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Bingeworthy: WFAE's Staff Pick Their Favorite Stories Of 2018


You've heard their reporting on the radio and NPR One and relied on them to bring you the biggest stories that have impacted our community. Now, our staff is taking a look back at the stories that made our reporters and producers stop, listen and stay in the driveway for a few more moments.

Gaston County Pastor Discusses Lingering Emotions, Questions After Restaurant Tragedy: "Mark Rumsey did a raw interview with a pastor of Venture Church in Gaston County after a congregant drove a car into a restaurant killing two family members and injuring others. A week after the tragedy the pastor was so open about how he’s struggling to come to terms with what happened and help surviving family members. This interview was a different approach to a crime story that was my driveway moment." - Alex Olgin


Credit Cole del Charco / WFAE

Catawba College Coach Is The First Blind NCAA Swim Coach: "This fall, Tharon Drake became the first blind NCAA swim coach when he started as Catawba College’s assistant coach. He can coach just as well as anyone, but his approach is a little different – he listens to swimmers’ hands and feet hit the water instead of looking at them." - Cole del Charco

Charlotte Symphony Set To Debut New Piece On City's History: "The Charlotte Symphony commissioned a song for the city’s 250th anniversary 'Charlotte Mecklenburg' and the day it was performed publicly for the first time, our Morning Edition team spoke with Nkieru Okoye about the song she composed. It highlights the ability of classical music to mean something today, and the part that gave me chills is meant to mirror the two sides of a pivotal moment for the city: the shooting and death of Keith Lamont Scott. One part of the orchestra plays a tune to the refrain 'Keith Lamont Scott', and another, 'Not My Charlotte.'" - Cole del Charco

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Credit Courtesy of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

SouthBound: Dale Earnhardt Jr. On NASCAR, Retirement And Becoming A Dad: "I finally got a long drive where I could listen to Tommy’s entire interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and it was probably my favorite SouthBound episode of the year." - David Boraks

FAQ City: What Lies Beneath Lake Norman?: "It's always so cool to hear the history around here. I guess I'd also throw in two other episodes: The Forgotten Cold-War Bunker Buried Outside Charlotte and The Giant Vault Of Money Buried Beneath Uptown."  - David Boraks

Credit Craig Huntly Collection

'I Just Wanted To Fly': A Tuskegee Airman Reflects On Pioneering WWII Squadron: "This is the inspiring story of an African-American man who was one of the first Tuskegee Airmen, who is in his late 90s and still driving and flew until 91 years of age. He is one of the few still alive, who talks about the racism he and other black airmen faced in the military, his battle successes against enemy fire in the skies and what motivated him in a book he wrote about his experiences. A piece of history that needed to be heard." - Gwendolyn Glenn

Credit Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

FAQ City: 'Meet The 'Jesus Saves' Guy In Uptown Charlotte: "Host Nick de la Canal told the story of a man who has garnered much attention in uptown and we learned that he is driven by his faith to share a message with the world." - Justin Lape

Charlotte Symphony Set To Debut New Piece On City's History: "Nkieru Okoye came to Charlotte to capture the history and spirit of the city as it turns 250. She talks about the different reactions to the Keith Scott shooting and its aftermath and she rhythmically breaks down how the music conveys this. Hearing that with the music, adds a whole new dimension to the work." - Lisa Worf

Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

FAQ City: What Happened To Charlotte's Earle Village?: "It's hard to pick just one FAQ City. This one kept me listening because it’s a part of Charlotte history I was not aware of. It gives me a greater appreciation for how the city has changed and more importantly who has been affected by that change." - Marshall Terry

SouthBound: Historian Joshua Bradford On The Unseen LGBTQ History Of The South: "I interviewed Josh for a story back in 2016 on the history of Charlotte Pride. He was a good talker and had a deep knowledge of local queer history, so we booked him as a guest on SouthBound. Hearing him talk at length about queer people in Charlotte’s history had me riveted in a way that I hadn’t expected. You don’t learn this stuff in school, and it was all so fascinating and fulfilling to hear." - Nick de la Canal

Charleston Shooting Give Advice To Pittsburgh Families: "Heartbreaking yet beautiful story on the advice that came from one family's tragedy." - Sarah Delia

Credit Greg Harris

She Says: 'It's Not Him': "The entire podcast, by Sarah Delia and Alex Olgin, had me lingering in driveways and parking lots for weeks – I couldn’t start an episode without finishing it. But the moments that will linger with me longest are the ones where Linda, the victim of a sexual assault, records her conversations with police. 

"It’s a rare glimpse into a deeply emotional, highly charged conversation that most of us, if we’re lucky, will never have to have. Episode 3 was the first time we heard Linda’s conversations with the police, and I remember the hair standing up on my arms when I realized what was coming." - Tommy Tomlinson  

She Says: 'The Winding Road': The powerful series on one woman's fight for justice follows her story from many avenues — her home life, the incident, the investigation and court. It is a well-written podcast, that eloquently tells the story of so many women who have been sexually assaulted in a riveting, non-sensational way. - Gwendolyn Glenn

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