Helen Chickering

All Things Considered Host, Reporter

Helen Chickering is a reporter and host of All Things Considered on Blue Ridge Public Radio.  She joined the station in November 2014.

Helen grew up in Texas.  Her broadcast career began in television news in 1985 at WLBT, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.  There she did everything from news to weather and found her niche in medical reporting.  Over the next 20 years she covered health and science news on both local and national levels, including 5 years in Charlotte at the CBS affiliate, WBTV.   In 1998, Helen helped launch the health and science desk at NBC News Channel, the network's affiliate news service.  She became the first journalist to serve as president of the National Association of Medical Communicators and was on the founding board of the Science Communicators of North Carolina.  

In 2012, Helen and her family moved to Asheville from Chapel Hill and she started working as a freelance producer and as a Montessori teaching assistant.  A longtime NPR listener, she was thrilled to land a job at WCQS.   Helen is an active member of the Asheville Science Tavern and a guest lecturer and an advisory board member at the University of North Carolina's Medical and Science Journalism Program.

Ways to Connect

BPR News

The school year is winding down, and many students are cramming for end of year tests.   Some are also putting their green thumbs to work in the school garden where spring planting season is in full swing.

Asheville City Soccer Club

The world’s game is coming to Asheville.   The Asheville City Soccer Club kicks off its inaugural season tomorrow night, hosting the Georgia Revolution at Memorial Stadium. 

The August Great American Eclipse is in WNC's backyard!  But to view such a spectacle safely, you'll need to take some special steps.  

WCQS

It's a bittersweet day here at Blue Ridge Public Radio.  Thirty one years ago this month, music director Dick Kowal hit the airwaves.   Today, he hosted his last show.   While it's  impossible to capture all of the amazing accomplishments of his talented career, we do have some highlights, and a few good stories.  BPR's Helen Chickering reports.

(Dick Kowal on the air)

“It’s about 6 minutes after 9, good morning.”

If you live in Western North Carolina, chances are, you know this voice.

(Dick Kowal on the air)

When you think of tourist attractions here in Western North Carolina, places like the Biltmore House, the Blue Ridge Parkway come to mind.   But if you hang around here long enough, you eventually learn about the lesser known spots, including one hidden in the halls of a Community College.

Tucked away in a quiet hall on the AB Tech College Campus is a small museum full of history – for the ear.  There is vintage music.

And historical moments – like this live account of the Hindenburg disaster.

“It burst into flames, it’s crashing, oh my get out of the way.”

Luke Shealy

Thousands of scientists and science supporters are expected to gather in Washington, and across the country – including Asheville for the March for Science.  The event has raised questions about whether scientists can and should advocate for public policy.   And as BPR’s Helen Chickering found out, there are some strong opinions here in Western North Carolina.

The Eclipse Science-Art Competition Deadline has been extended to June 15!

In the dining hall of the VA Community Living Center in Asheville, 96 year old Wayne Carringer sat tall in his wheelchair, stationed next to the podium, where former State Representative Joe Sam Queen, recalled the brutal highlights of his distinguished military career

“He has lived the blood and guts of history, and served admirably “Former State Representative Joe Sam Queen told the crowd.

BPR News

The home of Tryon’s most celebrated native now has new owners. Four artists from New York recently bought the house where legendary singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone was born.  BPR news’ Helen Chickering has details.

Perched on a hill in the crook of a windy road in the town of Tryon, sits a small wooden house, three rooms, a fireplace and a porch, unremarkable expect for the plaque near the front door that designates the home as the birthplace of legendary singer songwriter Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon, in 1933.  

Tornado Detectives

Feb 23, 2017
UNC Asheville Chris Godfrey

Tornadoes aren’t common here western North Carolina, but they are in the southeast and when they strike, they tend to be deadlier and more destructive than in other parts of the country.    

A research team at  UNC Asheville is working to figure out why southeastern storms are so lethal by retracing the footprints of twisters the way detectives investigate a crime scene. 

WCQS's Helen Chickering reports. 

                     

It was just minutes into the NFC championship game.

Death on the Menu

Feb 14, 2017
Death Cafe

Death, it’s a  subject that is often hard to think about, let alone talk about.   A movement, called The Death Café is working to change the dialogue around the inevitable event.   It’s a social gathering of sorts that started in Europe in 2011, spread quickly to the U.S. including Western North Carolina. WCQS’s Helen Chickering attended a recent Death Cafe at UNC-Asheville.

WCQS

Mountain views, hiking trails an exploding food scene and more breweries per capita than anywhere else in U.S.   It’s easy to see why the Asheville area is spilling over with tourists and newcomers.   The boom is a boost for the economy but often makes for a busier and sometimes more challenging day for police and other first responders whose job it is to care for both tourists and the people who live  here.  WCQS’s Helen Chickering reports.

WCQS

Asheville has been dubbed Beer City,  Bee City and even Climate City.  In the future, Dog City may be added to that title.  A local dog behavior specialist is on a mission to make the area the most dog friendly place in the country. 

But this isn’t a campaign to encourage more water bowls and dog biscuits, it’s about retraining people.  WCQS’s Helen Chickering explains.

Kim Brophey, “I’ve got the Elmo voice down,   Look at the little puppy!”

HC: That’s what I do                                                                                                       

WCQS

“Plum Print, This is Keely, can I help you?”

When the phone rings at Plum Print in Asheville, Graphic Designer Keely Knopp, who also mans the customer support desk, is usually the first to answer.

Keely Knopp, Plum Print, “I just got off the phone with a gentleman who told me how excited he was about the inauguration and how he can’t wait to go.”

makezine

There's the pile of old electronics that got replaced with the newest version over the holidays.  The  toaster that no longer works, and the dead computer that's been collecting dust for years.  Random items that shouldn’t go in the trash, and can’t go into the recycling bin.  Items Eric Bradford says fall into the hard to recycle category.

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