Open Spaces: Podcast


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

Click here to download the Open Spaces podcast.

Open Spaces March 9, 2018

Mar 9, 2018


On this episode, our education reporter Tennessee Watson explores how sexual violence reports fall through the cracks at UW. A lack of affordable housing in Cheyenne is causing the two homelessness shelters to operate a full capacity each night. And as agencies struggle with what to do with the hundreds of Wilderness Study Areas in the Mountain West, one U.S. Senator is taking action. Those stories and a wrap up of the 2018 legislative session. 

Open Spaces March 2, 2018

Mar 2, 2018


On this episode, many lawmakers continue to tweak Wyoming’s gun laws. A group of friends in Guernsey, Wyoming try to solve the affordable housing problem themselves. And The community of Laramie is coming together to make the mountainside on the outskirts of town a park. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces February 16, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

On this episode, Lawmakers who oppose implementing new taxes to fund education say school finance is too opaque. But districts say there isn't a penny that isn't accounted for. We’ll take look at a huge new oil and gas project and what it means for Converse County. And food insecurity among students at the University of Wyoming is more common than you might think. Plus, tales from a couple who lived with a wolf pack. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces February 2, 2018

Feb 2, 2018


On this episode, Lawmakers voted down a number of taxes this week, but some know the issue isn’t going away. And…figuring out just how hard Wyoming is getting hit by prescription opioid overdoses may be hard to track because of the stigma. And a story about the difficulty of passing on family ranches and farms to the next generation. Those stories and more. 

Opens Spaces January 26, 2018

Jan 26, 2018

On this episode, Wind River tribal leaders recently proposed the idea of waiving the tuition costs for tribal members at UW. They say there's good historical grounds for doing so. We’ll take look at how the history of grizzly bear management may hold some lessons for its future. And some Wyoming counties are missing out on millions in unpaid tax revenue from mineral companies. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces January 12, 2018

Jan 12, 2018

On this episode, a group tasked with diversifying the state’s economy has unveiled some preliminary recommendations…including ways to improve broadband. Why veterans leave higher education, and what the University of Wyoming is doing to help them stay. A story about overlapping federal leases in the Powder River Basin, and its impact on mineral rights. Should student fees be used to bring controversial speakers to the UW campus? Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces January 5, 2018

Jan 5, 2018

On this episode, we will feature a special on clean coal, a story about how national tax reform will impact energy out west, looking at coal, oil and gas… renewables too. Members of a native American tribe go on their first buffalo hunt. And we will discuss sexual violence prevention and find out what Wyoming’s Congressional delegation hopes to accomplish in 2018.  

Open Spaces Special: Breaking Bread In Gillette, Wyoming

Dec 15, 2017

On this special episode of Open Spaces, we sit down for a civil discourse in the city of Gillette where job layoffs, rising poverty and hate speech have torn the community apart. We hear the stories of a diverse group of people...including the experience of a Hispanic community leader. As part of our series, “I Respectfully Disagree,” a group of ten people models better dialogue in Gillette. Join us for that conversation.

Open Spaces December 8, 2017

Dec 8, 2017

On this episode, how tax reform could impact energy production in the United States, both with fossil fuels and renewables. In one of Wyoming's highest performing school districts, honesty yields results. And we’ll also take a look at how sage grouse management may change, and how cities are asking lawmakers for the ability to raise money. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces December 1, 2017

Dec 1, 2017

On this episode, The Center of the West is teaching students via Skype. We will speak with a couple of superintendents about possible changes to the school funding model. One Wyoming non-profit is hoping to train hairstylists to recognize the signs of domestic violence. And we will feature a number of energy stories. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces November 17, 2017

Nov 17, 2017

On this episode, according to a new NPR poll, many Native Americans say they experience discrimination when they call the police or go to federal court. We will look at how many in Wyoming are nervous about changes to the sage grouse management plans… but how others are relieved. And we will talk about prison reform, people and Grizzly encounters, and a conversation with a state senator about getting more bang for our buck in education. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces November 3, 2017

Nov 3, 2017

On this episode a story about how a federal subsidy could help wind energy surge forward in Wyoming – if the state decides to welcome it. We’ll also hear about an upcoming musical satire at UW that challenges the status quo of politics. And University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols is looking forward to a number of initiatives including entrepreneurship. These stories and more. 

