Last week, Sarah Edwards wrote about the storied life and abrupt end of WUNC’s The State of Things.
Reader SUSAN DAVIS, a former producer of the show, had some more details to share.
“Thank you for your thoughtful article on the end of The State of Things in the most recent issue of INDY Week. You covered the complicated history of the show with warmth and insight. However, you overlooked the show’s brilliant legacy of producers. It’s common for listeners to assume the heart and mind of a radio show rests with the host or hosts, but producers are often more responsible for a show’s structure, tone, and content than the voices most are familiar with.
I don’t know if you and I overlapped, but I was the senior producer of The State of Things from May of 2004 until November 2012. In my time on the show, several brilliant producers were hired and went on to do great things in public radio and broadcasting. WUNC’s current content director, Lindsay Foster Rhyne, began her career on tSOT, went on to make her mark at Marketplace, launch a show with Celeste Headlee at GPB, and was one of the original senior producers at 1A on NPR. Dave DeWitt began his career at WUNC on tSOT. David Gura was an intern on tSOT while in high school before working as a producer on the show, working at NPR in Washington D.C. after graduating from Cornell, then at Marketplace, Bloomberg TV, and now hosts his own show on MSNBC. Katie Bishop interned on tSOT while a Robertson scholar at UNC. We hired her as a producer before she went on to work for WNYC and become the founding producer of the popular podcast Death, Sex & Money.
The State of Things was so admired for its content structure and production plan that the Public Radio Program Directors used it as a teaching tool in their Talkshow Handbook. It was Frank Stasio and his early team(s,) including me, Dave DeWitt, Lindsay Foster Rhyne, Katy Barron, Amber Nimocks, Olympia Stone, and Alex Granados who created and established tSOT’s beloved brand of being relevant, contextual, smart, and funny. Their commitment to never talking down to listeners, always furthering the story, and emphasizing radio’s inherent strengths—intimacy, immediacy, and the power of human stories told with the human voice—changed local programming for the better and for always.”