Beth Anne Austein

Host and Producer

Beth Anne Austein has been spinning tunes on the air (The Folk Show, Dancing With Tradition, Freeforms), as well as recording, editing and mixing audio for Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, since the Clinton Administration. She’s jockeyed faders or "fixed it in post” for The Plant Detective; Listeners Bookstall; Fieldnotes; Musicians Spotlight; The Write Question; Storycorps; Selected Shorts; Bill Raoul’s music series; orchestral and chamber concerts; lecture series; news interviews; and outside producers’ programs about topics ranging from philosophy to ticks.

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The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat August 30, 2014

Mexican Yam

In the 1930s, scientists trying to synthesize estrogen and progesterone for therapeutic uses - and possibly to create a new kind of contraceptive - faced an obstacle: they needed an abundant, cheap source of the hormones for mass production. Chemist Russell Marker discovered a way to extract progesterone from plants, and began searching for one that could yield enough of the hormone. After searching for a decade, he found it: the wild Mexican yam.

(Podcast: The Plant Detective, 8/30/14)

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Reflections On Wilderness

Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness. (CC-BY-NC)
Credit Fredlyfish4

"Reflections on Wilderness," by Allison Linville.

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The Young Frank Sinatra
5:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Monday Music Special, September 1st: "You Must Remember This"

Portrait of Frank Sinatra at Liederkranz Hall, New York, c. 1947
Credit William P. Gottlieb. William P. Gottlieb Collection (Library of Congress)

This month on You Must Remember This, 7:30-8:30pm: through songs and interviews with the young Frank Sinatra, host Allen Secher reminds us of the phenomenon of the 1930s and 1940s known as Sinatramania. "Would you believe that in 1940, Frank Sinatra was as big as the Beatles or Elvis in their time, or any rock star you can name today?" Or as the New York Herald Tribune put it: "It is a slightly disturbing spectacle to witness the almost synchronized screams that come from the audience as he closes his eyes, or moves his body slightly sideways."

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Mountain West Voices
5:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Nothing Human Is Alien To Me: An Unsuccesful Montana Novelist Talks About Writing And Poverty

Butte author, Robert Bassett
Credit Clay Scott

Robert Bassett of Butte, Montana talks about a life that took him from the Marine Corps, to the lumber camps of the Northwest, to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Now he is back in Montana, living in a rented room, saving money to get his teeth fixed, and working on his eighth novel.

(Broadcast: Mountain West Voices, 8/27/14)

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Toni Truesdale & Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo, 2012. (CC-BY-2.0)
Credit Joy Harjo

From her home in Pennsylvania, Toni Truesdale has never heard the call of the West. But her sister has. In spite of geographic separation, they re-create home around the kitchen table, wherever they are. Poet Joy Harjo's poem, "Perhaps the World Ends Here," sings of the kitchen table:

"Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

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Musician's Spotlight
5:00 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Sean Watkins

Nickel Creek singer and guitarist Sean Watkins stopped by the MTPR studios during the group's 2014 Montana tour to play some tunes live and talk shop with host John Floridis. Sean describes both the new Nickel Creek album and his own new solo release.

(Broadcast: Musicians' Spotlight, 8/26/14)

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Home Ground Radio
5:00 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Dan Wenk, Superintendent Of Yellowstone National Park

Dan Wenk, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park
Credit National Park Service

Dan Wenk, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, walks in the footsteps of 142 years of leadership in the world's oldest national park. His decisions affect not only the park, but its neighboring landowners and businesses. "You don't answer the questions in national parks by building facilities. Oftentimes, it's (best) to leave the area alone. Try to give people a great, broad experience of what's in a national park, but don't commercialize that experience."

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The Food Guys
5:00 am
Sun August 24, 2014

Melons: How To Choose A Ripe One

Düsseldorf Gourmet Festival 2013. (Public Domain)
Credit Kürschner

Greg and Jon toot the horn of the cooling, flavorful muskmelon. Greg reminds us to avoid buying whole chilled cantaloupes and honeydews, since aroma is key to picking a ripe one. For a watermelon, Jon points out, you can determine ripeness the old-fashioned way: thump it.  "I remember thinking as a child that in heaven, we could eat all the watermelons we'd want, and they'd all be perfect."

(Broadcast: The Food Guys, 8/24/14)

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The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Tea Tree

Indigenous Australians use the twigs and leaves of the melaleuca (tea tree) medicinally, and science has confirmed the tree's antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.  Tea tree oil is used topically to treat a range of skin infections, cuts, burns, insect bites and stings. A 2012 review by the National Institutes of Health found that "a 5% tea tree oil gel appears to be as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide" for treating mild to moderate acne.

(Podcast: The Plant Detective, 8/23/14)

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

The Quiet Courtship Of Mountain Pine Beetles

The scraper, half a beetle's stridulatory mechanism.
Credit Malcolm M. Furniss and Parks Canada

Pine beetle chirps are too quiet for humans to hear, but they play an important role in beetle courtship.

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