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

President Trump is holding a press conference from the G-7 summit of world economic leaders in France. He has meetings with multiple heads of state over the weekend. The summit comes ahead of a looming recession and amid an ongoing trade war with China. You can view his press conference here Monday 9

RALEIGH – A plant expansion in Pasquotank County will bring 90 new jobs to the facility. The state Commerce Department reports Hockmeyer Equipment Corporation will expand its operations in Elizabeth City. The process equipment maker will invest $6 million in a 35,000 square feet expansion of their current Elizabeth City facility where they have been operating since 1984. The company will be eligible for a $300,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund dependent on meeting job creation and capital investment targets.

Free download of Do Right from the CD Pressure by The Commonheart, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

Free download of The Inheritance from the CD Cancel the Sun by The Rails, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

Early in-person voting is underway in two U-S Congressional Districts. The elections will fill seats in the 3rd and 9th U-S Congressional Districts. The 3rd district seat became vacant with the death of Congressman Walter Jones Jr. in February. The 9th district seat has been vacant following the state Board of Elections calling for a re-do of the November 2018 election over possible absentee ballot fraud involving a contractor for Republican Mark Harris’ campaign.

Top 40 CDs as heard on The Sound 2019 (as of 8/16/19)

Many North Carolina counties with higher-than-average opioid prescription rates also have higher-than-average rates of grandparents raising grandchildren. Carolina Demography looked at 2017 data for their study. Statewide, 1.6% of grandparents care for their grandchildren, above the national average of 1.3%.

UPDATE (8/7/19)  -- The SBI reports that agent Tim Luper was released from the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill this past Saturday (August 3). He continues his recovery at home. Agent Brian Joy remains at the Burn Center in critical condition recovering from third-degree burns suffered in the July 26th incident.

UPDATE (7/31/19) -- The SBI reports both agents came through surgery "well" on Tuesday. Agent Joy remains in critical condition with third-degree burns while Agent Luper is in stable condition after his surgery to correct a shoulder injury suffered in the explosion.

RALEIGH – The Governor’s Office has announced a manufacturer will expand its operation in Pasquotank County, creating 75 jobs. Telephonics Corporation designs and manufactures radar and communications systems for the military and aviation industry. The company is currently operating at the Elizabeth City Regional Airport. It will expand into a new facility also in Elizabeth City, investing $5.5 million. Wages will vary by position, but the average wage will be nearly $65,000, well above Pasquotank’s average annual wage of nearly $35,000.

North Carolina last week became the 35th state to pass a law limiting female genital mutilation. The measure Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law becomes effective Oct. 1. The bill introduced in the Senate by Mecklenburg County state Senator Joyce Krawiec passed both chambers of the legislature with no members voting against it. Effective Oct. 1 the practice of female genital mutilation, or FGM, on those under the age of 18 will be a Class C felony punishable by a 44-to-182 month prison sentence.

A new report says the health of swimmers at many beaches in North Carolina was put at risk last year because of water contamination. A new report by Environment North Carolina says 127 beaches and waterways across the state had water pollution levels that put swimmers at risk of getting sick on at least one occasion. The report looked at fecal bacterial levels at 213 beaches across the state.  Fecal contamination can cause gastrointestinal illness as well as respiratory disease, ear and eye infections and skin rash.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order involving a controversial practice known as conversion therapy. The Governor on Friday signed Executive Order No. 97 that directs the state Department of Health and Human Services to take the appropriate steps needed to ensure no taxpayer dollars are used for conversion therapy for minors. Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Major medical organizations including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have come out against the practice.

A bill governing ride-sharing services got final legislative approval today. The Passenger Protection Act cleared the House by a 100-to-0 vote. The bill introduced by Wayne County Rep. John Bell requires rideshare drivers to display easily viewed company logos and have a printed license plate on the front of their vehicles. It also creates a new criminal penalty for impersonating a rideshare driver and makes it a misdemeanor to assault a rideshare driver.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores was unexpectedly closed today (Tuesday) due to cooling issues. The building’s chiller controls building and habitat temperatures. Mechanical issues with the chiller made normal operations unsafe to open to the public. The Aquariums’s staff is monitoring habitat water temperatures and is implementing safety protocols as needed. A re-open date and time has not yet been set.

UPDATE -- The Aquarium re-opened Friday, July 26.


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.

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.