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. and Sunday 7 p.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.

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This episode of Inside Appalachia is about returning home. For some people, timing and circumstance force you back. It is only then that you realize how much you missed home. Others spend decades longing to return.

There are many songs about that longing. One of the most famous is “Take Me Home, County Roads,” a song that has come to represent the feeling of homesickness that many Appalachians know so well.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

National stories about Appalachia sometimes overlook the people who are working on the ground to solve problems in their communities. This episode of Inside Appalachia highlights the work of several people who are thinking outside the box to find solutions.

Rebecca Kiger / Looking At Appalachia

What happens when strangers with cameras come to Appalachia? It’s a complicated topic that many Appalachians have strong feelings about. We’re taking another listen to an episode we aired in 2015, but it seems like this issue never goes away.

Who gets to tell our story? What is the right way to photograph a community?

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcast

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we are listening back to a show that originally aired in 2018. It’s about poverty. Appalachia is not the only place in America where some people live in extreme poverty. But several communities here are among the poorest.

Poverty is an issue that we’re sure to hear even more about in the coming months, perhaps years, as our country grapples with the effects of the recession we’re currently facing as a result of COVID-19.


REA OF HOPE

Human beings are social creatures, but the pandemic is making it difficult to interact with one another. It is also bringing to light just how important human connection is in our lives.

Michael O. Snyder

The natural world can be a source of food and medicine along with a place to escape and unwind. There are people who know plants like they’re old friends, complete with stories and histories. These experts can also help guide us to recognize how plants can even help us in times of need.  

We’ll hear stories about tapping into the natural world, from a recipe that uses chanterelle mushrooms to make ice cream, to the sport of falconry (the oldest form of hunting), to a new initiative that teaches people how to raise native plants- like ginseng, cohosh and wild ramps on their own forested land as a source of income and as a way to preserve the forests. 


Many of us are dreaming about the things we want to do when this pandemic is over — like traveling someplace far away. If you have wanderlust, or the itch to fly, these are not ideal circumstances. But being grounded does give us time to reflect and dream about flights in our future and those in our past. 

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we are looking at the history of flight in West Virginia and some of the unique stories that comprise the Mountain State’s history of aviation. 


Mason Adams/ WVPB

One could spend a lifetime learning about Appalachia, and just scratch the surface. 

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re listening back to a show we originally aired earlier this year, before the pandemic changed so much of our lives.

Courtesy photo

Across the globe, many people are wondering how to change society to deal with structural racism. It might all depend on our youth. Today’s episode of Inside Appalachia features people inspiring the next generation to change the world around them.

Caitlin Tan / WVPB

For this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re taking another listen to an episode we originally aired in January of this year, featuring stories about the ongoing struggle to rebuild from the 2016 West Virginia flood and the work yet to be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

You’ll also hear how a video game is helping players from all over the world make a connection to the Mountain State, and a discussion about our diversity of dialects throughout Appalachian culture. 

And we learn about a truly unique community in West Virginia and its landmark restaurant: The Hütte. The town was originally founded by Swiss settlers in the mid-1800s. They felt the steep mountains, thick forests and winding river resembled their homeland. The Hütte is the center of the town, both literally and metaphorically.


Pat Jarrett/Virginia Humanities

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear how religious leaders are adapting to change and finding ways to continue helping people find solace and peace during the pandemic. 

We also hear a series of stories from high schoolers who were challenged to work outdoors, in snow and ice and didn’t complain. Quite the opposite. Their teachers say they appeared to be more engaged in learning. 

The students reported on topics like sheep farming and ice hockey, as part of a project that’s meant to help students build resilience through storytelling and outdoor education. 


WV State Archives

The recent killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, sparking protests across this country, including in several cities in W.Va. It has launched candid conversations about long held institutionalized and systemic racism and brought forth stories of individuals that are vital to understanding injustice in our country.

For this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking another listen to an episode we originally produced earlier this year. We focus on one chapter in the history of the Black community of Charleston, West Virginia.

Mason Adams / For Inside Appalachia

Culture can connect us to our kindred spirits across great distances, even during a global pandemic. It helps build bridges in other ways, too. In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear stories about cultural ties that bind us to people across the globe.

Photo by Kara Leigh Creative

In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is dedicated to dads. 

A man’s brain is rewired when he holds his newborn baby just after birth. Scientists have found that after holding his infant in his arms for 30 minutes, a dad’s brain gets flooded with dopamine and oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as “the love hormone.” In just a few moments, his brain chemistry is changed forever. 

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Protests against police killing unarmed black Americans continue across the country, including here in Appalachia. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent weeks protesting the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among others. These protesters seek an end to police brutality and many point to our nation’s long history with systemic racism. 

