Trey Kay is a Radio journalist, host and producer of Us & Them, a podcast devoted to telling stories from all sides of the Culture Wars, he also produced the radio documentary The Great Textbook War, which was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award, a national Edward R. Murrow Award and a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton.
It’s about 10 weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country, including West Virginia. While state officials are now reopening businesses, the pandemic is far from over. Seventy-eight West Virginians have died due to COVID-19. 250,000 unemployment claims have been filed. But the pandemic has exacted another toll — it’s fractured many of the state’s healthcare institutions. When the state was in quarantine mode, hospitals delayed and canceled many medical procedures. People shied away from elective surgeries that are just the kind of procedures that make money for hospitals. As a result, revenues are down and some health care systems have laid off staff to keep costs down. Recently, WV’s Governor lifted those restrictions to allow elective medical procedures. As medical systems come back on line, Trey speaks with Dr. Clay Marsh -- WV’s “COVID-19 Czar.” He  sees the pandemic as an opportunity to fix the parts of the state's healthcare system that are failing some West Virginians.
West Virginia’s 2020 school year, from kindergarten through college, is wrapping up unlike any other.  In recent years, Mountain State communities have been devastated by man-made crises and natural disasters, but nothing has affected the state’s education system like a world-wide pandemic. The coronavirus forced an extended Spring Break in March that quickly became a season of virtual classrooms and distance learning. Teachers have converted lessons into online assignments. Parents juggle their work with home-based tutoring. And schools deliver millions of meals to low-income students. As this truncated school year comes to an end, we hear from West Virginia families trying to make it work and teachers who say they’re learning valuable lessons they will use in the future. But we’re all learning something unfortunate; during a pandemic, all students aren’t equal.
Ten years ago, the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in West Virginia. 29 men died and an investigation uncovered that a legacy of overlooked safety measures contributed to the disaster. A new play called “Coal Country” focuses on the stories of the men and their families. It aims to put a spotlight on prejudice against the rural working class… to bridge a divide between city dwellers and those who work with their hands underground. Co-creators Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen interviewed the families and the production weaves their words with the music of Grammy-award winner Steve Earle to help people understand another America.
The coronavirus pandemic prompts many reactions from people. Some people can be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Others step up to help where they can. U&T host Trey Kay splits his time living in West Virginia and New York. A few weeks ago, he got a message from someone trying to help Eva Crockett, a West Virginian traveling nurse looking to help treat COVID patients in New York City hospitals. This person wanted to know if Trey could help Eva find a place to stay in the Big Apple. Trey ran up a “Bat signal” on social media -- asking his New York friends for help. The response was overwhelmingly positive. For Trey, New Yorkers helping a West Virginian who was willing to help New Yorkers felt like an “Us and Them” moment.
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Creator Details

New York, NY, USA
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
2 days, 21 hours