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Inside Appalachia
Sundays at 6pm on Radio IQ

Inside Appalachia tells the stories of our people, and how they live today.

Host Mason Adams leads us on an audio tour of our rich history, our food, our music and our culture.

Latest episodes of Inside Appalachia
  • Spring wildflowers are in bloom, and some of the most common species play an important role in herbal medicine. This week, we learn about some of the ways people use violets. What’s your favorite style of egg roll? An acclaimed, out-of-the-way restaurant in Pounding Mill, Virginia bends culinary genres and uses an unexpected ingredient. And, more and more school boards are pulling books from library shelves. We’ll speak with a reporter in a Virginia county where 57 titles were yanked.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re talking about traditional ballads -- how they tell stories and connect us to the past. These old tunes can mean so much. They can tap into difficult emotions and give feelings space to be heard. Some songs may even be too uncomfortable to sing. In this special episode with guest co-host, ballad singer Saro Lynch-Thomason, we explore songs about lawbreaking folk heroes, runaway trains and murder ballads.
  • This week, we visit the Seeing Hand Association. They bring together people who are visually impaired to learn the craft of chair caning. Corporate greed has been gobbling up newspapers for years. Now, some of those same companies are taking a bite out of mobile home parks. They’re raising rents and letting repairs slide. And, as the Mountain Valley Pipeline nears completion, people who live near it say government officials are ignoring their concerns about pollution. You'll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • Red Terry’s property in Bent Mountain, Virginia, is in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. She says the place was beautiful, but she's worried about the dangers of the pipeline not far from her home. Plus, almost everybody has a favorite cup or coffee mug, but how far would you go to replace it? One woman would go pretty far. And… we explore an effort in western Virginia to make old-time music more available to Black musicians. You'll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • This week, we’re revisiting our episode “What Is Appalachia?” from December 2021. Appalachia connects mountainous parts of the South, the Midwest, the Rust belt and even the Northeast. The Appalachian Regional Commission defined the boundaries for Appalachia in 1965 with the creation of the Appalachian Regional Commision, a part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. It was legislation that sought to expand social welfare, and some localities were eager for the money, while others resisted the designation. The boundaries and definition of Appalachia can now only be changed by an act of Congress. Politically, Appalachia encompasses 423 counties across 13 states — and West Virginia’s the only state entirely inside the region. That leaves so much room for geographic and cultural variation, as well as many different views on what Appalachia really is. For Inside Appalachia, we turned our entire episode over to the question, “What is Appalachia?” With stories from Mississippi to Pittsburgh, we asked people across our region whether they consider themselves to be Appalachian.
  • Inside Appalachia remembers Travis Stimeling. The author, musician and educator left a deep mark on Appalachian culture, and the people who practice and document it. And grab your dancing shoes and learn about a movement to make square dance calling more inclusive. Plus, it’s not just you. There are more deer than ever these days. A writer explores the long, complicated entwinement of people and our wild kin.
  • For nearly a century, some of the best wood carvers in Appalachia have trained at a folk school in North Carolina. The Brasstown Carvers still welcome newcomers to come learn the craft. In 2021, Willie Carver was named Kentucky’s Teacher of the Year. Then he left his job over homophobia and became an activist and celebrated poet. And, the zine Porch Beers chronicles the author’s life in Appalachia — including a move from Huntington to Chattanooga, and back again. You're hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • Step shows are a tradition at many historically Black universities, including schools in Appalachia. We hear about one that’s part of West Virginia State University’s annual homecoming celebration. Abandoned industrial sites have long been a magnet for people to explore and turn into not-at-all-legal hangout spots, but some come with hidden dangers. We learn about the danger at Fairmont Brine, a site in West Virginia that processed liquid used in hydraulic fracking. You'll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • Appalachians love to compete. Whether it’s recreational league softball, a turkey calling contest or workplace chili cookoffs, Mountain folks are in it to win it. But there’s more to competing than just winning or losing. In this show, we’ll meet competitors who are also keepers of beloved Appalachian traditions.
  • When the farming start-up, AppHarvest, launched in Kentucky, it promised good jobs in coal country — but some workers called it a grueling hell on earth. We also explore an island of Japanese culture in West Virginia called Yama. And fish fries have been a staple in Charleston, West Virginia’s Black community for years. We visit one and learn a little about what’s made them so popular. You'll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.