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Inside Appalachia

Inside Appalachia tells the stories of our people, and how they live today. The show is an audio tour of our rich history, food, music and culture.

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A Forest Of Mythical Giants, An Heirloom Apple 'Detective,' And Why Some Of The World's Best Steel Drums Are Made In W.Va.

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear the story of a world-renowned steelpan drum maker from Trinidad who built instruments in a former coal mining town in West Virginia, and inspired others to learn his craft. We'll also talk with a man who treks hundreds of miles to seek out long-lost varieties of heirloom apples.

22 Oct 2021

Rank #1

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‘We Do This To Free Us’ — An Interview With The Creators Of The ‘Black In Appalachia’ Podcast On Inside Appalachia

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re talking with the creators of the “Black in Appalachia” podcast about their recent mountain road trip through the coalfields. Also in this episode, we learn about how debates over LGBTQ issues are playing out on the Qualla Boundary, in Western North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. But some LGBTQ members have spent the last several months trying to change that.

15 Oct 2021

Rank #2

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Memoir Depicts Thriving Black Community In Harlan County, KY. And Investigation Explores Flaws In W.Va.'s Foster Care System

The downturn of coal in Harlan County, Kentucky has led to an exodus of Black residents in search of work. This week on Inside Appalachia, we speak with William Turner, whose new book looks at growing up in a vibrant Black community during Harlan’s boom years.

8 Oct 2021

Rank #3

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Looking Back And Pointing Ahead At The Future of Coal Mining in Appalachia

People in coal country are pleading for help as the coal industry nears the end of its long decline. This week on Inside Appalachia, we explore the economic and health impacts coal has had on communities in Appalachia. We’ll talk about the past and the future of this industry through the lens of its labor history to its future amid tough talks about the world’s climate crisis. And, we’ll meet a woman who entered the male-dominated coal industry. She tells us why she stayed, despite resistance from her family.Coal’s been in slow decline here for decades, but it’s been more noticeable in the last 10 years. That’s meant hard times for communities that have long relied on the industry for jobs and taxes. Coal mining jobs have dipped by 66 percent in West Virginia compared to their heyday 50 years ago — and experts don’t predict a comeback. But we’re not alone; other places around the world face similar dilemmas. We learn what people in West Germany did 50 years ago — - when coal executives and political leaders had to make tough decisions when it came to the future of coal, and their home.

1 Oct 2021

Rank #4

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Skunks, Sweet Tea And Red Wine: Appalachian Storytellers On This Week's Inside Appalachia

Each October, storytellers and audiences of all ages gather at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. This year, because of the pandemic, the festival is going virtual. It takes place the first weekend in October. We thought it was a fitting time to listen back to an episode of Inside Appalachia — which is all about the art of live storytelling.

24 Sep 2021

Rank #5

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Hip-Hop, Animals In Love And More Favorites Inside Appalachia

This week, we’ve pulled a few gems from our archive. We’re listening back to some of our favorite Inside Appalachia stories from the past year.

17 Sep 2021

Rank #6

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Affording And Finding Child Care In Appalachia Was A Challenge Before The Pandemic — Now It’s Worse

This week on Inside Appalachia, we meet parents like Megan Hullinger, a single mom with four kids in Pocahontas County. It took her nearly three years to get a spot at a childcare center for her son Nathan. During the pandemic, parents have faced pressures and decisions unlike any before in human history. How do you balance it all, and maintain positivity, in the midst of all these challenges? For many mothers, we’re not just talking about parenting questions — but also how to balance that against work.

10 Sep 2021

Rank #7

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Appalachian Zines, A Racial Revamp For Rock Climbing Routes And W.Va. Musician John R. Miller Speaks

In the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear stories from creators across Appalachia and how they process their lives through their art. Everything from songwriting, to photography, to self-published zines. Suzie Kelly has been making zines for more than 20 years. She talks about how DIY publishing can connect people in unexpected ways.

3 Sep 2021

Rank #8

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Crystal Wilkinson, Candy-Makers And A Cross-Cultural Music Collaboration

This week's episode of Inside Appalachia is an encore episode filled with rich storytelling and cross-cultural collaborations. What happens when a musician from Belarus gets together with Appalachian folk musicians? And we’ll talk with Affrilachian writer Crystal Wilkinson, who has been named this year’s Kentucky Poet Laureate. You'll hear these stories and more in this episode.

27 Aug 2021

Rank #9

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Education, Job Training and A Future -- Pointing A Path Forward for Young People in W.Va.

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we talk with students, educators, life coaches and psychologists about what can help more young people stay in school, and get trained so they can get jobs, and stay in Appalachia.We meet Sharell Harmon, who works for a nonprofit called Youth Build, training young people with hands-on skills so they can get jobs to help them get a job. Harmon was a participant in the program seven years ago. “I went from being homeless, a college dropout,” Harmon recalled. “And now I'm a college graduate. And, I'm going to buy my first house this year.”

20 Aug 2021

Rank #10