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CoastLine: Harvard Jennings On Civil Discourse, The Still-Raging Civil War

Ken Blevins / Star News
From: "Harvard Jennings, talk radio's peacemaker, back on the air" article written by Ben Steelman

If you have lived in the Cape Fear region for any length of time, you might recognize the name Harvard Jennings.   From 1989 until 2010, he hosted and produced a weekday radio talk show that tackled local, national and international issues.  The show, which aired on 980 The WAAV, regularly took live callers.  Wildly diverse in views and life experience, residents of the Cape Fear region – both conservative and liberal, descendants of long-established Wilmington families and newcomers to the region, called in for the daily town hall.  They came without expecting to hear views that mirrored their own or to hear their opinions affirmed. 

Instead, Harvard Jennings fostered vigorous discussion, posed intelligent and analytical challenges to their thinking, and grounded it all in a deep sense of respect for each participant.  He made it clear that he welcomed divergent and wide-ranging – even oddball - views.  The only thing he did not tolerate was disrespect. 

By 2010, Cumulus Broadcasting decided to change the format of 980 AM to  conservative and sports talk, and that meant Harvard Jennings had to go.   

Today, he's entering his third year as host and producer of an issues-focused talk show on 1180 AM – WLTT – three days a week:  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 4-5 PM. 

On May 22, 2018, the Wilmington StarNews published an opinion piece by Harvard Jennings entitled, “Our Civil War Has To End”.   On this edition of CoastLine, we unpack why he wrote this piece, the lessons he’s learned over the years, and what legacy Wilmington’s Father of Civil Discourse would leave behind.


Harvard Jennings, host and producer, WLTT, 1180 AM

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR