A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio

By Bob Edwards | Go to book overview

HILLBULLIES

The freedom to travel more often and collect interviews inevitably led me back to Appalachia, the land so rich with storytellers. In terms of economic reality, nothing had changed since the 1970s, when I did Appalachian stories for All Things Considered. Big energy companies still exploited the region’s coal deposits with little benefit to the people who lived there. What had changed was the process for extracting the coal.

Industry used to burrow into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and extract the coal through tunnels. Later it employed the more invasive process of strip mining, cutting away a slice of the mountain all the way around at the source of the coal seam, leaving an ugly scar. Now the companies just take the mountains down. Using a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, coal companies blow off the tops and sides of the mountains to expose the seams of coal. The trees, topsoil, and rock are pushed over the side into hollows between the mountains, often burying streams running through the hollows.

Estimated to have formed nearly 300 million years ago, the Appalachian Mountains are North America’s oldest. During the last Ice Age, the central and southern Appalachians were spared. When the ice melted, the dense, lush, green forests of Appalachia reforested the rest of the continent. The mountains provide habitat for thousands of species of flora and fauna. The scourge of mountaintop-removal coal mining is the perfect storm of environmental degradation—nature’s worst nightmare. It destroys mountains, forests, streams, and habitat all at

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A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Redemption 1
  • Launch 3
  • Home 6
  • Voice 12
  • Whel 16
  • Army 22
  • Ed Bliss 30
  • Network 36
  • NPR 43
  • Susan 50
  • All Things Considered 55
  • Sharon 61
  • Pilot Error 67
  • Disaster 73
  • Morning Edition 80
  • Reconsidering All Things 87
  • News Leader 89
  • Overnight 95
  • Fridays 99
  • Style 101
  • Politicians 105
  • Favorites 109
  • Memories 115
  • War 118
  • Two Babes in Baghdad 126
  • Turning Point 128
  • Maverick 137
  • Bobapalooza 142
  • Dennis 153
  • Texas Showdown 155
  • Aftra 161
  • Xm 164
  • Satelute Radio 168
  • The Bob Edwards Show 171
  • Father Greg Boyle 175
  • Bob Edwards Weekend 178
  • Western SwÍng 179
  • Hillbullies 183
  • The Invisible 186
  • 3rd Med 191
  • Nola 195
  • Epilogue 199
  • Index 203
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