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Charlotte Talks

Charlotte Talks: The Best Of 2019

Jeff Cravotta
Host Mike Collins with panelists Pam Wideman, Brian Collier, Carol Hardison and David Boraks

From public conversations discussing our ongoing “Finding Home” series or higher education in the Charlotte area to a weeklong series on work-life balance, "Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins" had another year filled with informative and entertaining hour-long shows.

Now in its 21st year, the "Charlotte Talks" staff looked back on 2019 and picked some of their favorite shows. 

1. CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox Is Out. Now What?

Hours after yet another superintendent exited under mysterious circumstances, Mike was a great advocate for the community, demanding answers from, among others, the newly-appointed acting superintendent. – Chris Miller, producer

2. A Special Series On Work-Life Balance

We produced a weeklong series focused on finding work-life balance. I became a new parent this year, so that topic was very much on my mind! We completed the series by looking for answers to one of life’s ultimate questions – how can we be happy? Definitely worth a listen. – Erin Keever, senior producer

I’m still getting my sea legs in parenthood, as is Erin, so we constantly talk about how to balance our jobs and our home lives. We hoped the series let other parents in the audience know they’re not alone, and maybe come away with some tips on to strike a balance. I know it’s been helpful for me. – Chris Miller, producer


Lucia Paulsen, Kate Harrison, and Mary Ellis Stevens in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio
Credit Jennifer Worsham / WFAE
Lucia Paulsen, Kate Harrison, and Mary Ellis Stevens in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio.

3. 'I'm Scared For My Future.' Local Teens Push For Action On Climate Change

I’ve been so impressed by the young people working to bring more attention to climate change. We sat down with a few local teens involved in the movement, and it was inspiring to listen to them voice their convictions so strongly on live radio. – Erin Keever, senior producer

4. May the Best Dan Win

Giving the platform for both 9th District candidates to show where they stood on the issues made this show informative, entertaining and dynamic. – Jesse Steinmetz, assistant producer

We had several shows to educate voters about the elections, from the September primary (which was also the 9th District election) all the way through the November election, we made an effort to inform voters on all the important races and issues. We hosted “the Dans” prior to the 9th District election, we hosted a candidate forum for City Council at the McGlohon Theatre, and we held a forum on the proposed arts sales tax. -- Wendy Herkey, executive producer

5. James Comey, Armistead Maupin and Bob Woodward

Call this favorite a special "Big Three" of weighty names — with the bonus of three episodes combined.

Credit Daniel Coston
Bob Woodward and Mike Collins

Each were important for different reasons — Woodward, the award winning writer from The Washington Post, and a look back at his legendary coverage of the Watergate affair; Maupin for his look back at his 1970’s serial Tales of the City and his memoir "Logical Family;" and Comey, who talked about his 2017 firing as FBI Director in the early months of the Trump presidency. – Wendy Herkey, executive producer

I read James Comey's book and heard him speak at the Belk Theater. So interesting and contained lots of food for thought. – Jennifer Worsham, production assistant

6. For Love Of The Game ... And Fair Pay

The guests represented both sides of the debate and the show offered a fair, informative stage for the issue to be discussed in both broad and precise ways. – Jesse Steinmetz, assistant producer

7. Minimalism Is More Than Tidying Up   

I’m a huge fan of the minimalism movement, so having Joshua Becker on the show was exciting for me. – Jennifer Worsham, production assistant

Credit Erin Keever / WFAE
CMPD Chief Kerr Putney and Mecklenburg District Attorney Spencer Merriweather in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio.

8. Homicide Coverage

We did several shows on the homicide problem here in Charlotte, from conversations with Chief Kerr Putney and DA Spencer Merriweather, to a discussion of how to talk to kids about traumatic events to our special public conversation about what community members are doing in response to Charlotte’s homicide problem, we brought lots of different voices, to bring this story to our listeners in an effort to enhance an understanding of the complexity of the problem. — Wendy Herkey, executive producer

9. Finding Home: Charlotte's $270 Million Dream

WFAE has had a special focus on affordable housing this year, and to highlight this, we held a special public conversation on the topic “Finding Home: Charlotte’s $270 Million Dream," including residents of Charlotte who are affected by our affordable housing crisis. It was important to talk about the money, where it’s coming from and where it’s going, and to hear personal stories from people who are impacted by housing problems in Charlotte (especially in the Q and A). -- Wendy Herkey, executive producer