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

The Democratic presidential primary candidates are competing in South Carolina on Saturday, hoping to win over voters in the fourth contest of 2020. Follow NPR's live coverage of the primary, including results and analysis.


Those affected by an injustice that occurred at the height of Jim Crow will be remembered at a ceremony Saturday afternoon. In the early 1900s at least a dozen African Americans were disinterred from New Bern’s historic Cedar Grove Cemetery in order to make room for the burial of more whites. Those bodies were moved to Greenwood Cemetery and buried in a mass grave. An article in the New Bern Sun Journal in 2014 brought citizens to address the city with their concerns. The grave was excavated last year, leading to a decision to leave the commingled remains at Greenwood.

Projections based on 2019 population estimates indicate North Carolina remains on track to add a 14th seat to its U-S House of Representatives delegation. A blog post by Carolina Demography indicates that current estimates predict North Carolina will be one of seven states to gain representation in the U-S House while ten states are projected to lose seats following the 2020 census. As of July 1, 2019, North Carolina’s population was estimated at 10.5 million. That’s a growth of 952,000 people since the 2010 census.

Democratic presidential candidates are debating once again, this time Wednesday night in Las Vegas ahead of Saturday's caucuses in Nevada. Follow NPR's analysis which goes live Wednesday night at 8:30 pm.


Jared Brumbaugh

The North Carolina Board of Elections reports over 79,000 registered voters have cast ballots through the first weekend of early voting.

Early voting for the March primary gets underway Thursday, Feb. 13. The 17-day early voting period runs through Saturday, February 29. During the early voting period, any registered voter can vote at any early voting site in their county. Residents can also register and vote at the same time using same-day registration. During the early voting period voters can update their name and address, but can not switch party affiliation. Thru Saturday, Feb. 15 over 79,000 residents had cast early ballots. About 44% of early ballots cast thru Feb.

Follow NPR's live coverage of the 2020 New Hampshire Primary, including results and analysis. Follow our live blog Tuesday beginning at 7:30 pm.


Democratic presidential candidates are debating for the first time since the Iowa caucuses. There are seven candidates on the stage Friday night in New Hampshire, ahead of Tuesday's primary in the state. Get live updates and analysis starting Friday night at 8:00 pm


A deadline for state residents who want to vote in the March primary is coming up. The state Board of Elections says this Friday (Feb. 7) is the regular voter registration deadline for the primary election. However, it notes those who miss that deadline can still register and vote during the early voting period that runs from Feb. 13 thru the 29th. But while voters can register during the early voting period and update their address, they can’t change their party affiliation, which needs to be done by Friday. Photo ID will not be required to vote in the primary.

A study on enhancements to a current cocaine vaccine shows promise in blocking the drug’s “high.” A press release from Duke Health says a new ingredient added to a cocaine vaccine appears to enhance the vaccine’s ability to block the drug’s high. The vaccine is administered via nasal drops and helps the body’s immune system to create antibody responses against cocaine. Senior author of the study Herman Staats is a professor at Duke’s Department of Pathology.

The Iowa caucuses are the first contest in the 2020 presidential race. Follow NPR's liveblog for news and scenes from the field as well as the night's final tally.



UPDATE -- The state Department of Health and Human Services reported Saturday night that a possible coronavirus case hospitalized at Duke University Hospital tested negative. The Department received the results from tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. A press release from the Department quotes State epidimiologist Dr. Zach Moore as stating the "patient remains in good health." While not stating what the infection was, the press release mentioned that respiratory infections this time of year are most likely related to influenza or viruses that cause the common cold.

In conjuction with National Radon Action Month, a state agency is encouraging homeowners to test this month for radon gas.


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is offering a limited number of free radon test kits. Three-thousand residential radon testing kits will be available at no charge through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ state Radon Program. The kits are available through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 


The state Board of Elections is beginning to inform voters that the photo ID requirement for the March primary will NOT be enforced. The state Board of Elections Monday released a video with the Board’s executive director Karen Brinson Bell stating that photo ID will NOT be required for in-person voting during the March primary. The requirement was due to start in March but a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking the requirement in response to a lawsuit filed by the state NAACP.

Carteret County Emergency Services

CARTERET COUNTY – An investigation into a fire that destroyed the Spouter Inn and Restaurant location in Beaufort on Sunday, Dec. 22 currently shows no evidence of foul play. A press release from Carteret County Government described the building and businesses located at the Front Street address as total losses. In addition to the restaurant and two other businesses, the building contained six apartments that housed eight people. The press release says the area of the fire’s origin has been determined but did not disclose that information pending visits by insurance concerns.

Seven Democratic presidential candidates are debating Thursday night at 8:00 pm, the smallest group yet. The December debate, hosted by Politico and PBS NewsHour, is taking place at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. NPR reporters are providing live analysis of the candidates' remarks. You can also listen to the debate on PRE News & Ideas at 89.3 across eastern NC, in Greenville at 88.1 or here at

On Wednesday at 9 AM, the full House of Representatives will debate and vote on the two articles of impeachment that have now been passed out of committee. Listen to NPR's live special coverage on PRE News & Ideas at 89.3 across Eastern North Carolina and 88.1 in Greenville. You can also watch the full house floor debate and vote on impeachment on the video stream below.

