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.

Ways To Connect

Forest Service Northern Region

Growing out of forest restoration efforts around Helena, Montana, in 2014, a cooperative stewardship agreement between the state of Montana and the U. S. Forest Service was developed, the first of its kind in the United States.

Clay Scott

As a child on the Crow Reservation in Montana, Peggy White Wellknown Buffalo was taken from her home and sent to Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools out of state, and forbidden from speaking her language. As an adult, she has dedicated her life to helping Crow children connect with their history, their culture and their place.

Greg Patent

Greg describes two baking workshops he attended recently, taught by pie baker Kate McDermott and pastry chef Mindy Segal. Greg learned that the fats he uses for pie crust - butter and rendered leaf lard - are also favored by McDermott, who keeps her mixing bowls, flour, and fats chilled till it's time to make pie dough.

Michael Marsolek talks with pianist Margery McDuffie Whatley and University of Montana piano professors Steven Hesla and Christopher Hahn about Whatley's January 25 performance in the School of Music's "Celebrate Piano" series.  Whatley's program includes Beethoven's Tempest Sonata, and "all sorts of piano bonbons" -  short works by Chopin, Saint-Saens, Mendelssohn, Debussy, and Liszt.


"Take a dozen railroad whistles, braid them together, and then let one strand after another drop off, the last peal so frightfully piercing as to go through your heart and soul." According to biologist Stanley P. Young, that's a stockmen's take on the sound of a howling wolf pack. But it'll come as no surprise to any dog owner that while howling is the most recognizable of four different wolf vocalizations, under various circumstances, wolves also growl, whimper, and bark.

Lambert, a small Eastern Montana town near the Bakken oil fields, copes with sudden and dramatic change.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 1/19/14. Listen weekly on the radio on Mondays, 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

Brian Kahn talks with Dana Toole, Bureau Chief of the Children's Justice Bureau in the Montana Department of Justice, and Rep. Jenny Eck, member of the Montana Legislature. The topic: initiatives at the DOJ to improve how the department responds to victims of child sexual abuse, and prevention strategies.

Michael Marsolek talks with Greg Johnson, artistic director of the Montana Repertory Theatre, and actor Mark Kuntz, about the Rep's touring production of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," adapted for stage by Simon Levy.

Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Greg and Jon continue their discussion of Ari LeVaux's online column, "Irony Alert: Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat" with information from a second article cited by LeVaux: "Do Gut Bacteria Rule Our Minds?" by Jeffrey Norris, UC San Francisco -  itself summarizing new research review findings:

Flickr user, Chris Moody

"Not long ago, I grabbed my boots, a small cooler, and a turkey baster from our kitchen. In just a few minutes, I had broken through the ice on the shore of the Bitterroot River, sucked up some water from under rocks, and squirted it into the cooler. I moved on a bit and watched two muskrats, while I listened to chickadees singing with the sounds of the river behind. This was natural history at its best, almost. It was about to get better. I returned home where my microscope was waiting to show me what minute life forms I had captured.

Clay Scott

Last week we heard from 103-year-old Margaret Carranza, who came from Mexico to Montana's Yellowstone River Valley when she was a girl to work in the sugar beet fields. This week we will hear the story of how her family finally acquired a farm of their own - only to have it taken away.

Randy Stiles

As part of a plan to address climate change, a proposed 2014 EPA rule would reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants nationwide by an average of 30% by 2030. (Montana's proposed target is 21%.) The EPA's Clean Power Plan has directed states to develop strategies to reduce CO emissions.

Michael Marsolek talks with Arlynn Fishbaugh, Executive Director of the Montana Arts Council, reviewing the council's work in 2014. MAC spearheads a program that teaches professional artists across Montana how to improve their business acumen, and Fishbaugh shares the results of a report about the financial impact of this program on artists' families. The link between cultural tourism and art is also a focus of the council.

Flickr user, Steve Snodgrass

Jon and Greg discuss a November 2014 online column by Ari LeVaux, "Irony Alert: Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat." LeVaux's piece examines recent findings, published in Nature, that mice who were fed artificial sweeteners in their water developed glucose intolerance.

Flickr user, Teddy Llovet

"Skiing next to a creek north of Missoula on a morning so cold that ice crystals dance in the air, the world seems silent, asleep. Then a brilliant melody pours forth like a breath of spring. The sound seems to come from the water itself. I ski closer to the ice-lined creek and a splash in the shallows reveals a stub-tailed, plump little bird whose dark coloring blends perfectly with the drab gray rocks. This is a dipper, or water ouzel, a year-round native of Montana's rushing, forested streams.

Clay Scott

The first in a two-part series about Margaret Carranza, a 103-year-old, Mexican born woman who spent her life as a beet worker in Montana's upper Yellowstone River valley.

