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

Michael Marsolek talks with Arlynn Fishbaugh, Executive Director of the Montana Arts Council, about the upcoming Artists' Showcase and Sale, Saturday, November 1, 2014, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Helena's Red Lion Colonial Inn. (406) 444-4700 or online.

(Broadcast: "Front Row Center," 10/26/14. Listen Sundays, 11:10 a.m., or via podcast.)

David Dickerson

Medicinal use of datura - also known as moonflower - is so ancient, no one is sure where the plant originated. Two important nervous system depressor drugs, atropine and scopolamine, are derived from it. Oracles in the Americas and Greece used it for divinations. Witches in medieval Europe applied it to their skin in ointments. And when modern-day researchers experimented (a risky proposition; one of the researchers died) with those old witches' recipes, they reported intense dreams of flying. Broomstick, anyone?

Liz Rohde

"Mount Aeneas," by Margo Whitmire.

Flickr user, Nssdfdsfds

Greg and Jon share the recipe for "Jean's Spiced Lamb Meatball And Bok Choy Soup:"

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 10/19/14. Listen at 11:20 a.m. Sundays or via podcast.)


The alkaloid atropine occurs naturally in plants like deadly nightshade, datura, and henbane. It can keep your heart rate steady after a heart attack, dilate your eyes - think belladonna - or dry up secretions during surgery. Soldiers carry atropine injectors because it's an antidote to nerve gas. But in high doses, it's hallucinogenic and poisonous. Remember the three fates of Greek mythology? One of them, Atropos, determined the mechanism of death for mortals. Atropine is named for her.

Ann Szalda-Petree talks with Shawna Lee, a venue manager who books stage shows in Missoula. Shawna is the go-to woman who locates the sound company, the plexiglass, the M & Ms for traveling and local bands, most of them male. Shawna believes a combination of patience and local connections helped break into this field: "It's a matter of establishing trust."

Michael Marsolek talks with Joe Martinez, Artistic Director of MCT, Inc. / Missoula Community Theatre, about the upcoming production of "Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical," which plays October 31 - November 2 and November 5 - 9, 2014, at MCT Center for the Performing Arts, 200 North Adams Street, downtown Missoula.

Wednesday - Saturday night performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

Clay Scott

George Nickel survived the roadside bomb that killed his comrades in Iraq. Back home in Boise, Idaho, his readjustment to civilian life was a disaster. An armed standoff with Boise police led to jail, and almost a year of solitary confinement. Now George's life is dedicated to helping other combat veterans make the difficult transition to non-military life.

courtesy of the Hydaburg School District

Every year, Robert Lee spends time as a poet-in-residence at the Haida School of Hydaburg, Alaska. His students teach Lee as much about surviving the elements as he teaches them about self-expression. 

Join host Marguerite Munsche Sunday evening, October 19, 2014, for a broadcast of the opening concert of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra's 60th season, Darko Butorac, music director and conductor.

As part of Missoula's 2014 Big Read project, two music scholars, Doug Bradley and Hugo Keesing, share their insights with "Folk Show" host John Myers on what American popular and folk music of the 1960s and 1970s can tell us about the Vietnam War.

Jim Winstead

Greg and Susan Gianforte started a hi-tech business in a spare bedroom of their home in Bozeman. Fourteen years later, they sold RightNow Technologies, Inc. to Oracle for $1.5 billion.

Flickr user, litlnemo

"The Food Guys" Jon and Greg review the results of a recent "butter tasting," discussing why butter's taste and texture varies so widely. The categories of sweet, salted, or cultured butter (a premium butter which has been flavored and is made in small batches) are just the beginning of the butter distinctions and vocabulary.

There's the ratio of butterfat to water, which matters in certain types of sauces and baking. What the dairy cows have been eating, of course, explains a lot.

Henri Pidoux © CITES Secretariat

The powerful anti-inflammatory action of harpagoside, a compound in the roots of devil's claw, relieves the pain of osteoarthritis, and many herbalists recommend it for digestive problems. The San of the Kalahari have used it medicinally for centuries. But because devil's claw is gathered wild from the deserts of Southern Africa, where the tubers are an important source of income, there is pressure on the population. In some regions, the current rate of harvest might not be sustainable.


"Daddy Longlegs," written by Melissa Zapisocky, read by Caroline Kurtz

courtesy of the Jeannette Rankin Foundation

Operating out of Athens, Georgia since 1976, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation (founded by Jeannette herself and some admirers) assists women over age 35 in going back to school, a step that improves their lives and those of their families and communities.

