Open Spaces: Podcast


A news and public affairs program about Wyoming and the West.

You can subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts or find us on Stitcher

Open Spaces January 15, 2021

Jan 15, 2021

Today on the show we will hear from one of many Public Health Officers who've received pushback during the pandemic. The pandemic has also left many women out of work, at a time when the recession continues a downward trend. But some good is coming from it. In Sheridan, an anonymous baker is leaving freshly baked loaves of bread on strangers' doorsteps. And a research scientist decided to provide a human perspective to the mule deer's season migration -- by running the 92 mile route. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces January 8, 2021

Jan 8, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine has been touted as the light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic. But the rollout has been slow including here in Wyoming. And some think that's because there have been no federal guidelines. As Wyoming was distributing CARES Act funding, the issue of rental assistance wasn't properly addressed. The federal government unexpectedly signed off on unprecedented support for carbon capture technology. Wyoming hopes it will save coal. Plus our Washington reporter tells us what it was like to be in the Capitol during the siege. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces December 18, 2020

Dec 18, 2020

On this episode, we'll take a look at how funeral homes in the state have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi is finishing up his time in Washington. The festival of lights, better known as Hanukkah is upon us. We speak to a religious studies professor about the holiday's special meaning this year. And people prepare to spend Christmas alone. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces December 11, 2020

Dec 11, 2020

On this episode, in Wyoming man are anxious to see if the Biden administration will keep true to its word and limit energy extraction on public land. School districts across are facing substitute teaching shortages. And we visit with a former reporter who's involved in a trial for a COVID vaccine. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces December 4, 2020

Dec 4, 2020

On this episode, we will speak with the state health officer about growing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths. It turns out there may be at least one positive that comes out of the pandemic, access to telehealth in rural areas. And we will learn about a new form of poetry that was invented with the help of a Wyoming poet. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces November 27, 2020

Nov 30, 2020

Hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients across the Mountain West, and some are leaning on neighboring states to help. This may frustrate some, but others think nation-wide cooperation will be key going forward. Finding the perfect guide this holiday season is that much more complicated if you want to shop local or in person. One of our communities has found a way to help people know which businesses are doing what to keep customers and employees safe.

Open Spaces November 20, 2020

Nov 20, 2020

On this episode, COVID-19 numbers are skyrocketing in Wyoming and hospitals are facing an unprecedented demand for their services, as cases, hospitalizations and the need for care continue to skyrocket. As COVID-19 surges, Campbell County is feeling some of the effects of a high spike in cases. We take a look at why public health officials are asking people to follow social distance guidelines whether they have COVID-19 or if they may have been exposed to it. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces November 6, 2020

Nov 6, 2020

On this episode, a series of stories about race. Teton County finds a solution to a problem that they didn't know existed until the pandemic hit. The University of Wyoming wants to be more diverse but ongoing racism makes that hard. There were once multiple Chinatowns in Wyoming. But today, they're buried underground along with much of the history of Chinese heritage in the state. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces October 30, 2020

Oct 30, 2020

On this episode, the University of Wyoming has unveiled its proposal for steep budget cuts. Businesses across Wyoming face difficult decisions when an employee tests positive. As the pandemic heats up, many business owners are worried for their survival. An expert in energy law talks about what a Biden versus Trump presidency would mean for coal. Also a couple of stories on the election. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces October 16, 2020

Oct 16, 2020


On this episode, last weeked, a same sex couple in northwest wyoming were told they are not welcome and need to leave. The 1988 fires that scorched Yellowstone National Park captivated the nation and marked a new chapter of massive wildfires in the West. We start a new series focusing on water and fire in the West, including the point that all fires aren't in forests. Join us for those stories and consider supporting Open Spaces with your donation. 

Open Spaces October 9, 2020

Oct 9, 2020

On this episode, this past week saw a record 56 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Wyoming. We take a look at how hospitals are dealing with the increase of patients. The recent acting director of the Buerau of Land Management William Perry Pendley says he wasn't fired. Researchers look below Yellowstone National Park. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces October 2, 2020

Oct 2, 2020

On this episode, Wyoming has re-upped its contract with a nonprofit that's operating out-of-state to stop the early closure of coal plants. Locals there have been surprised to hear that another state was intervening there - Wyoming officials say they're not shy about it. A year after the police killing of Anderson Antelope in Riverton, his family is still asking for greater transparency. We will also go on an adventure to a Beartooth mountain glacier to learn how Rocky Mountain Locusts and glaciers stories intertwine. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces September 25, 2020

Sep 25, 2020

On this episode, in several states Sequel Youth and Family Services is under investigation for abuse. There a concerns about their juvenile treatment facility in Wyoming too. The life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had an impact on some Wyoming attorneys and Judges. After a fatal grizzly bear-human encounter near Jackson, Teton County decided they may need to figure out a different approach to respond to these types of incidents. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces September 11, 2020

Sep 11, 2020

On this episode, the 80th annual One Shot Antelope Hunt is cancelled due to the pandemic. Critics hope organizers will take the opportunity to retire racist elements of the event. Kids are back in schools, and districts around the state are taking different approaches to how they're sharing positive COVID-19 cases with the public. The Fort Belknap Reservation has a successful history returning native species to their habitats. And they've recently started their newest reintroduction effort. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces September 4, 2020

Sep 4, 2020

On this episode, the first transfer of 40 Yellowstone National Park bison to 16 tribes across the nation occurred. Why has this been so hard? Bob Beck will speak with the Director of Wyoming's Department of Workforce services who says all is not lost. We will also look at Wyoming's enhanced efforts towards Carbon Capture and there's no Cowboy football this fall…or the Western Thunder Marching band. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces August 28, 2020

Aug 28, 2020

On this episode, we will explain what it might take for some in the legislature to consider tax increases and what that means for the state. A controversial plan for restoring Medicine Bow National Forest has just been approved. And the first Wyoming chapter of a mountain mentor biking program aims to teach girls friendship and self growth. Those stories and more.