From Hitler's 1941 invasion of Russia until the Nazi surrender in 1945, 24 million Russians died. Yedika Ivanonva served as a medic in the Red Army for all four years of the Soviet-German war. Now 94, she recalls: 

Flickr user, Emily

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 1/4/15. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)

Notes below are taken from Greg Patent's March 4, 2008 "Missoulian" column, where Greg first introduced the recipe (bottom) that Jon Jackson has since adapted to include poblano and chili peppers instead of chard:

Flickr user, Charles Peterson

"By the 1930s, conservation groups across North America teamed up to help save the trumpeter, of which only 69 were known to exist. Various projects restored and increased breeding, wintering and wetland habitat, including the new Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Montana. Trumpeter populations rebounded and reached almost 35,000 swans by 2005.

Lindsey Appell

"We were told coal would save us, the same year we learned about boom-and-bust economics in our social studies textbooks." College-bound Lindsey Appell couldn't wait to leave Roundup, Montana for Missoula, but soon she began to feel "the pull back to the prairie. The scent of wet sagebrush sends a shiver of longing through me now...There are no true sunsets in a bowl of mountains. No blood-orange autumn skies, casting harsh shadows across grizzled ponderosa hills and sandstone crags."

The Helena Business Improvement District and Downtown Helena Inc

In small or medium-sized towns, "anchor" stores benefit many nearby businesses. Billie Shepard, owner for the last seventeen years of The Pan Handler Store on Last Chance Gulch in Helena, MT, thrives on supplying cooks with their tools and demonstrating how to use them. She also provides health insurance, sick leave and vacation pay to her employees and frequently helps pay for their training and education.


Greg shares his recent successful improvisation of two appetizers, or canapés, which he accomplished with some basic know-how and the ingredients in his freezer and cupboard. If you know how to make pâte à choux (cream puff) dough, a Mornay sauce, and blanched greens, you, too, can carry off these hors d'oeuvres with the panache of A Food Guy. Or, as Jon would recommend, just improvise your own.

Roger Wollstadt

"By the 1880s, bison numbers had dropped from millions to scant hundreds. Few people in the densely populated East viewed the coming extinction of the bison as an ecological and cultural loss. Naturalist William Temple Horaday was one of the first people to call for the conservation of bison, along with his friend, Theodore Roosevelt. Hornaday, chief taxidermist at the Smithsonian Institute, was outraged that the slaughter of bison was allowed to occur.

Flickr user, Nuuuuuuuuuuul

Modern interest in mistletoe as a possible treatment for cancer began in the 1920s. For centuries, it had been used as something of a cure-all, but when mistletoe's immunostimulant properties were confirmed, the Druids' reverence for the healing power of this parasite got some scientific validation. Since then, lots of studies have been done in Germany, where many cancer patients augment conventional treatment with mistletoe extracts. In the lab, it kills certain cancer cells, while boosting the number and activity of white blood cells.

Annick Smith's dog Bruno "rode shotgun" as Smith drove from Montana to the Midwest, visiting her ninety-seven-year-old mother in Chicago. That trip inspired a memoir featuring Bruno as a central character. Smith cites poet Mark Doty's thoughts on writing about animals: doing so is an attempt to "bring something of the inchoate into the world of the represented." The Pima chant, "Dog Song," begins at nightfall with a dog watching butterfly wings fall from the sky:

"Our songs begin at nightfall

Clay Scott

Susan Sanford's father pushed her to leave the family's isolated farm in north-central Montana so she could experience the world. After her father's death, Susan and her husband Brian return to the farm, and, in a place so remote that the nearest store is a five hour round trip, discover beauty in small things.

(Broadcast: "Mountain West Voices," 12/22/14. Listen weekly on the radio on Mondays, 3:00 p.m., or via podcast.)

Michael Marsolek talks with Tom Bensen and Matt Anglen of the Missoula Cultural Council about First Night Missoula 2014, the largest annual performing arts festival in Missoula. For the 21st year in a row, on December 31, venues downtown and at the University of Montana and Southgate Mall will hum from noon till midnight with activities for all ages.

Bill Gallagher, former Montana Public Service Commission Chairman
Montana Public Service Commission

Bill Gallagher had a key vote in the MT Public Service Commission's decision to approve NorthWestern Energy's proposal to buy 11 of Montana's hydroelectric dams from PPL Montana. How did he make his decision?

(Broadcast: "Home Ground Radio," 12/21/14. Listen weekly on the radio, Sundays at  11:10 a.m., or via podcast.)

Greg rolls out a list of his favorite half-dozen new and classic baking books:

1. Rose Levy Beranbaum: "The Baking Bible"

2. "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts"

3. Dominique Ansel: "The Secret Recipes"

Flickr user, free photos

Mistletoe, a parasitic plant that grows on a wide range of host trees, shows up on every continent but Antarctica - and on each continent, it's been used in folk medicine. From ancient Greece into twentieth-century America, it was prescribed for epilepsy. Over the centuries, healers have used mistletoe to treat arthritis, menstrual problems, miscarriage (through controlling bleeding), hypertension, and pain - and that's just the short list. It's prescribed frequently in Europe. But don't try any of these uses without a trained health practitioner, because mistletoe can be toxic.