SC Features

Interviews, profiles, and and informational programming about the Palmetto State.

photo of a roasted, whole turkey
Tim Sackton [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

(THE CONVERSATION) - 'Tis the season for giblets, wattles and snoods – oh my. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, Americans consume about 68 million turkeys – one for about every five of us. In fact, 29 percent of all turkeys gobbled down in the U.S. are consumed during the holidays.

These Narragansett turkeys are raised by University of South Carolina professor Joe Jones.  Though he keeps his flock small, the quality of the meat is far superior to mass produced turkeys.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

From 9 to 5, Joe Jones of Blythewood is a professor of marine science and environmental science at the University of South Carolina.  After 5, he becomes a farmer, raising sheep, pigs, chickens, and especially Narragansett turkeys, which makes him popular around Thanksgiving.   He and his wife keep their flock small, preferring quality over quantity.  Jones and his wife Amanda talk in this story about the difference between homegrown birds and the corporate, mass-produced turkeys most people consume (hint: price and flavor have a lot to do with the difference).  There are challenges to rais

Poster for "Eight Days a Week."
Apple Corps

The 2017 Ron Howard documentary film “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years” highlights the cultural phenomenon of Beatlemania in the 1960s.  The movie captures America’s excitement as John, Paul, George and Ringo stormed the country at the forefront of the most popular musical revolution of the century, the British Invasion.   

Narrative: His Mother Dreamed of Having Her Own Family

Nov 15, 2017
Scotty Barnes with his father, Scott Barnes, and his son, Richard Barnes, Columbia, 2016.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, Scott Barnes sat down with his son Scotty and his grandson Richard, to tell them about his life and family history. Scott Barnes was celebrating his 92nd birthday at the time of the interview. Here’s Scotty Barnes, speaking to his father.

Poet Ray McManus conducts a poetry workshop at a high school in Blythewood.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

University of South Carolina – Sumter English Professor Ray Mcmanus is a poet who can’t sit still. He travels the state conducting workshops in poetry much as a missionary would: But the message he brings to the people – that is, students from elementary to high schools – is that poetry isn’t the exclusive realm of artsy, smart people; it’s accessible to everyone, and it’s already in their lives if they take notice.

Christina Miles cools chocolate in a mold from her vat of liquid chocolate.  The Columbia chocolatier uses chocolate from Belgium and France to make her own unique candies, and hand-paints them with icing.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio

Chocolate is one of life's great treats for most folks.  Traditional, mass-produced chocolate candies have been enjoyed for generations, but lately, specialists have been making chocolates in South Carolina.  Columbia chocolatiers Christina Miles and Joseph Vernon have developed their own unique varieties of chocolates. 

Lori Risk and her husband James Risk, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project based on the idea that the stories of everyday people are the most important and interesting of all. When StoryCorps visited Columbia in 2016, Lori Risk talked with her husband James Risk about their family. Here, Lori and James tell the story of how they met and fell in love after being pen pals for 14 years.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Richard Rothwell, via Wikimedia Commons

Frankenstein is a classic of fiction, movies, and other media, and also a Halloween staple. The novel has not been out of print in the two centuries since it was published in 1818. USC English Professor Paula Feldman, an authority on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, talks about the real- life tragedies in Shelley's life that caused her to wish she could bring the dead to life again, and the dreams that inspired the writing of the classic book that is regarded as the first science fiction novel.

Edgar Allan Poe mural above the fireplace, Poe's Tavern Sullivan's Island, SC.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Whether you're walking down Raven Avenue or biting into a Gold Bug Burger at Poe's Tavern, you are certain to find plenty of Edgar Allan Poe treasure on Sullivan's Island.  The elusive 19th Century writer has direct ties to the island.  But they weren't discovered until decades after his death, even though there are clues in his writings.

"In his own time, Poe essentially covered up the fact that he had been an enlisted man in the Army," said College of Charleston American literature professor Scott Peeples.  "That of course including his being stationed at Fort Moultrie."

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Cain sign their wedding certificate before friends at the Columbia Fireflies ball park.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

A recent wedding at the home of the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team would seem unusual to most people, but to a group of University of South Carolina students, it’s just part of a class.  The wedding planning class is included in the curriculum of the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program, and for at least a decade has had the dual advantage of giving students experience in all the details that go into planning a wedding and providing the bride and groom with a free wedding and honeymoon.  The catch?  They must give the students total control over everything.  But s

Jonathan Dean and his father, Scottie Dean, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, Scottie Dean talked with his son Jonathan about their family, and why he values every day with them. Here, seven-year-old Jonathan asks his dad how he likes his life now.

