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Us & Them

“Us & Them” is a podcast exploring all sides of the cultural issues that too often divide us. Peabody Award-winner Trey Kay brings us stories that may make you rethink your opinions on religion, sexuality, and other important issues. “Us & Them” is a joint project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and Trey Kay Productions, with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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Trey Kay

Host of Us & Them

tkay@wvpublic.org, @Trey_Kay


Trey Kay +,Jun. 07, 2023

Us & Them: Larry Bellorín’s Unwritten Song

Larry Bellorín is a musician from Venezuela, who is seeking asylum in the U.S. He thought his musical career was in the past until he met Joe Troop, a GRAMMY-nominated musician and North Carolina native who introduced Larry to the folk music and traditions of Appalachia, which seemed quite similar to the joropo he played in Venezuela. Their duo, Larry & Joe, is the realization of a dream for both musicians. It’s also a reminder for Larry of what — and who — he had to leave behind.

Trey Kay +,May. 24, 2023

The ‘Toxic Stew’ Of School Discipline

In schools across the nation, when students of color misbehave, they are disciplined at twice the rate of white students. That means Black and brown students are more likely to face suspension or expulsion. West Virginia lawmakers worry students are not facing the right consequences for their misbehavior. A new state law is designed to make schools safer. In this episode, Us & Them host Trey Kay looks at new approaches to school discipline.

Trey Kay +,May. 10, 2023

A Fiddler Contemplates The Fate Of The Mountain State

West Virginia-born fiddler Phillip Bowen writes songs that reflect love for the place he calls home. His descriptions of the people and places from his childhood touch the ear and heart like a sentimental postcard. But he’s also willing to share songs that remember those who’ve been marginalized or forgotten.

Trey Kay +,Apr. 26, 2023

Us & Them Encore: The Gun Divide

At a time when an alarming number of mass shootings continue to happen all over America, the Us & Them team was recently honored with a first place award for best documentary from Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters. In this report, we explore the foundations of the Second Amendment and the cultural and historical beliefs and myths that contribute to our very American divide over guns.

Trey Kay +,Apr. 12, 2023

Diminishing OB Care In Rural America

For struggling rural hospitals, obstetric and prenatal services tend to be some of the first on the chopping block. Over the past decade, 89 rural hospitals across the country closed their obstetric units. And when medical options shrink — rural families have to make hard decisions about how and where to get care.

Trey Kay +,Mar. 23, 2023

Changing A State’s Mind About Health

According to recent health rankings, West Virginia tops the charts for the rates of obesity and diabetes. More than a decade ago, Huntington, West Virginia made headlines as “the nation’s fattest city.” Since then, some things have changed.

Trey Kay +,Mar. 08, 2023

Compassion Fatigue

Homelessness is not just an issue for big cities like San Francisco or New York City. Across America, communities large and small are struggling to provide shelter to people without housing. In Charleston, West Virginia, government and community approaches to help the unhoused have created more debate on an issue that is already divisive.

Trey Kay +,Feb. 22, 2023

Us & Them: Re-Entry

At least 95 percent of people behind bars will be released. Some say a formerly incarcerated person’s successful re-entry into society requires more focus on rebuilding an individual and less on punishment. Criminal justice reform efforts also address a victim-centered approach, but some believe that fundamental change might require addressing past trauma of victims as well as the perpetrators of crimes.

Trey Kay,Feb. 09, 2023

The Fight For The Youth Vote

Nothing divides Americans like politics. At the same time, young people are showing up to vote. Recent voting trends also show the number of young people engaging in conservative politics is on the rise.

Trey Kay +,Jan. 26, 2023

The Housing Struggle

America’s housing shortage has some people worried about where they’ll call home. For this Us & Them episode, we look at the housing struggle in urban West Philadelphia and rural West Virginia. Affordable housing is tough for some Americans now that pandemic relief programs are gone and eviction and foreclosure moratoriums have expired.

Trey Kay,Jun. 25, 2020

Forced Apart: Shadow Pandemic

COVID-19 has forced millions to stay at home for months. Isolation can feed anxiety and depression and now tens of millions of Americans say that potent combination threatens their mental health. …

Trey Kay,May. 13, 2020

The Legacy Of The Upper Big Branch Disaster

Ten years ago, the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in West Virginia. Twenty-nine men died and an investigation uncovered that a legacy of overlooked safety measures contributed to the disaster. A new play called “Coal Country” focuses on the stories of the men and thei…

Trey Kay,Mar. 11, 2020

Without A Home Can You Be A Good Neighbor?

Homelessness is one of the things that divides us in America. It’s an Us & Them issue that can spring from, and inform our views on other social topics. The number of homeless people nationally has dropped in the past decade, but there was an increase between 2017 and 2018…

Trey Kay,Dec. 26, 2019

Us & Them: Music With A Message

Music can entertain and inspire and serve as a way to share another person’s truth. This episode, Us & Them talks with two musicians, each with roots in Appalachia, whose work offers their view of the world. …

Trey Kay,Aug. 09, 2019

What, Us Worry?: Life After MAD

MAD Magazine, once the touchstone of American satire and snark, is winding down its publication after 67 years. Trey says, as a kid, MAD’s adolescent-focused, subversive content helped him connect with his inner “wise ass.” It made him feel smarter and stupider at the same …

Immigrant ‘Concentration Camps’ on the Southern Border?

U.S. immigration policies are very much in the spotlight recently with reports on conditions at some of the southern border detention camps and fresh…

Trey Kay,Jun. 26, 2019

Pride in the Mountain State

It’s Gay Pride month across the country and a celebration of increasing tolerance and rights for the LGBTQ community. Attitudes have changed in many places, including the Mountain State – where more than 50 percent of residents believe the Bible is the word of God. Trey produc…

Trey Kay,May. 22, 2019

Farm Wars

America’s trade war with China is fueling a long-running battle over weedkillers in American farm fields. It’s a tough time to be an American farmer — especially if you grow soybean. They are a $40 billion business in the U.S., but the price of soybeans plummeted last year bec…

Trey Kay,Nov. 08, 2017

Us & Them: The Church Lady

I speak with journalist Linda K. Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion In an Age of Intolerance. In her book, she has a chapter titled “The Church Lady,” where she recounts her experience of her family moving from western New York to a town in Ohi…

Us & Them: Love, the Ayatollah & Revolution

"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…

Us & Them: Street Corner Confessional

"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…

Us & Them: Excerpt from "War on Christmas…Really?"

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…

Us & Them: Femme Voice

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…

Us & Them: Shack!

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…

Us & Them: Trapped on the Turnpike

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…

Us & Them: The Refugee Trail with Scott Carrier

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…

Us & Them: War on Christmas…Really?

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? The first friend of…

Us & Them: Islamophobia

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…

Us & Them: Atheists

Throughout our nation’s history, it’s not uncommon for presidential candidates to reference the Bible to demonstrate their religious and specifically,…

Us & Them: Enemies

This episode was inspired after watching one of the early Democrat Presidential Debates, when Hillary Clinton identified Republicans as her enemy. We…

Us & Them: Locked Up for Sodomy

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…

Trey Kay,May. 01, 2015

Trey & Alice

A blue state secular liberal and a red state Christian conservative have an unlikely friendship From West Virginia Public Broadcasting, this is “Us & Them” the podcast where we tell stories from America’s cultural divides. Subscribe to “Us & Them” on …