Category Archives: Radio

Radio  WFDD: Pope’s U.S. Visit Comes As He Calls For Climate Change Action

This farm valley in southern Peru is threated by a proposed copper mine. Photo by Justin Catanoso

This farm valley in southern Peru is threated by a proposed copper mine. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Emily McCord, the news director at WFDD, has had a huge interest in my climate change reporting since she joined the station a year ago last summer. I am grateful for that. Today, Sept. 21, 2015, she broadcasts my first radio report based on my Pope-and-Peru reporting.

Radio  NPR commentary: Our Cousin, the Saint — how it all started

bookIf not for this three-minute commentary on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on Oct. 20, 2005, the book shown here would not exist. While my commentary aired, Randi Murray, a literary agent in San Francisco, listened in her driveway. She told me that when she finished crying, she dashed into her house, looked me up on the internet and sent me an email, which said in essence, “There’s a book in that commentary if you’re interested, and I’d like to represent you.” I spoke with Randi after returning from Italy with my family after the canonization. She coached me through the process of producing a 50-page book proposal over the next few months. And in March 2006, she negotiated a contract for me with a division of HarperCollins. When I look back on all that — how it started and what it produced — I’m left with only one reasonable explanation: It was a miracle.


RadioTriad Biz  Creative housing: ThinkHouseU aims to wring innovation out of entrepreneurial roommates

Bryan Toney, left, associate vice chancellor for economic development and corporate engagement at UNCG, and Justin Streuli, director of the N.C. Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG, stand in front of the house on Silver Avenue in Greensboro that will be renovated for ThinkHouseU. Photo for TBJ by Julie Knight

Bryan Toney, left, associate vice chancellor for economic development at UNCG, and Justin Streuli, director of the N.C. Entrepreneurship Center at UNCG, stand in front of the house  that will be renovated for ThinkHouseU. Photo by Julie Knight

Entrepreneurial support is poised to expand once again in Greensboro while taking a step closer to a nationally recognized entrepreneurial haven – the Triangle.

Starting in August 2015, UNC Greensboro will serve as a national pilot for a residential concept called ThinkHouseU. In a renovated house in the Glenwood neighborhood near campus, eight imaginative and determined undergrads with viable visions of new business startups will live together for nine months. They will not only share kitchen space and bathrooms, but swap ideas and encouragement as well.

Chris Gergen,  a leader in the Triangle in entrepreneurial support, is behind the effort in Greensboro.

My monthly Triad Next column is here at and describes the program. My radio story with Keri Brown at WFDD is at this link.


Radio  Trouble In Paradise–Too Much Plastic In Our Oceans

13My radio commentary for March 27, 2015 was based on my Spring Break trip to Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Long Caye, which is located 47 miles off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean. In such a tiny, remote and pristine place, I was stunned by the sight of so much plastic waste. I wrestled with how to localize this international problem for my Triad Business Journal column. Fortunately, Will Scott, the Yadkin Riverkeeper, offered exactly what I needed to hear. The radio report with Keri Brown is here.

Excerpt: “I think the first thing is understanding that when it comes to the environment, our actions here have an impact just about everywhere else. That’s when you realize that how you answer the question ‘paper or plastic’ can make a difference. So can buying a Brita filter instead of a case of bottled water.”

RadioUN Climate Summits  WFDD: Local Efforts Help Battle Global Climate Problem

Photo by Michael Frierson

Photo by Michael Frierson

In my final radio report on the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru, I spoke with WFDD’s Keri Brown about some basics: why we have global warming, the extraordinary role forests play worldwide as a sponge for greenhouse gas emissions, and the notion that mayors might be more effective than heads of state in fighting climate change. The audio story is here.

Excerpt: “This was probably the most surprising thing I learned in Lima. I was talking with a climate scientist from NASA and he told me that the world’s 50 largest cities account for about 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. If you think about cities like Beijing, Mumbai, Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro or Los Angeles – big, smoggy places with a lot of traffic and a huge demand for energy – it makes sense.”

