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.


Mountain West Voices
6:13 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

A Good Haircut, A Great Life

Barber Bob Harsha, Columbus, MT
Credit Clay Scott

Mountain West Voices producer Clay Scott gets a trim in the Columbus, Montana shop of Bob Harsha, a 93-year-old barber who has been cutting hair in the same location since he was 18.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 12/1/14. Listen weekly on the radio, Mondays at 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

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5:00 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Got Milk? Don't Need It

It's hard to miss the "Got Milk?" ad campaign encouraging us to drink more milk, but this week, "The Food Guys" make a case for moderation in milk consumption.

Considering the high rate of lactose intolerance, milk allergies, and alternative sources for calcium and vitamin D, Greg and John recommend going easy on cow's milk. 

They discuss a July 2012 New York Times opinion piece, "Got Milk? Don't Need It," by Mark Bittman.

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The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Calabar Beans: Pre-History's Lie Detectors

Physostigma venenosum, from Köhler's "Medizinal Pflanzen"
Credit Franz Eugen Köhler

The Efik people of the region that is now Nigeria used to force people accused of crimes to suffer a trial by ordeal: they'd be fed calabar beans, a known poison. If the accused died, they were judged guilty. If they lived, they were "proven" innocent. There's some pharmaceutical basis to this. It turns out that the poison of the calabar bean is absorbed in the mouth, where a guilty person might try to hold the beans, to avoid swallowing. For the guileless who swallowed them whole, the emetic properties of the beans might cause them to throw up the beans and escape poisoning.

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Lobster Tails, On The Rocks

Anomalocaris canadensis, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Anomalocaris is the name for a wide range of early sealife very similar to shrimp, scorpions, lobsters, and crabs. (CC BY-2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Tim Evanson

"In the late Cretaceous period, from 90 to 65 million years ago, Montana had a lusher climate than today. The Rocky Mountains formed one edge of a vast inland sea - Fort Peck was beachfront property on the edge of that sea. There are three distinct sedimentary rock formations from that era running through the area. The T. rex, "Peck's Rex," was found in the Hell Creek formation in 1997, just inland from the ancient coast. The sparsely-fossilized Fox Hill sandstone is a remnant of the beach itself.

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Musician's Spotlight
5:00 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Shelby Lynne

John Floridis talks with Grammy and CMA Award-winner Shelby Lynne about her personal and frequently biographical songs. Her fan base spans a wide range of musical audiences, a testament to her broad appeal. The interview was recorded in Bigfork, Montana as part of the Crown of The Continent Guitar Festival.

(Broadcast: Musicians' Spotlight, 9/9/14 and 12/4/14)

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Lynda Sexson & Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder. (CC-BY-2.0)
Credit Larry Miller

Lynda Sexson shares a Zen parable of the West, involving a baby and a pack of compassionate coyotes. Her tale mirrors Gary Snyder's "Smokey the Bear Sutra:"

"And he showed himself in his true form of


  • A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and

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Front Row Center
5:00 am
Sun November 30, 2014

The End Of The Infinite: Amanda Browder's Fabric Art

Amanda Browder. (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Holly Wilson

Born in Missoula, living in Brooklyn, NY, Amanda Browder's colorful and collaborative fabric art designs come to the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana-Missoula this fall.

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Home Ground Radio
5:00 am
Sun November 30, 2014

The Fine Art Of Trading At Historic Fort Benton, c.1848

Historic Fort Benton, MT. (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, BigRedSky

It's 1848 and you're heading 2,200 miles up the Missouri River, spending two months literally pulling the keel boat upstream. When you arrive at the American Fur Company trading post of Fort Benton, you're in for a surprise. It's a barter post rather than a military fort, where Blackfeet and white traders exchange goods, not hostilities. In fact, many of these traders are related through marriage.

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The Food Guys
5:00 am
Sun November 30, 2014

Cracking The Coconut

Halved, ripe coconut. (CC BY 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Chandrika Nair

Greg and Jon are coconut appreciators. They discuss shredded coconut in candy, cookies, cakes and pies; coconut milk, which in baking can substitute for cow's milk; coconut water (in young coconuts); and coconut oil, with its high smoke point.  Coconut oil, once thought a culprit in heart disease, has recently undergone a rehabilitation. How do you open a mature coconut?

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The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Usnea: Bearded Medicine

Usnea sp. lichen. (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Kirill Ignatyev

You might have brushed by it in the forest, where this hairy-looking symbiosis between algea and fungi perches on tree limbs. The look of the lichen usnea explains its nicknames: "old man's beard," "tree's dandruff," "women's long hair," and "beard lichen." For centuries, it's been considered a handy medicinal. People grab some to dress wounds, or take it internally for infections or oral inflammation. But in the 1990s, when manufacturers of weight-loss drugs started adding sodium usniate (usnic acid) to their formulas, several cases of liver damage emerged.

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