IOW Producer Beth Judy talks with Sue Lawrence, Executive Director of the foundation, and also Francy Moll of Polson, Montana, a Rankin Scholarship alumna.

In 1913, Doug Midgett's grandfather gazed at the tableland around Sumatra, Montana and saw a hopeful future of verdant crops. Looking at the same land fifty years later, Doug's father, who grew up in Sumatra, saw perennial drought, searing heat, and stifling dust storms. Poet Gwendolyn Haste lived in Eastern Montana in the early 1920s and watched the losing battles of its farmers:

"...Seven full years, says the Book, and seven lean -

And we come in at the end of the full ones, I guess.

There ain't no crops where they's no rain.

In the 2014 general election in Montana, perhaps the most interesting statewide race is for a seat on the state supreme court. The winner will make decisions about the constitutional rights of all Montanans.

In this episode of "Home Ground Radio", Brian Kahn sits down with incumbent Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat. They talk about judicial philosophy, the role of judges, judicial elections, and money in politics.

Flicker user, Joe Foodie

Greg and Jon review the world of turnovers, including Chinese dumplings and jiaozi (pot stickers), Russian piroschki, Welsh pasties, Italian calzone, and American moonpies.  Whether it's savory or sweet, made with yeast dough or pastry dough, baked or fried, Greg considers it a turnover. "Think anything good. Put it inside a dough, wrap it up, seal it, and either bake it or fry it. That's a turnover."

Flickr user, Kai Hendry

This feathery plant from the deserts of Afghanistan and the mountains of Iran stinks - until you cook it, that is, when its pleasant flavor and active antiflatulent and digestive properties emerge. You can find it in Worcestershire sauce and throughout South Indian cuisine as a flavor enhancer and digestive aid. Devil's Dung is also antimicrobial.

(Podcast: "The Plant Detective")

Antiflatulent, helps digestion.

This month on You Must Remember This, 7:30-8:30pm: host Allen Secher is not sitting on his laurels; he's going places. "Let's Get Away From It All," "Kalamazoo," "San Francisco," "Chicago," and "New York, New York" are just the start of this road trip.

You Must Remember This is hosted by Allen Secher and airs the first Monday of each month as a Monday Music Special, 7:30 - 8:30pm.

(Broadcast: "Monday Music Special," 10/6/14)

Flickr user, Seabamirum

"Starling Obfuscation," by Robin Childers.

Bud Cheff, Jr.'s family has been friends with the Conko family of Montana's Mission Valley for over a hundred years. Bud recalls a reunion between his grandmother and Eneas Conko in the front pew of the St. Ignatius Mission church.

U.S. House candidates John Lewis and Ryan Zinke debated at the Petro Theater in Billings on September 29th, 2014.

The event was sponsored by The Billings Gazette, Yellowstone Public Radio, and Montana State University Billings.

Big money is pouring into judges' elections. So how would you feel if the judge deciding your case had received $3.5 million from your opponent? Hugh Caperton knows. With attorney James Sample, he took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Moussaka Recipe

Sep 28, 2014
David Lifson

Jon and Greg recommend using fresh, unblemished eggplant for the following moussaka recipe:


Michael Marsolek talks with Professor Christopher Hahn of the University of Montana's School of Music about the School's 2014-2015 Celebrate Piano Series.

The 7th annual Pianissimo! Concerts, the  signature events of the series, take place Friday and Saturday, October 10-11, 2014, 7:30 p.m., in the School of Music's Music Recital Hall.

(Broadcast: 9/28/14, Sunday morning at 11:10. Or via podcast.)

Flickr user, Pfly

The gigantic leaves of devil's club barely hide its sharp thorns  - if you're ever sliding down a mountain slope, this is not a plant to grab. But inside the roots' bark lies medicine for all sorts of evils: native coastal North Americans treated as many as 34 types of ailments with it.

Joel Penner

"Pine Squirrel Caches," written by Caitlin Fox, read by Caroline Kurtz.

"Last September, I went on a hunt for buried treasure. I had heard of a man who put himself through college collecting pine nuts from squirrels' winter caches and selling them to the local grocer. He must have learned their hiding places and robbed their summer's work in late fall. I had pictured uncovering stores of hundreds of smooth, white pine nuts, individually shelled, like candy.

A pregnant Erin Saldin narrated the details of her winter walks to her unborn child, imagining him as a character in a novel. "That imagined child is nothing like my flesh-and-blood daughter, who was born late, blonde, and wide-eyed." Saldin pairs her reflection with an excerpt from Marilynne Robinson's novel, Housekeeping.