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 April 16, 2021

Apr 16, 2021

On this episode, Wyoming has invested a lot of time trying to find ways to save the coal industry. Many years ago that let to the state embracing a technology called carbon capture. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim has developed a podcast looking at the effort. We will bring you one of those episodes and learn why former Governor Dave Freudenthal latched onto the idea many years ago. Also we remember a Wyoming father of five who died of COVID-19. 

Open Spaces April 9, 2021

Apr 9, 2021

On this episode, the Wyoming Legislature faces an interesting future following a session that saw $430 million in budget cuts. We will also review legislative activities impacting education and local government. The wide open spaces of the west used to be viewed as a stronghold for butterflies. But new research calls that role into question. Snow may still be falling in certain parts of the Mountain West, but there's one sure sign that the seasons have changed: the spring bird migration. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces April 2, 2021

Apr 5, 2021

On this episode, Catherine Wheeler will join Bob Beck to discuss the happenings from the Wyoming legislative session. Cuts to arts teachers has some in Cody concerned. In Wyoming, agriculture is a way of life. But climate change is threatening one of its most important resources. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces March 19, 2021

Mar 19, 2021

On this episode, the pandemic has shone a light on the capacity of meat packing facilities in Wyoming. Potentially propelling state and federal money towards the industry that has not been seen for awhile. American politics are as polarized as it has ever been. But at least one issue appears to be a growing exception to that. Sorting fact from fiction is proving difficult as Albany County debates wind development. And the Wyoming Cowgirls won the Mountain West tournament championship and are on their way to the NCAA tournament. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces March 12, 2021

Mar 12, 2021

On this episode, Wyoming lawmakers are pushing back against the public health orders issued in the last year. The Wyoming legislature is considering a voter identification bill. A taxpayer-funded study gives a grim forecast of the economic impacts of Biden's climate plans relating to oil and gas. A new investigation between Wyoming Public Radio and The Guardian uncover an important detail. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces March 5, 2021

Mar 5, 2021

On this episode, usually segregation in school is something you heard about in the south. But it turns out Wyoming had segregated schools as well. The son of late Japanese artist, Paul Horiuchi, shares how his father used art to stay resilient under challenging times. And we will bring you an episode from our popular podcast The Modern West about a ghost town that died for a troubling reason.

Open Spaces February 26, 2021

Feb 26, 2021

On this episode, we speak with Governor Mark Gordon and one topic we talk about, what to do about education funding. Speaking of education, Deb Haaland's confirmation hearings were must-see TV for many young Indigenous people. The Powell School District is dealing with an influx of special education students. The administration is concerned about how to deal with this in influx in the future. Join us for these stories and more.

Open Spaces February 12, 2021

Feb 12, 2021

On this epsiode, today legislators will consider cutting education funding this session, possibly by 100 million dollars. But not everyone agrees. Meanwhile, Wyoming's School funding debates bring up conversations about the place of extracurriculars in budget cuts. The pandemic has complicated efforts to revitalize Indigenous languages. But the move to online learning has opened doors for far-flung tribal citizens. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces February 5, 2021

Feb 5, 2021

On this episode, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney survived an attempt to remove her from House Leadership and she says she's now focused on the future. Wyoming businesses received more than a billion dollars in government aid to weather the pandemic. But it was still a difficult time for many small businesses. Plus conversations with the state health officer about vaccines and State Superintendent Jillian Balow about how budget cuts could impact education. Those stories and more.

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.