WILSON – A provider of hospital linens and uniforms will open a new plant in Wilson next year. HandCraft Healthcare Linen & Uniform Specialists plans to invest $15-16 million in the new plant to be located at the Wilson Corporate Park. It’s expected to open in October 2020 with most hiring occurring a few weeks before opening. A press release from the Economic Partnership of North Carolina says the company expects to employ between 125 and 150 people. The Richmond-based company opened another plant in High Point earlier this year.

A biopharmaceutical company plans to expand its Wilson facility. A press release from the Governor’s Office says that Merck plans a $57 million expansion at its Wilson facility, bringing 55 new jobs to the plant. The expansion will allow the plant to produce a vaccine used to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis in children. It’s the second expansion announced by Merck this year involving the Wilson operation. In July Merck announced expansion of facilities in Durham and Wilson to produce an HPV vaccine.

East Carolina University

CHAPEL HILL – A 20-member committee has been appointed in the search for a permanent chancellor at East Carolina University. A press release from ECU says interim UNC-system President William Roper and ECU Board of Trustees chair Vern Davenport made the announcement Friday. Davenport will chair the search committee that will make recommendations to the ECU Board of Trustees, which in turn will vote on candidates to recommend to Dr. Roper. Dr.

North Carolina ranks near the nationwide average for lung cancer survival rates. The American Lung Association released its annual State of Lung Cancer report, which shows the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate at 21.7%, just slightly above North Carolina’s rate of 21.5%. Nationally survivor rates have improved 26% over the last decade.  The American Lung Association says early screening correlates to higher survival rates. Nationally only 21.5% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, with North Carolina at the same rate.

Two-hundred-and-seven new jobs are on their way to Beaufort County. A press release from the Governor’s Office says Pamlico Yachtworks will open a new facility in Beaufort County. Pamlico Yachtworks is a new manufacturing division of MJM Yachts, which has been building yachts since 2002. The company plans to invest $12 million to operate the facility to be sited in Washington. While wages will vary depending on position, the average wage will be over $45,000, above Beaufort County’s average wage of nearly $38,000.

Duke Health

The numbers of state residents with severe lung injury associated with e-cigarette use continues to rise. A press release from the state Department of Health and Human Services says there are now 61 cases of people with severe lung injury. Ages of the cases range from 13 to 72. It’s part of a problem occurring across the nation, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 1604 cases and 34 deaths in the United States and the U-S Virgin Islands as of October 22. Most of those with lung injury report vaping THC infused product.

ECU Center for Survey Research

Polling indicates support for banning the sale of e-cigarette and vaping products in North Carolina, though there is a generational divide. Polling conducted by the Center for Survey Research at East Carolina University says 50% of registered voters polled support a statewide ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products. Twenty-seven percent were opposed while 23% were undecided. However, support varied greatly by age group. While only 23% of those 25-years-of-age-and-older opposed a ban, that number went up to 56% for those 18-to-24.

ECU News Service - Rhett Butler

Research at East Carolina University indicates babies born to mothers who exercise during pregnancy are healthier. A press release from ECU says the research indicates children born to mothers who exercise during pregnancy have improved motor skills, heart function and body composition. Dr. Linda May, an associate professor at the ECU School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Foundational Sciences and Research, said there’s a “dose response” to exercise… babies whose mothers exercise a little get a little benefit, babies whose mothers exercise more get more benefit.

There was good news and bad news for Gov. Roy Cooper as he heads into his re-election efforts. A Civitas poll indicates the Democratic incumbent has leads outside the margin of error against three declared and possible Republican candidates. He had a 19-point edge over New Hanover County state Rep. Holly Grange, 10-points over Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and eight over former Gov. Pat McCrory, who has not declared his candidacy. Cooper defeated McCrory by less than half-a-percentage point in the 2016 general election. There was a large undecided camp in each race, ranging from 18-to-27 percent.

An advocacy group reports the leading cause of deaths in jails across North Carolina is suicide. Disability Rights North Carolina is calling for immediate action to address mental health treatment in jails. A report from the group says statistics over four years ending in 2016 indicated that of 111 deaths in jails, at least 51 were suicides. That’s a rate of 45.9%, which their report says exceeds the 2014 national average of 35% reported by the U-S Department of Justice.

RALEIGH – The Governor’s Office reports that the U-S Small Business Administration has granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for counties that suffered damage from Hurricane Dorian. The declaration will allow affected residents to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans. The Governor made the request after FEMA denied individual assistance for those affected by Dorian. The SBA request was described as the first step in in establishing a state relief program following FEMA’s denial.

A portion of Topsail Island listed for sale for nearly $8 million has limited development potential according to a local environmental group. A press release from the North Carolina Coastal Federation says their analysis of land use restrictions on the 110-acre parcel on the south end of Topsail Island shows very limited development potential.  Among limits to development is the town of Topsail Beach has zoned the parcel for conservation and local land use plans and ordinances prohibit almost all forms of development.