EnvironmentRadio  COP20 post mortem: Achievements and obstacles from the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru

Joseph Zambo Mandea and Melaine Kermarc, both Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, were among the climate change activists I met and interviewed at the COP20 - the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru. Photo by Justin Catanoso

Joseph Zambo Mandea of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Melaine Kermarc of France, both with the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, were among the climate change activists I met and interviewed at the COP20 – the UN climate summit in Lima, Peru. Photo by Justin Catanoso

From the WFDD web post Dec. 17, 2014 (Audio link is here) — A global summit to address climate change wrapped up in Peru last week. After 36 hours of overtime negotiations, a draft of the Lima Accords was presented–a plan which will change how countries deal with carbon emissions. Wake Forest journalism professor Justin Catanoso is a regular WFDD contributor and attended the UN Climate talks.

Catanoso reported that there was momentum and optimism ahead of the summit. He says that still remains today, with the Lima Accords, which is the first deal committing every country in the world to reducing their fossil fuel emissions.

“This represents a significant breakthrough in a 20-year effort by the UN to come up with some international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Catanoso.

But he adds that the strength of the accords is also its weakness. Each nation will set its own reduction levels and they likely won’t be held accountable by any governing body to guide that decision.

“If we don’t have that mandated amount, then we may not be able to keep global warming under 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 50-75 years,” says Catanoso. “That’s the point in which scientists say if we get warmer than that, things really spin out of control. The planet becomes increasingly uninhabitable.”

Every country has six months to report their intended cuts to the UN which would begin in 2020. It’s in advance of a meeting in Paris next year, where they will possibly sign binding agreements to cement greenhouse gas reductions.

EnvironmentRadio  Wake Forest Prof: Climate Change Summit Could Be A Game Changer

COP20 logo

On Dec. 5, I leave for Lima, Peru, with videographer Michael Frierson to report on the UN climate negotiations. Our reporting is being underwritten by a grant from the Wake Forest Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES).

WFDD News Director Emily McCord interviewed me this week about the negotiations, what’s expected to come out of them and issues related to the politics of climate change and global warming. The audio story is here.

Excerpt: “We all depend on what’s coming out of Lima,” says Catanoso. “Climate change and global warming can seem huge but it affects us here locally. We just have to look at our coasts in North Carolina and see that sea level rises that are driven by climate change are going to have a dramatic impact on the Carolina coast, really now, and going forward.”

Beach erosion at the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Michael and I plan to produce stories from Lima for WFDD, National Geographic NewsWatch, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and

Radio  Downtown Winston-Salem, a remarkable renaissance long in the making

In some form or fashion, I’ve been writing about and experiencing revitalization efforts in downtown Winston-Salem for more than 25 years — since we lived in West End with our young family (1988-1993). The wide-scale progress that’s taken hold, and appears permanent, in the past decade or so, is pretty remarkable. I talk about all that in this radio report on 88.5 WFDD.

Radio  Surprise — North Carolina a national leader in solar energy

A report released earlier this month by the Pew Charitable Trust extolled the virtues of a “new cash crop” in North Carolina. It’s not hogs or chickens, tobacco or soybeans. WFDD contributor Justin Catanoso gives the answer in his column this week in the Business Journal. “It’s solar energy,” he says. “North Carolina has 100 solar energy farms, which is the fifth highest capacity in the country.” Here’s the radio report on 88.5 WFDD.

Radio  Triad joins the trend in collaborative work spaces

According to a recent Gallup survey, about one-third of the U.S. employees operate outside the traditional confines of office towers, cubicles or factories. In other words, one in three American workers don’t have a traditional place to work. My radio report on Sept. 26, 2014, based on my Triad Next column in the Triad Business Journal, looks at the growing movement in collaborative work spaces with a close look at the newest — Flywheel in Winston-Salem.