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

Following the lead of NPR and some of its larger member stations, Blue Ridge Public Radio is conducting a study examining the diversity of the individuals featured in original stories produced by the station’s news team.  The study will look at sources by race/ethnicity, gender, and geographic location.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

So-called ‘mini budget’ bills have been passing out of the North Carolina General Assembly all week.  Those come as the stalemate between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic governor Roy Cooper over his veto of their full budget goes into its four month.  The Governor doesn’t expect the relative peace over the mini budget bills - that have passed with wide bipartisan support - to last much longer.

WNC Ag Center

Next week's WNC Career Expo has been moved from the Davis Event Center at the WNC Ag Center, the second event to be affected by an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease tied to last month's Mountain State Fair which was held at the Ag Center in Fletcher.  The outbreak is the largest recorded of Legionnaires' in North Carolina history.

North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council

(UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. Friday) - The city of Hendersonville issued a 'Stage 1' Water Shortage advisory Friday afternoon, as all counties in Western North Carolina continue to experience 'moderate' drought conditions according to state authorities.  City officials are asking residents to avoid unnecessary water use.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Bears have become a very big deal in Asheville.  Pictures of them at least.  As their natural habitat is being encroached on by increasing development, snapping photos of bears in the urban environment of the city has become quite popular on social media.  But pictures of a certain kind of bear have been popping up a lot in recent months.

Ariel Zambelich / NPR

Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts is being remembered in a funeral Saturday morning in Washington, D.C. She died on Tuesday at the age of 75.  The service is expected to start at 10 a.m.  You can watch it below.

Asheville city council is getting closer to taking action to sidestep the North Carolina General Assembly regarding the use of districts for future city council elections.  A final decision won't come until next month, but a public hearing to be held next week could be a sign of which way a majority of council members are leaning.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

What is Southern Appalachia’s place in U.S. history and identity - and in particular - the country’s politics?  Voting patterns in the region have stayed remarkbly stable in presidential elections in recent decades - certainly in comparison to the rest of the region known as Appalachia - but the region's significance in those races may be a bit overstated.

Angela Hsieh / NPR

September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

Ten candidates are on stage for three-hour event hosted by ABC News and Univision, beginning at 8 p.m. ET Thursday. It's the third debate of the campaign and the first time that former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are all together.

Our 50th Show

Sep 12, 2019

This episode is Going Deep's 50th show! least this version of the show.  John and Marcia started Going Deep when they were in West Lafayette, Indiana.  In this episode, we trace how they made their way to Asheville, and look back at the guests and issues that have really stuck with them since Going Deep started coming out of Blue Ridge Public Radio's studios.

(Music featured includes P Flunked Fun by Podington Bear)  

Asheville’s new police chief is resigning after less than two months on the job.  The city announced this morning in a press release that police chief Chris Bailey is stepping down for ‘personal reasons.’ 

The 2019 NFL season starts without one of the league's star players.  Two weeks before the season was set to begin, Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the game after just seven seasons.  The 29-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback's decision stunned the sport and fans.  This episode sifts through the reaction - including booing from fans - to look at the physical and mental toll the sport takes on NFL players, before concluding with a beatifully thought-provoking response from Marcia to the question 'What is a fan owed?"

U.S. Forest Service

The Nantahala River through the Nantahala Gorge re-opened Wednesday morning to boating and other recreational uses, more than a week after the U.S. Forest Service closed it following landslides.  

US Forest Service

Hazardous conditions due to rockslides that occurred last weekend have closed the Nantahala River through the Nantahala Gorge according to the U.S. Forest Service.  That means all boating and other uses are prohibited through one of the most popular areas for outdoor water recreation in the region.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene has been sentenced to seven years in prison and must pay a $100-thousand fine for the various fraud and corruption charges she pleaded guilty to earlier this year.  

North Carolina has been without a new state budget for more than a month now, and recent actions show a resolution between Republican leaders in the General Assembly and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper isn't likely on the horizon.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio


Former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman pled guilty Friday morning to three charges related to the beating of an unarmed African-American pedestrian in August of 2017, including one felony count of assault.  But under a plea deal, Hickman can have those charges expunged if he completes a restorative justice program.  

