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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Brynn Kusic

Racism and homophobia, love and tolerance--none of these are new to Appalachia. Today, we explore the stories of Appalachians who are moved to spread love, not hate.

In West Virginia, a racist hate crime shakes a community to spread a message of tolerance.

And a Kentucky songwriter’s high lonesome tune is inspired by a gay coal miner’s true story.

Water Outages and Advisories Continue in W.Va. Coalfields

While the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water, it's a problem that folks in the coalfields deal with on a regular basis.

Last week, we heard stories of the water smelling of licorice, emptied shelves once stocked with bottled water, and other quests for clean water.  The water crisis in West Virginia's capital city lasted just a few weeks, but folks in the coalfields continue to deal with boil water advisories and outages.

Mountainous regions like southern West Virginia have an abundance of water, but the terrain along with aging infrastructure have been creating access issues for decades. Many of the current water systems in place today in the coalfields were installed in the early 1900's by coal companies. Coal operators, jobs, and most people left the area, leaving remnants of a once bustling economy including some beautiful buildings, coal tipples, and water systems. 

For some communities a boil water advisory is a way of life, like in Keystone, West Virginia, in McDowell County, where residents have been on an advisory since 2010. The town's neighboring sister city, Northfork, has been on a boil water advisory since 2013.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re marking the one-year anniversary of the Elk River Chemical Spill in Charleston, W.Va. that temporarily left 300,000 without water.

Remembering West Virginia Native, "Little" Jimmy Dickens

This week we revisit an Inside Appalachia episode from 2014 packed with so much information we felt it’s worth sharing again.

We go back into the archives for the November 15, 2014 show. It includes an interview with Gary Quarles, who lost his son Gary Wayne Quarles, in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster in 2010. He spoke with host Jessica Lilly about Don Blankenship's indictment before federal Judge Irene Berger ordered a gag order against speaking with the media and more.

A seemingly fitting show since on this same day, nine years ago, loved one gathered in West Virginia as they waited to hear if their loved ones survived a mine disaster. In the end, they found 12 coal miners died.


We’ll hear some of the Christmas messages that were broadcasted into high security prisons this week on the Calls from Home radio program. The holidays often bring back memories of years past, and this is especially hard for those with a family member or loved one who’s passed away. And we’ll hear about a former marine in West Virginia who’s now helping people pull themselves out of poverty. You’ll find these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

It Just Needed A Little Love: An Ugly Spruce Ties A Town Together

Welcome to a special holiday episode of Inside Appalachia, featuring music by The Sweetback Sisters, with their album Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular, 2012, and Bob Thompson's More Joy to the World, 2007.

Hip Hop from the Hill Top / Calls from Home

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this episode we’ll explore two holiday and Appalachian traditions: food and spirits. We’ll also hear about some female butchers who are leading a renaissance in local foods.

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

Cooking with Bourbon:

In Whitesburg KY, each month, Jonathan Piercy and Jenny Williams host a live radio cooking show on WMMT called What's Cookin' Now, broadcasting straight from the Appalshop kitchen.

Paul Corbitt Brown

W.Va. Poet: “Appalachian Blackface” Story of 2014 Election Cycle: Have you ever heard the term ‘Affrilachian?’ It’s one poet Crystal Good uses to describe herself, an African American who grew up and lives in Appalachia. Good is a native of St. Albans, in West Virginia’s chemical valley. Good’s newest poem, “Appalachian Blackface,” premiered this fall at the Summit on Race Matters in Appalachia held in Charleston.

Courtesy of the West Virginia and Regional Historic Collection, WVU Libraries

Thanksgiving comes in two parts “giving” and “thanks.”  

This week, we’ll talk to a man in North Carolina, who’s collected over 1,000 varieties of heirloom apples.

And Layuna Rapp shares her memories of raising turkeys on her family farm in West Virginia

And we also want to take some time to hear from two young women who know what it’s like to struggle.

Troubled Youth Thankful For Youth Systems Services: Glynis Board visits the Youth Services System in Wheeling, serving at risk children and young adults.

Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

WV Division of Culture and History

Once considered untouchable, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges in connection with the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s news that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we’ll hear a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions in fines.

And a new lawsuit has just been filed on behalf of the 78 coal miners who died in the Farmington Mine Disaster. We’ll hear memories from Sarah Kasnoski, one of the widows who lost her husband on that fateful date, November 20, 1968. 

Investigating Outlaw Mines That Keep Operating Despite Delinquent Fines

A recent investigative report has uncovered that some coal companies are working the system to avoid paying fines. The report also finds a connection between skirted financial penalties and injured coal miners: mines with more delinquent fines also have higher rates of injured workers.

NPR and Mine Safety and Health News sifted through citations, and documents for more than a year to find the connection. NPR’s Howard Berkes says it was no easy task. Each delinquent fine has a different start date, so tracking the injuries associated with the delinquent fines was complicated. In this episode, we hear the first three of these reports. We also talk with Berkes about mine safety and the development of these investigations.

Growing Warriors

This week, we’ll hear from farmer Peg Taylor,  who’s excited that Hemp is being grown in Kentucky for the first time in four decades. But some farmers in West Virginia, like Bill Gorby, say they’re concerned about what hydraulic fracturing could do to the water on their farms.

And for What’s in a Name, we’ll travel to a small town that’s famous for its unique hunter’s stew.

