I’ve left public radio to launch Podcast Asheville

After 5-1/2 years, I’ve resigned from Blue Ridge Public Radio to start a podcast production company. At the heart of it is a new daily podcast about Asheville called The Overlook. The show launched Feb. 13.

Imagine The Daily from the New York Times and Fresh Air with Terry Gross meet up in Asheville and have a baby—that’s The Overlook. I interview local journalists, newsmakers, artists and others in the know about the growing, complicated city of Asheville. New episodes are available every weekday morning.

Here’s where you can listen, subscribe and get updates.

Podcast Asheville is a production company that, in addition to shows I host/produce, will make branded podcasts for area businesses and nonprofits. I’ll also recruit and work with area talent to shepherd new podcasts.

Revolution Calling: Local Artists Panning for the NFT Gold Rush

In my most ambitious project to date for Blue Ridge Public Radio, I produced a five-part series exploring the recent phenomenon of digital art connected to cryptocurrency and the flood of artists pinning their financial hopes there. “Revolution Calling” aired daily April 25-29, 2022, during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, but we posted an extended version of each segment online all at once:

PART ONE: Artists are viewing NFTs as a gateway to validation and sustainability

PART TWO: Filmmaker-turned-NFT artist Kira Bursky is a model for success in this nascent platform

PART THREE: More than the artwork, investors are drawn to the community that comes with NFTs

PART FOUR: An Asheville collaboration makes an early pitch for NFTs in vinyl album releases

PART FIVE: How does someone find and buy NFT art? BPR’s Matt Peiken takes steps toward a purchase

My stories for Blue Ridge Public Radio

In August 2017, I moved to Asheville, NC, to launch the position of Arts & Culture Producer with Blue Ridge Public Radio. I cover Asheville’s fertile arts community through broadcasts, video and online written articles. 

Here’s the best place to catch up on the latest stories I’ve produced, and here’s a more curated sampling.

Special Programs

In March and April 2021, I solely produced separate hour-long programs for BPR’s “The Porch.”

Chelsea Labate
Chelsea Labate

The first focused on artists of this region coping with their mental health through a year of turmoil. You’ll hear stories from several artists from this region, along with research and thoughts from psychologists both about the trope connecting artists and mood disorders and alternatives to traditional counseling.

The second posed the question: If communities benefit from the work and presence of artists, what is our collective responsibility to publicly pay for the arts? I spoke with local and national arts advocates and also with random people in public.

The Porch: Artists Coping With Their Mental Health Through A Year Of Turmoil (March 17, 2021)

The Porch: What Is Our Collective Responsibility To Fund The Arts? (April 29, 2021)

Community Forum: The Future of Policing

On July 23, 2020, I stepped outside my arts world to produce a Facebook Live public forum on the future of policing in Asheville. Blue Ridge Public Radio had never produced an event like this and, to my knowledge, neither has another public radio station in the country. A few visual glitches aside, I’m pretty proud of the content, and guests on both side of this contentious issue commented to me after the fact to express their satisfaction with how it went:

The forum lasted nearly two hours, and I edited it down to an hour for broadcast the following week over BPR’s airwaves. Despite the length, it performed really well, both in real time and in the subsequent three weeks: 4,600+ unique viewers, 450+ comments and 66 shares (all highs for Blue Ridge Public Radio content):

Here’s the story I produced in January 2020 about artist compensation in relation to the Asheville Art Museum exhibition “Appalachia Now!”