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.  He graduated from the 35th class of Leadership Asheville at UNC-Asheville.

Dr. Dan Pierce

A memorial to the incarcerated laborers that built the railroad into Western North Carolina in the late 1800's will be dedicated this weekend - culminating an effort by historians and community leaders to bring attention to a crucial piece of history in the region that had long been ignored or forgotten.

North Carolina lawmakers hope to have redistricting completed by the end of this month.  There are plenty of proposed maps floating about right now, but Western Carolina University Dr. Chris Cooper urges people not to overreact to any of them - because the only map that matters is the final one.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The last decade saw significant population growth in Asheville.   But that didn’t lead to similar growth in the city of the principle driver of climate change.  

More On Mental Health

Sep 30, 2021

In their last episode, John and Marcia only scratched the surface about mental health in sports.  They go deeper in this show, and they bring in an expert to help - sports social worker Natalie Graves of Chicago.

(Music featured includes Steppin' In by Podington Bear)  

The Porch: The River

Sep 17, 2021
Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

In this episode of The Porch, a production of the BPR news team, we hear from -

Matt Bush

On August 17th, flash floods caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred left six people dead in Haywood County, and devastated homes and businesses there and in neighboring Buncombe and Transylvania Counties.  While the analysis is ongoing of what caused such rapid and destructive flooding in these tight spaces, one reason is inescapable - climate change.


Tuesday is the last day for California voters to get their ballots in on the recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. The campaign to remove Newsom says that he has mismanaged the response to the pandemic and prioritizes undocumented immigrants, among other complaints. Democrats say the recall is a partisan attempt to steal power.

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

President Joe Biden has formally given a federal disaster declaration to three counties in Western North Carolina that were devastated by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred last month.  

Unforgiving Contexts

Sep 2, 2021

In this episode of Going Deep, our hosts take some time to slow down and dive into two topics in the sports world which are getting varying degrees of news coverage - athlete mental health (a lot) and race-norming in the NFL (very little).

(Music featured includes Brain by Lobo Loco)

Dr. Darin Waters will take over next month as North Carolina's Deputy Secretary for Archives and History.  The job in the state department of Natural and Cultural Resources comes with many responsibilities, including being North Carolina's state historian.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

A request for a federal disaster declaration for areas of Western North Carolina devastated by last week’s flood will be coming soon according to Governor Roy Cooper, who toured affected areas again on Wednesday.  

The Porch: Summer Sun

Aug 19, 2021
Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

In this episode of The Porch, a production of the BPR news team, we hear from:

Dr. Chris Cooper

The 2020 U.S. Census figures arrived last week eagerly anticipated - and late (for a variety of reasons). 

The official title is Deputy Secretary for Archives and History for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.  The job includes being North Carolina's State Historian, and the newest person to hold the job is a familar voice and face in Western North Carolina.


Students and staff in 8 out of 16 school districts in BPR’s listening area will not be required to wear masks indoors. Masking indoors and for unvaccinated people is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.


Buncombe, Henderson, Swain, Madison, Macon and Jackson Counties as well as Asheville Schools and Cherokee Central Schools will require masking on campus. This list was updated on August 17th. 

Matt Bush

An indoor mask requirement will be returning in Buncombe County.  County board chair Brownie Newman said in a social media post Thursday that commissioners will vote on the measure at their next meeting this coming Tuesday.  Newman added he’s spoken with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer and the city will align its policies with the county's. 


A class-action lawsuit alleges that HCA Healthcare, the for-profit owner of Mission Health, is using a monopoly to charge more while providing poorer quality of care.

Youth Sports

Aug 5, 2021

Our hosts tackle a topic they've long wanted to in this episode - youth sports - and in particular, the trend toward having teens specialize in one sport at younger and younger ages.  Their guests include Jon Solomon of the Aspen Institute, which will release a 'children's bill of rights in sports' on August 12th.  Three members of the city of Asheville's parks and recreation department also join the program to discuss what's happening locally.

(Music featured includes Don't Listen To The Words They Say and Summer Pride by Loyalty Freak Music)  


As the second half of 2021 comes into full view, the field of candidates running to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn continues to grow in Western North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.  The list of incidents involving the youngest member of Congress is also growing halfway through his first year in office.

Appalachian Regional Commission

The new co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission may be familiar – as is one of her goals for the people of the mountains.  

On July 23rd, the 2020 Summer Olympics get underway a year late in Tokyo.  Because of COVID-19, these games are already unlike any other in the history of the Olympics.  To get ready for the games, our hosts showcase plenty of stories and facts from Olympic history - some well-known, and many not.  Their guest is David Wallechinsky, who wrote the definitive history of the Olympics The Complete Book of the Olympics, and served as president of the International Society of Olympic Historians from 2012 to 2020.

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Do you have a question about the COVID vaccine?  We want to hear from you!  Record your question as a voice memo on your cell phone and email us at or use the "talk to us" feature on the free BPR mobile app.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Asheville City Council Tuesday approved $2.1 million for the reparations fund for the city's Black community.  But what the money will be spent on is still unknown, as the 'truth telling' sessions the city is holding to determine what form reparations will take continue throughout June.

On July 1st, six states will see 'name, image, and likeness' bills go onto the books - allowing collegiate players for the first time to make money during their college careers.  Will others follow suit, or will the NCAA be able to hold off the changes as it has since the verdict in the Ed O'Bannon case?  John and Marcia speak with Micahel McCann.  He's a professor at the University of New Hampshire, and a writer for Sportico.

BPR's The Waters & Harvey Show held its second live show Wednesday evening.  Our hosts, their panel, and viewers were all posed the same questions as Asheville further delves into reparations for its Black community - What is justice?  And what form of reparations will bring racial justice?

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

One year after the racial justice protests following the police murder of George Floyd, how much closer are we to the goals stated by the marchers in Asheville and Western North Carolina?

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Demolition of the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville began Monday and will take roughly two weeks to complete.

In this episode of Going Deep, we mark the beginning of the minor league baseball season this week with an episode that looks at the growing differences between the minors and college baseball. Our guests include the manager of the Asheville Tourists Nate Shaver, and the head baseball coach at UNC Asheville Scott Friedholm.  And for the first time, we take questions from our listeners! 

(Music featured includes I'm Fat by Blanket Music and Elmore Heights by Blue Dot Sessions)  

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Biden is addressing a joint session of Congress Wednesday night on the eve of 100 days in office.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper will give his third State of the State address Monday evening in Raleigh, followed by the Republican response.