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump will speak from the White House Monday morning about the mass shootings that took place over the weekend in Ohio in Texas. Watch his remarks live.  They are expected to begin at 10 a.m.

Dr. Joseph Cooper Part 2

Aug 2, 2019

In this episode, our hosts continue their conversation with Dr. Joseph Cooper, author of the book From Exploitation Back To Empowerment: Black Male Holistic (Under)Development Through Sport And (Mis)Education.  They focus on 'special admissions' that universities use to admit athletes - and how that really hurts and not helps the people who get them.

(Music featured includes Broken Soul Blues by Squire Tuck)  

Angela Hsieh / NPR

It's Night 1 of the July Democratic debates. Ten candidates are each making the case that they should be the next president of the United States. Follow NPR's live coverage for real-time fact checks and analysis of their remarks.  The debate starts at 8 p.m. Eastern time.


Buncombe County

Buncombe County officials say several mature tulip poplar trees will likely have to be removed in Alexander River Park because someone stripped large sections of bark off of each one.  The county recreation services believes a mechanical saw was used to remove the bark. 

Dr. Joseph Cooper Part 1

Jul 24, 2019

The Shoops welcome Dr. Joseph Cooper to the show in this episode, which focuses on his book From Exploitation Back To Empowerment: Black Male Holistic (Under)Development Through Sport And (Mis)Education.  Their conversation is so in-depth and engrossing that we've split it into two episodes.  In the first, Dr. Cooper talks about his upbringing and how it led him to write a book about how major revenue college sports exploit African-American males in particular.

(Music featured includes Aim by Nctrnm)   

UPDATE: (3:35 p.m. Wednesday) - Republican State representative Cody Henson announced on his Facebook page that he would resign his from his position in the General Assembly, just a day after he said he would not following a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of cyberstalking.


On Tuesday, a federal grand jury announced an 11-count indictment against former Buncombe County commissioner Ellen Frost.  She's accused - alongside former county manager Wanda Greene - of using more than $575-thousand in funds from the county's Economic Development Incentive Fund for personal activities.  Prosecutors allege that Frost and Greene attempted to coverup the expenditures by claiming the funds were used to advertise the Asheville Regional Airport at equestrian events in North Carolina and Florida.

A federal grand jury announced an indictment of former Buncombe County commissioner Ellen Frost Tuesday afternoon.  Frost is accused of participating in a scheme with former county manager Wanda Greene to use $575-thousand in county funds to sponsor and promote events at two equestrian centers not located in Buncombe County.  The indictment alleges that as a horse owner herself, Frost had a personal interest in promoting and supporting those venues.  Frost and Greene allegedly tried to cover up the expenditures by claiming the money was spent to advertise the Asheville Regional Airport at equestrian events.


Jul 16, 2019

On July 7th, 2019, the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team won its second consecutive World Cup title.  Their dominant run in the tournament sparked some controversy, but even that only underscored what a cultural force the team has become, not just in the U.S. but globally.  In this episode we examine how that came be, and how a very well-known law helped women's soccer in the U.S.

(Music featured includes Skip Street by Chad Crouch)  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

North Carolina lawmakers could give the final okay to sports betting in the state as early as Monday.  A bill that would allow sports books and off-track horse betting at casinos on tribal lands cleared a key House committee Wednesday in Raleigh, and is on the agenda for a floor vote Monday evening.  The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians operate the only two casinos in North Carolina.  The casinos are located in Cherokee and Murphy on the Qualla Boundary.  

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump is speaking from the White House about his administration's push to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. Watch his remarks live.  They are expected to start around 5 p.m. Thursday

John Beilein is the latest big name college coach to jump from the NCAA to the NBA, moving from the University of Michigan to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The college to pros pipeline has always seen a lot of action for the NFL and NBA.  But which level is more challenging to coach at - college or the pros?  One of our hosts has done both, and he shares his answer.

(Music featured includes You Wasted My Time When I Was Timewasting by Podington Bear)  

With the month of June over, that means all four major North American sports leagues have conducted their annual player drafts.  With that fresh in our minds, John & Marcia sat down with BPR's Matt Bush to figure which of the four drafts is most fair to players, and which one they would want to enter if they had the choice.  

(Music featured includes Vienna Jazz by Dee Yan-Key)