Matt Bush

News Director

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016.  Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C.  For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor.  Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis.  Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.

Matt has a B.A. in broadcasting from Point Park College in Pittsburgh.  His M.A. is in media entrepreneurship from American University in D.C.  In May 2017, he will graduate from the 35th class of Leadership Asheville at UNC-Asheville.

Ways to Connect

Matt Bush BPR

Turkish authorities freed pastor Andrew Brunson Friday after he’s been held there for two years on house arrest, sparking a diplomatic fight between the U.S.

Sedentary Sports - Poker

Oct 11, 2018

In this episode, John and Marcia begin their examination of the rise of sedentary sports in America.  While e-sports and Fortnite have surged in popularity in recent years, they still don't come close to poker - both online and in-person.  Their guest in this episode is Darren Elias, one of the top World Poker Tour players.

(Music featured includes Brown by Nctrnm)  

McDowell County EMS

(Thursday 1:45 p.m.) - Heavy rainfall overnight caused isolated flooding in various parts of Western North Carolina, and a tropical storm warning remains in effect for at least the rest of Thursday in Asheville and Weaverville. 

Blue Ridge Public Radio and its media partners will hold three candidate forums next week.  Both forums will be broadcast live as Facebook Live videos that can be watched on the BPR Facebook page.

Matt Bush BPR

The hotel construction boom in Asheville is showing no signs of slowing down.  Once of the city's most iconic buildings appears to the be the next that will transform into a hotel.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas stopped by the BPR studios to talk with Matt Bush about the future of the Flatiron Building - as well as the latest of the other parts of Asheville's hotel boom.

Excerpts of the interview - 

James Doyle NPR

In an unusual weekend session, the U.S. Senate advances to a final vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Watch the proceedings live below.

UNC Asheville

A study that will research the perceptions of racism and health among African Americans in Western North Carolina has received a $350-thousand grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The study is being conducted by UNC Asheville, the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA), and the Mountain Area Health Education Center, commonly known as MAHEC.  

James Doyle NPR

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), is speaking on the floor of the US Senate today (approximately 3:00 PM Eastern Time). She's talking about her position on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Collins is one of the small group of Senators who could swing the confirmation vote either way. Watch her statement live.

When Kathryn Edin was studying poverty in the U.S., she and Luke Schaefer made a startling discovery - the number of households in the U.S.

Student Athlete

Oct 2, 2018

In this episode, John and Marcia discuss their appearance in the HBO documentary Student Athlete, which premiered October 2nd, 2018.  Produced by Lebron James' production company and directed by Academy-award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the documentary examines the collegiate amateur athletic model in the U.S., and the uncompensated athletes that fuel it.  Many of the topics in the film are issues that our hosts have discussed on previous episodes of Going Deep.

Our VOICE Facebook page

Buncombe County’s rape crisis and prevention center says it has seen a surge in calls before, during, and after last Thursday's hearing featuring Dr. Christine Ford.  She testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee allegations that supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. 

James Doyle NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination Friday afternoon at 1:30.  A full Senate vote on the nomination is expected as early next week.  Watch the proceeding live below.

James Doyle NPR

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  You can watch the proceeding live starting at 10 a.m. Thursday morning.  Blue Ridge Public Radio will also broadcast the proceedings live on both BPR Classic and BPR News Thursday.

The latest report from Buncombe County tourism officials shows just how much short-term rentals have completely transformed lodging in the area.  Short-term rentals, booked through sites like AirBnB, have seen rapid growth in the past two years.  The report compiled the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority shows in 2015, just under 92-thousand room nights were booked with short-term rentals.  Just two years later, that number was over 392-thousand.  Tha

Wikicommons/Jacek Haliki

President Trump holds a news conference following the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. In a speech Tuesday, Trump defended his "America First" agenda and touted the "tremendous progress" made in negotiations with North Korea. The press conference comes a day before Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, faces questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee after two women accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

The press conference is expected to start at 5 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday.  The video will go live below shortly before then.

ncleg.net

Marie Colton, a former state representative from Asheville who rose to the number two position in the North Carolina House becoming the first woman to hold the position, died Tuesday at the age of 95.  Her daughter Liz confirmed her mother's death to BPR.

