Archive for the ‘WHQR’ Category

I realized that after an enjoyable weekend at the Spoleto Festival, I would normally post something on this blog. Instead I worked on material for the WHQR website and for use on air. So here’s a link to that material.

I mentioned in the piece we ran on air that one of the pleasures of a city like Charleston and a Festival like Spoleto is just walking around, absorbing the sights and sounds, and finding interesting places to eat. Here is a highly personal list of places that I enjoyed on this trip. Some of these were familiar to me, others not:

Gaulart & Maliclet, 98 Broad Street — One place I always try to visit in Charleston. I’ve always wondered why we have both fancy and plain-but-good Italian restaurants in this country, and we we have some very fancy French restaurants (many over-rated), but we don’t have many simple places serving bistro-type French food. This is one. At one time they had a sister restaurant in Cary, NC, but now this is the only one. Great for a lunch stop as well as a late-night restorative.

Hominy Grill, 207 Rutledge Avenue — My son Brooks’ favorite breakfast spot when he lived just around the corner. Traditional Southern breakfasts made with flair in a very attractive old building. It must serve the Medical University crowd primarily; unlike the others here, it’s not downtown, and it’s closed on weekends. Get there by 8 am for best results.

Fleet Landing, 186 Concord Street — A great location in a restored Navy building. Spectacular views of the Cooper River, especially from their outside tables, really good seafood, and easy-on-the-wallet happy hour specials at the bar.

Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe, 62 State Street — Another good breakfast place. Not at all fancy (the tables you see here are in the parking lot of a Li’l Cricket convenience store next door), but very cheery and great food. It’s been written up in a lot of places, so it can be crowded, with few tables.

Toast, 155 Meeting Street — Another good place for breakfast (do you notice kind of a theme here?), though it’s more. It probably greatly benefits from its location on Meeting Street near the Market. Good food, but my sister and I found the service a bit spotty. They were very crowded, as would be expected in Charleston, on Meeting Street, during Spoleto. Best overheard conversation: at lunch on Sunday, the sidewalk was jam-packed with people waiting for a table. I heard a passerby say to his companion, “Man, they must have REALLY good toast.”

East Bay Meeting House, 160 East Bay Street — I didn’t know anything about this place except that it had a vacant table right next to an open window and I really needed to stop for lunch. Very nice ambience and bar, and I had a really fine panini. Unfortunately right after I got there they closed up the windows (to be fair, it was getting hot), but still a nice treat.

Noisy Oyster, East Bay and North Market — Ya know, sometimes you just gotta visit a tacky Tiki bar that plays a lot of Jimmy Buffet and has gallons of fried seafood and cheap happy hour drinks. You could do a lot worse than this one, which to this weary and thirsty traveler was touristy but not tourist-trappy. On a hot day with a lot of walking behind you, this begins to look like an oasis.

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I was interviewed today by Wilmington’s NBC affiliate, WECT. Here’s a link to the clip.

They identified me as news director (corrected at the end of the piece), and once called now-former NPR CEO Vivian Schiller “Schillinger”, but overall it catches the essence of the problem and focuses on the local stations, which is where the emphasis should be.

The big issue is the “Congress cutting funding for NPR” trope that is is ultimately misleading. I carefully explained that NPR doesn’t get much Corporation for Public Broadcasting money, stations do. The target may be NPR, but the bull’s-eye is painted on stations like WHQR.

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Well, Helen and T.C.’s little boy made the news again. The Wilmington Star-News did a profile of me in today’s paper, complete with a picture that looks like I’m trying out for “WHQR 3-D”. Here ’tis.

Wilmington has definitely exceeded my expectations. I went to a rather glittering banquet last night for the Willie Stargell foundation, which raises money for kidney dialysis care at Cape Fear Regional Medical Center here in Wilmington. Stargell of course was a legendary player for the Pittsburgh Pirates who died of kidney failure; his widow Margaret is from Wilmington.

Thanks to her dynamite family and friends (probably a couple of hundred), they had a great turnout. Everywhere you looked there was a sports legend. I had a nice conversation with the great ex-Pirate pitcher Kent Tekulve, who was at my table. It’s been a while since I went out in public in a tux, out of consideration for the public weal.

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Update and clarification: This story in the Wilmington Star-News refers to WHQR being “overpowered” by the TimeWarner/Ch. 14 team. We won because they were disqualified when their anchor turned around and started pulling forward, which is not allowed. Hey, just setting the record straight.
‘Nother update: here’s a slide show of the festivities.

First: three of WHQR’s reporters had Wilmington flood stories on NPR newscasts this week — Michelle Bliss, Rod McClain and Duncan McFadyen (Duncan’s first NPR story). All 3 are under 30. Wow, what a great staff we have here!

Second: The first Wilmington Riverfest Tug-of-War for charity was won today by none other than Team HQR (the Hind-Quarter Removers). We had to overcome strong moves by the team from “The Bone”, TimeWarner Cable and a ringer group of Wilmington firefighters.

Thas right. We bad.

Yours truly was the anchor guy and I took one for the team. Actually I took two for the team, because the TimeWarner guys pulled me into the soapy-water filled swimming pool. Twice.

We won $400 which we will be donating to charity. Each of us will name a charity, and WHQR listeners will vote for their favorites. (Photos: Mary Bradley)

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Here in Wilmington we have been soaked, drenched, waterlogged, sodden and just plain wet all week. Over 20 inches have fallen since Monday of this week — as much as typically hits during a serious hurricane. Water Street, one block from the WHQR offices, was flooded on Thursday. Two of WHQR’s crackerjack reporters, Michelle Bliss and Rod McClain, filed stories with NPR about the flooding.

But today the skies are clearing, the river is full, Riverfest starts this weekend and the beaches are not too crowded with turistas. Here’s a very nice article about me by Bob Workmon in Wilmington’s Beat magazine. Bob’s a great radio guy and a great writer guy as you can see — in short, a great guy in all respects.

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