Tommy Tomlinson

Columnist and host of SouthBound

Credit JEFF CRAVOTTA

Tommy Tomlinson has written for publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Garden & Gun, and many others. He spent 23 years as a reporter and local columnist for the Charlotte Observer, where he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. His stories have been chosen twice for the “Best American Sports Writing” series (2012 and 2015) and he also appears in the anthology “America’s Best Newspaper Writing.”

He teaches magazine writing at Wake Forest University and has also taught at the University of Georgia, Queens University of Charlotte and the Poynter Institute. He has been a speaker at workshops and conferences across the country.

His book “The Elephant In the Room,” a memoir about life as an overweight man in a growing America, will be published soon by Simon & Schuster.

He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a 2008-09 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Tommy and his wife, Alix Felsing, live in Charlotte.

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New episodes of SouthBound will be published every other week on Wednesday.

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Ways to Connect

MICHAEL FALERO / WFAE

Jerry Richardson was a community hero for bringing the NFL to Charlotte in 1993. As owner of the Panthers, he became affectionately known as The Big Cat.

Erin Rae is a singer out of Nashville who you’re going to be hearing a lot more about. She signed a record deal with Single Lock Records, the label co-founded by John Paul White, formerly of the Civil Wars. Erin Rae’s songs remind me of those Civil Wars songs – her music is quiet and intimate, trying to make sense of conflicted feelings. 

Bobby Jones driving on Larry Bird in a Philadelphia-Boston game in the '80s.
Courtesy of The 76ers

Bobby Jones built a basketball career on his ability to guard other players, to the point where Nike created a marketing campaign calling him the Secretary of Defense. He was an All-Star five times in his 12-year pro career and won an NBA title in 1983 as a member of a great Philadelphia 76ers team that included Moses Malone and Dr. J, Julius Erving. 

Courtesy of the Artist

Kathy Izard -- our latest guest on the SouthBound podcast -- chose the first six songs on this week's Radio Hour in honor of her work with Charlotte's homeless. I filled out the playlist with some of my home-related picks. Enjoy at your home ... and maybe think about those who don't have one.

Kathy Izard

Have you ever heard that little voice telling you to do something more with your life? Kathy Izard heard that voice, and unlike many of us, she decided to listen.

Courtesy of the Artist

For Vol. 10, we've built a megamix of all the SouthBound Radio Hours so far -- more than eight hours of (mostly) Southern music for your enjoyment. As Ron Popeil would say, "Set it and forget it!"

Magnolia Pictures

If you somehow had a giant photo album of the last 40 years of fashion history, as you scrolled you would see one face over and over again, a head taller than most everybody else. That’s Andre Leon Talley.

Courtesy of the artist

Laura Vinroot Poole, featured on the latest episode of SouthBound, handpicked the songs for this SouthBound Radio Hour -- some Southern, some not. But there's definitely some fashion in here.

Laura Vinroot Poole

If you know much about fashion, you probably know the name Laura Vinroot Poole. The fashion business definitely knows about her – she’s a common presence in the houses of designers all over the world. She owns three boutiques in Charlotte, and her flagship store, Capitol, has now been around for 20 years. But Laura Vinroot Poole didn’t plan on going into fashion. The path of her life has surprised her, the same way it surprised her family and friends. It all came from one strong desire – to get back home.

Courtesy of the Artist

Most of the artists on this playlist were suggested by Webb Hubbell, native of Arkansas and the guest on the most recent episode of SouthBound. (Jimmy Buffett is on here because of his organist and producer Michael Utley, a classmate of Hubbell's at the University of Arkansas.)

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Webb Hubbell was a political prodigy. When he was just 29, he became mayor of Little Rock. A few years later, he was chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. And a few years after that, he was heading to Washington to serve under his friend, President Bill Clinton. But his fast rise was followed by a hard fall.

Courtesy of the Artist

In honor of this week's SouthBound guest Dale Earnhardt Jr., here's a batch of songs by Southern artists about driving and cars.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Courtesy of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

In all my years of doing interviews, I’ve met very few people who are as open and honest about themselves as this week's SouthBound guest, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Courtesy of the Artist

In honor of SouthBound guest Kimmery Martin, a Kentucky native, here's a batch of songs by Kentucky artists -- and some others that reference the Bluegrass State. Plus a little Juice Newton at the end in honor of Kimmery's novel, "The Queen of Hearts."

Kimmery Martin's first novel, "The Queen of Hearts," has got love, death, humor, secrets, hot doctor sex, and a medical procedure performed with a fork. Does that sound like something you might be interested in reading?

Billy Graham Evangelical Association/ DeMoss

Billy Graham will be laid to rest Friday at his library in Charlotte. Two former presidents have already paid their respects and President Trump is expected at the funeral today, along with 2,300 other family, friends, and dignitaries. Tommy Tomlinson, host of WFAE’s SouthBound podcast, shares his thoughts about Graham and reads from his 2007 Charlotte Observer column about the evangelist's impact. 

Dirt Track Date by Southern Culture on the Skids
Southern Culture on the Skids

In tribute to our guest Andrea Kirby -- a pioneering woman in sportscasting -- we present songs by Southern artists that feature sports ... or at least mention them somewhere. (We kick off with the not-technically-Southern "Wide World of Sports" theme in honor of Andrea's time on the show.)

ABC Sports

If you're a sports fan of a certain age, you probably know Andrea Kirby's voice. From her roots in Alabama, she became a pioneering woman in sports broadcasting, reporting from around the globe on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" in the '70s. From there, she changed jobs to become a media coach for athletes and coaches, becoming known in some circles as "the athlete whisperer." In this episode of SouthBound, she tells stories from both sides of the camera.

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Rae Carruth is now speaking out on the murder of his pregnant girlfriend nearly 20 years ago.

Clemson University Library / Flickr

February is Black History Month, and today, we look back at some of our favorite moments from past interviews that examine the culture and history of African-American life in the American South.

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