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A lot happened this year. The COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 presidential election. This summer’s protests and a reckoning for racial justice. WFAE has been there reporting on everything from President Donald Trump’s impeachment in January to the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines in December. Our staff of editors, producers and reporters selected some of the most important stories, Charlotte Talks shows and podcasts from the year.

Charlotte Talks: The Best Of 2020

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WFAE
Charlotte Talks went live in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in the weeks before the coronavirus pandemic sent the crew into remote mode for the remainder of 2020.

Charlotte Talks has been a staple in the region for 22 years. But host Mike Collins and the team of producers have never faced a year like 2020. Like most operations at WFAE, the team switched to a (nearly) all-remote setup after the coronavirus pandemic started spreading through the Carolinas.

Collins and producers shifted gears to cover the usual assortment of interesting topics plus the pressing issues of the day, including the pandemic, the economic crisis, the protests over police brutality and systemic racism, the roller coaster that was Charlotte's Republican National Convention experience and, of course, the 2020 election.

In a year of standout shows, here are a few of the staff's favorite moments — both before and after Charlotte Talks went to Zoom.

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Charlotte Talks host Mike Collins wears a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Local News Roundup In Rock Hill: Biden Seeks Comeback; CMS Survey Irks Parents

Remember when we could take the show on the road?

Three weeks before the pandemic forced us home, Charlotte Talks held what would be the final live remote broadcast of 2020 at the Amelie’s in Rock Hill, South Carolina, previewing the next day’s Democratic presidential primary, which would become the turning point of Joe Biden’s candidacy. — Chris Miller, producer

2. 'Wilmington's Lie' Reveals 1898 'Race Riot' Was White Supremacist Coup

This year was also marked by protests and demands for our country to reckon with our sins of racism. That led many of us on a search to uncover some of the dark history we never learned in school. Even growing up in North Carolina, I missed Wilmington’s murderous coup of 1898 — violence orchestrated by white supremacists that was long labeled a "race riot." — Erin Keever, senior producer

3. As The Finish Line Nears, Election Could Hinge On North Carolina

This episode of Politics Monday, the day before Election Day, is a good example of how this ongoing series proves to be insightful and informative throughout all the twists and turns of an unusual election year. — Jesse Steinmetz, assistant producer

4. Coronavirus In North Carolina: The Statewide Impact Of COVID-19

A month into the pandemic, we and other public radio stations in the state partnered on a statewide broadcast exploring how the coronavirus had impacted the state. — Chris Miller, producer

5. A Happiness Expert Shares A Secret To Success – Failure!

One of my favorites of 2020 was one of our very first shows of the year, back in January. It was about resilience! If we only knew then how much we would need that in 2020. — Erin Keever, senior producer

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Dashiell Coleman

6. Back To School In North Carolina: A Statewide Special

Collaborating with stations across the state, this episode highlights the influence and skill of WFAE and Charlotte Talks to execute a particularly difficult show. — Jesse Steinmetz, assistant producer

7: A Check-In With Surrounding Counties In The 'Red' For Critical Coronavirus Spread

This show brought together key players (some of whom rarely agree to interview) across the state for an hour of critical public health information. — Jesse Steinmetz, assistant producer

8. 'The Office' Closed Up Years Ago, But We Still Can't Get Enough Of It

Our house watches “The Office” pretty much every day, and I had been wanting to do a show looking at why the show has become a cultural touchstone when along came a best-selling book on that very topic.

We were able to work some listener-favorite “Office” moments into the interview. — Chris Miller, producer

9: Answering The Eternal Question, 'What's For Dinner?'

A couple of months into the pandemic, we were starting to get a little burned out talking about the coronavirus, and our listeners felt the same way. So, we did a show on a lighter topic that more of us were getting into: home cooking! — Erin Keever, senior producer

But to be honest, it's hard to pick just nine shows when there are so many to choose from. Catch up on Charlotte Talks here!

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