Home Ground Radio

Home Ground Radio is a half-hour public affairs program with topics that range from the environment to the politics of Montana and the rural west. In each program, host Brian Kahn conducts one or two in-depth interviews.

In 2013, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana, then a not-for-profit corporation, was sold to Health Care Services Corp, a Chicago-based insurance company. Under state law, the sale assets were transferred to a charitable trust, the Montana Healthcare Foundation, to be managed for the public benefit. To date, the MHCF has roughly $80 million in assets.

Mike Korn's Career Spans Folklife And Wildlife

May 10, 2015

What's the connection between traditional American folk music, convincing landowners to allow hunters on their land, and the supervising of game wardens? Brian Kahn talks with Mike Korn, retired deputy chief of law enforcement at Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Helena Entrepreneur Shalon Hastings Wins Award

May 2, 2015
Shalon Hastings

Shalon Hastings, owner of The Hub and Taco del Sol in Helena, MT, learned her work ethic helping her grandparents on their ranch in central Montana.

Rennett Stowe

Anthony Page and Jason Larson, Navy SEAL veterans and co-founders of Applied Performance Sciences, talk about touring Montana's high schools, where they introduce John Underwood's "Life of an Athlete" program," promoting a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.

National Science Foundation - National Teacher Enhancement Network

Kurt Alt worked as a wildlife biologist for the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department of the State of Montana from 1975 till his retirement in 2010. As Wildlife Manager for Southwest Montana, Alt supervised work in the Gallatin and Madison drainages of southwest Montana, collecting and analyzing data on moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, deer, mountain lions, bears, antelope, and many other native species of the area.

Conner Gorry On Life In Cuba As An American

Mar 25, 2015

Visualize a small business that occupies one room, serves tea, coffee, and pastries and sells books and an array of magazines from Time to Gentleman's Quarterly. There are chairs and couches for reading and conversation and in the small yard outside, rich in tropical plants are tables and chairs, a bench, and even a hammock. A mixed color, curly hair Terrier, Toby, wags a greeting from the open door. Walking by on the sidewalk, you get the feeling that it would be a nice place to relax and visit for ten minutes, or an hour.

Flickr user, Bit Boy

In 1961, Fidel Castro's new Cuban government organized a massive literacy campaign, recruiting 100,000 teenagers to move to the rural areas and teach illiterate farmers how to read and write.

State of Montana

Jonathan Motl is the Commissioner of Political Practices in Montana. It turns out, that's a difficult and controversial job. Serious state and national political interests care deeply about campaign contribution rules, anonymous or "dark money",  the definition of independent committees, and host of other issues. To top it off, Motl is up for confirmation during this session of the Montana Legislature. He has been strongly praised by some, sharply criticized by others. Listen in to hear what he has to say.

Brian Kahn talks with Gen. Gene Prendergast, retired adjutant general of the Montana National Guard, founder, and Jan Rouse, Executive Director of the Montana Youth Challenge Academy in Dillon, MT.

courtesy of Linda Gryczan

Linda Gryczan served as lead plaintiff in a 1993 legal challenge to Montana's deviate sexual conduct statute, which made gay sex between consenting adults a crime.

Brian Kahn talks with faculty members Sam Koenen and Beth Stohlmann, and junior Nathan Mayville, of Petra Academy of Bozeman, MT. Petra is an accredited member of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools.

Brian Kahn talks with writer Richard Manning, co-author with Harvard Medical School professor and M.D. John J. Ratey of the book "Go Wild." (2014 Little, Brown).

From the book's introduction:

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.

(Broadcast: "Home Ground Radio," 1/25/15. Listen weekly on the radio, Sundays at  11:10 a.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.

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.

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: 

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.

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.)

2011 Century Council

Montana Governor Steve Bullock discusses Medicaid expansion, early-childhood education, infrastructure spending, the upcoming legislature, and more with "Home Ground" host Brian Kahn.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Bullock says the "Healthy Montana" plan is a unique solution that will insure thousands of Montanans and help relieve the burden of uncompensated care on small hospitals.

For a state in the richest nation in the world, it's an awkward truth that many Montanans go hungry. In Helena, approximately fourteen percent of residents face hunger. Host Brian Kahn talks about it with Ann Waickman, Executive Director of Helena Food Share.

Who comes to Helena Food Share?   

"We really try to never have to come in here, but we usually end up here a few times a year.  I haven't been paid in three weeks and my wife's job just won't cover all our bills."  -HFS Client

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.

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.

Kim Metez

Chef Ben Thorpe, a home-schooled native of rural Idaho, is the chef at Fort Benton's Grand Union Hotel. From seminary, to an abbreviated career in classical dance, to ministerial work, then a stint as a wine steward, Thorpe came to his culinary career in a roundabout way. "I think the ability to please people, to take ingredients and put them together, and to see people truly feel happiness, is really life-changing.

When we think of "health," we often think about the well-being of an individual. But Lindsey Krywaruchka, Emily Epperson, and George Burns work on behalf of a different definition of "health:" the well-being of an entire human population. All three work in the public health programs of Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services.

courtesy of Deep Springs College

Nearly one hundred years ago, L.L. Nunn, an electrical pioneer and the manager of a Colorado power company, founded a two-year college for young men in California's Deep Springs Valley. Deep Springs College isn't the typical American junior college: it's tiny, with just twenty-six students. No one pays tuition or fees.  It's located on a remote cattle ranch and alfalfa farm. The student-faculty ratio is 5:1.

Flickr user, Meet the Media Guru

"My way of learning was never through a book - it was always through experience. Going out and finding things and thinking about them is basically how I have learned everything. When it comes to teaching a student something, I want that student to do the same thing. I think reading is overrated, quite frankly, and I think there's no reason to read a book and learn about someone else's idea. I think it's more important to experience something and have your own idea."

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.

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.

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