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

John's final football coaching job was at Purdue University, where he and Marcia met professors Eric Nauman and Tom Talavadge.  The duo had just finished a groundbreaking study on micro concussions by working with a high school football team in Indiana, and our hosts were blown away with what the research showed - so much so that it in many ways led to John losing his job.  In the first of two parts, the Shoops discuss with Nauman and Talavadge what their research discovered.

(Music featured includes Last Day Of High School by Borrtex)

Early voting is underway in North Carolina for the May 8th primary.  The early voting period runs until May 5th, and voters can find early voting locations by visiting their respective county's election boards website.  Federal, state, and local offices are all on the ballot this year.  One person who isn't is president Donald Trump.  But Western Carolina University political science professor Dr.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

President Trump is hosting French President Emmanuel Macron for a state visit this week. The two leaders are holding a news conference ahead of Tuesday night's state dinner. Watch their remarks live.  The press conference is scheduled to start around 11:45 Tuesday morning.

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper toured Western North Carolina Monday, and at his first stop he touted his latest budget proposal regarding school safety.  The governor says it would help with a problem that has been disrupting schools in the region the past two months. 

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper and his cabinet will meet Monday in Asheville, while also holding several events throughout the day in Western North Carolina.  The governor's office said in a press release the events, which include two stops on Tuesday as well, will focus on issues important to the region.

Asheville police say four people are dead and three others were injured in a shooting that occurred late Wednesday evening in West Asheville.  The suspect in the case, identified as 35-year-old Maurice Laron Garner, is among the deceased.  Police say he died from a self inflicted gunshot wound.  He was found in a vehicle not far from the residence on Hansel Avenue where the shooting took place.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

President Trump hosts a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Abe today -- scheduled for 6:00 pm Eastern time. The Prime Minister is meeting with the President and playing golf at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Among the points of discussion will be negotiations between the United States and North Korea and the recent visit to North Korea by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Local immigration advocates say there have been more arrests by federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement across Western North Carolina.  Those come after around 15 people were detained last weekend in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.  ICE spokesman Bryan Cox says the agency makes arrests on a daily basis as part of ongoing enforcement activity.  Appearing on The State Of Things Tuesday, Cox says ICE agents target specific individuals who are in the country undocumented and have criminal record

John and Marcia continue their talk with retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice Bob Orr, who's has been part of several lawsuits and other legal actions taken against the NCAA.  Our hosts discuss those with him, plus take a look at where NCAA rules and enforcement may be heading.

(Music featured includes Chill Mode by Audiobinger)

Sometimes, going to prison is the easy way out for those fighting addiction.  The difficult path is learning how to live.  The Buncombe County drug court program looks to teach that difficult path.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is testifying on Capitol Hill to answer questions about protecting user data. The Tuesday hearing held by the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees follows news that the data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users. The firm is accused of using that information to target Facebook users with political advertising in 2016.

Blue Ridge Public Radio and the Asheville Citizen-Times will partner on a candidate forum for Buncombe County sheriff.  The forum will take place April 16th at noon at BPR's studio.  It will be broadcast live on both the BPR and Citizen-Times Facebook pages.  BPR will also the air the forum at a later date before the May 8th primary.

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael were indicted Thursday morning on charges they both misused public funds.  Each faces conspiracy and fraud charges, while Wanda Greene faces additional embezzlement counts.  The pair are accused of using Buncombe County-owned and issued credit cards to make improper personal purchases.  Federal authorities allege Wanda and Michael Greene used those cards to buy roughly $200-thousand worth of goods over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017.  Wanda Greene retired on June 30th of 2017.  Shortly after, federal authorities announced t

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael have been indicted on federal charges for alleged misuse of public funds.  The charges were announced Thursday morning by the office of the U.S.

John was the offensive coordinator for the University of North Carolina football team from 2007 to 2011.  During that time, the program and university were rocked by an academic scandal that lead to players suspensions, NCAA bans, and the whole coaching staff being fired.  Our hosts begin a two-part look back at that time with their guest Bob Orr, a retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice whom they first met during the scandal when he represented one of John's players in a fight against the NCAA.

(Music featured includes The Laundry Cycle by Jesse Spillane)  

Buncombe County commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Al Whitesides, and Ellen Frost are calling for extensive public safety reforms - a call that brought a sharp and quick rebuke from county sheriff Van Duncan.  

