The North Carolina Senate has passed on first reading its version of the budget by a vote of 33-15.  Included in the budget is a plan sponsored by Hendersonville Republican Senator Tom Apodaca to cap tuition to $500 per semester at select universities, including Western Carolina University.  WCU was originally among 5 schools, 3 of them historically black colleges and universities that would be affected.  But after an outcry from HBCU alumni, the 3 HBCUs were removed from the plan, leaving only WCU and UNC Pembroke.  That amendment passed overwhelmingly.  I spoke with Western Carolina Profe

  The Brevard Community Band, under the direction of Jamie Hafner, performs a "Concert in the Round" Sunday afternoon at 3 in venerable Strauss Auditorium at Brevard Music Center. Blake Ellege, tenor, will be the featured soloist.  Jamie Hafner will talk about the concert with Dick Kowal this afternoon at 1:06.

Davin Eldridge


On the tailgate of an old rusted red pickup truck, a bumper sticker reads, “Why is it called tourist season if we can’t shoot em’?”.  


The vehicle is parked alongside dozens of others in the fields of Darnell Farms, just outside of Bryson City, for its seventeenth annual Strawberry Jam farm-raising event. In the air an aroma of boiled peanuts and kettle-cooked corn mixes with the sounds of bluegrass and children playing, along the banks of the nearby Tuckasegee River.

  Asheville Community Theatre presents the Tony winning musical "Le Cage aux Folles," opening Friday night, directed by Jerry Crouch.

Our friends from ACT, Jerry Crouch and Bradshaw Call  will talk with Dick Kowal about the production today at 1:06.  Don't miss it!


Early voting is now underway for the June 7 primary. Voters will winnow the field of state Supreme Court justice nominees, from 4 to 2, and decide some congressional primary races as well. For a check on how early voting is playing out so far in Haywood County, WCQS’s Davin Eldridge spoke with Haywood County Board of Elections Director Robert Inman.

You can find locations and hours of early voting sites at your county's Board of Elections website.

WCQS will add three new programs to the Sunday afternoon line-up: Fresh Air Weekend, The New Yorker Radio Hour and Reveal. The three-hour block of programming will air from 2 to 5 p.m. beginning June 12.

Fresh Air Weekend collects the best cultural segments from the week’s programs and crafts them together for great weekend listening. Award-winning journalist Terry Gross hosts the show, which will air air Sundays from 2 to 3 p.m.

WCQS will host an opening reception for the paintings of Jackson County Artist, Laura John on June 3rd from 5 - 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. This is also the evening of the Downtown Asheville Arts District First Friday Art Walk. 

WCQS General Manager, David Feingold, is delighted to have the station participate in the vibrant art scene, "Western North Carolina is a rich cultural and artistic tapestry and we hope to showcase parts of that fabric with a rotation of exhibits of artists from throughout the region." 

Erin Derham

The Asheville community will honor a man who was largely responsible for many of the landmark  downtown Asheville businesses of today.  Julian Price died in 2001, but his legacy endures as Asheville has transformed from a sleepy mountain town to a booming arts and culture hotspot.  The Orange Peel music venue downtown will host the premiere of a new documentary about Price on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 7:30.  I spoke with Price's widow, Meg MacLeod, filmmaker Erin Derham, and his old friend and colleague Karen Ramshaw with Public Interest Projects.  The full piece is above, and complete inte

  Join us Friday afternoon at 2 when we'll enjoy performances by the members of the Asheville Young Musicians Club. These students in grades 8 thru 12 from area schools will perform music by Mozart, Dvorak and Shostakovich in our studios, and give us a preview of their benefit concert Sunday evening at Bent Creek Baptist Church.

  Thursday marks the official release of the Asheville Symphony's new recording. But it isn't of Beethoven or Brahms, it's The Asheville Symphony Sessions, a collaboration with leading musicians of Asheville's music scene, recorded at Echo Mountain Studios. David Whitehill, executive director of the ASO, talks with Dick Kowal about the genesis of the project, and the future.

The first session of the brand-new Black Mountain School gets underway on Saturday May 21st.  The organizers were inspired the legacy of Black Mountain College, an experimental college notable for bringing together an impressive group of artists, musicians, poets, and free-thinkers during its 24 year existence between 1933 and 1957.  WCQS's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Executive Director Chelsea Ragan and board member Heidi Gruner about the launch. 

Below is a promotional video from the school website:

As we do on many Thursdays, I checked in with our gardening expert Alison Arnold. 

Q: You were talking earlier that it’s usually November when people notice their holly trees don't have berries but that now is the time to look into why this might be happening…. Tell me more about that?

A: Yes and we are talking about the native American holly and yes.. so when the question comes up about why a holly doesn’t have berries its important to rule out the most obvious question -  is the plant flowering at all?

  Our friends from Pan Harmonia are in the studio today with Dick Kowal to discuss this weekend's season finale concert at Asheville's First Presbyterian Church. It's music for flute, bassoon, harpsichord and percussion!

An event Tuesday 5/17 at Innovation Brewing Company in Sylva will highlight green entrepreneurs.  The Conservation Fund's Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) is hosting the spotlight for businesses who they've helped to succeed.  NCIF helps startups that are good stewards of the environment with loans.  The invitation-only event will feature speakers from the host Innovation Brewing Company, Bailey Mountain Bike Park, Flymen Fishing Company, Blue Firefly Inn, and Gypsy Queen Cuisines. 

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Local best-selling author Sara Gruen isn't shy about standing up for what she believes in.  The author of novels like "Water for Elephants" and "At the Water's Edge" has often donated in support of animal advocacy groups and rescues.  Now she's standing against North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2 and in support of independent bookstores.  When award-winning writer Sherman Alexie canceled his May 18 Asheville appearance in protest of HB2, Gruen and others organized to fill the slot with an anti-HB2 fundraiser that instead would