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll listen to stories about the protests and hear the voices of Appalachians who have dealt with discrimination based on the color of their skin. 

Sam Fonda pours a beer at Weathered Ground Brewery in Cool Ridge, West Virginia.
Janet Kunicki / WVPB

People in our region have made spirits for hundreds of years. Some even say Appalachians are among the best at making whiskey and moonshine, but this history is sometimes coupled with negative stereotypes. Outsiders have long portrayed Appalachians as dangerous, lawless moonshiners.

Rachel Greene / For Inside Appalachia

This week’s episode of Inside Appalachia is about perseverance through music, stories and art. We’ll introduce you to some  folks from the other side of the ocean who have deep connections to Appalachia, and discover reflections of our own cultural identity in their stories.

Fayette Insitute of Technology

We’re focusing on the power of experiential learning in this episode of Inside Appalachia. We’ll look at how students learn life, academic and practical skills through career and technical education (CTE) programs. The goal of these programs is often to give students an idea of what kind of career they might want to go into after high school. 

Heather Niday / For Inside Appalachia

There is a deep connection among generations that holds steady for many families across central Appalachia. Perhaps it’s a combination of shared struggles and enduring repeated cycles of economic boom and bust. Maybe it’s our deep ties to the land that help bind so many of us to our past — after all, these mountains are among the oldest on the planet. While many Appalachians have fled the region in search of better opportunities, many of them we interview on Inside Appalachia tell us about the pull to return, even after many years. 


Jesse Wright / WVPB

With kids cooped up inside their homes and classroom instruction happening remotely, we thought it would be a great time to take another listen to an episode of Inside Appalachia that originally aired in 2019. We explore the power of getting children outside to learn, a topic that’s perhaps even  more important now than ever. 

Nicole Musgrave

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives, whether you’re working from home, worried for your health or unexpectedly out of a job. PBS’s beloved Mr. Rogers often quoted his mother saying to “look for the helpers” during a crisis. We’ve been looking and have found that there’s no shortage of those in our region.

Amy Knicely

From religious services to a renewed love of gardening, quarantine gives and takes.

 

The global pandemic has taken things from all of us. Some more than others. Thousands have died, many of them alone, and separated from their families. At least 26 million Americans have lost their jobs. 

Most rituals and traditions have also been disrupted, especially those that normally include people gathered in large groups.

Courtesy: West Virginia State Archives

Why was the Triangle neighborhood, once steeped in the richness of black music and culture, demolished in 1974 in Charleston, W.Va.? Why were some residents unaware that their neighborhood was being torn down until the bulldozers showed up? And why do some members of Charleston’s African American community today believe that this history could repeat itself in the city’s West Side neighborhood 50 years later, unless this history is reckoned with and remembered?

Courtesy photos

Can laughter be beneficial for our health? Research suggests that laughing can be therapeutic not only for our emotional well-being, but it can help heal us in a physical sense, too.

Howard Berkes / NPR

Ten years ago, on April 5, 2010, 29 men who worked at an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, lost their lives. The Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group, Inc. has placed wreaths at the monument in Raleigh County on April 5 every year since. But this year, they aren’t encouraging family members to visit, due to the spread of COVID-19.

Caitlin Tan / WVPB

Usually this time of year marks the start of festival season. So many little communities throughout the region celebrate springtime in their own way. But things are basically on pause right now as the country holds its collective breath. 

On this week’s episode of “Inside Appalachia,” we check in with our friends and neighbors across the region, many of whom are hunkering down at home, trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Kara Lofton/ WVPB

 

On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we are taking a much-needed break from the news. We’ll explore ways we can continue to stay connected with each other, even when we’re self-isolating for health reasons.

BARB SARGENT / COURTESY WV DNR

There is a lot happening in the world that is stressful. But the risk of the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily have to mean you have to barricade yourself indoors. Diseases spread in close quarters, so some researchers advise that you should get outside and exercise with your friends if you can. Go on a walk. You can still avoid sneezing into each other's faces and make sure you wash your hands, but your immune system loves to be outside.


J. Tyler Franklin

What is the human impact of a failure to prioritize workplace safety? 

In this episode, which we originally aired in 2019, we’ll hear how weak regulatory laws, and a failure to prioritize worker safety, may be contributing to more deaths, and a higher risk of workplace accidents -- both at the state and national levels. 


John Hale/ WVPB

Most people rarely think about where food comes from. We go to the grocery store and have so much to choose from. But global experts say small and medium-sized farms are critical to future food systems. That’s what we’ve got here in Appalachia, but more and more farmers across our region are facing economic challenges.

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