Brandon Hollingsworth

News Director

Brandon is WUOT’s news director. In that role, he oversees the station's daily news operations and special projects. He also hosts Dialogue and produces the biweekly series HealthConnections. For nine years (2010-2019) he was WUOT's local All Things Considered host. From 2008 to 2010, he hosted Morning Edition on Alabama Public Radio. For two years before that he served as an APR bureau correspondent and Morning Edition anchor at WLJS-FM in Jacksonville, Ala.

Brandon's work has been heard nationally on the flagship NPR newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the network's newscast service. He has contributed to NPR's midday newsmagazine, Here and Now, and his work has aired on West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Inside Appalachia.

Brandon is a 2008 graduate of Jacksonville State University, and holds a B.A. in communications. He is a native of St. Clair County, Alabama. He and his husband live in Knoxville.

Ways to Connect

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

Facial masks will be required when visiting most indoor public places in Knox County, beginning Friday. The eight-member Knox County Board of Health approved a public health order Wednesday night that mandates masks, with some exceptions. County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was the sole no vote.

The board’s decision came about three hours after Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee state medical officer Dr. Lisa Piercey singled out the Knoxville area as a zone of concern because of a recent rise in cases and hospitalizations.

The Tennessee General Assembly is a hive of political activity even in a slow year. This has not been a slow year. The plans laid out by Governor Bill Lee in his State of State message in February were torn up and rewritten in March as COVID-19 closed businesses and schools and a sharp economic recession followed. Lawmakers felt safe enough to reconvene in June. That session was marked by disagreement, the race to finish a tight budget and a reckoning with race and its role in the halls of the Capitol building.

Close to half a million Tennessee children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. For many of those students, the food they eat at school might be the most substantive meal they get all day. When schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that reliable daily connection to nutrition was severed. School systems scrambled to provide workarounds, usually in the form of food pickup sites.

Knox County Health Department

As Knox County closed out a week in which 203 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed, local leaders plied a narrow path, simultaneously pointing out that the county is not currently in a worst-case scenario and urging residents and businesses to not let their guard down.

“We are concerned,” Knox County Health Department Director Martha Buchanan told reporters Friday. “The virus is still very present in our community. Observationally, we all see that not many people are wearing masks. Not everybody’s maintaining social distancing. So it’s kind of a hodgepodge across the community.”

Submitted/Dalton family

“The weather is warm,” Patrick Dalton tells me as we connect via Zoom and I check his audio levels. “It’s a nice day outside.”

This would be a fairly unremarkable observation for most people. But Dalton doesn’t take a nice day for granted. He’s still readjusting to life outside a hospital room, more than two months after COVID-19 nearly killed him. Dalton is 24 years old. He’s athletic. He is not among the highest-risk groups for COVID complications -- the groups some maintain are the only people who should worry about the virus. The novel coronavirus didn’t get that memo.

Tennessee has asked the federal government for permission to make significant changes to the way it funds and operates the state's modified Medicaid program, TennCare. Those changes would impose work or community service requirements for TennCare eligibility, and move TennCare's federal funding to a block grant model.

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

Close to 200 people gathered outside the City-County Building in downtown Knoxville Monday evening to remember George Floyd. Some carried signs that quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. One quoted pioneering journalist Ida B. Wells. Attending the vigil was a good first step, three public defenders said, but it could not be the only step.

Knox case counts continue to climb*

A lull in new COVID-19 cases in Knox County ended in late May, and the pattern is continuing into June.

Stress is natural, and it is inevitable. But these days, there may be many more stressors pressing down on each of us, from the dismal news cycle to job losses and health concerns. Left untreated, that stress can be detrimental to mental and physical health. It can even shave years off your life.

submitted, Stephen Skinner

A group estimated at 50 to 100 people vandalized shops, knocked over trashcans and damaged a portable toilet as they moved about a small area of downtown Knoxville Saturday night. Two people were arrested.