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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
  • Dr. Ronald E. Beller, President of East Tennessee State University from 1980-91, died on April 6, 2024, at the age of 88. This interview with him, from the WETS archive, was recorded on May 2, 2003.
  • We talk with Dr. Evan A. Kutzler from Western Michigan University about an 1898 cookbook that has been revived. He is the editor of From Biscuits to Lane Cake: Emma Rylander Lane’s “Some Good Things to Eat,” a reprint edition published by Mercer University Press in 2023. The Lane Cake was mentioned by Harper Lee in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The Alabama legislature has named it Alabama’s official “state dessert.”
  • We look back 63 years to a turning point in world history with Dr. Eduardo Zayas-Bazán, who, as a Cuban exile, participated in the Bay of Pigs Invasion on the southwestern coast of Cuba in April of 1961.
  • Dr. John Shelton Reed, one of the most respected commentators on life in the American South, discusses the current state of barbecue, with specific attention to regional differences in North Carolina.
  • We talk with Sarah McCammon, a National Political Correspondent for NPR, about her newly released book, The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church.
  • A re-broadcast of our interview with Dr. Bob Miller, a research chemist from Kingsport, Tennessee, who turned 105 in October of 2023.
  • On March 12, 1974, what became the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University was created when the Tennessee House of Representatives overrode Governor Winfield Dunn’s veto of the medical school bill. This program includes voices of people who were directly involved in the campaign to bring a medical school to ETSU.
  • We visit the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library and talk with archivist Joe Penza about the collection of historical items there, as well as a new grant the Archives has received.
  • On a Peace Corps assignment in Zimbabwe, Kingsport, Tennessee, native Mark Overbay observed the making of a peanut butter paste for use in groundnut stews. It was his inspiration, over a decade later, to start Big Spoon Roasters, a company that specializes in hand-crafted nut butters.
  • We visit with Dr. Bob Miller, still leading an active life at age 105 in Kingsport, Tennessee.