Steven Middleton

This week's episode features Elizabeth Wells McIlvain helps employ 1,000 people in West Virginia, making Fiesta ware.And we learn that the number of jobs created by the Kentucky Bourbon Distillery industry has doubled in the last two years. We'll also explore some eccentric roadside attractions, including a Ventriloquist museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

Published by Constructive Publishing (Scanned cover of pulp magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This week, as we approach All Hallows Eve, we have dedicated the next hour to ghost tales and dark legends. Award winning writer, Scott McClanahan, remembers hearing scary tales while growing up in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

In this episode, we hear from Larry Mustain, who grinds heirloom corn at his family’s mill in West Virginia.

And we'll learn more about traveling along the Bourbon Whiskey Trail in Kentucky?

We'll also talk with, Jordan Bridges, a coal miner in southern West Virginia who is worried as more and more mines are laying off workers.


Lauren Stonestreet, of Elle Effect Photography

 

In this episode, we’ll travel to Maryland to forage- and eat- wild Pawpaws

And we’ll learn about Anne Braden, one of the early advocates for social equality in Kentucky.

We'll also hear about a new company in West Virginia that’s revived a historic salt-works -and why chefs are loving it.

Fiona Ritchie
University of North Carolina Press

This week we have a special episode of Inside Appalachia as we explore Appalachia through a multi-cultural lens, looking at how our culture connects to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and even Romania. We'll even visit a Hare Krishna Temple in West Virginia. And do you want to find out what Irish Road Bowling is and where you can go to see a game? Listen to the podcast to find out more.

wikimedia commons

 


Rising Above Appalachian Stereotypes: While it’s no longer politically correct to use racial, or gender-related remarks that stereotype groups of people, what about negative Appalachian stereotypes? And how do these stereotypes influence the pursuit of an education?

In West Virginia, Executive Director of Main Street Fairmont, Kate Greene, sees a city on the move.

The Clinch River region of Southwestern Virginia is looking for new economic opportunity.

And Tennessee State Park Ranger, Bobby Fulcher, has spent the last three decades traveling the Tennessee hills to record folk-music. These stories and more on this week's Inside Appalachia.

In Virginia, ordinary citizens are being specially trained to monitor water quality.

We remember Brother Claude Ely, known as the Gospel Ranger.

And in West Virginia, what was it like to grow up in a federal prison camp?  Ed and Agnes Friel’s parents were corrections officers there.

Remembering Jimmy Weekley, Frog Watching in Va.

Aug 29, 2014

In Pennsylvania, there’s all sorts of noises associated with natural gas drilling.  One company is trying to be sensitive.

In West Virginia, we remember Jimmy Weekley – the last man on the mountain.

And in Virginia, an executive chef is looking for frogs, not for their legs, but for their distinctive sound.

In east Tennessee, modern spectators watch a Civil War era baseball game.  To history buff Mark Aubry, it’s like time travel.

In West Virginia, Charlie Massey runs the American Heritage Music Hall where people from all over the world come to dance.

And in Virginia, history students are hanging out in Richmond’s cemeteries because their professor Ryan Smith has told them to.

These are among the stories Inside Appalachia this week.

Capital punishment is debated in Kentucky.

Coal camp communities are working to cope with dated water systems created by coal companies.

A farmer’s market is provides summer meals to children. 

Questioning Capital Punishment in Kentucky:  Mirroring a national trend, the debate over capital punishment continues to makes headlines in Kentucky. Earlier this month, the state legislature held the first public hearing testimony on the death penalty since it was reinstated in 1976. As Kentucky Public Radio’s Jonathan Meador found that arguments for and against a bipartisan legislative effort to abolish capital punishment boil down to, in part, a moral quandary over vengeance versus forgiveness.

Kentucky pastors sound off about gay marriage.

A former addict urges drug courts to address the roots of addiction.

The America Legion says the VA is a system worth saving.

 

Appalachian voices sound off at hearings about proposed EPA regulations:  “Our jobs our securities, for our families, I’m a recent retiree my benefits may be in jeopardy.”

But some residents are supporting new regulations: “We need to make it clear that the EPA does have the authority and the mandate and moral obligation to reign in CO 2 emissions.”

A Kentucky political tradition goes without a strong voice: “Darling if you want to use your outside voice you can go over there and play on the playground, OK. We’re trying to get some serious conversation going on so you can go over there play on the playground.”

The country’s top energy official visits Pittsburgh.

Veterans find gardening therapeutic.

We visit with Appalachian blogger and podcaster Dave Tabler.

And take a tour of a historic home in Hinton West Virginia.

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A young yoga skeptic finds interest in the exercises.

Kentucky farmers are testing the nutritional value of hay.

And a music camp carries on the tradition of ole time Appalachian music.

Residents concerned about environmental impact. After approval for a mountain top removal site near Kanawha State Forest, the safety of people living in the area are not the only red flag being raised. As Ashton Marra of West Virginia Public Radio reports, the possible effects on plant and animal life are drawing criticism.

Research shows mountaintop removal mining does impact fish populations.

Southwestern Virginia is trying to boost its economy using culture and nature.

Appalachian food is the topic of a summit in Kentucky.

And a new play delves into the issue of sexual assault in the military.

Two regular guys take on the job of documenting Appalachia’s culture and history.

A new book explores the meaning behind the name Wheeling.

Looking at Appalachia is still looking for photographs of the region.

And a West Virginia soldier is honored to be a member of the Old Guard.

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