Marie Colton was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 and served in office for 16 years.  In 1991, she was elected speaker pro tempore - becoming the first woman to hold the prestigious number two position in the chamber.  Her husband Henry served on Asheville city council.  He died in 2011.

Origin Stories Part 2

Sep 25, 2018

In this episode, our hosts conclude their look at the origins of the three major sports in the U.S.  This show in particular looks at basketball, and how one rule change prevented it from essentially becoming indoor football.  Dr. Randall Balmer of Dartmouth College also explains how baseball most closely mirrors the immigrant experience in the United States.

(Music featured includes Warm Morning by Ketsa)  

Matt Bush BPR

A group that holds a weekly needle exchange program - and the West Asheville bookstore that hosts it - will both appeal violation notices issued by the city of Asheville.

Origin Stories Part 1

Sep 19, 2018

Our hosts look at the origin stories of the three major professional sports in the U.S. - football, baseball, and basketball.  Their guest is Dr. Randall Balmer, author and professor at Dartmouth College.  They examine the social movements and cultural moments in U.S. history that gave birth to the three sports that capture fans imaginations.

(Music featured includes Darn That Weasel and Fern And Andy by Blue Dot Sessions)  

NASA

If you're looking to help following the devastation in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence, here are some organizations helping victims of the storm -

A Just Florence Recovery - Resources and support for frontline-to-frontline relief and mobilization in Eastern NC

North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund - Operated through the office of the governor

Matt Bush BPR

Around a dozen students and staff from UNC-Wilmington are beginning their second week living on the campus of UNC-Asheville because of Hurricane Florence and its aftermath.

The Latest: WNC Escapes Any Major Damage From Florence

Sep 12, 2018
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(Monday 5 p.m)  The National Park Service says portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway  are now open. Click here for the latest.  The entire Parkway and most  of its facilities, visitor centers and campgrounds, were shutdown on Friday in anticipation of storm damage from Florence.  A stretch of the road to the south and east of Asheville - from the Tanbark Ridge Overlook to the French Broad Overlook - is now open, as well as the far western end of the Parkway from the Pisgah Inn to its terminus in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The U.S. Forest Service on Monday said all roads and recreation facilities in the Nantahala National Forest were scheduled to re-open on Tuesday, while nearly all similar sites in the Pisgah National Forest would do the same on Wednesday.

(Monday 12:00 p.m.) A flash flood watch is no longer in effect for the BPR listening area, as damage appears to be minimal throughout Western North Carolina after Florence blanketed the area with rain Sunday as a tropical depression. 

Expected flooding of the Swannanoa River in Biltmore Village did not occur, as the river only crested at 7.68 feet at 7:15 last night.  It's flood stage is 10 feet, and the U.S. Geological Survey was predicting the river would crest at 12 feet early Monday.  In Black Mountain along Flat Creek flooding caused the evacuation of three mobile home parks Sunday afternoon with a shelter set up nearby at the Swannanoa First Baptist Church.  The shelter in McDowell County at the YMCA in Marion was closed late Sunday evening.

The majority of road closures in the region this morning were in Yancey County, but many have been cleared according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.  The lone closure still active as of noon Monday is on Whittington Road near US 19 near Burnsville.  The road there is closed in both directions.  

(Sunday 10:15 p.m.) A flash flood watch remains in effect through Monday evening for Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Yancey, and eastern Polk and McDowell Counties as the final remnants of Florence pass through Western North Carolina. 

Minor flooding overnight remains possible among streams and rivers, but it appears the region avoided widespread damage from the storm.  There are several road closures in rural parts of Yancey County, and two roads closed in Transylvania County due to flooding.  To get the latest road closures from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, head here. 

