Ben Bradford


Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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Mike Linksvayer / Flickr

Those in North Carolina’s solar industry will have their fingers crossed as the North Carolina House and Senate approach a compromise on next year’s budget. The state’s solar tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year. The industry claims without an extension—and with other changes lawmakers are considering—North Carolina solar will stall.

Ben Bradford / WFAE News

Salisbury, North Carolina – population just shy of 34,000 – can now lay claim to the title of “city with the fastest Internet in the U.S.” It’s not operated by Google, Verizon, or Time Warner Cable. Instead, it’s a homegrown fiber optic network. WFAE’s Ben Bradford says, when city officials launched it, the only title they were seeking was “employed.”


Greg, Lisa and Ben discuss the politics surrounding a religious advertisement featuring Governor McCrory. The group responsible for the ad says it mistakenly mischaracterized the governor’s upcoming address to a religious gathering called The Response.  They also discuss early effects of the region’s drought, school grades, and graduation rates. Oh, and one more thing: It’s Ben’s last appearance on WFAE Talks.


North Carolina agriculture officials are warning poultry farmers to prepare for the avian flu this fall. The virus has already wreaked havoc in northern poultry states, and the worry is that it will travel south.

David Boraks

Visitors to Lake Norman and Lake Wylie may have noticed a lot more bare earth peaking out from the edges of the lakes. Lake Norman and Lake Wylie have dipped two to three feet below their typical levels for this time of year, due to drought.

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For Republican leaders, perhaps the biggest nightmare scenario in the presidential race is not Donald Trump winning their party’s nomination, but him losing, and then running in the general election—and siphoning off Republican votes—as an independent. To prevent that in the Carolinas, GOP leaders could look to election laws known as “sore loser” provisions.

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Changes to North Carolina’s unemployment benefits today passed the first of two required votes in the state Senate. The bill raises a key requirement for those using benefits to remain on them.

Belk, Inc.

After more than a century as a family-owned department store chain, Belk has agreed to sell to a New York-based private equity firm later this year for about $3 billion.

Started as a single store in Monroe in 1888, Belk now has 296 stores in 16 states.

Courtesy of the city and candidates

Charlotte’s most recently elected mayors have had quite the trajectory—to the governor’s mansion, U.S. Cabinet, and federal prison. In total, the city has gone through five mayors in as many years. This year, six Democratic candidates are vying for the office.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

UPDATED: Mayor Dan Clodfelter faces Jennifer Roberts in a runoff election for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face Republican Edwin Peacock in the general election. For your reference, we have the interviews with the other primary candidates here, also. 

The next mayor of Charlotte will get an annual salary of $23,000, an expense account worth up to $14,800 and an office atop the Government Center with truly spectacular views of the city. Obviously these are nice perks, but hardly the reason eight candidates are running to be mayor of the city.

So, ahead of the elections this fall (primaries are September 15 and the general election is on November 3), we invited all declared candidates to sit down for a one-on-one interview about why they want to be mayor and what they would do if elected. Six of the eight candidates said yes.

We asked each some stock questions - think streetcar, toll lanes, city budget and the like in order to give you a fair comparison on their views of likely campaign issues. And we sprinkled in some questions specific to each candidate. You can listen to all of them below.