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Listen Up: WFAE's Favorite Podcast Episodes Of 2018

Tayari Jones

Writers. Ghosts. Detectives. A gold man statue. And the "godmother" of Charlotte rock. That’s just the tip of the (audio) iceberg for WFAE’s podcasts SouthBound, FAQ City, She Says and Amplifier in 2018.

And we expect even more in 2019 (especially from listeners like you as we search for the next great podcast in our Queen City PodQuest)!

With more than 100 episodes to choose from, here are some of the WFAE staff's favorite podcast episodes from 2018. Listen, share and enjoy (particularly on the NPR One app):

SouthBound: Novelist Tayari Jones On Writing, Atlanta And Her Call From Oprah

“This conversation starts with Tayari Jones talking about the moment she got a call from Oprah. From there, it gets only more intriguing and poignant, including a line talking about publishers’ reluctance to put black faces on book covers. 'You all noticed that I have a black face on the front head of my head, so when you say having a black face on the book would relegate it to the remainder bins, how do you think that makes me feel as a person?' Jones told Tommy Tomlinson in her interview." —Lisa Worf, Morning Edition Host and Executive Producer


“The episode that stands out to me is when author Tayari Jones talked about moral ambiguity, her approach to characters in her writing and her goal to get people to think about things from different perspectives. This SouthBound episode was both an introspective and fun listen. I felt like I was eavesdropping on Tommy and Tayari.” — Greg Collard, News Director

Credit Daniel Coston

Amplifier: In a World of Music Streaming, Charlotte’s Lunchbox Records Keeps on Spinning

“I know Scott Wishart of Lunchbox Records. He’s not a talker. But host Joni Deutsch drew him out and revealed a man who loves music, is dedicated to running a good business and makes people happy every day. You also learn a lot here about how the record business works! — Tommy Tomlinson, host of the SouthBound podcast

Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

FAQ City: What Is The 287(g) Program? And Other Questions Answered

“Nick’s FAQ City episode on 287(g) made a confusing government program understandable to the public by breaking down the details of who it impacted. The numbers showed that it wasn’t just violent criminals that were detained as part of the controversial immigration program, but many more who were detained for traffic violations to misdemeanors.” — Alex Olgin, health reporter

Credit Greg Harris

She Says Episode 5: A Parallel Road

“What happens when a police department destroys more than 300 rape kits? We explored that in episode 5, “A Parallel Road,” which featured members of the Fayetteville Police Department who did a complete overhaul of the department after learning they had essentially thrown out hundreds of pieces of potential evidence. The department made a choice to own up to their mistake and called survivors directly impacted by their mistake. This story is the kind I like to tell, the kind where an agency could just as easily ignore or hide the problem instead of undergoing difficult changes publically.” — Sarah Delia, reporter and host of WFAE's She Says podcast


She Says Episode 9: What We Haven't Told You

“I loved working on this episode. We were able to figure out how this mystery DNA hit occurred at the lab in Linda’s case. After months of reporting — including tracking down a judge to talk about a 17-year-old case and reading through old court papers — it was really rewarding to share our findings with listeners. After hearing from listeners that not all hospitals had qualified medical professionals on hand to collect evidence for sexual assault kits, we looked into the situation in North Carolina. We found, as of August 2018, about half of the hospitals in the state had the kits and trained staff to complete them." — Alex Olgin, health reporter

“In this episode, Sarah and Alex unravel the mystery of how a defendant’s DNA sequence ended up in the CODIS database. This required a lot of work, both in getting the records and making sense of them. This episode also has strong reporting that was inspired by a listener. Every week, we heard from She Says listeners and incorporated their stories into the podcast. These were powerful voices and helped us realize how much of an impact Linda’s story was having on people. Overall, this episode is a combination of great storytelling and reporting. All the episode are, but this one stands out a little bit more to me.” — Greg Collard

She Says Episode 1: The Winding Road


“This was the episode that started WFAE’s first investigative series (and led host Sarah Delia and reporter Alex Olgin down a rabbit hole for answers, court documents and the truth). As a podcast producer, I not only appreciated the hours put into reporting on Linda’s case, but also the time in telling all sides of the story and bringing empathy to a story that could be (and has been) anyone’s.” — Joni Deutsch, Manager of Podcasts

Credit Cole del Charco / WFAE

FAQ City: Is It Sugaw Creek Or Sugar Creek?


