Inside Appalachia

Sundays at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Inside Appalachia tells the stories of our people, and how they live today. Host Jessica Lilly leads us on an audio tour of our rich history, our food, our music and our culture.

Subscribe to our Inside Appalachia podcast here or on iTunes here, or on Soundcloud here or on Stitcher here.

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with help from public radio stations in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Affiliate Stations

  • WVMR, Allegheny Mountain Radio, Frost, West Virginia, WVLS Monterey, Virginia. and WCHG Hot Springs, Virginia.- Saturday 7 a.m.
  • WETS, 89.5 FM, Johnson City, Tennessee.- Sunday 6 p.m.
  • WMKY, 90.3 FM, Saturday mornings at 6 on Morehead State Public Radio, Morehead, Kentucky
  • WMMT, Appalshop Mountain Community Radio, Whitesburg, Kentucky.- Sunday 11 a.m. & Tuesday 6 p.m.
  • WEKU Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.- Saturday at 5 a.m.
  • WSHC, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia.- Sunday 9 a.m.
  • WUOT-2, Knoxville, Tennessee. - Tuesday 7 p.m.
  • WVCU, Concord University, Athens, West Virginia.
  • West Virginia Public Broadcasting - Sunday at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • WMOV, Ravenswood, West Virginia- Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
  • WUKY, HD 2, Lexington, Kentucky, Monday at 5:00 pm.

Ways To Connect

Andy Todd

Food deserts: it’s more than just an urban issue. Hey, we all have to eat. This week, we’re bringing you an encore presentation from the Inside Appalachia archives about Appalachian food deserts.  In Appalachia, where green forests grow abundantly, food is scarce for many. Throughout Appalachia, grocery stores are disappearing. This week on Inside Appalachia we're looking at some ways communities are resolving to take matters in their own hands.

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File / AP

Once he was considered untouchable, but next week former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is scheduled to go on trial on conspiracy to violate mine safety standards and conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials charges. Blankenship denies the charges.

Those charges stem from an investigation that followed the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s a trial that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we take a look back at how we got here and talk about the significance of this case.  You can also hear part of a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies, that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions of dollars in fines.

courtesy Kaitlen Whitt

How do the wordsmiths of today describe Appalachians? The people who don't let a day go by without putting down on paper a song, or a rhyme, or a tale that they just had to get off their chest? What kind of worlds do they create in their writings?


You’re probably well aware that in places like southern West Virginia, it’s really tough right now for coal miners, their families and many communities. So many miners have been laid off these past few years, and those who have a job don’t have a lot of hope that they will be able to keep what they have for much longer.

Jesse Anderson

Across the country, there’s been sweeping change in the last few years in the way the law treats gay people - and how society in general feels about gay relationships. Here in Appalachia, the acceptance of this change has been mixed.

West Virginia University, Douglas Arbogast

This time of year, it’s the perfect temperature for people to gather on their back deck, maybe over some drinks, to play music. So for this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd spent some time uncovering a few, shall we say, mysteries behind Appalachian music. We’ll also hear how young people are reviving this old time music.

Ashley Biega

Young people are leaving Appalachia — and they have been for years. We hear lots of stories of once-bustling boom towns in Appalachia. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from people who moved away from Appalachia, share their stories about why they left and how they cope with longing for home.

Daniel Walker/WVPB

Have you ever heard of a pepperoni roll? If you haven’t, then you’re not from West Virginia.

Daniel Walker/WVPB

This week, Inside Appalachia is featuring some incredible stories about dogs that help people heal. Like Paca, who helps children overcome emotional trauma and even helps encourage them to read. And we'll travel to a special cemetery, reserved only for coonhound dogs.

Malcolm Wilson / Humans of Central Appalachia

What happens when strangers with cameras go to Appalachia? It’s a complicated topic that many Appalachians have strong feelings about.

It can be pretty tough to be a young person in Appalachia. There’s a lot of love for our region in the younger generation, too. So some younger people are making their own opportunities. Hear from people in their teens and 20s who are creating art and music here and listen to their ideas and dreams for Appalachia.

Robert Sharpe Productions, Before the Mountain was Moved

Rewind to the 1960s: Many young, middle and upper class Americans of the 1960s yearned to do something more with their lives after college. They didn't want to settle for a prosperous, suburban lifestyle, so instead, many of them signed up to serve in a new anti-poverty program called VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to American. VISTA is a national service program that launched in December, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.


In Appalachia, where green forests grow abundantly, food is scarce for many. Throughout Appalachia, grocery stores are disappearing. This week on Inside Appalachia we're looking at some ways communities are resolving to take matters in their own hands.

This week, Inside Appalachia is hearing from people across the region, sharing their views about the Confederate Battle Flag.

Christine Cover

Appalachia has certainly been stereotyped by many people in the media. But not all storytellers are the same, and the stories that are told about Appalachia are often complicated with layers of misunderstandings. 

It takes time, compassion and perhaps an inside perspective to delve deep and do justice to the people affected by the story. So much of this type of work- that which is reshaping how Appalachia is portrayed- is being rendered by women in the media.

Brian Blauser


This week’s show includes stories of square dance junkies who are fanning the flames for a new generation of old time music fans, young indie rock musicians who hope to challenge Appalachian stereotypes in West Virginia and banjo players who are teaching age old tunes to young musicians and more.

Bristol Museum Celebrates the Birthplace of Country Music

Derek Cline

Despite stereotypes, Appalachians don’t have a homogenous way of speaking. This week, we’re excited to share lots of Appalachian voices as we explore the complex aspects of the way we talk.

Atlanta Journal Constitution, John Harmon, October 1997

This week, we remember Jean Ritchie, who's been called the mother of Appalachian folk music.

Ben Allen/ WITF

It's an unsettling reality in Appalachia. Many people, young and old, rich and poor, are falling victim to heroin addiction.

True, heroin addiction is spreading in communities across the country. But here in Appalachia, people in remote rural areas have an even more difficult time finding access to treatment options.

Courtesy of Kenneth King and the WV Mine Wars Museum

Amid news of more mine lay-offs, one former coal town has built a labor museum to attract visitors. Driving down to the new West Virginia Mine Wars Museum , you really feel the fading towns and cities, sliding into the backdrop of the mountains. It's surreal. Many places in Appalachia are. It’s sad to many people who remember the thriving economy here when coal was booming. Wilma Lee Steele says she hopes the museum in Matewan will become a place where people throughout the coalfields can come to reclaim their identity. “I think that we have a lot to say, and I think we’re gonna say it. We’re gonna tell our history, and we’re gonna come together as a community.”