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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Field Notes
5:00 am
Sat December 27, 2014

The Hornaday Bison: Killing Buffalo In Order To Save Them

Hornaday Smithsonian Buffalo and Western Art Gallery in Fort Benton, MT. (CC-BY-2.0)
Credit 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.

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The Plant Detective
7:17 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Mistletoe (Part Two): Druids And German Cancer Patients Swear By It

Viscum album, subsp. album - Laubholz-Mistel. (CC BY 2.0)
Credit 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.

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Reflections West
1:28 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Annick Smith & Pima Dog Song chant

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

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Musician's Spotlight
5:00 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Winter Holiday Special

John Floridis hosts a holiday retrospective edition of "Musician's Spotlight," featuring music by artists who have appeared on the show during the past decade and a half. You'll hear music by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones; Derek Trucks with McCoy Tyner; NewGrange; John Gorka; Jerry Douglas; Alison Krauss with Natalie MacMaster; Karan Casey; The Indigo Girls with Brandi Carlile;

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Mountain West Voices
5:00 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Out In The Badlands - A Montana Farm Couple Finds Beauty In Isolation

Susan Sanford and Brian Brown
Credit 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.)

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Front Row Center
5:00 am
Mon December 22, 2014

First Night Missoula, December 31, Noon-Midnight

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.

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Home Ground Radio
5:00 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Why Did Bill Gallagher Approve Northwestern Energy's Dam Purchases?

Bill Gallagher, Chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission
Credit MT PSC

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.)

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The Food Guys
5:00 am
Sun December 21, 2014

Greg's 2014 Favorite Baking Books

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"

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The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Mistletoe (Part One): A Parasite That Can Hurt Or Heal

European mistletoe (Viscum album). (CC BY 2.0)
Credit 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.

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Field Notes
5:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Ruffed Grouse: Strolling On And Exploding From The Snow

Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus). (CC BY 2.0)
Credit Flickr user, Seabamirum

Their cryptic brown and white coloration makes ruffed grouse hard to see - often, the first sign you'll have of one is the deep sound of wings flapping, followed by an eruption of feathers nearby. A classic sound of spring in areas where ruffed grouse live is the booming sound of the male grouse, drumming atop a rock or log or mound, simultaneously announcing and defending its 6-10 acre territory. The sound has been described as "an engine trying to start."

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