Rachel Lewis Hilburn

CoastLine Host, Senior Reporter

Rachel hosts WHQR's local public affairs show, CoastLine, which she helped to create.  She also reports on issues affecting southeastern North Carolina.  Before joining WHQR, Rachel wrote and produced local TV newscasts for the Wilmington ABC-TV affiliate. She also wrote and produced a 30-minute TV special program for the Cape Fear Museum showcasing its renovation and new exhibits, and she independently wrote and produced a documentary on the lingering effects of the 1898 coup d'etat in Wilmington.   

Ways to Connect

Tuesday March 3rd is Primary Election Day in North Carolina, and polls are open until 7:30 this evening.  As I traveled around between Brunswick and New Hanover County polling locations, I spoke with voters about the issues that drove them to vote.  At most stops, I saw people electioneering – that is campaigning for their candidates.  But not at Williston Middle School.

On Wednesday’s CoastLine, Primary 2020 will be over in North Carolina.  Join Rachel Lewis Hilburn and Port City Daily’s Ben Schachtman while they unpack the results and how those results shape the November general election.


Listen for CoastLine Wednesdays at noon.  Email us at coastline@whqr.org.  And subscribe to the podcast.



New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the third-largest county-owned hospital in the country.  As medical costs continue to rise and political and financial uncertainties loom, NHRMC is exploring the best path forward – whether that’s a sale, a merger, or a reorganization.  On this week’s CoastLine, we explored the process.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is exploring whether to sell, create a partnership, reorganize, or remain independent.  

Katelyn Freund / WHQR

The 2020 Primary is underway in North Carolina.  Early voting lasts through Saturday.  Election Day is next Tuesday, March 3rd.  WHQR spoke with the Democratic candidates competing for three open seats on New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners. 

Katelyn Freund / WHQR

Early voting in the 2020 Primaries is underway through this Saturday, February 29th.  Election Day is next Tuesday, March 3rd.  In the race for New Hanover County Commissioner, six Democratic candidates are competing for three open seats.  Don Betz, Leslie Cohen, and Travis Robinson are half the Democratic slate.  

North Carolina’s primary election is underway.  This is the chance for voters to decide which party nominees compete in the November election.  Early Voting runs through February 29th and Election Day is March 3rd.  

Joe D'Alessandro / NC Filmmaker Series

Wilmington is rich with talented film directors, actors, and screenwriters.  But there are also makeup artists, location scouts, gaffers, prop masters. And construction coordinators.  A community of these professionals came to North Carolina in the 1980s with Dino DeLaurentiis, and now, decades later, a somewhat smaller community still calls Wilmington home. 

WHQR speaks with Jeff Schlatter about his career as a Construction Coordinator.

Early voting in the North Carolina primary is underway.  Brunswick County residents who vote in the Republican primary will decide on their presidential candidate, U.S. Senate nominee, and a host of state races.  

Pawlik Lab

Coral reefs are dying in the Caribbean.  It’s especially alarming in the Turks and Caicos because the cause appears to be a rapidly-spreading new disease that started in Florida.  

WHQR / Katelyn Freund

Nativism and white supremacy, the battle over slavery, and the public adoration of explorers were critical elements of mid-19th century.  Two of the key players from that era, Jessie and John Fremont, were also America’s first big celebrities.  

The map for North Carolina House District 19 has been redrawn for this year.  Since 2012, Representative Ted Davis, Jr., a Republican from New Hanover County, has held the seat.  But with this year’s new maps, he moves to District 20.   

New Hanover County Public Schools is facing a crisis of public confidence.  On Friday, Feb. 7th, Superintendent Tim Markley announced his resignation with a separation agreement that gives him $228,000.  That’s slightly less than half the value of the remainder of his contract.  The move comes after three high-profile cases of alleged sexual abuse of children by teachers. 

WHQR caught up with Board of Education Chair Lisa Estep.