(Sunday 5:30 p.m.) As a flash flood warning expired late Sunday evening for parts of Buncombe, Henderson, and Polk Counties, Buncombe County opened its first emergency shelter.  It’s at the Swannanoa First Baptist Church, and that opening comes in response to voluntary evacuations at three mobile home parks in Black Mountain.  Information from the U.S. Geological Survey shows the Swannanoa River will crest above flood stage in the coming hours and cause minor flooding overnight.  At the USGS monitoring point in Biltmore Village, the Swannanoa is expected to crest at 12 feet overnight, which is two feet above flood stage.  That would cause minor flooding in that area before the river recedes back beneath flood stage by noon tomorrow.  To put the 12 foot number in perspective, the river was at just over 14 feet in late May of this year when Biltmore Village flooded, doing minor damage to several businesses.  When the area saw its worst flooding in 2004, the river was at over 18 feet.

Two other emergency shelters are open in Western North Carolina Sunday evening.  The first is at the YMCA in Marion, while the other is at the Polk County Middle School in Mill Spring.  There are no widespread mandatory evacuation orders at this time in the BPR listening area.

Duke Energy is reporting just under 23-hundred outages in Buncombe County at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.  No other county in the BPR listening area is above 600.  Asheville City and Buncombe and Henderson County schools have all announced they will operate on a 2-hour delay Monday morning. 

(Sunday 1 p.m.) A flash flood warning is in effect until 5:15 p.m. for parts of Western North Carolina as rainfall from Tropical Depression Florence picks up in the region.

 

The official alert from the National Weather Service - 

The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Southwestern McDowell County, Northwestern Rutherford County, Eastern Henderson County in western North Carolina, Western Polk County in western North Carolina, and Eastern Buncombe County in western North Carolina until 515 PM EDT.

* At 1213 PM EDT, Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated that locally as much as 3 or 4 inches of rain has fallen today across the warned area. As periods of occasionally heavy tropical rainfall redevelops across the eastern slopes this afternoon, developing areas of high water and flooded streams are expected. * Some locations that will experience flooding include - Black Mountain, Swannanoa, Tryon, Lake Lure, Old Fort, Saluda, Chimney Rock Village, Chimney Rock State Park, Bat Cave and B.R. Parkway-Craggy To Little Switzerland.

In this episode, our conversation picks up from our last show.  John & Marcia continue to examine the many ways sports and religion parallel one another - with a focus in this show on faith, outcomes, and those who wander away but return.  

(Music featured includes Musa, 6th Melody by Livio Amato)  

The city of Asheville on Monday announced it was opening up the bidding for the naming rights to the U.S. Cellular Center.  Opened as the Asheville Civic Center Complex in 1974, the naming rights were sold to U.S. Cellular in 2011 for $1.35-million.  The contract with the firm expires at the end of 2019.

September 9 marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week, but how many of us really know what to do when we see or hear things that could be construed as “red flags?”

The Parallels Of Religion & Sport Part 1 -  Our hosts really follow the title of their show in this episode.  They 'go deep' with BPR's Matt Bush to examine the parallels of sports and religion.  You can hear the 'a-ha' moments throughout the show as John and Marcia find new connections between the worlds of sports and religion that they have inhabited throughout their lives.

(Music featured includes La Tapa Del Viernes and La Tapa Del Domingo by Circus Marcus)  

Matt Bush BPR

The number of visitors at Dupont State Forest more than doubled this decade.  It’s just one of the many outdoor destinations that has helped form Asheville and Western North Carolina’s national profile.  Something else is now getting national attention – the region’s industry that builds the products those outdoor visitors use.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is set to face a second round of questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. He’s expected to be questioned about his views on previous Supreme Court cases, as well as a range of policy issues. Kavanaugh is also likely to be questioned about his work on Ken Starr’s independent counsel investigation of former President Bill Clinton, and his time working in the White House under former President George W. Bush.

Wikicommons

The late Sen. John McCain will be honored at an expansive ceremony at Washington's National Cathedral on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush will give remarks, along with McCain's longtime friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and several others. Three of McCain's children will give readings, and Renee Fleming will perform "Danny Boy" at the late senator's request.

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