Public Conversations

Public Conversations is an ongoing series of community forums designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics.  Our goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage a stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas.  By organizing these Public Conversations, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue.  Participants are encouraged to engage in conversation with a cross-section of community representatives, expert panelists, and with each other.

Tom Hanchett is thought of as Charlotte’s historian, but his actual title is staff historian for the Levine Museum of the New South in uptown Charlotte. Since 1999, he’s witnessed, documented and told Charlotte’s story for the museum. Hanchett recently announced that he’ll be giving up his full-time post.  That doesn’t mean he’ll stop working though.   


You know Mark Rumsey as WFAE’s All Things Considered host. He’s also WFAE’s Public Conversations coordinator. In this episode, Mark talks to News Director Greg Collard about what emerged from WFAE’s most recent Public Conversation on End-of-Life Planning and Choices.

Tasnim Shamma

Household appliance-maker Electrolux, whose North American headquarters is in Charlotte, reported an 18 percent increase in global profits last year. But in its earnings report Wednesday morning, Electrolux noted its North American profits were down compared to 2013.

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

It’s official, tech-giant Google is bringing its high speed internet service to Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta and Charlotte. Now, we know it’s coming, but when? And what does it mean for Charlotte and its residents. And what’s in it for Google?

Tom Bullock/WFAE News

On Tuesday, Mayor Dan Clodfelter uttered six words that might change your internet service, "Google Fiber is coming to Charlotte."

Google Fiber is a high speed network that uses fiber optics instead of classic copper cables or microwaves to connect homes and businesses to the internet. All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey and WFAE’s Tom Bullock talk about the announcement and what it means for Charlotte consumers.


Google has announced it will hold a press conference in Charlotte Tuesday afternoon.

So, what’s the big deal?

WFAE’s Tom Bullock is here to explain.

End-of-Life Planning And Choices

Jan 22, 2015
Sarah Delia

This forum addressed common choices and challenges that individuals, their families and health care providers face surrounding end-of-life planning and care. We looked at things like living wills - What are they? How do they work? Are they effective? Ethical considerations regarding how we die. Hospice and palliative care. Plus more. 

We've compiled these documents and articles to help you prepare:

New York Times: Teenagers Face Early Death, On Their Terms

Medical choices and planning tools. 

News Director Greg Collard and Public Conversations coordinator Mark Rumsey, who moderated the forum, shared some follow-up thoughts on the discussion in our weekly podcast, WFAE Talks.   

National Healthcare Decisions Day
National Healthcare Decisions Day is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.

Advance Directives Booklet

NPR host Diane Rehm emerges as key force in right-to-die debate

From NPR: If You Have Dementia, Can You Hasten Death As You Wished?

End-of-Life informational resources from the North Carolina Medical Society 

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Pew Research Center Survey – “Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments”

Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

Tuesday morning Patrick Cannon will be sentenced in federal court. The former Charlotte mayor admitted earlier this year to taking more than $50,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents.

The State Of Public Education

Sep 16, 2014

As the new school year gets underway, this community forum explored the changing climate for public education in the Charlotte region. Panelists addressed recent moves to raise teacher pay and discussed the future of student achievement standards and Common Core guidelines. The forum also examined the role of charter schools, their successes and challenges to date in the Charlotte area, and the outlook for charter programs.

Jonathan Cox/

Construction on I-77 toll lanes between Charlotte and Mooresville is expected to begin next year. More than 120 people came out to Mooresville to learn about the lanes and sign petitions to stop the project. The meeting was organized by the group Widen I-77, which is against the toll lanes.