SC News

News stories and interviews South Carolina Public Radio.

Ways to Connect

Physicist Ronald McNair, a Lake City native, became a NASA astronaut because his brother said "Ron was the one who didn't accept societal norms as being his norms. That was for other people.  And he got to be aboard his own starship Enterprise."
NASA

The Palmetto State has produced numerous astronauts and scientists.  A South Carolinian, Charles Townes of Greenville, invented the laser, and another native, Dr. Ron McNair, was the first person to operate a laser in space in his role as a NASA astronaut.   A physicist, McNair was killed in the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986.  It was his second excursion into space. 

How South Carolina Music Producers Make Songs Music to Our Ears

Jul 9, 2019
File picture of a microphone.
vanleuven0 via Pixabay

Many famous musical artists have been heavily influenced by their audio producers, but Joe Miller, a music producer who owns and operates the Sounds Like Joe recording studio in Rock Hill, South Carolina, describes his job in humble terms. “I like to consider my artistic domain, I move air and people hear it,” he said.

Producing music is defined by taking music written by an artist or composer and transforming it into a high quality, professional studio sound. It involves several tough decisions that producers must make when there are several options available. 

Hurricane Florence, seen here as a Category 3 storm on Sept. 12, 2018, approaches the East Coast. It eventually made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on Sept. 14, and caused massive inland flooding.
NOAA

This summer we're dedicating several episodes of South Carolina Lede to in-depth topics we felt needed futher exploration.

On this first South Carolina Lede Summer School special, host Gavin Jackson examines the history of hurricanes in South Carolina. From Hurricane Hugo in 1989 to Hurricane Florence in 2018, we look at the impact of these major storms with Jamie Arnold, chief meteorologist with WMBF News. Then Derrec Becker, public information officer with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, joins us to discuss what can be done both personally and on the statewide level to adapt to and safeguard against future storms.

Journalist Recounts the Race to the Moon 50 Years Later

Jul 5, 2019
Overall view of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center showing the flight controllers celebrating the successful conclusion of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission on Jul 24, 1969.
NASA

It was the late 1950s and the nation embraced a race to space fueled by the Cold War.  Journalist Mark Bloom wasn’t yet 30 years-old.  But he would chase the story long after Apollo 11 landed and men took their first steps on the moon.

“I was in the right place at the right time, actually throughout my career,” says Bloom.  “Of course you have to know what you’re doing when you get there.”

Leading up to the 2020 election, South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of July 4, 2019, host Gavin Jackson takes us to the recent South Carolina Democratic Party Convention to hear from presidential hopefuls Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Over the next several Trail Bites episodes, we'll be brining you clips from all of the candidates who spoke at the convention.

US Navy Frogmen Recover Apollo 8;  Lt. Richard Flanagan (Left) waving and Bob Coggin (Right) attaching flotation collar
Patriots Point Naval and Maritme Museum

Bob Coggin was just back from serving in Vietnam as a diver in an underwater demolition team when he got his next assignment from the Navy:  train to possibly recover Apollo 8.  The first manned spacecraft to leave the earth's atmosphere and orbit the moon would soon splash down in the Pacific Ocean.

Coggin understood the importance of the astronauts' mission.  But he didn't think much of his own role. 

"It was a big deal back then, but we couldn't understand why it was such a big deal," he says.  "It was just another day kind of thing really."

There's South Carolina Gold in Them Thar Rockets

Jul 2, 2019
Spun gold. These shiny bands are actually a fiber soft enough to make space suits with and tough enough to shield firefighters (and astronauts) from flames.
Scott Morgan/SC Public Radio

Forgive yourself if you can’t pronounce “polybenzimidizole,” much less know what it’s used for. But if you ever went to the moon, you were sure glad to have it on your skin.  

Familiarly, polybenzimidizole goes by the much more vocally friendly name of PBI. It’s a twill-like material made by, fittingly, PBI Performance Products in Rock Hill. The company makes polymers, solutions, and films for industrial purposes, but the Rock Hill plant is the only place in the world that manufactures the company’s most visible product, PBI staple fiber.

The Post and Courier

On this edition of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by the Post and Courier's Caitlin Byrd to examine the 2020 battle for South Carolina's Fist Congressional District. Four Republicans have announced their candidacy for the seat, a sign of how focused the state's GOP are on flipping that Lowcountry district after Democract Joe Cunningham delivered a major upset in last fall's election.

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
NASA

Columbia native Charles Bolden has had a remarkable career: Marine fighter pilot, commanding general in Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait, deputy commandant of midshipmen at the U.S.

