Christopher Blank

News Director

A native "Florida Man," Christopher started in this business as a copy clerk at the renowned St. Petersburg Times before persuading editors to let him write. He moved to Memphis in 2001 to cover arts and entertainment at the Commercial Appeal. Since then, he has contributed to nearly every publication in Shelby County, writing features on everything from the Civil War to Civil Rights. Also, Elvis... a lot of Elvis.   

He has won numerous awards for both print and radio reporting, including a 2017 Green Eyeshade Award for Public Service Journalism. 

In 2020, he was named Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. 


 

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is applying pressure on Shelby County Schools to reopen as soon as possible, while Superintendent Joris Ray has remained steadfast in keeping school virtual--at least until the state's largest school district can implement extensive safety measures

This week, a series of incidents hampered or otherwise raised concerns about COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Tennessee. One controversy has been over the number of doses being sent to Shelby County in proportion to the doses ending up in some rural counties. Gov.

Via CSPAN

The first day of Joe Biden's presidency was brimming with pomp, circumstance, celebration and a parade of new executive orders, some addressing the pandemic and others erasing the signature work of the previous president.

Insurrection, Impeachment, Inauguration -- in short order -- have once again thrust Donald Trump into the foreground of Washington politics on the eve of his departure. As Capitol police and the U.S.

After Wednesday insurrection incited by President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, questions were raised over the security response. Last summer, the national guard was called out for a Black Lives Matter protest, which resulted in numerous people being injured by police and arrested.

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

Shelby County Commissioners this week introduced a new ordinance that would fine businesses $50 per violation of COVID-19 restrictions related to masking, social distancing and capacity. While it would give the health department some teeth in the fight to stop the spread, some still question whether fines will be useful. Political analyst Otis Sanford tells us "Money Talks."

Katie Riordan/WKNO-FM

Hours after a COVID-19 vaccine gets FDA approval, the first doses for public consumption will be loaded onto FedEx planes and overnighted to their destinations. The company's readiness to deliver was heralded by Vice President Mike Pence at a roundtable conference Thursday in an airplane hangar at the airport.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says that while the company is naturally equipped to play a vital role in vaccine distribution, politics are still at play: FedEx CEO Fred Smith is a major Republican party supporter. 

Caleb Suggs/WKNO

About 3,000 people took part in free precautionary COVID testing offered by the Shelby County Health Department last weekend. Many of those, looking for reassurance that it was safe to join relatives for the holiday, showed no signs of illness.

Nearly one in ten people tested positive.

Just ahead of Thanksgiving, Shelby County health officials are taking a closer look at the so-called data-driven "tripwires" that could lead to new restrictions in places where people gather, from restaurants and gyms to sporting events. 

But political analyst Otis Sanford says the calculations surrounding stronger measures involve more than just numbers of infections and deaths. Politicans are balancing public health needs with the need to keep the economy moving and people employed. 

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

Look up silent movies on the internet and you'll find plenty of videos set to jangly piano music. But in 1928, when the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis re-opened its doors to the public after a fire destroyed the original structure, audiences were treated to first-run silent films accompanied by majestic overtures played on a "Mighty Wurlitzer" organ. 

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