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

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.


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.  

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

Lack of housing and parking topped the list of concerns for local businesses in the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual 'Business Walk'.  The survey of more than 300 local businesses focused on whether those businesses saw growth in 2017, and what they felt needed to change to improve the business environment in the area.  Housing topped the list of areas where businesses wanted to see change, with 40% of respondents including it in their response.  Pa

Buncombe County DA

(UPDATE Thursday 9:40 p.m.) -  Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams announced in a press release late Thursday that former Asheville police officer Chris Hickman will face three criminal charges for the August beating of an unarmed black man.  Hickman and an officer in training stopped Johnnie Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing  late on the night of August 24th on Short Coxe Avenue.  Hickman beat, choked and shocked Rush with a stun gun.  The charges detailed Thursday night against Hickman - who resigned from the police force in January - are one count each of assault


The city of Asheville Monday afternoon formally asked Buncombe County Superior Court to release any additional police body camera footage of the beating of Johnnie Jermaine Rush.  The unarmed black man was beaten by then Asheville police officer Chris Hickman last August as he walking through the parking lot of a closed business on Short Coxe Avenue.  Rush was initially stopped for suspected jaywalking and trespassing, but charges against him were dropped.  Hickman resigned from the force in January, shortly before a criminal investigation into his actions in the Rush beating was opened by


Asheville city council has called a closed session special meeting for Monday evening to discuss a video released this week showing a then-Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man last August.  The video, published by the Asheville Citizen-Times, shows officer Chris Hickman beating and shocking with a stun gun Johnnie Jermaine Rush.  Hickman had stopped Rush for suspected jaywalking and trespassing August 24th. 

Matt Bush BPR

Candidate filing for the 2018 North Carolina General Assembly elections ended this week, and both parties will field enough candidates to ensure all 170 seats will be contested this year.  It’s making Democratic Governor Roy Cooper very happ - and confident.  Cooper has been in office for 14 months, but his legislative power remains quite limited.  That’s because Republicans hold supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly allowing them to override any vetoes from Cooper, something they did nine times last year.  But the Governor is confident that will change next year, in par

Candidate filing for the 2018 election wrapped up Wednesday afternoon.  A flurry of late filings - mostly Republicans in Buncombe County - ensured that all of Western North Carolina's General Assembly seats will see a contested general election.  That's a step up from two years ago, when five of the seats featured unopposed general elections or only one candidate from a major party.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have released their rebuttal to Republicans' memo about the Russia investigation and Justice Department surveillance practices. President Trump agreed to declassify and release the Republican document, which raises concerns about partisan influence in the FBI’s probe of Russian contacts with the 2016 Trump campaign. Democrats requested the release of their longer counter-memo and President Trump initially denied that request, sending it back for redactions.

A busy basketball weekend in Asheville will now be even more so.  Not only will the Southern Conference host both it's men's and women's basketball championships at the U.S. Cellular Center, but the quarter and semi-final rounds of the Big South men's basketball championship will be played at the Kimmel Arena on the campus of UNC-Asheville.  That's because the Bulldogs clinched the Big South regular season championship over the weekend.  Doing so means the Bulldogs will play at home during the Big South tournament as long as they are in it.


Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump is speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. His comments come amid a debate about gun laws after a shooting a high school in Parkland, Fla. National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke at CPAC on Thursday, warning conservatives of a “socialist agenda” to take firearms from law-abiding citizens. Trump called the NRA and LaPierre “Great American Patriots” in a tweet Thursday morning and later said the organization “is ready to do things” to address the problem of gun violence.

AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File

Reverend Billy Graham passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 99 at his home in Montreat.  The most prominent American Christian preacher of his era was ordained in Southern Baptist church, but it was his ability to blur the denominational lines of Protestant Christianity that built his large following says Reverend Dr.

Matt Bush BPR

Reverend Billy Graham passed away Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat.  He was 99.  A family spokesman told the Associated Press Graham had been suffering from a variety of ailments, including cancer and pneumonia.  His wife Ruth died in 2007.  Funeral services have not been announced, but Graham will be buried next to his wife at the Billy Graham Museum and Library in Charlotte.

