George Olsen

Host of ATC; Producer of The Sound

George Olsen is a 1977 Havelock High School graduate. He received his B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of South Carolina in 1982 where he got his first taste of non-commercial radio working for their student station WUSC. After graduation he worked about five years in commercial radio before coming to work at Public Radio East where he has remained since outside of a nearly 3-year stint as jazz and operations coordinator at WUAL in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the early 1990s. On his return to eastern North Carolina he hosted classical music for Public Radio East before moving into the Morning Edition host position and now can be heard on All Things Considered. He also hosts and produces The Sound, five hours of Americana, Roots Rock and Contemporary Folk weekday evenings on PRE Public Radio East News & Ideas,  and is a news and feature producer for Public Radio East.

Ways to Connect


Col. Amy Ebitz will assume command of Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations East at Camp LeJeune at Friday, July 19 at 10:00 am. Her husband will be there. Then at 2:00 pm Col. Curtis Ebitz will assume command of Marine Corps Air Station New River. His wife will be there. It will be a busy day for Colonels Curtis and Amy Ebitz who have been married since 2003. They have two children ages 12 and 8 who will also have busy days as they’ll attend both command ceremonies.  The Colonels Ebitz come to the region after recent assignments in Washington D.C.

A 25% cut in your daily caloric intake could cut your risk from some deadly ailments. A two-year Duke Health trial indicated cutting around 300 calories from your daily caloric intake reduced study participants risk for ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. A press release from Duke Health said that’s roughly the equivalent of eating six Oreo cookies. The study involved adults under age 50. While participants were asked to maintain the 25 percent daily calorie reduction, the average calorie reduction was actually about 12 percent.

Top 40 CDs as heard on The Sound 2019 (as of 7/5/19)

The feasibility of elevating homes in the historic town of Princeville to protect them from future flooding will be studied. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a grant of over $1.1 million to determine which of 75 homes in Princeville can be raised to protect them. The town experienced severe flooding after 1999’s Hurricane Floyd and 2016’s Hurricane Matthew. The money will cover an engineering and feasibility study on which homes can be raised. There is concern about the structural integrity of many of the homes.

North Carolina Coastal Federation

The final phase of a Pamlico Sound oyster sanctuary is expected to be completed next week. Work on a 40-acre oyster reef in Pamlico Sound got underway in the spring of 2017. Each spring and summer since work has been done to strategically place thousands of tons of limestone marl and granite to build new oyster habitat. The Swan Island Oyster Sanctuary is open to hook and line fishing but not open to harvest. A press release from the North Carolina Coastal Federation says when oysters at the sanctuary reach maturity, they repopulate, sending baby oysters to nearby harvested reefs.

RALEIGH – A three-judge Superior Court panel has upheld Greenville’s Red Light Safety Camera Program as constitutional. The program was approved by the General Assembly in 2016. A lawsuit against the program said it was unconstitutional as it was “related to health” in violation of the state Constitution’s prohibition on local acts passed by the General Assembly related to health. The panel disagreed. Civil penalties related to the red light cameras went into effect in November 2017. The cameras operate at five intersections in Greenville.

A veteran of the Korean War will be laid to rest in New Bern after his remains were identified last year. Army Corporal Stephen P. Nemec of Cleveland, Ohio was killed in action during heavy fighting on November 2, 1950 near Unsan, North Korea. He was buried at a United Nations cemetery in Pyongyang but as conditions worsened in North Korea those buried there could not be recovered. Following the war more than 4000 sets of remains were turned over to the UN, none of which could be associated with Cpl. Nemec.

Check out what NPR reporters had to say  during live analysis and fact checks of the candidates' remarks during Thursday night's 2nd Democratic Presidential debate.


RALEIGH -- A new report examining the status of women in North Carolina shows improvement in some areas but work needed in others. The 2019 Status of Women in North Carolina Health and Wellness Report had some good news about women’s health. A press release from the Governor’s Office said the report found decreases in mortality rates for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast cancer since the last report in 2013. But the report also highlighted areas in need of improvement. North Carolina has the 9th highest rate of stroke mortality among women.

A Korean War veteran will lie in honor at the State Capitol Friday, June 21 after the return of his remains last year. U-S Army Private First Class William “Hoover” Jones was a native of Red Oak in Nash County. He served with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was reported missing in action in North Korea in November 1950.

Sea Grant North Carolina

Scientists are forecasting a lower probability of fish kills on the Neuse River this summer. A model produced by scientists at North Carolina State and UNC-Chapel Hill is predicting higher levels of dissolved oxygen this summer in the Neuse River Estuary. That could mean fewer stresses to the Neuse’s ecosystem, including fish kills. The model last year successfully predicted unusually low levels of dissolved oxygen in the Neuse.  The critical factor in the model is predictions of dissolved oxygen in the estuary’s lowest three feet.

The final round of hurricane assistance checks for fishermen is on its way. A final group of 1176 checks totaling $450,000 was mailed Thursday (June 13) to eligible fishermen through the. In total $11.6 million was distributed to commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters adversely effected by Hurricane Florence.  The vast majority of that money was dispensed by May 20 but some funds were set aside to cover any late filers and those with questions about their harvests. In all, checks were written to fishermen in 39 counties.