Narrative: A Grandfather's Army Career

Oct 17, 2017
Colonel John Paolucci and grandson Jack Paolucci, Columbia 2016
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. Here, eight-year-old Jack Paolucci asks his grandfather Colonel John Paolucci about his time in the army.

Glen Ward
Courtesy of Glen Ward

Humorist and inspirational speaker Glen Ward left a comfortable job at a bank 25 years ago and took a leap of faith into a venture he’d long been doing as a  sideline – public speaking, including both inspirational messages and impressions of well-known personalities.   It worked out, because a quarter century later, he travels the country bringing South Carolina humor to 36 states and counting.  Whether he’s imitating famous Palmetto State politicians such as former U.S.

The South Carolina State Fair's midway rides at night.
Nathan Harper [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The South  Carolina State Fair has rolled around every fall since 1869.  Begun on Columbia’s Elmwood Avenue as an agricultural exposition, historian Rodger Stroup and fair manager Gary Goodman say it has kept its agricultural and mechanical roots while expanding through the years at its present location on Rosewood Drive, where it moved in 1914. 

Farmer Bill Coburn directs his border collie Lucy to herd sheep using vocal and whistle commands.
Laura Hunsberger

At Windy Knolls Farm in Laurens County, Bill Coburn raises ducks and sheep. He’s retired from farming, but he still spends time on one of his favorite occupations: training border collies. The shaggy mid-sized dogs have a natural instinct to herd animals, and Coburn says he’s been working with them for nearly 30 years. He still shows his border collies regularly at demonstrations throughout the southeast, and at the State Fair, he will show the dogs in action for a few select afternoons. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has the story for this South Carolina Focus.

A ride at the South Carolina State Fair, 2016.
Susanna Berggren

With October come two certainties: Trick-or-Treaters will be abroad on the 31st, and the South Carolina State Fair will attract thousands to Columbia.  In this edition of Walter Edgar's Journal, from May 5, 2016, Dr.

These ladies have the responsibility of judging baked goods at the South Carolina State Fair, and they take their work seriously.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

(Originally aired in 2016) - Eating cupcakes, pies, cakes, and cookies is a pleasure for most folks, but for judges at the South Carolina State Fair, it’s also a responsibility.  Judges Laurie Aker and Mae Wells say because baking contestants work hard to prepare their entries, they should also be diligent in evaluating each entry to get the fairest (no pun intended) and most accurate result in determining winners.  Here they give their criteria for judging food, and for a judge’s qualifications.      Aker lists some common mistakes made by some cooks, and judge supervisor Brenda Turner tel

Narrative: "The Second Draft of the Sketch"

Sep 26, 2017
Glenn Saborosch and Lee Malerich, Columbia, 2016.
Storycorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. When StoryCorps visited Columbia in 2016, Glenn Saborosch and his wife Lee Malerich shared how a painting and a dream helped them reconnect after meeting many years before.\

Watchmaker Todd Waites works with tiny parts to get big results in repairing watches at Wristwatch Doc in  Cayce, SC, near Columbia.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

With competition from cell phones and an attitude of replace-not-repair toward many items, watch repair has become a rarer trade.  There are now fewer watchmakers (or repairers, to us general public types) in the United States than ever before.  Cayce watchmaker John Gawronski says that makes for a greater demand, and his staff is always busy.  He is sought out because not only does he have the skill, but also millions of rare watch parts gathered by buying out retiring watchmakers or jewelers.  There are opportunities for younger watchmakers if they’re willing to work, says Gawronski, and

Lucy Wichmann and her grandmother Marianne Wichmann, Charleston, 2012
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. When StoryCorps visited Charleston, Lucy Wichmann talked with her grandmother Marianne Wichmann who grew up in England during World War II and later moved to the states with her husband Fred Wichman. Marianne passed away in 2014 at age 81. In this 2012 interview, Marianne describes her early impressions of America in the 1950s.

The exact nature of the crescent which adorns the corner of the South Carolina state flag has been the subject of debate for years.  Is it a moon, as many people say?  Two state historians say it sure looks like one, but according to the flag's creator, t
Wikimedia Commons [CC0 1.0]

South Carolina is widely acknowledged to have one of the most beautiful state flags in the country.   Created by Col. William Moultrie, the flag features a palmetto tree, which became a beloved icon of the state.  But what about that crescent shape in the corner?  Many people call it a moon but is it really?  

