Charlotte Talks: The Best Of 2018

Dec 28, 2018

From public conversation around topics like how new leaders can build an inclusive city and how sexual assault cases are handled in Mecklenburg County to the Midterm Election Special and on-the-road local news roundups, Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins had an eventful year discussing the Queen City's most pressing issues. WFAE’s morning talk show also celebrated its 20th anniversary!

The Charlotte Talks staff looked back on the year and picked their favorite shows. Here's their top 10:

1. The Queen City Was Named After England's Queen Sophia Charlotte. Who Was She?

Queen Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

“I’ve lived in Charlotte most of my life and like most Charlotteans had a rough idea of who the so-called ‘Queen City’ was named after — Queen Charlotte, of course! But why? It turns out to be an interesting story and the woman herself sounds fascinating. In fact, some historians consider her to be the very first biracial royal.” — Erin Keever, Senior Producer

2. It All Goes Back To January 1973

“I’m a fan of how past history intersects with current events, and listening to all the major news that unfolded just during the month of January 1973 – Watergate trial, Vietnam War, Roe v. Wade – was fascinating.” — Chris Miller, Producer

3. 'Our Towns' A Glimpse Into Small Town America With James And Deborah Fallows

“James and Deborah Fallows. Through their ‘puddle-jumping’ and ‘myth-busting’ — as they took several years to fly in a single-engine plane and land in ‘fly-over’ country — they discovered things are better there than conventional wisdom would have us believe. And because, as a married writers couple, they have a light, easy way of sharing their experiences and thoughts that made for a very entertaining and interesting hour.” — Mike Collins, Host

4. The Monthly “Mike And The Mayor” Series

Mike Collins with Mayor Vi Lyles in our first in a series of monthly chats with the mayor.
Credit Erin Keever / WFAE

“I’ve been so glad that the mayor agreed to sit down with us each month to discuss the most important issues in the city. Mayor Vi Lyles has been very willing to answer questions from our listeners, who want her insight on many things that are happening in the Queen City.” — Wendy Herkey, Executive Producer

5. Frye Gaillard Brings The 60s Back To Life In New Book

“The 1960’s hold a special place in my heart, even if I was born three decades too late. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Gaillard discuss the decade that shaped so many of the bands and people I have looked up to in life. I am the son of two hippies, after all. Plus, he named his book after a Dylan tune. How can you go wrong with that?” — Ryan McFadin, Assistant Producer

6. Former CIA Chief John Brennan On Russia, Trump And More

“I am star struck when we have national political figures on the show. Mike asked probing questions and I enjoyed the finesse with which Mr. Brennan avoided answering them.” — Jennifer Worsham, Production Assistant

7. Demystifying Science With Dr. Michio Kaku

Dr. Michio Kaku in Charlotte Talks' Spirit Square studio.
Credit Jennifer Worsham / WFAE

“I took an immediate liking to him because of his manner. He had a great sense of humor and an infectious enthusiasm that made you want to understand complicated subjects. But then, he is able to explain these complicated themes in such a way that you really do understand. It was just one of those programs that I didn’t want to end.” — Mike Collins, Host

“I’ve been a lifelong fan of Dr. Kaku, having watched him on the Science Channel with my dad when I was a kid. It was a truly great experience seeing him sit down with Mike for a one-on-one interview all about astrophysics, string theory and interstellar travel … even if most of it went way over my head.” — Ryan McFadin, Assistant Producer

8. Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Recycling

“I think we’ve all have that moment when we’re holding a piece of plastic and hesitating over the trash and recycling bins. Even with the number system, it’s not always clear-cut what’s recyclable and what’s not. It turns out the county is struggling with too many of us doing what they call 'wishful recycling' and chucking something in the bin that’s not actually recyclable. We talked about the consequences of that and what actually happens to the stuff we recycle.” — Erin Keever, Senior Producer

9. An Interview with Dan Rather

“Growing up, Dan Rather was a nightly presence in my house. My dad was a devoted watcher of ‘The CBS Evening News,’ so the big news stories of my childhood were seen through the lens of Dan Rather. Listening to his conversation with Mike, you’re reminded of how he was present for some of the defining stories of our times.” — Chris Miller, Producer

Bobbie Cavnar, a British Literature teacher at South Point High School in Belmont was named national Teacher of the Year by the NEA Foundation.
Credit Gaston County Schools

10. Nation’s Top Public School Teacher Is From Gaston County

“I always enjoy educators who inspire students. Bobbie Cavnar helped renew my faith in public education.” — Jennifer Worsham, Production Assistant

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