On this episode, we'll hear a march from Riverton that focused on substance abuse five years after two Northern Arapaho men were murdered at a Riverton detox center. This fall, high school sports are on. But the challenge is keeping them on track. And a conversation on Wyoming's legislative primary between moderate Republicans and conservatives. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces August 7, 2020

Aug 7, 2020

On this episode, an influx of visitors will be in Northeast Wyoming because of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And officials are preparing. We take a look at how meat producers are trying to get inventory out to their customers as processing plants are backed up. The Trump administration is pushing for schools to reopen in-person this fall. We'll hear from one school counselor and parent about the things they're weighing. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces July 31, 2020

Jul 31, 2020

On this episode, we will have an interview with new UW President Ed Seidel on topics ranging from his goals to reopening the University. Wyoming's community colleges are planning for the fall semester. Without federal guidance, each is developing a unique plan for its campus, from the classroom to the dorm. Wyoming's Congressional delegation has different ideas from the President regarding COVID-19 and we continue our series on racial tension in Fremont County. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces July 17, 2020

Jul 17, 2020

On this episode, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon announced the start of $250 million of budget cuts with more announcements on the way. Three years ago, a federal court ruled that the City of Riverton is not part of the Wind River Reservation. But a more recent ruling calls that into question. People are doubting science, and there are many theories why. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces July 10, 2020

Jul 10, 2020

On this episode, we'll hear from food service businesses about how they've adapted to a "new normal" during the COVID-19 pandemic. RVs and trailers are having a moment right now, with Americans looking for a way to vacation without sacrificing their safety. And how the pandemic is affecting the pocketbooks of professional cowboys. Also, a new coal mine is coming to the Powder River Basin and an update on Laramie's Pilot Hill project. Those and more.

Open Spaces June 26, 2020

Jun 26, 2020

On this episode, a local reproductive health clinic in Gillette lost its county funding and it could have big impacts on the people it serves. We will bring you the latest on efforts by the state of Wyoming to purchase millions of acres of land in southern Wyoming and it's not easy being a Wyoming artist. Plus why the Wyoming delegation is excited about efforts to get rid of regulations. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces June 19, 2020

Jun 19, 2020

On this episode, we will visit some of the smaller towns where Black Lives Matter protests have occurred. It's been a scary time for undocumented workers. And a town remains skeptical about COVID-19 despite being the county with the most cases. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces June 12, 2020

Jun 12, 2020

On this episode, we'll hear from Black Wyomingites who've been protesting around our state in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. We bring you a story exploring some of the opposition to the movement. We'll also visit with State Health Officer Doctor Alexia Harrist who will discuss where we are with COVID 19 and where she hopes to be. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces June 5, 2020

Jun 5, 2020

On this episode, we bring you a special episode on the 150th anniversary of women's suffrage in the Equality State. We'll look at the history of Wyoming getting involved in women's voting rights. We'll also revisit the challenge of getting women elected to the legislature. We'll also hear from the first woman publisher at the Sheridan press, who's putting her focus on the community. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces May 29, 2020

May 29, 2020

On this episode, recently Wyoming Public Radio won Regional Edward R. Murrow awards for best hard news, investigative and sports story. We also won for best use of sound, best continuing coverage and best documentary. Today we thought we'd play you some of those pieces. One story looks at the lack of police training when it comes to sexual assault. To challenges surrounding long term care and finding work if you're a laid off miner. We will look at an extreme sport you may not have heard of. And what climate change does to ice fishing. Kick back and join us for the next hour.

Open Spaces May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

On this episode, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney talks about the importance of following health orders when it comes to COVID-19. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks partially re-opened this week. A long time National Park Service employee expects a trial and error approach. We'll hear from members of the Wheeler family of Ethete, who lost 3 loved ones on a single day to COVID-19. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

On this episode, the month of Ramadan is a time for Muslims around the world to gather and pray and help the people around them. Usually international students travel home. And we'll hear Wyomingites on your pandemic silver linings. Yellowstone National Park gateway communities are using a unique if smelly way to help monitor covid 19 as tourists start rolling through, by testing the community's poop. Also, the huge hit to WYDOT's budget from the pandemic and how it's crippling hospital's finances. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has upended everyone's lives. But it's been especially disappointing for high school seniors. With casinos closed and oil and gas revenues stalled, The Wind River Reservation is facing tough economic times. Douglas was booming. But the crash in crude demand has caused it to empty out. Businesses across the area are reeling. Those stories and more.

Today on the show, the Wind River Reservation remains under a stay-at-home order, while our state begins to ease restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, experts say people still need to be careful of a false sense of security by looking at the number of coronavirus cases in their counties. Summer usually signals the start of Wyoming's wedding season. But this year things will probably look very different. Those stories and more.