Christopher Blank

It all started with ghost stories. Dad convinced me that spirits lurked just outside my bedroom door at night. After years of night terrors, I began listening to LPs of spooky tales, memorizing them and acting them out around campfires on those balmy winter nights in South Florida. In this way, other children would suffer as I had.

 

Naturally, this dramatic flair evolved into a prestigious four-year engagement on the high school drama circuit where my mother’s rapturous reviews provoked standing ovations also from my mother.

 

One day, while working part time as a copy clerk at the St. Petersburg Times, an editor asked me why my hair was dyed bright orange. I explained that it was because I was “an actor.” Was my future decided out of pity? Out of concern for my mental health? I cannot read minds. However, the next thing that happened is that I was made a theater critic.

 

For more than a decade, The Commercial Appeal’s readers tolerated my opinions on everything from classical music to ballet. Even WKNO-FM let me create a little club for theatergoers.

 

When this fine radio station went looking for someone to tell stories of the “news” variety, I made the argument that Memphis is a city full of great stories; no other has a richer cultural narrative. The crossroads of America is a crucible of stories from all walks of life. Also, crossroads are known for ghosts and devils, and who doesn’t love those?

 

They totally bought the argument. So now, I’m looking for great stories. What’s yours?

This week on WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines, Carol Coletta, the new president and CEO of Memphis Riverfront Development Corp., discusses the new comprehensive plan for the city's riverfront. The "Memphis Riverfront Concept" was revealed last year and includes a new Brooks Museum, along with a possible aquarium on Mud Island. Host Eric Barnes is joined by Bill Dries, senior reporter for the Memphis Daily News. 

Handel’s Messiah, the soaring Baroque oratorio, typically resurfaces in churches and concert halls around Christmas or Easter, tracing the birth, death and resurrection of Christ in an immaculate, two-hour ascent to the "Hallelujah Chorus."

Its popularity with audiences – starting with its Dublin premiere nearly 280 years ago – means that the singers and musicians who continue to study and play it also have a certain relationship with the work.


This week's Behind the Headlines from WKNO-TV focuses on new ideas surrounding Memphis' complicated relationship with public transportation. Joining host Eric Barnes is Suzanne Carlson, transportation and mobility project manager for Innovate Memphis; Glenn Gadbois, program manager for MMDC; and Scudder Wagg, senior associate for Jarrett Walker and Associates. Also at the table is Bill Dries, senior reporter for the Memphis Daily News

This week on WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines, Chris Davis with the Memphis Flyer and Laura Faith Kebede with Chalkbeat TN discuss MLK50, a possible new arena in Graceland and much more. They are joined by Bill Dries, senior reporter with the Memphis Daily News and host Eric Barnes. 

MLK50 Recap: A Platform for Activism

Apr 5, 2018

Leading up to Wednesday's commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death 50 years ago, multiple groups hoped that the media spotlight on Memphis would draw attention to contemporary civil rights issues, from economic empowerment to social equality. With a backdrop and a microphone provided by the National Civil Rights Museum, activists appealed to various causes. Labor unions took to the streets of Memphis in a show of strength. In this second installment of our MLK50 recap, WKNO reporters Meredith Husar and Erin Conway discuss some of the political aspirations presented to the anticipated crowds of more than 100,000. 

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