Podcasts that fill the gap

A roundup of our favorite podcasts on stories and analysis of the West.

 

Podcasts have come to fill a unique role in the media landscape, and their proliferation has encouraged better storytelling and analysis. Here, a round up of some our favorites that fill the gap.

Threshold

Independent, in-depth narrative storytelling on how “humans are changing — and being changed by — the planet.” Funders include Montana Public Radio and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The first season is dedicated to the American bison, including the possibility of free-roaming herds returning to the West, the notorious slaughter of Yellowstone bison, and tribal work on bison restoration.

 

Mountain & Prairie

Conservationist Ed Roberson interviews innovators of all stripes who are “shaping the future of the American West” — ranchers, writers, athletes, artists, conservationists, entrepreneurs. Funded by listeners, Mountain Khakis and Palmer Land Trust, its recent guests include Montana rancher-activist Alexis Bonogofsky, historian Sarah Dant and best-selling author Hampton Sides.

 

Go West, Young Podcast

This podcast is produced by Aaron Weiss of the Center for Western Priorities, a project of the Resources Legacy Fund, which focuses on conservation and equity. Current episodes include advice on whistleblowing from former Interior Department climate scientist Joel Clement, the Navajo Nation’s post-coal future, and the battle to save the Land and Water Conservation Fund.   

 

The Modern West

This Wyoming Public Media podcast covers Western news, cultural stories, interviews, oral histories and more. Recent episodes include the fight to make land conservation a priority, the climate-change-induced migration of birds of prey, and how women are redefining what it means to live in the West.

 

Open Spaces

Also by Wyoming Public Media, this covers news and public affairs topics of concern to Wyoming and the entire West. Recent episodes included the reduced transparency in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the legacy of Matthew Shepard’s murder, whether the presence of grizzly bears affects the outfitter and guide industry, and an interview with U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

 

Range: Stories of the New American West

Hosted by journalists Julia Ritchey and Amy Westervelt, Range incorporates humor, music and commentary to cover the “stories, issues, and trailblazing entrepreneurs of the New American West.” Recent topics include the challenges a new clothing company faced in manufacturing in the region, affordable housing in resort towns, and West Coast women in high tech.

 

Desert Oracle

This podcast grew out of a self-published print quarterly by political blogger Ken Layne, originally distributed only near his home in Joshua Tree, California. “The Voice of the Desert” examines the ways wild, harsh landscapes inspire people, from the mythic to the macabre to the mundane. The zine has a cult following, and the new podcast, notes New York Magazine’s  Heather Havrilesky, is “moody, concise, hilarious and really fucking weird.”

 

Media Indigena

This Indigenous current-affairs podcast is funded solely by listeners. Based in Canada, its mission is to “share stories which keep Indigenous peoples alive, in every sense of the term.” The last few episodes feature discussion of a not-guilty verdict for the white man who killed a young Native named Colten Boushie, an arts exhibit spanning 300 years of colonialism, and why it’s misleading to call Native languages “lost or dying.”

 

outLANDish

A partnership headed by the U.S. Forest Service, this podcast is part of the agency’s “Your Forests Your Future” initiative, which aims to increase the relevance of public lands. Recent stories include the great American through-hikes, animal migrations and discoveries made in glaciers.

 

Home of the Brave

By author and This American Life contributor Scott Carrier, this podcast is funded solely by listener donations. Season Two is a series about the U.S.-Mexico border and the current immigration situation, including a 2005 interview with the late Charles Bowden. The first season included a series on Bears Ears National Monument, with segments on industrial tourism, ancient petroglyphs and an interview with author Terry Tempest Williams.

 

The Last Best Stories

Host Jule Banville, who teaches at the University of Montana School of Journalism, puts it best: “If you live in this place or have visited this place or sometimes just see it in your dreams, you might know there are tales to tell here.” Podcast stories are unique to Montana but resonate widely. Some recent topics: an ambitious 1980s cover band, a visit to a Death Café, where the living discuss dying, and a woman trying to find a buyer for a tiny town that her late husband’s family owned for nearly 70 years.

 

Bundyville

A collaboration between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Longreads, Bundyville delves deep into the far-right politics and fringe religious beliefs that motivate Cliven Bundy, his clan and their followers. “From prophecies and nuclear testing to white supremacists and radical plans to shrink public lands, Bundyville explains how one family has beaten the federal government twice — and why this battle has just begun.” Hosted by freelance journalist Leah Sottile, recent episodes include how the Bundys are seeking to expand their influence, the real-world consequences of their ideological fight against government, and a look back at the Bundy ranch standoff in 2014.

 

Nuestra Tierra

A project of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, this podcast tells the stories of Latino and Hispanic communities in New Mexico and across America — “authentic, land-based cultures with direct and unbroken generational ties going back thousands of years.” Recent episodes cover the outdoor experiences of Borderlands communities, outdoor recreationists building businesses and community ties, and Latinas in the conservation movement.

Jodi Peterson is a contributing editor at High Country News. 

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Forever Our Rivers Foundation is searching for a driven and creative leader to build a movement, conserving and restoring America's rivers by helping customers find...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Friends of Cedar Mesa is hiring a Deputy Director/COO who will have the overall responsibilities of general program management, staff management, financial & budget management,...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR AND BOOKKEEPER
    Posted: July 19, 2021 Application deadline: August 27 or until position is filled. Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action is seeking a fulltime Office Administrator...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Posted: July 15, 2021 Application deadline: August 21, 2021 or until position is filled Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action is seeking three full time...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT EDITOR
    High Country News (HCN) seeks an audience editor to attract and acquire new audiences and deepen engagement with them - in our newsletters, on our...
  • COMMUNITY MARKETER
    High Country News (HCN) is looking for a Community Marketer to build and strengthen relationships between HCN and other organizations and individuals, with the aim...
  • FINANCE & OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Job Announcement: Finance and Operations Manager Announcement date: July 16, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: August...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement: Development Director Announcement date: July 16, 2021 Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and first review will begin: August 9, 2021...
  • HECHO POLICY AND ADVOCACY MANAGER
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • HECHO NEW MEXICO SENIOR FIELD COORDINATOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • IDAHO STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society is seeking a full time Idaho State Director who will preferably be based in Boise, Idaho. This position is part of our...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is dedicated to saving the lands and waters on which all life depends. For more than 30 years, TNC has...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, CLIMATE AND ENERGY PROGRAM
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING https://westernlaw.org/career-opportunity-climate-energy-staff-attorney/ ************************************************** Position Title: Climate and Energy Program Staff Attorney Reports to: Climate and Energy Program Director Location: Helena, Montana; other...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY, WILDLANDS AND WILDLIFE PROGRAM
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING https://westernlaw.org/career-opportunity-wildlands-staff-attorney/ ************************************************** Position Title: Wildlands and Wildlife Program Staff Attorney Reports to: Wildlands and Wildlife Program Director Location: Portland or Eugene,...