Around and About Chattanooga

Wednesdays at 10 am & 8 pm

Around and About is a Chattanooga, Tennessee public radio show featuring news, interviews, and arts coverage. The show's host and reporters cover human-interest stories, Southern literature and current events & issues affecting the Tennessee Valley. 

Many guests are Chattanooga residents; others are national authors, experts and celebrities speaking on topics relevant to our community. The show is broadcast Wednesdays on WUTC NPR 88.1 FM, and the podcast is available here.

You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Comments? Story ideas? Email us.

Songbirds Guitar Museum is located in the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex, with more than 550 acoustic and electric guitars on display. If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll see examples of the band's favorite Rickenbacker and Gretsch models. Rows of glass cases also show off rare Fender prototype Telecasters, and Martin acoustics from the 1930s and 40s.

Since launching in 2014, the annual Chattanooga Film Festival has become a major event, featuring dozens and dozens of feature films and shorts, as well as secret screenings, discussion panels, and parties. Last year's event drew a crowd of more than 10,500 people.

This year's festival kicks off April 6th and lasts through the 9th. The full schedule is now online.

Festival founder Chris Dortch and his father (also named Chris Dortch) join us to preview this year's event.

Michael Gray has been hosting and producing the River City Sessions for several years now. The show is recorded live at Gran Falloon on Main Street and then airs on WUTC on the fourth Sunday of every month at 8 in the evening. River City Sessions is a showcase for storytellers, but as Michael Gray told Richard Winham, that wasn’t clear to him when he first began producing the show.

The next live taping is Thursday, March 9 at 7 pm.

 Dr. Jonathan McNair joins us to discuss "O King," a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that will feature music and spoken-word performances. At the event, two new instrumental works by Dr. Jonathan McNair will premiere.

FROM A PRESS RELEASE:

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke finished far ahead of the three challengers who sought to unseat him on March 7.  

Chattanooga Police Department

Hosting a walkthrough of the Chattanooga Police Department’s new Real Time Intelligence Center (RTIC), Mayor Andy Berke vowed, "Our city will stop at nothing to prevent crime."

RTIC will gather data from cameras placed throughout the city starting this week. Police officials said they will use the cameras to create a "near real-time digital data warehouse."

Every year for the past seven years the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Music department has staged a weekend-long Piano Extravaganza. The Extravaganza, a showcase for UTC students and faculty as well as special guests, was conceived and organized by Dr. Sin Sing Tsai. Dr. Tsai passed away recently, but the music department decided to continue with the Piano Extravaganza as a tribute to Dr. Tsai. 

I grew up in Chattanooga hearing rumors of Volkswagen-sized catfish swimming in the river near the dam, and I'll admit it: I was naive enough to think that such tales were unique to my hometown. It turns out people have been saying the same thing for decades in locations all around the South.

Seun Erinle joins us to talk about upcoming technology classes in downtown Chattanooga. Eirnle founded A.I.R. Labs (Aspire, Imagine, Reason), which offers courses in web development for youth, graphic design, music production, and more. Erinle also talks about starting Blerd Nation, a Web site hub for Black Nerds.

Every year, the Chattanooga Music Club offers scholarships to high school seniors interested in going on to college to study music. This year the club is offering eight different scholarships. To find out more, Richard Winham talked to one of the past scholarship winners and to Janet Sump, the chair for the auditions.

Anna Saffley Houston led a rich life. She was an independent woman in an era when very few women had that option. But she's best remembered for the huge collection of antiques she amassed in her lifetime--now housed  in The Houston Museum in the Bluff View Arts District. Richard Winham talked to Lilly Waters, the outreach coordinator for the museum, about the collection and the life of the singular woman behind it. The museum's annual antiques show/sale runs 2/24 through 2/26.

In 2013, Sybil Baker began working on a book about immigrants and refugees who have resettled in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At the request of people who reviewed early drafts, she began including stories of her own travels, including a "reverse migration" from America to Ankara, and 12 years she spent living in South Korea before moving to the Scenic City and teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

She joins us to talk about Immigration Essays, which also examines Chattanooga as a destination: its legacy of racism, and gentrification affecting the MLK neighborhood downtown.

SPECIAL EVENT: At Star Line Books on 2/15 at 7 pm, she will be celebrating her book launch with special guests George Conley and Earl Braggs.

The Chattanooga Chorus is a group of men who love to sing acapella barbershop harmony. Every year on Valentines Day, The Choo Choo Chorus dispatches quartets all over the city to serenade sweethearts. As you might imagine the singers have stories to tell—they shared a few with Richard Winham.

Glenn Miller's “Chattanooga Choo Choo” was such a phenomenal hit that RCA honored Miller with a novel trophy: a copy of the record pressed in gold on February 10, 1942. The song boosted tourism in Chattanooga, Tennessee, inspiring local businessmen to save a historic train station from demolition and refurbish it.

By 1942, more than 1.2 million copies of the song had been sold. And that was no small thing--the biggest seller in years. RCA manager W. Wallace Early celebrated by presenting Glenn Miller with a trophy during a live radio broadcast.

Greater Tuna, the second smallest town in Texas, is the setting for the play opening at the Signal Mountain Playhouse on Friday February 11th. The play features twenty different characters , but only two actors. Richard Winham talked to the actors, Mark Oglesby and Dennis Parker, along with the play’s director, Michelle Ford.

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