Smoky Mountain News/Donated Photo

The squabbling within the Haywood County Republican Party is showing no signs of stopping.  Last year, four members of the county GOP were officially kicked out of the party.  Now, a the vice chair of the Haywood County Republican party Debbie King is suing the faction of the county party those members belonged to over some internet memes.  Smoky Mountain News reporter Cory Vaillancourt has been following this story from the start and joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio f

Two Asheville chefs, a baker, and a brewer have been named semi-finalists for prestigious James Beard Foundation awards.  Katie Button of Nightbell and Curate and Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani are semi-finalists for the Best Chef of the Southeast.  Six of the 20 semi-finalists in the category hail from North Carolina, with other nominees coming from Raleigh, Davidson, Winterv


Efforts to promote racial and ethnic equity in Asheville should include community forums focusing on traffic stop data from city police.  That’s one of many recommendations a study group that’s proposing a ‘human relations commission’ in Asheville gave to city council Tuesday.  That group is also asking the city to expand its Office of Equity and Inclusion from one to four employees.  The current head of that office, Kimberlee Archie, was just hired last year. 

As the opioid epidemic deepens, the need for foster parents has exploded in Western North Carolina.  That was one of the findings of a series of stories from the Asheville Citizen-Times that explored many topics and issues around opioid abuse in the region.  Reporter Alexandria Bordas joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss the series, which took 5 months to compile.  

Super Bowl 52 on February 4th, 2018 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will conclude a tumultuous 2017 NFL season.   From the Take A Knee protests to increasing questions of how seriously players concussions are being treated to Jerry Richardson announcing he'll sell the Carolina Panthers following numerous allegations of misconduct in the workplace, it was a season with major headlines that weren't focused on plays.  The Shoops discuss the future of the NFL in this episode, which was recorded originally as a Facebook Live chat on the BPR News Facebook page.

Matt Bush BPR

Buncombe County commissioners have been holding town hall meetings in recent months regarding opioids.  Those gatherings have touched on several topics, but have had one common goal – educating people on how powerful the painkillers are and how easy it is to become addicted to them.


Dan Pierce is UNC-Asheville's National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.  He's written several books on the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Pierce attributes his love of the park to first passing through it on Highway 441 when his family moved to Asheville from Arkansas in the 1950's.  His book Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Community, will be the subject of a

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Trump is delivering his State of the Union address to Congress, which will be followed by a response from the Democratic Party. Journalists across the NPR newsroom will be annotating those remarks, adding fact-checks and analysis in real time. The live video stream and annotation will start at 9 p.m. this evening.


Liam James Doyle/NPR

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union. In announcing their decision, Democratic leaders in Congress called Kennedy a "relentless fighter for working Americans." Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968. He is also the great nephew of both the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late president John F.

City of Asheville

Asheville has changed quite a bit in recent years thanks to a surge in new development.  But some even bigger changes are on the horizon, thanks to some recent real estate sales and newly announced development plans.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas has been writing about many of them and he joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss the latest developments - including one at the Asheville Mall that would bring one of the most famous events in city history full circle.

Late last year a new parking garage was completed at Asheville Regional Airport.  Ongoing runway work has also been happening, but in the coming years something bigger could be in the works - an expansion of the terminal. has been looking at what's been going on at the airport in recent months.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss where the airport could be headed in future years - as the number of passengers going in and out of the facility has greatly exceeded airport officials expectations.  Sandford reports the number of passengers in 20

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

North Carolina ranked in the middle nationally when it comes to auto safety laws according to a report released this week by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.  The group is an "alliance of consumer, medical, public health, and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America’s roads safer."

Matt Bush BPR

The 2nd annual Asheville Women's March took place Saturday.  Thousands filled Memorial Stadium before marching up Biltmore Avenue to Pack Square, the site of last year's women's march.  Around 10-thousand attended last year, and thousands showed up for this year's march which featured many female elected officials from around the region.  Asheville has had a woman as mayor since 2005, and the city council is now majority female following last year's election.  The women's march in Asheville wasn't only one held Saturday in Buncombe County, as a similar event took place in Black Mountain.

Black Star Line Brewing, the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina, closed its Hendersonville location.  A post on the brewery's Facebook page on Thursday said "Thanks for the love Hendersonville.  At this time we will no longer be operating on 131 3rd Ave W.  We'll let you know updates as soon as they are available.  Thank you."

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville City schools Superintendent Dr. Denise Patterson says she’s learned a lot during her first six months on the job – not just about the school system but the city itself.