manufacturing and mining for jobs. The Kanawha River winds through West Virginia upstream from Charleston and was once a hotbed of mining operations and chemical plants.

 

Cameron Donohue

Trey Kay, host of WVPB’s program Us & Them, was a part of Marshall University’s 2nd annual TEDxMarshallU event on Saturday, March 14.

 

Without A Home Can You Be A Good Neighbor?

Mar 11, 2020
Kyle Vass

Homelessness is one of the things that divides us in America. It’s an Us & Them issue that can spring from, and inform our views on other social topics.

The number of homeless people nationally has dropped in the past decade, but there was an increase between 2017 and 2018. A West Virginia man saw a need and is trying to help.

Grandfamilies Of The Opioid Crisis

Feb 27, 2020

Chemical addictions and the opioid crisis have divided millions of U.S. families. An addicted parent can abandon responsibilities to their children. When a grandparent steps in to help, it creates a new kind of family structure. Some call it a grandfamily. Addictions can create a generational Us & Them divide in a household. It also spotlights underlying financial issues that cause a strain between parents and their adult children.

 

Us & Them: Diversity Divide

Feb 12, 2020
Rich Egger/Tri States Public Radio

There are now more students of color at some universities and colleges in the U.S. In the past decade at Western Illinois University, the non-white student population nearly tripled to one-third of the enrollment. The change helped fill classrooms and satisfy the school’s mission. But it’s part of what pushed the school’s first African-American president out of his job.

Us & Them: Should History Be Set In Stone?

Jan 23, 2020

When we learn our history, we see things that reflect our past. Paintings of famous battles and statues of men who were heroes to some. But how we interpret our legacy changes. Time can warp our notion of a once righteous cause.

There are examples around the world of ways we have edited our past. In the U.S., recent decisions to move Confederate monuments and take down Confederate flags. But the effort to cleanse the past is global.

Max Nesterak

North America’s early experiences with Us & Them come from our history with indigenous people. In the 19th century, a nascent U.S. government used treaties with Native tribes and nations to take land and resources. Those treaties relocated Native people to reservations. More than a century later, from 1950 - 1970, U.S. programs were still moving people around.

Us & Them: Music With A Message

Dec 26, 2019
Mauro Milanich and Andrés Corbo

Music can entertain and inspire and serve as a way to share another person’s truth. This episode, Us & Them talks with two musicians, each with roots in Appalachia, whose work offers their view of the world.

Us & Them: We The Purple

Dec 12, 2019

Democracy may need a reboot, or a kickstart. Pick your favorite term, but the fact is, our system of government requires our participation. When we lose trust, it suffers.

Us & Them: Abortion Divides

Nov 27, 2019

Do you disagree with any of your close friends or family members about abortion? When’s the last time you actually talked about it? For many of us, the abortion debate defines Us & Them and sometimes, we feel it better to avoid the subject altogether.

Recently, several states have enacted laws restricting access to abortion services. Some states have signed laws banning the proceedure and next year, the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case that could change the right to legal abortion.

Nikki Tundel / Photo of Paul Dorr from APM Reports, a production of Minnesota Public Radio®. © 2018 Minnesota Public Radio®. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Paying taxes is one of those things we just can’t avoid… except for the local tax measures we get to vote on. One of the best examples is school spending. When local school officials ask for additional money for new academic programs or school buildings, taxpayers must approve it. There’s one man who has worked with citizen’s groups in dozens of places to fight against more money for public schools. He’s been successful in many places and his efforts highlight the Us & Them in all of these communities.

Us & Them: Three Tales of Coal

Oct 24, 2019
WV Archive

For decades, coal was king in West Virginia. It paid good wages, paid the bills for many local services through taxes, and kept small towns alive. But more of our nation’s electricity is starting to come from other sources like wind and solar power. Coal is losing out.

Jesse Pratt Lopez/100 Days in Appalachia

We’re in the midst of the 2019 hurricane season, and people in the Bahamas are still digging out from Hurricane Dorian. In 2018 hurricane Florence hit the coast of North Carolina, which left 51 people dead and caused $24 billion in damage in the state. 

William Ronald Pulliam, 65, in court as he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for shooting 15-year-old James Means to death in Charleston’s East End.
Kenny Kemp / Charleston Gazette-Mail

For the past three years, the Us & Them team has tracked the case of James Means, the 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed by 62-year-old William Pulliam on the East End of Charleston, W.Va.

The case got national attention partly because Pulliam is white and Means was black. This week, the story came to a sad unexpected conclusion.

Us & Them: Faith In Science

Sep 26, 2019
Ashley Rodgers

Science and faith can offer a different perspective of the world... of life... and of what we believe. When you mix in a third ingredient - politics - the dynamic can become toxic. Whether you consider evolution versus creationism or the causes of climate change, there are people who say their religious beliefs make it difficult for them to have faith in science. However, some scientists say there is nothing in theology that separates them from their faith and beliefs. This episode looks at people of faith and people of science to find some common ground. Trey speaks with Dr.

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