Welcome to the streaming archives for Mountain Talk, WMMT's weekly community conversation, airing Wednesday evenings at 6. In addition to providing space for What's Cookin' Now! and Art Matters, Mountain Talk features interviews with guests that cover a wide range of topics pertaining to life in these mountains, such as food, music, history, spirituality, and current events. Join us each Wednesday at six, and if you miss a program be sure to look for it here on wmmt.org.

Mountain Talk: Remembering the Scotia Disaster

MT Talk Scotia 3-12-14

the Scotia memorial marker along Hwy. 119 in Letcher County, Ky. // photo by Shelly Biesel

March 9th and 11th marked the 38th anniversary of the Scotia Mine Disaster, which killed a total of 26 people in two methane explosions at the Scotia Mine in Letcher County, Ky. in 1976.  In this special edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we commemorate Scotia, as well as some of the other countless coal disasters that have occurred throughout our nation’ s history.  We bring you two stories about Scotia from a 2010 ceremony dedicating an historic marker at the site, and we also present a story from independent producer Chris Yoars on a massive coal disaster in West Frankfort, Illinois in 1951.  Interspersed are songs from other coal explosions and disasters.

WMMT’s Mountain Talk airs each Monday and Wednesday at 6 p.m., and includes the programs What’s Cookin’ Now, Mountain Survivors, Health Matters, and Art Matters.  For previous episodes of Mountain Talk, check out our streaming archives.

Mountain Talk: Remembering Buffalo Creek, 42 Years Later

2-26-14 Mountain Talk – Buffalo Creek Flood

Drawing made by a child survivor of the Buffalo Creek Flood

Wednesday, February 26th marks the 42nd anniversary of the catastrophic Buffalo Creek Flood, which killed 125 people and left some 4,000 more homeless when a coal waste dam burst in Logan County, West Virginia.  This edition of Mountain Talk, hosted by Appalshop filmmaker Mimi Pickering, is a rebroadcast of a special program we produced on the 40th anniversary in 2012, in which we commemorate the disaster with audio from the 1975 Appalshop film “The Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man.”  Also in this program, we hear from two special guests: Jack Spadaro, who was hired as part of the state’s investigative team following the flood and then worked as a inspector for OSM and MSHA, and Shaunna Scott, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Graduate Studies at UK, who has been researching the impact of the Martin County, KY sludge spill and emergency planning responses in the aftermath of the spill.

For more information on Buffalo Creek:

Mountain Talk: Restoring Voting Rights in Kentucky

2014-01-29 Voting Rights Mt Talk

In this episode of Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly community conversation, we discuss voting rights.  Kentucky is one of a small group of states that restricts the voting rights of former felons who have already paid their debt to society, but Kentucky’s General Assembly this year will take up a bill that would allow Kentucky voters, via referendum, to restore the right to vote to nonviolent former felons who have served their time.  To dive deeply into this issue, we welcomed several guests into the WMMT studio, including Kristi Kendall, a former felon in Floyd County, Ky.; retired Judge Jim Bowling from Bell County; and Carl Shoupe from Harlan County, Ky., the father of a former felon/coal miner.

Mountain Talk: Tax Reform in Kentucky

2014-02-03 Mt Talk – Tax Reform

Letcher County resident Letha Dollarhide in the WMMT studio

The Kentucky General Assembly is once again in session.  As legislators work out this year’s budget and make decisions on tax reform and spending, we devote this episode of WMMT’s Mountain Talk to taxes in Kentucky, including both state-wide tax policy and its local impacts.  We welcome several special guests to our roundtable discussion, including Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, who offers his suggestions for creating a fair and adequate tax system.  Also joining the discussion is Whitesburg (Ky.) City Councilman Tom Sexton, who talks about the ways in which the state budget affects small cities; as well as Letcher County resident Letha Dollarhide, who discusses some of the local impacts of state tax policy, including the effects that cuts in food stamps, heating, and housing assistance have had on local people.


Art Matters: Tommy Whitaker

Art Matters 1-15-14 – Tom Whitaker

selected works by Tommy Whitaker, found at his website: www.tomjwhitaker.net

In this edition of WMMT’s Art Matters, hosts Lacy Hale and Donna Williams are joined by Magoffin County native Tommy Whitaker, a multi-dimensional artist whose career has spanned decades.  In this podcast, Lacy, Donna, and Tom have a rich conversation touching upon art, artistry, life, and pretty much everything in between.

For more on Tommy and his artwork, visit his website: tomjwhitaker.net

WMMT’s Art Matters is a visual-art-centered talk show hosted by Lacy Hale & Donna Williams on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.  Each month, Lacy & Donna welcome local artists of all shapes and stripes.  For more, “like” the show on facebook.

Mountain Talk: The Benefits of Cleaner Waterways

MT Talk – Water Issues 12-2-13

a boater on the North Fork of the Kentucky River near Whitesburg in Letcher County, Ky. // photo by Tarence Ray, courtesy of Headwaters, Inc. (more at kyheadwaters.org)

Central Appalachia’s watersheds face a wide variety of serious challenges to their health, including sedimentation, heavy metal contamination, stormwater runoff, and high levels of human waste in streams.  In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we welcome a panel of local guests to discuss the potential benefits, both human and economic, that could spring from making these waterways healthier.  Tarence Ray of Headwaters, Inc., Wally Smith of UVA-Wise and the Clinch River Valley Initiative, and Jenny Williams of Pathfinders of Perry County all join us  for a discussion of some of these potential benefits (including boating-related tourism, as in the photo above) and how our communities might be able to achieve them.

This discussion was made possible through Penn State Public Media’s Water Blues: Green Solutions project, specifically the “Think Outside the Pipes” reporting initiative.  To hear previous podcasts of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, check out our streaming archives.