Narrative: A New Father's Hopes for His Daughters

Sep 11, 2017
L. Kobie Wilkerson and his mother Ida Charmaine Wilkerson-Morton, Columbia, 2016.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, an oral history project where friends and loved ones interview each other. At the StoryCorps mobile booth in Columbia in 2016, L. Kobie Wilkerson talked with his mother Ida Charmaine Wilkerson-Morton about their family and his hopes for raising his two young daughters after her example.

Each of these silver spoons has a story to tell, and Dawn Corley knows them all.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Dawn Corley of Charleston began collecting silver as a child under the tutelage of her great aunt.  As her collection grew, so did her expertise, until SCETV’s Beryl Dakers dubbed her the “Charleston Silver Lady,” a nickname which has stuck over the years.  Corley has presented programs on silver for U.S.

A telltale red hourglass shape identifies the black widow spider, a native of South Carolina.
Shenrich91 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

People who leave their shoes on the porch to air out would do well to shake and inspect them before putting them back on, especially if left out overnight.  According to naturalists Rudy Mancke and Chick Gaddy, black widow spiders love to shelter there.   And even in the driest closets, attics or basements, brown recluses may lurk.  These are potentially deadly spiders that have rightly earned fearsome reputations.   

Lisa Wilcox and Sarah Leverette, Columbia 2016.
StoryCorps

This edition of Narrative features an interview from StoryCorps, a unique oral history project that collects the voices of our times. 96-year-old Sarah Leverette graduated from USC', Law School in 1943, one of the first women to attend. Here (in this interview from late 2016), Leverette tells her friend Lisa Wilcox about her experience breaking down barriers to practice law.

The world's hottest pepper- the Carolina Reaper, grown in Fort Mill.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

Many people distinguish themselves in the worlds of sports, entertainment, writing and other endeavors.  Ed Currie of Fort Mill has distinguished himself in a much hotter manner:  he holds the Guinness world record for the hottest pepper on earth, his self-developed Carolina Reaper.  He grows many varieties of peppers for the food industry, but it’s the Reaper that makes some hot-sauce aficionados rethink how tough they are.  In addition to setting people’s insides on fire, however, Currie says the pepper has other uses in the paint, medical and defense industries.

Eclipsing the Occult in Early America: Benjamin Franklin and His Almanacs

Aug 11, 2017
Benjamin Franklin seated, reading a manuscript which he holds in his left hand. Benjamin Franklin by David Rent Etter, after Charles Willson Peale, after David Martin (1835)
National Park Service

(THE CONVERSATION) By the time he was 20 years old, colonial American Benjamin Franklin had already spent two years working as a printer in London. He returned to Philadelphia in 1726. During the sea voyage home, he kept a journal that included many of his observations of the natural world. Franklin was inquisitive, articulate and interested in mastering the universe.

During one afternoon calm on September 14, Franklin wrote,

Before the afternoon showing of the play, cast members in full costume show children what it is like to carry and shoot muskets, bayonets and rifles.
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

The Battle of Kings Mountain took place in rural South Carolina on October 7, 1780, just nine miles south of the present-day town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina. There, Patriot militia defeated the Loyalist militia during the Southern campaign of the Revolutionary War.

USC Library Shines Light on Eclipses in Literature

Aug 3, 2017
Astronomy text from the Robert Arial collection, image for personal research use only.
Makayla Gay

Columbia is preparing for an estimated million visitors to come this month to witness a total solar eclipse, a scientific phenomenon that inspires awe and wonder in those who view it. The world goes dark in daytime as the moon completely covers the sun. Imagine what it must have been like for people in the past who didn’t necessarily understand what was happening.

Columbia Rock-n-Roll Camp Puts Girls in the Spotlight

Jul 25, 2017
Girls Rock Columbia Founder and Executive Director, Mollie Williamson
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

With participants across the country and world, the Girls Rock Camp Alliance is made up of organizations that hold annual camps to empower girls through rock music. In each week-long day camp, kids are assigned a musical instrument: bass, electric guitar, drums, key board, or vocals. Many campers have never picked up a musical instrument before. Mollie Williamson is the founder and executive director of Girls Rock Columbia. This will be Williamson's last camp as she steps down as executive director to pursue her Master's degree out of state.

Pages