TED Radio Hour comes to Asheville’s WCQS

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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It looks like the popularity of TED talks continues to grow. NPR is jumping on the wagon by airing the TED Radio Hour. Here’s what the New York Times said about the TED Radio Hour:

The show, hosted by Alison Stewart, the former anchor of the PBS series “Need to Know,” draws from an archive of more than 1,200 TED talks, each lasting 18 minutes or so, which become the kernels for a broader conversation, Eric Nuzum, NPR’s vice president for programming, said by telephone. Each episode is organized around a theme: one pairs competing talks on the cause of happiness; others look at the power of crowds and food sustainability.

Here’s what Barbara Sayer says about the show airing on WCQS here in Asheville:

We start the ten-part series this Wednesday, July 18th. 7 pm, right after Marketplace. Every Wednesday at 7 for 10 weeks.

Below see the first five episodes. I’ve also included some info on a series you might find interesting – we’re starting it in August.

State of the Re:Union. It’s a five part series – the new season – we’ve aired every other season that’s been available. Al Letson is an amazing guy.


Our Buggy Brain
Our amazing brain performs harmonious functions and peculiar actions that might seem counterintuitive. What tricks make us think it’s okay to cheat or steal? Are we in control of our own decisions? Why do our brains misjudge what will make us happy?

The Pursuit of Happiness
Being happy is a universal human yearning, but this simple goal often eludes us. If we’re truly able to attain happiness, then how do we find it? Three TED speakers offer some big ideas for achieving happiness.

Food Matters
A cornucopia of TED Talks about food: growing it, cooking it, consuming it — and making sure there’s enough for everyone. Feast on stories about saving seeds to protect the future of food, the daily miracle of feeding a city, and what’s in kids’ lunches. For dessert, hear a chef’s tale of the best fish he ever ate.

The Power of Crowds
Technology-enabled collaboration draws us closer, makes us smarter and allows us to innovate using the wisdom of a crowd. A new wave of collaborative consumption is transforming consumerism and the rules of engagement. What’s the true potential of crowdsourcing?

Fixing Our Broken System
We depend on rules, guidelines, and laws to provide structure, order, and function. But too often these systems fail us. These TED speakers propose how to fix our broken systems, by looking to trust and practical wisdom as ways to mend education, medicine, and the law. Plus, how games might be our best hope to solve real world problems.

State of the Re:Union with Al Letson
Starts Saturday August 4th. Airs Saturday at 3 pm and Sunday at 6 pm.

Fresh Stories on Building and Rebuilding Communities

With so much talk about “community,” sometimes we lose perspective on the real stories of the people working to make homes, lives, and neighborhoods across the country. In State of the Re:Union, Public Radio Talent Quest winner Al Letson travels the country to find those stories — and tells them with grace, perspective, and deep curiosity. SOTRU explores the resonating themes, stories, challenges and cultural components that create communities across the country and celebrate the commonality that links us as a people.

The Community of Comic Books
In a series first, SOTRU explores a vast community that’s based around a medium, rather than a geographic location. Despite the outdated stereotype of a solitary nerd holed up in his bedroom, burying himself in a world of fantasy, comic books serve as the connection point for a diverse community of people, who are drawn to them for all manner of reasons. And sometimes, comics become the vehicle for people to take action within the community itself or inspire individuals to make a difference in the wider world. We meet the wide range of people who make up this community and hear stories of their efforts to seek justice and right wrongs in the comics ecosystem. We meet the people who love this world, the people who create it, those who believe there’s something awry in Nerdville, and those who’ve made it their life’s missions to bring superheroes off the page and into the real world.

Tri-Cities/Walla Walla, WA
The Tri-Cities of Washington are Richland, Pasco and Kennewick — three cities clustered near one another in the vast plains and deserts of Washington state, to the east of the Cascade Mountains. It’s a region that seems like it would have little to attract newcomers — largely remote, prone to dust storms, and not close to any major city. But over the decades, this area has drawn people from the world over. In this episode, we explore the secret history of the area, the surprising mix of residents, and what’s drawn them here and why.

Baltimore, MD
Baltimore is a city of many neighborhoods, of intense racial divides not easily overcome. But this is a city with more dimensions than the impression cast by headlines and series The Wire. Those images often overshadow the passion and dedication many Baltimoreans have for their city, and for taking on what’s wrong with it in ways small and large. In this episode, we tell stories of people who are working from outside the system to take on Baltimore’s problems and shepherd its promises into fruition, who are not letting their outsider status stop them for working their way in.

Vermont is a state known for its iconic small-town American imagery and tight-knit communities where everyone knows everyone else. For the past 200 years, an annual Town Meeting Day attracts people from every town to debate and vote on local issues. So when the floodwaters rose during Tropical Storm Irene last year, Vermonters had a template for small-scale democracy and decision-making to work from. Together, each town confronted its own disaster — townspeople called daily town meetings, and dreamed up ways to keep cut-off, and flooded towns connected with the outside world for food, clean water and medicine. When the skies cleared and the clean-up began in earnest, people across Vermont found themselves buoyed by strong traditions, but confronting a world that looked completely different. We explore Vermont after the flooding, before a full recovery, as small towns across the state take stock of their traditions and decide how much they can hold on to the past as they build a new future.

Missouri’s Ozarks
The Ozarks have long been an isolated place where steep mountains break up the landscape into hills and hollows, making each little town its own microcosm. Outsiders might know little beyond the stereotypical hillbillies, generations of poverty, and an infamous meth problem, one of the worst in the country. But people in the Ozarks are pushing for ways to build community with few resources, to hold on to what is authentic about their identity while bucking stereotypes imposed on them by the outside world. In this hour we meet fathers parenting from prison, famous fiddlers passing on their craft, and people re-imagining the iconic Ozarks one-room schoolhouse, finding pockets of innovation in a place that much of America seems to have forgotten.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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