Tut Underwood

South Carolina State Fair Celebrates 150 Years of Fun, Fellowship and Tradition

By Tut Underwood

The South Carolina State Fair celebrates its 150th birthday this year.


"The question this year was 'when you hear the words, the South Carolina State Fair, what comes to mind?' And they said 'When we think of the fair we think of family, we think of tradition and we think of fun.' And that's really what we’re about." -- State Fair Executive Director Nancy Smith.


There may be no greater stimulator of all five senses simultaneously than the South Carolina State Fair.  Sight, hearing, feel, smell and taste are all bombarded by the delights that have drawn millions to the fairgrounds in Columbia for 150 years.  

Committee Works to Standardize the Iconic South Carolina State Flag

By Tut Underwood

The Flag of the State of South Carolina as approved by A.S. Salley.

The South Carolina flag is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the 50 flags representing the country's states.  But if one observes closely, he can sometimes detect differences between flags at various state offices and locations.  That's because the state does not have a standard for the production of its flags.  

The situation is finally being remedied, however, by the formation of a committee which will make recommendations to the legislature for official standards for the flag. 

South Carolina is Home to Several Charming Southern Accents

By Tut Underwood

Sign at Table Rock State Park near Pickens, SC.

In South Carolina, one would naturally expect to hear what could be called a classic Southern accent spoken by its residents.  But not every South Carolinian sounds the same, according to linguist Paul Reed, who earned his PhD in the study at the University of South Carolina. 

Spartanburg Songwriter Made His Mark in Nashville with Country Music

By Tut Underwood

David Ball (second from left) and his band.

Country music has made and broken careers for close to a century now.  David Ball of Spartanburg is one of the survivors, enjoying a long career in the field.  In high school he joined the legendary acoustic trio Uncle Walt's Band, playing a blend of bluegrass, blues, swing and folk, "and then that of course led me into Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family," he recalls of his introduction to country.  The group moved to Texas, where it became the rage in clubs across the state, and where its unique blend of sounds eventually came to be called Americana, with Uncle Walt's Band being named one

Columbia Native's Country Music Dream Lasts a Lifetime

By Tut Underwood

Bemo Prince, at the mic, with some of his band members.

Country music finds fans in a variety of ways, most often by either hearing the music on the radio or seeing country artists play live.  That's the way Bemo Prince of Columbia became a country music fan.  "My daddy took me to hear...Snuffy Jenkins and the Hired Hands, and I was hooked."

Rudy Mancke Celebrates Two Decades of "NatureNotes"

By Tut Underwood

Rudy Mancke

Rudy Mancke is almost certainly South Carolina's most noted naturalist.  He hosted the long-running and well-remembered (and nationally-aired) ETV program "Nature Scene" and has now reached his 20th anniversary as host of South Carolina Public Radio's "NatureNotes." The feature remains a daily one-minute reflection on some aspect of nature in the Palmetto State, as it was from the beginning.  According to producer John Gasque, Mancke would record 15 programs, or three weeks' worth, at a session.  "Rudy would come in with a tiny piece of paper with 15 words on it.  And he would take one wor

South Carolina Business Review Turns 20

By Tut Underwood

Mike Switzer

For 20 years now, the South Carolina Business Review has brought business leaders, entrepreneurs and commentators to listeners of South Carolina Public Radio.  Mike Switzer has hosted the program its entire run, and takes satisfaction at its 20th anniversary.

South Carolina Moonwalker Recalls Historic Apollo Missions

By Tut Underwood

(April 21, 1972) Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., Lunar Module pilot of the Apollo 16 mission, is photographed collecting lunar samples at Station no. 1 during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity at the Descartes landing site.

A half-century ago, as the world watched in awe as Neil Armstrong took that "one small step" into history on the surface of the moon, a voice from Houston was his constant connection to humanity back on Earth.  Earlier, however, as the landing craft neared its destination, that voice had called "60 seconds," to warn the Apollo 11 astronauts - Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins - that they had only one minut