A press release from the Governor’s Office says the juvenile crime rate is at its lowest since the state started tracking juvenile crime. The Juvenile Justice Section recently released its 2018 Annual Report, which tracks juvenile crime trends dating back to 2010. It says the juvenile crime rate has fallen by 41% since 2010, from 27.55 complaints per every 1000 kids to 16.18 per 1000 last year.  The number of children admitted to juvenile detention centers fell 62% during the period.

NC Aquariums

Delayed by Hurricane Florence, a habitat for a pair of flightless bald eagles opens next month at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pink Knoll Shores. The habitat was scheduled to open Memorial Day, but a delay in getting materials and labor in because of the hurricane slowed the process down. Aquarium curator Clint Taylor says the habitat was completed by Memorial Day but time was needed to acclimate the two bald eagles to their new home. The two birds are flightless.

ECU’s interim chancellor has weighed in on a fight between the state and Vidant Health over appointments to Vidant’s board. East Carolina University released a letter signed by interim chancellor Dan Gerlach and Brody School of Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Stacy about the controversy. The Pitt County Board of Commissioners in May approved action that would end the UNC system’s nine appointments to the 20 member Vidant Health Medical Board. The state reacted, with the UNC system filing a lawsuit and a proposed state budget that would lower Medicaid reimbursement rates to the hospital.

The Onslow Water and Sewer Authority is asking customers to conserve water where possible as dry conditions and abnormal heat reduce water stores. A press release from the Authority says every month this year has seen well below normal rainfall. That along with abnormally high usage has prompted their request for customers to watch their water usage. They note water demand on Memorial Day was 13.5 million gallons.

With hurricane season underway June 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says now is the time to purchase flood insurance. It takes 30 days from the day you purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program for the policy to take effect, so FEMA suggests thinking about your flood insurance purchase now. While FEMA home repair grants provide basic, emergency assistance, flood insurance covers much more.

Visitor spending in North Carolina set a new record last year. A press release from the Governor’s Office reports record visitor spending during 2018 of $25.3 billion. That’s a 5.6 percent increase from 2017’s total. Those visits generated about $3.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes, up 4.8 percent from the prior year. About $1.3 billion of that was state taxes. The state hosted over 51 million visitors last year. Tourism industry-supported employment also set a record last year, increasing 2.2 percent to 230,560 jobs.

NC Department of Transportation

The last of road closures attributed to Hurricane Florence last September has re-opened. Zion Church Road, a two-lane stretch east of Mount Olive, re-opened to traffic last week following inspection of a new bridge on the road and adjustments to a new guardrail. The Wayne County road was the last of about 2500 road closure sites reported during the storm to re-open. A press release from the state Department of Transportation said Zion Church Road was one of many roads that were re-opened with improvements in order to be more resilient in future storms.

GREENVILLE – Officials with the city of Greenville believe the city’s computer network has been infected with a ransomware virus. A press release from the city says they have shut down the majority of their servers, but plan to bring them back online gradually to determine the impact of the virus so they can determine options to remedy the situation.

ORIENTAL – People are slowly returning to the town of Oriental as recovery efforts from Hurricane Florence continue. Town Manager Diane Miller says it appears all of Oriental has power again following a flash re-build of electrical infrastructure by Duke Energy. She was informed earlier this week that 80 power polls were damaged or destroyed along with miles of line. She described work done by Duke as having occurred at a “frantic pace” with power being restored earlier this morning (Thursday).  Customers of Tideland EMC had their power restored by yesterday.

The Neuse River through Lenoir County is expected to continue rising through Saturday morning when forecasters predict it will crest at 25 feet. Forecasters predict it will stay that way for 12-to-24 hours before slowly receding. As of this morning, the water had risen to almost 23 feet. At a press conference this morning, county emergency services director Roger Dail told reporters officials expect rising floodwaters to eventually block access to Highway 258…

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It was a record year in terms of tourism for North Carolina in 2017.


The public is quickly adapting to a new form of ID issued by the state Division of Motor Vehicles.


A lawsuit pertaining to construction of the U-S 70 Havelock Bypass is expected to be dismissed following signing of a settlement agreement. A press release from the state Department of Transportation says a settlement agreement has been signed by D-O-T and the Sierra Club, allowing the Department to proceed with the U-S 70 Havelock bypass.

A national assessment examining 4th and 8th grade math and reading skills shows little change in North Carolina over two years.

Plans are being made to convert a Greene County prison to house high security male prisoners. The state Division of Prisons says changes will be made to prisons in three counties to help them address safety, security and operational needs. Among the changes will be converting the Eastern Correctional Institution in Maury which currently houses female inmates into a facility for close custody male inmates who require the highest level of supervision within state prisons.

A pharmaceutical packaging manufacturer will locate its first U-S manufacturing plant in Wilson County. 

Recent declines in gas prices aren’t expected to continue. The Charlotte-based motorclub AAA Carolinas expects prices this spring to rise to levels not seen since the summer of 2015 when Americans were paying an average of $2.81 a gallon for regular. Prices in North Carolina have declined each of the last three weeks, standing currently at $2.41 a gallon. AAA says drivers will start to see prices spike upward in early April, a time when refineries finish maintenance and start to switch over to more expensive summer-blend gasolines.