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.

Ways to Connect

In less than a month, voters in Western North Carolina decide the Republican nomination in the 11th Congressional District.  Outside of whether Lynda Bennett or Madison Cawthorn wins on June 23rd, how voters cast their ballots during a pandemic will be a major takeaway from the race - and a potential foreshadow of how prevalent mail-in voting will be for the November general election.

Buncombe County will require the wearing of face masks in most indoor public settings starting next week.  The decision comes as North Carolina enters 'Phase 2' of its reopening Friday afternoon after restrictive stay at home orders due to COVID-19.

North Carolina will enter 'Phase 2' of its reopening on Friday.  But due to rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the state will do so in a more cautious manner.

Adobe Stock

El condado de Buncombe ha decidido modificar su orden de “quedarse en casa” para estar alineado con la nueva norma que ha decretado el estado de Carolina del Norte, iniciando así la reapertura de negocios a partir del Viernes 8 de Mayo. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Buncombe County has modified its local ‘stay home stay safe’ order so that it aligns with the new statewide order in North Carolina that allows many retail businesses to reopen Friday at 5 p.m.  

North Carolina Governor's office

North Carolina will enter the first stage of reopening this Friday evening, as many businesses currently shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed to open for the first time since March.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

After weeks of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will start a phased reopening this Saturday May 9th.


North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and his Coronavirus task force team hold regular press briefings on the latest regarding COVID-19 in North Carolina.  You can watch the latest briefing in English or with a Spanish translation here.

Buncombe County will revise its ‘stay home stay safe’ declaration to further align with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s statewide stay at home order.  The new Buncombe County order goes into effect Friday morning May 1st at 6 a.m. 

Luis Martinez


The tourism industry for Buncombe County has brought in just 7% of what it normally would in the month of April.  That means the county has lost over $150-million dollars in visitor spending this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a figure which will only grow as stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements head into May.

HCA Healthcare

Mission Health says it will be taking down triage tents it placed outside of its hospitals, while also beginning to re-schedule procedures that had to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

Most of Western North Carolina is going through the COVID-19 pandemic without a member of Congress following the resignation of Mark Meadows on March 30th to become President Donald Trump's chief of staff.  That means the 11th Congressional District seat for North Carolina is vacant - and will remain that way for most if not all of the rest of 2020.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

When the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes next week, lawmakers will look at a bill that would set aside $5-million in recovery funds for tourism-related businesses in Buncombe County.  

North Carolina’s statewide stay-at-home order will be extended for an additional week to May 8th.  Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday outlined a phased approach to re-opening the state should benchmarks be met on testing, contact tracing, and a downward trend of new cases of COVID-19.  Watch the briefing here

Buncombe County commissioners on a 4-3 party line vote Thursday approved a resolution supporting more community testing and contact tracing before social distancing guidelines can be eased in the county.  

Illustration by Luis Martinez

In this time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Ridge Public Radio is expanding its efforts to connect, inform and engage with members of our diverse community. With a growing Spanish-speaking population throughout Western North Carolina, BPR sees an immediate need to provide reliable, fact-based reporting in the Spanish language.


The National Park Service has closed much of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio


The U.S. Forest Service is closing several popular trails and recreation spots in the Pisgah National Forest due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio


Buncombe County this week released demographic information on confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.  The numbers showed the county isn’t seeing the disproportionate number of cases affecting African-Americans that the state has thus far.

Luis Martinez

Nuevos Casos


El Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Carolina del Norte ha reportado un total de 3,426 infectados con coronavirus y 53 fallecidos. 33 de los casos están en el condado de Buncombe. Para más información sobre números de infectados por el virus puede visitar esta página web:


Asheville resident Peter Landis was one of the first confirmed 'community spread' cases of COVID-19 in Buncombe County.  The 71-year-old retired journalist was told on March 23rd he had tested positive, one week after he had been tested at his primary care physician's office.  Landis had not traveled in recent months, and said he was not in contact with a known confirmed case of COVID-19.  He has since recovered, and spoke with BPR's Matt Bush over the phone to discuss his symptoms of the virus, and what he wants people to know about his experience.  You can hear the whole interview above.

Luis Martinez


Aumentan casos de COVID-19 y se recomienda distanciamiento social

The U.S. Forest Service says is arson is the suspected cause of a wildfire reported Sunday night near the Lake Appalachia Dam in Cherokee County.  It’s estimated at 80 acres in size on land owned by the Forest Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

(3/31 2:45 p.m.)  Asheville police have identified the suspected shooter in this morning's shooting outside the Buncombe County courthouse as 29-year-old Shane Tilman Kent of Asheville.  Kent died at the scene after authorities say he fired shots at a law enforcement officer.

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The small town of Andrews in Cherokee County has put in place some of the most restrictive travel regulations in Western North Carolina due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Only locals - defined as residents of Cherokee County and two of its neighboring counties - will be allowed to enter the town of less than 2-thousand people.  It comes as many rural communities and counties in Western North Carolina are increasingly concerned about people who own second homes in the region traveling to them from larger cities with higher numbers and concentrations of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Angela Hsieh / NPR

Only two candidates will be onstage for Sunday's Democratic primary debate: former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The CNN-Univision debate was relocated from Arizona to Washington, D.C., and will not have an in-person audience due to coronavirus concerns.

Noah Fortson / NPR

President Trump is set to hold a press conference on the ongoing response to the coronavirus crisis. 

Meg Kelly / NPR

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is holding a press conference Wednesday afternoon as he falls farther behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Six states - Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington - hold presidential primaries on Tuesday.