Nine body camera videos were released via court order Monday that depict the beating of an unarmed black man last August and its aftermath by a then-Asheville police officer, who now faces criminal charges for the incident.

Matt Bush BPR

For the second time in less than a year, a plaque in front to the Vance Monument in Pack Square in downtown Asheville that contains the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been damaged. 

The men's and women's basketball Final Fours take place Easter Weekend in San Antonio and Columbus. They culminate what has been an eventful college basketball season - one that started with an FBI investigation into payments to players and finishes with a memorable March Madness.  The Shoops look to put all of this in perspective with their typical sharp insight and wit.  This episode was originally recorded as a Facebook Live video on the Blue Ridge Public Radio page.

(Music featured includes Come As You Were by Blue Dot Sessions) 

Matt Bush BPR

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper says there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered about Mission Health’s proposed sale to a for-profit healthcare company.  Mission announced last week it was entering negotiations to be purchased by HCA Healthcare, a for-profit company based in Nashville that operates hospitals in 20 states and the United Kingdom.  Speaking to reporters after an event for students to learn about jobs in healthcare at Mission’s Cancer Center Tuesday morning, Governor Cooper said he hopes the sale leads to a positive outcome for Western North Carolina and t

Matt Bush BPR

The Asheville March For Our Lives took place on Saturday.  The student organized marches across the U.S. were put together following last month's shooting at a South Florida High School that killed 17 people.  The Asheville march - one of around 800 that took place - started at Pack Square, with marchers walking down one side of College Street to MLK Jr Park.  Police had blocked off that side of College Street, and the procession of marchers took 30 minutes, with the street full of people of all ages holding signs and singing chants.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump tweeted that the White House will hold a 'news conference' about the major spending bill passed by Congress on Thursday. Friday morning, Trump threatened to veto the bill, hours ahead of a midnight deadline and a possible government shutdown. 

Mission Health this week announced it was beginning to negotiations to be purchased HCA Healthcare, a for-profit healthcare company based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mission, which operates the majority of hospitals in Western North Carolina and is one of the region's largest employers, says the potential deal will allow the healthcare system to "preserve and expand" their "world-class quality of care within a rapidly consolidating healthcare industry."

Matt Bush BPR

Thousands are expected to march Saturday across the U.S. against gun violence as part of student-organized 'March For Our Lives'.  These marches came together following the shooting last month at a South Florida High School that killed 17 people.  The Asheville 'March For Our Lives' starts Saturday morning at 11 at Pack Square.  Students from across Western North Carolina helped put it together.  Two of the many organizers - A.C.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council has decided to replace embattled city manager Gary Jackson, effective at the end of the business day Tuesday.  Jackson’s ouster after 13 years on the job was announced by mayor Esther Manheimer during a Tuesday afternoon city council meeting.  Earlier this year, Jackson announced he was retiring at the end of 2018.  But that was before the release of video footage showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  That video, from a police body camera, only came to light because it was leaked to the Asheville Citizen-Times, which publi

WCQS Becomes BPR Classic

Mar 20, 2018

Blue Ridge Public Radio is proud to announce that WCQS will now be known as BPR Classic - the same station longtime listeners love and trust, just with a new name.  

A year ago, Blue Ridge Public Radio launched WCQS’ sister station, BPR News, a 24-hour news station that complements the mix of music and news found on WCQS. Now, Blue Ridge Public Radio is strengthening the family resemblance by renaming WCQS as BPR Classic.

Ridesharing service Uber says it is not conducting pickups at Asheville Regional Airport after changes to ground transportation operation procedures at the airport.  

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on school safety following the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The committee is hearing from a Stoneman Douglas teacher as well as from the father of one of the shooting victims, Florida lawmakers and Justice Department officials. Watch the hearing live.  It's scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.  

Chelsea Beck/NPR

On President Trump's first trip to California, he is speaking to military personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, north of San Diego. The visit comes a week after the Justice Department announced it was suing the state over immigration enforcement and on the day that Trump announced he was firing his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Watch his remarks live.

Wikicommons

Asheville city council is scheduled to meet twice on Tuesday, its first regularly scheduled meetings since the release of a body camera video that showed a then-city police officer beating an unarmed black man last year.  

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