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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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

SMOKEY THE BEAR

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

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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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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Bats vs. Insects: A Sonic Arms Race

Bats at sunset. (CC BY 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Bev Sykes

"Bat Hearing," written by Erick Greene, read by Caroline Kurtz.

"Most people know that bats are able to perceive their surroundings using ultra high frequency sonar. But how exactly do they do it?

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Reflections West
5:00 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Stephanie Land & Judy Blunt

Stephanie Land

Stephanie Land grew up in Alaska and thought she was ready for anything the extreme climate could throw her way. She recalls the night in Gold Stream Valley when winter proved her wrong. Judy Blunt's memoir, "Breaking Clean," tells the story of "practical rather than humane" decisions that ranchers along Montana's Hi-Line had to make after the devastating 1964 blizzard.

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Home Ground Radio
5:00 am
Sun November 23, 2014

The Montana Raptor Conservation Center: 26 Years of Bird Rescues And Education

Swainson’s Hawk (dark morph) release.
Credit Whitney Hall. Courtesy of the Montana Raptor Conservation Center

Montana's hawks, owls and eagles get injured by collisions with cars and windows (not to mention bullets), by electrocution, and by poison. In some cases, a young bird will "imprint" on humans, leaving it unable to live in the wild. Bozeman's Montana Raptor Conservation Center works to heal these raptors and return them to the wild; about 40% of the birds at the center get released.

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The Food Guys
5:00 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Bitter Is Sweet For Your Health

Herb crop on the patio. (CC-BY-2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Thomas Kriese

Jon and Greg discuss a 2013 New York Times opinion piece by Jo Robinson called "Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food," which compares the phytonutrient content of wild plants with that of supermarket produce.

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The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat November 22, 2014

Cranberry: North America's Ruby-Red Superfruit

Cranberry light. (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Marilylle Soveran

It's not an old wive's tale: cranberry helps prevent and treat urinary tract infections. And it's not just the acidity: a compound in cranberries and blueberries keeps bacteria from sticking to bladder and urinary tract walls. Cranberries are high in several kinds of antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins, which give the ripe berries their vivid red color.

In the 1672 book New England Rarities Discovered, author John Josselyn described cranberries:

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