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Vital Voices

Vital Voices features interviews with a wide variety of people talking about the subjects they are most passionate about in life.

Latest Episodes
  • We talk with Gayle Manchin, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. She became the 13th Federal Co-Chair in May of 2021 and is the first native West Virginian to serve in that position.
  • Dr. Colin Baxter, Professor Emeritus of History at East Tennessee State University, explains how Kingsport, Tennessee, and Hawkins County, Tennessee, helped win World War II, through the production of an explosive called RDX.
  • Author Robert Sorrell takes us from Greene County, Tennessee, north to Norton, Virginia, through his new book Secret Appalachian Highlands: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
  • We visit the Langston Centre in Johnson City, Tennessee—a multicultural facility that promotes community engagement through the arts, education, and leadership activities. The building housed Langston High School, where African American students were educated from 1893 until 1965. Langston supervisor Adam Dickson talks about the ongoing work at Langston, the history of the Juneteenth holiday, and another significant date in American history that will be observed in our area later in the summer.
  • This is part two of our interview with Cornelia Laemmli Orth, Music Director and Conductor of Symphony of the Mountains, a fully professional orchestra that traces its origins back to 1946, when it was called the Kingsport Symphony Orchestra.
  • We learn about the musical background and philosophy of Cornelia Laemmli Orth, Music Director and Conductor of Symphony of the Mountains.
  • We talk with Marilyn Mascaro, a member of the Tennessee Mountain Writers organization, about her new book, When the Rivers Flowed. It’s the non-fiction story of her grandparents and their lives together in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Tennessee Valley Authority were being planned and created.
  • In a special fundraising edition of “Vital Voices,” we’re joined by Marat Moore, a writer, photographer, activist, and former coal miner, who speaks about her loyalty to WETS and Public Radio over the years.
  • With the Memorial Day holiday weekend upcoming, we get important boating safety tips from Matt Cameron, with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the organization responsible for patrolling the state’s waterways.
  • It’s a story repeated often in the mountains of Appalachia. A family has to leave the homeplace in search of employment. Missy Jones had to leave her home in Letcher County, Kentucky, for that reason. But in her new home 3 ½ hours away, she pays homage to the cooking of Eastern Kentucky.