“We get so many good questions from listeners for the FAQ City podcast but when I looked through a list, this answer stuck out to me. I had a hunch it’d take me back into the history of Charlotte while I reported it, but had no idea it’d lead me to such a long-standing controversy. I hope you’re as satisfied as I am with the definitive answer.” — Cole del Charco, reporter

Credit Magnolia Pictures
Andre Leon Talley

SouthBound: Andre Leon Talley On His 40 Years Atop The Fashion World


“Andre was not in a great mood when he sat down to talk with us; he had just been in a photo shoot and got crossways with the photographer. But once he started talking, he told the mesmerizing story of how he rose from a young black boy in Durham who loved Vogue magazine, to making it onto the masthead of Vogue itself. The brief moment when we talked about Andre’s similarity to Ric Flair was my favorite thing in SouthBound this year.” — Tommy Tomlinson


“I loved, loved, loved Andre Leon Talley on SouthBound. The conversation was a perfect intersection of global, worldly refinement and southern kitchen table talk.” — Mona Lita, Major Giving Officer


Credit Ron Ross

Amplifier: A Sign of the Times, Unearthing History One Song At a Time


“What it’s like to speak truth to James Brown, meld history and music, and 'party with a purpose' – this episode covers it all. Toni Tupponce and Tyrone Jefferson made me laugh while imparting some musical wisdom.” — Lisa Worf, Morning Edition Host and Executive Producer


Sexual Assault Kits
Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

FAQ City: Why Did CMPD Destroy 1,000 Sexual Assault Kits?


“My favorite podcast episode from this year was Nick’s investigation into why CMPD destroyed 1,000 rape kits. Not only did it make me pause and open my eyes to an issue I otherwise wouldn’t be aware of, but it was also such a timely topic since 2018 was such a turbulent year in terms of sexual assault. The episode, at its core, was as educational as it was terrifying, but it was still easy to listen to and digest.” — Kylie Moore, Digital Editor

Credit Daniel Coston
Hope Nicholls

Amplifier: ‘Godmother of Charlotte Rock’ Hope Nicholls


“If you want to learn about the Charlotte music scene in one episode that’ll take you from the early history all the way up to 2018, this is the one for you. To start off the Amplifier podcast, Joni Deutsch interviewed the living legend Hope Nicholls. Their conversation is funny, joyful and realistic about the good and the bad, of Charlotte music.” — Cole del Charco, Reporter

Jimmy Russell

SouthBound: Jimmy Russell, The Buddha Of Bourbon, On A Life in Brown Liquor


“I had the good fortune of meeting Jimmy Russell when touring bourbon distilleries in Kentucky years ago, so I particularly enjoyed Tommy Tomlinson’s interview with him on SouthBound. I listened to the episode while working out at the YMCA, so later that day I picked up a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon and that evening I shared stories, both from the episode and my past trip, with some new friends. Cheers!” - Robert Koch, Director of Development

Hugh Pharr McManaway directing traffic at the Queens Road and Providence Road intersection.

FAQ City: Who Is That Gold Man Statue And Why Is He Missing?

“So much heart — and some mystery, too — in this episode! Nick brings you the voice of the man behind this Charlotte landmark, tells the story of his statue’s demise, its temporary resting place in a secret warehouse and plans to resurrect it. (The statue is up again!) Also, Nick must’ve made at least seven visits to the site of the statue for his reporting.” — Lisa Worf, Morning Edition Host and Executive Producer

Credit Yanni Le Fou
Dirty Art Club

Amplifier: Sampling the Sixties with Mash-up Artist Dirty Art Club


“Some might not realize that the opening theme of Amplifier comes from Charlotte electronic act Dirty Art Club, who samples thousands of songs and sounds and pop culture snippets in his music. As someone who nerds out about connecting the dots between artists and influences, you can probably hear the excitement in my voice as I sat down with Dirty Art Club and traveled down the conversational rabbit-hole that is music sampling.” — Joni Deutsch, Manager of Podcasts

Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

FAQ City: The Haunting Of Queen University


“I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. I’ve been trying for years to think of a good ghost story idea for Halloween and was never able to come up with one, so I’m glad Nick stumbled upon this one. And on top of that, he may have caught a ghost on tape. Does it get any better?” — Marshall Terry, Morning Edition Host.


As we cap off 2018, WFAE’s producers and programs share their most memorable moments of the year. Find each of our Best of 2018 posts here.