WHQR / Katelyn Freund

North Carolina House Districts have new maps this year.  That means Representative Ted Davis, Jr., a Republican from New Hanover County who has represented House District 19 since 2012, is competing now in House District 20.  

New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Tim Markley is stepping down.  Friday afternoon, school officials announced his resignation and separation agreement after a nearly-six hour closed Board meeting followed by a unanimous vote.  


  Is the water that comes out of your tap safe to drink? 

Peter Frank, a band teacher at Roland Grise Middle School in Wilmington, faces multiple felony charges of sex crimes against children.  He is just the latest in several recent high-profile cases involving employees of New Hanover County Public Schools and allegations of child sex abuse.  

Yahoo! News

Michael Isikoff is the Chief Investigative Correspondent at Yahoo! News.  He’s also the host of a six-part podcast, Conspiracyland, that explores how a fictional theory grew up around the murder of Seth Rich, a 27-year-old employee of the Democratic National Committee. 


LEE:  I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. That's this country.  If that’s not this country, where are we living?

That's Lee, one of the eleven people, diverse in age, ethnicity, and political leanings, who spent 2019 with us for what we hoped would be a year-long experiment in civil discourse.   


It was January of 2019 that WHQR brought together about a dozen people, diverse in age, ethnicity, and political affiliation.  Our objective:  to see how the tone and quality of the group’s conversation changed over the course of the year.  And to find out whether these people could come to value spending time together. 

http://www.pahlavi.org/ Wikimedia Commons

Fereydoun Nasseri will celebrate his 82nd birthday in March 2020.

He’s a Wilmington resident and business owner who escaped to United States almost 40 years ago (1981)  from the second-largest country in the Middle East:  Iran.

Opera House Theatre Company

La Cage Aux Folles, roughly translated, means cage of the mad women.  But it’s better known as a musical by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman that opened in 1983 on Broadway.  


Lauren Collins has investigated the precise number of roses that go into a bottle of Chanel No. 5.  More recently, she covered the gender pay discrepancy scandal that has rocked the BBC and spurred new questions around salary secrecy and reporting requirements in the UK, Iceland, and other parts of the world. 

It was the early 1990s when an American creative writing professor set about publishing his second novel.  The pivotal event in his book:  a 19th century bloody failure of democracy.  

Wave Transit

The public transit system in the Cape Fear region is facing criticism from the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County – the two local governments that created it.  Last week, County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman declared at a press conference that it’s time for a reboot as she has no confidence in Wave Transit’s leadership.  But one Wave official says the Board had no notice of the briefing or its content. WHQR speaks with Wave Transit Vice Chair Steven Kelly about a communication gap that has spanned years.

flickr / Creative Commons

That gap between what happens in the brain and what comes out as behavior is the field of clinical neuropsychology.  Its application can range from diagnosing and treating military personnel to people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis or dementia. 

Brian K. Slack at Landover / flickr

If you’re a person of color or ethnic minority, LGBTQ, a veteran, or a person with a disability, you might face a more dire cancer prognosis or struggle more with chronic disease than someone not in these groups.

New Hanover County

Public transportation in the Cape Fear region is about to get a reboot.  That’s the word New Hanover County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman used to describe the revision of the Wilmington / New Hanover County joint WAVE agreement.  

Amy K. Nelson / http://shaunassael.com/bio

Sonny Liston, heavyweight boxing champion in the early 1960s,  died near the beginning of 1971.  The reason listed on the death certificate:  natural causes.  But nearly 50 years later, the question of whether he was murdered is an open one for some.  It’s a question Shaun Assael set out to answer with his book, The Murder of Sonny Liston:   Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights. 

Wikimedia Commons / Anthere

It’s the season of casseroles and pies and heavy meat dishes.  It’s the season to loosen dietary restrictions and enjoy the abundance.  According to a 2016 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported by MSN, the average American's weight increases by almost half a percent over Christmas and just two-tenths of a percent over Thanksgiving.   

It’s only problematic, according to researchers, because most people don’t lose the weight – and so each year, the scale ticks up.