A selection of my radio work:
“Welder Keeps Old Clocks Ticking“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Carl Witt turned his grandfather’s old horse barn into a shop where he carefully repairs springs, gears and bearings in old clocks to get them running again. It’s a craft he learned from Charles Decker, a master clock repairman who also became Witt’s dear friend.
“Retired Miner Makes Traditional Cream Pull Candy“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Traditional Appalachian pull candy — sometimes called cream pull candy or Kentucky pull candy — is known for two things: its buttery, melt-in-your mouth flavor and the painstaking process required to make the stuff. In this story, we tag along as retired coal miner Joe Parcell makes a batch, just as he’s been doing for the last 20 years.
“Friends And Family Remember Russell Yann, Iconic Owner Of Fairmont Hotdog Hotspot“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Yann’s Hotdogs in Fairmont, West Virginia has a huge, devoted following. But if you wanted a dog from Russell Yann — the iconic restaurant’s equally iconic owner, who died on Jan. 15, 2021 — there were some rules to follow.
“Marmet’s Yellow Slaw Offers a Tasty Twist on the Standard West Virginia Hot Dog“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
If you go to a West Virginia restaurant and order a hot dog with “everything,” most of the time you’ll end up with the same thing: a weenie in a bun topped with a beef-based chili (no beans), mayonnaise-based coleslaw, diced onion and mustard.
Except in the little town of Marmet, West Virginia, about 10 miles outside the state capital. Here the slaw is yellow — because it’s made with mustard, sugar and apple cider vinegar, not mayonnaise. This lends the dog a complex sweet and tangy flavor.
“A Family Cultivates Tradition With A Nearly-forgotten Tomato“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
When Mary Lou Estler married her late husband Bob in 1960, it wasn’t long before she was introduced to a priceless family heirloom — an heirloom tomato.
“New River Gorge Rock Climbers Grapple With Racist Route Names“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
In summer 2020, the world of rock climbing began working to change racist and otherwise offensive rock climbing route names. This story follows how that work played out in West Virginia’s New River Gorge.
NOTE: We published an update to this story in September 2021.
“Wetzel County Workshop Keeps Folk Toys Alive” (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
If Santa’s workshop lived deep in the West Virginia woods, it would probably look a lot like Steve and Ellie Conlon’s Mountain Craft Shop Co.
“W.Va. Campground Preserving Appalachian-Born Style Of Sacred Music That Is Quickly Being Forgotten“ (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
There’s a place in southern West Virginia that many consider holy ground. For nearly 70 years, gospel music fans have gathered on this mountaintop just south of Summersville Lake for weekend concerts featuring singers from all over West Virginia and its surrounding states.