Thousands of South Carolina public school teachers descended on the Statehouse on May 1, 2019 demanding improvements in  the state's public schools.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

With this year’s session of the state legislature now officially over, lawmakers are already turning their attention to next year’s session, and like this year the top priority will be passage of a massive School Improvement Bill. 

Leading up to the 2020 election, South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of June 27, 2019, host Gavin Jackson takes us to the recent South Carolina Democratic Party Convention to hear from presidential hopefuls Jualian Castro, Marianne Williamson, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Andrew Yang. Over the next several Trail Bites episodes, we'll be brining you clips from all of the candidates who spoke at the convention.

Victoria Hansen

Many remember where they were when they heard the news: nine people gunned down inside an historic African American church in Charleston at the hands of a stranger they welcomed to bible study. But few know the passage they read.

Reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes does.

"It's called the 'Parable of the Sower,'" she says. "It's a story where Jesus talks about what happens when you throw seeds of faith onto different types of terrain."

Hawes writes about the tragedy in her first book, "Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness.."

Gavin Jackson (r) with Jamie Lovegrove (l) and Meg Kinnard on Monday, June 24, 2019.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this edition of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by the Post and Courier's Jamie Lovegrove and the Associated Press' Meg Kinnard to recap the political news coming out of two big Democratic events in South Carolina this past weekend. Nearly all of the Democratic presidential candidates attended Rep. Jim Clyburn's (D-SC) "world famous" fish fry on Friday and the state party's convention on Saturday.

Sen. Kamala Harris listening to a voter during her Feb. 2019 town hall in Columbia, SC
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

The second round of democratic presidential debates is a little over two weeks away. There are over two dozen candidates in the running for the party’s nomination. In South Carolina, voters have been courted by almost all of the candidates, since the beginning of the year.

California senator Kamala Harris has visited the state nine times, most recently in the Pee Dee region, a mostly rural area. During her July 6-7 visit, Harris held at meet-and-greet in Darlington; town halls in Florence and Horry County; and also stopped by an African-American owned business in Marion.

It’s all a part of her campaign’s effort to meet “voters where they're at on the ground in their communities,” said Laphonza Butler, Senior advisor to the Kamala Harris Campaign.

“She has heard from voters all across the country and particularly in South Carolina about issues of the safety of their children; health care and the quality of education.”

Butler has campaigned for Harris in South Carolina, and has been instrumental in shaping the Senator’s campaign team and strategy there; which includes cutting through the dialogue of the crowded field and potential barrier of running against presumed front runners with more name-recognition by talking to as many voters as possible.

“Vice president Biden; everyone knows he was the vice president to President Obama. This is his third time running for president. He has been in office and serving in a place of public service for more than four decades. Senator Warren has done an incredible job, working on behalf of the 99% for decades as well. I think what we’re seeing in early polls is a real curiosity about Senator Harris- people who are inspired by what their hearing but want to hear more.”

Before the June debates, Butler said regardless of poll numbers (at the time) that put Harris trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Harris campaign felt like it was in a strong place.

“I think the more people in South Carolina, and folks across the country, get to know who Senator Harris is

and how she thinks about solving everyday problems with government, I think expect those numbers to go up.”

With a viewership of over 18 million, the former state prosecutor challenged fellow candidates on healthcare, race and other topics, during the June 27 live event. Afterwards, poll numbers did go up, according to CNBC:

Harris’ average support jumped to 14.7% on Wednesday, up from 7% on June 25, the day before the two-day debate started. An average of 27.2% of respondents supported Biden as of Wednesday, a drop from 32.1% on June 25.

The second round of democratic debates is two weeks away, where again, millions are expected to tune in.

June 24, 2019

If you want to know what issues voters in South Carolina are concerned about, attending one of the Democratic Party state convention events this past weekend would have been a great place to start.

Thousands of people, who will help reduce the staggering number of democratic presidential hopefuls through the state’s first-in-the-South primary in February, attended Rep. Jim Clyburn's (D-SC) "world famous" fish fry and several meet-and-greets with candidates over the course of the weekend. Through interviews with several of them, South Carolina Public Radio learned their concerns were as diverse as the candidates themselves.

Leading up to the 2020 election, South Carolina Lede is keeping you up to speed on what the candidates are saying on the campaign trail in the Palmetto State with these "Trail Bites" mini-episodes.

On this edition for the week of June 20, 2019, host Gavin Jackson takes you to the recent Black Ecomonic Alliance Presidential Forum in Charleston, SC. The forum featured four Democratic presidential hopefuls: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Pages