Trey Kay

Independent Producer

Trey Kay
Credit Current.org

Radio journalist Trey Kay is host and producer of "Us & Them," a podcast devoted to telling stories from all sides of the Culture Wars. He co-produces the podcast with West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Kay also produced the 2009 radio documentary The Great Textbook War, which was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award, a national Edward R. Murrow Award, and a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton. He also collaborated on a traveling exhibit called Books and Beliefs, a companion piece for documentary. In 2005, Kay shared in another Peabody for his contribution to Studio 360’s “American Icons: Moby Dick” program.

His work has been recognized with two New York Festivals Awards: “I’m Not A Doctor, But I Play One At The Holiday Inn” (This American Life) and “A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood: A Musical Journey in the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.” (WNYC and NPR). He has been an associate producer for “News Wars: Secrets, Sources and Spin,” a two-hour report for PBS Frontline. Kay produced segments for Marketplace, Weekend America, Day to Day, Morning Edition, and The Next Big Thing.

 

Us & Them

"In the beginning of the so-called revolution, there was no talk of overthrowing the regime. When it started, there was some political oppression by the government, the shah. But socially, there were a lot of freedom, people could do anything, even you could criticize the government, but not the shah himself."

Us & Them

 

"I know there’s a risk. There are people who are going to hear this and they are going to change the way they feel about me. They are going to make assumptions about me. They’re going to automatically label me with certain words, the common narratives about Donald Trump [like he] hates women, hates immigrants, and so on. And they are going to assume that I am the same in that regard... and that’s a danger."

Reporting from America’s cultural divide, this is the Us & Them podcast from West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Over the past few years, we’ve noticed that some Americans take offense when people say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.” A here’s a clip from an episode we call “War On Christmas… Really?”

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is “Us and Them,” the podcast where we tell stories from America’s cultural divides.

Us & Them

"I think the only way to have useful conversations across these intense differences is to be able to just tolerate the other person’s position, but not have an agenda about changing them."

In this episode, I reconnect with Dimitri Mugianis, a friend that I met nearly a quarter century ago when we were both playing in the New York City music scene. He was the front man of a fantastic band called “Leisure Class.”  Dimitri was a dynamic performer, charismatic, poetically eloquent and brimming with the energy of a possessed mad man.  He also had a pernicious heroin addiction.

Us & Them: Femme Voice

Feb 29, 2016

  Back in the fall of 2014, I read an article in the Gazette about, Anne Kelly Skinner, a Charleston lawyer -- formerly Greg Skinner -- who was transitioning from male to female.  The story piqued my interest because having grown up as a son, nephew, brother and friend of many of Charleston’s attorneys, I knew with almost absolute certainty that this was new territory for many in that Kanawha Valley legal community.  I expected that I’d produce a story that would be about the tension of transitioning in a conservative “old boy” community, but we didn’t end up talking about any of that stuff. What we ended up talking about… was the way Anne talks.

Ron Pennington playing quarterback for the Charleston Rockets.
Courtesy of Ron Pennington

Long before Doug Williams and those who followed blazed their paths as black quarterbacks in the National Football League, another African America play-caller graced Lailey Field in Charleston, West Virginia.

Ron Pennington played for the Charleston Rockets during the 1960s. He spoke with Us & Them podcast producer Trey Kay about his time in the Mountain State.

At 5-foot-nine and 155 lbs, Pennington used his strong arm and scrambling ability to carve out success on the field.

Us & Them: Shack!

Feb 5, 2016

The 2016 Super Bowl was the 7th time in the history of the game that an African American had started at the quarterback position. This podcast tells the story of the civil rights struggle of African Americans advancing at the quarterback position in the NFL.  James “Shack” Harris was the first black player in history of NFL to earn a job as starting quarterback.

Trey Kay

On Friday, January 22nd, I was in New York City preparing to head to West Virginia. So was a blizzard called Jonas.

The blizzard that took the East Coast by storm hadn’t hit by the time I rolled into in Harrisburg, PA.  I was assured by meteorologists that I shouldn’t try driving down I-79 to Charleston, but that I could make it to Pittsburgh without encountering snow. This podcast tracks my experience on the Pennsylvania Turnpike between the Bedford and Somerset exits and the TWENTY-SEVEN AND A HALF hours I remained there, trapped in snow.

The crisis of people flooding out of war torn Middle Eastern countries and taking refuge in Europe has become a hot culture war topic in America.  Should we help these people?  What about the possibility of terrorist being imbedded in this group?

For this episode, I reached out to my Facebook friends to hear their thoughts on the alleged “War on Christmas.” Is this a real thing? 

Us & Them: Islamophobia

Dec 14, 2015

Are you afraid of Muslims? Not just those in ISIS - but the ones who live among us?

One Christian friend of ours is so worried, he refused to meet with Muslims over biscuits at Bob Evans as part of our "Us & Them" podcast.

Us & Them: Atheists

Nov 16, 2015

Throughout our nation’s history, it’s not uncommon for presidential candidates to reference the Bible to demonstrate their religious and specifically, Christian credentials.  Democrats and Republicans both do this, from John F. Kennedy defending against critics of his Catholic faith to fundamentalist Christian GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who said that a person who “doesn’t begin his days on his knees” isn’t fit to be president.

Us & Them: Enemies

Nov 6, 2015

This episode was inspired after watching one of the early Democrat Presidential Debates, when Hillary Clinton identified Republicans as her enemy.  We thought: Does she really consider half of America as her enemy?

Charleston Newspapers

What should children learn in school? It’s a question that’s stirred debate for decades, and in 1974 it led to violent protests in West Virginia. People planted bombs in schools, shot at buses, and shut down coal mines. This week on Inside Appalachia, we feature Charleston native Trey Kay, the host of Us and Them.

Prior to 1962, sodomy was considered a felony in every state, punished by a long prison term. However, the sex acts that were considered sodomy were targeted towards persons of the same sex.

 

In the summer of 2015, Us & Them was approached by two American-born journalists, Roopa Gogineni (who grew up in Charleston and graduated from my alma mater George Washington High School) and Mike Onyiego.  

For years, these two have been based in East Africa reporting on the civil war conflicts simmering there.  From that part of the world, they were fascinated with the news reports about the mass shooting at a Bible study group at a Baptist church in Charleston, SC. and the subsequent call from many to take down Confederate flags and monuments that were on display in southern cities.

Strangers with Cameras in Appalachia
Us & Them

I grew up in Appalachia.

Okay, I didn’t come from the kind of Appalachia that’s often associated with the stereotype of ignorant, welfare check-collecting “hicks” living “up the holler.”  I grew up in Charleston, WV, which is and was much like “Suburban Anywhere, USA.”

Us & Them: New Math

Sep 8, 2015
Us & Them

Kind of like the controversial Common Core Curriculum Standards for Mathematics today, “New Math” was the raspberry seed in many people’s dentures back in the '60s and '70s. 

In this episode, I dig into one of my favorite culture war subjects: the battles in Texas over education.

For years, I’ve had a fascination with the fights Texans have had over education curriculum and textbooks.  This interest started with my research of the 1974 Kanawha County textbook controversy. 

When researching the events in Kanawha, I saw that a Texas couple named Mel and Norma Gabler came to Charleston to lend support to the textbook protesters.  At that point, the Gablers – a Mom and Pop team from Longview, TX – had more than a decade of experience of performing intensive reviews of public school textbooks.  Overtime, the couple would have a huge impact on what got into `– not just in Texas, but around the country.   

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