Open Spaces October 27, 2017

Oct 27, 2017

This week some important state revenue information was released and while some think more cuts are needed, the Speaker of the House disagrees. A sexual assault survivor talks about what it was like to share her story with administrators at the University of Wyoming. And we will look at the Interior Department’s draft five-year strategic plan. Those stories and much more. 


On this episode, one little known fact about Wyoming’s Hathaway Scholarship is preventing Dreamers from being eligible. And a court decision has informed the federal government that it must consider climate change under certain circumstances. As ice patches in the high country melt, very fragile artifacts left behind by prehistoric people who lived up there is washing out… Also, we’ll learn more about retirement…how smart raccoons are…and hear a spooky ghost story! Those stories and more.

Open Spaces September 29, 2017

Sep 29, 2017

On this episode, Senator Barrasso wants to find ways to address forest fires. The state of Wyoming is following the issue closely. For the first time, the government let a Native American tribe exhume the graves of boarding school children so they could be given a proper funeral. The University of Wyoming is hoping students will help prevent sexual violence. But those messages don't always sink in. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces September 15, 2017

Sep 15, 2017

On this episode, many college students in Wyoming are worried following the announcement that DACA will be phased out. In Albany County law enforcement, schools and community groups are coming together to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system. And there are some big unanswered questions about whether forest fires are increasing or decreasing the warming of the climate. We’ll also take a look at how sage grouse management may change, and how cities are asking lawmakers for the ability to raise money. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces September 8, 2017

Sep 8, 2017


On this episode, after over 40 years, the Wyoming Department of Education is phasing out a program to support migrant students. Some people are not impressed. Local government in the state want a more stable source of revenue. A story about the move from federal to state management of Yellowstone grizzly bears, and how the debate isn’t over quite yet And a look at how efforts to remove DACA could impact Wyoming. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces August 25, 2017

Aug 25, 2017

Wyoming has a funding shortfall, but teachers are stepping up to make sure their students don't feel the effects of budget cuts. The 2017 total solar eclipse wowed big crowds in Casper. And we’ll learn what Rock Springs is doing to draw more attention downtown… and why that has traditionally been a challenge. Those stories, plus conversations about the possibility of alien life, the debate over raising taxes, and what cultural events are planned at the University of Wyoming this fall.

On this episode, we spend a lot of time talking about how Wyoming is preparing for the eclipse. The event requires a lot of planning. We have a story about a small agricultural county that’s lucky enough to be in the path of the total eclipse — and how local businesses are benefiting. Casper residents are signing up with the home sharing service Airbnb in record numbers to accommodate eclipse visitors. We also hear how school kids are getting ready and learn about eclipse art. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces August 4, 2017

Aug 4, 2017


Open Spaces July 21, 2017

Jul 21, 2017

On this episode, Wyoming’s U.S. Senators are among those trying to convince Republicans to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A UW trail building program created a crew this summer specifically for veterans in need of a job. And, we’ll find out what could happen to fish if Congress approves one of Wyoming’s water storage projects. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces July 14, 2017

Jul 14, 2017

On this episode, we'll hear about a show that depicts a white settler getting skinned alive by Native Americans — who are played by white actors. Even though Wyoming has the most lenient food regulations, grass fed cattle producers are struggling to get their meat out to urban markets...even though ranchers say the state has the best quality beef around. A local school district has opened up a clinic to make sure kids have year round support. They did it in hopes of curing a trend. We'll also learn about a debate over a proposed coal mine...

Open Spaces June 30, 2017

Jun 30, 2017

On this episode, Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzie defend the Senate Healthcare Bill against criticism. In June, there’s a voluntary climbing closure of Devils Tower to respect Native American ceremonies, but more climbers are ignoring the advisory. And we’ll learn why a coal company wants to dig the first new Wyoming mine in decades — and how it has nothing to do with electricity. We’ll also take a look at the Wyoming band Teenage Bottlerocket. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces June 16, 2017

Jun 16, 2017

On this episode, like in the rest of the country, investigating and prosecuting alleged sexual assaults in Wyoming is complicated. We'll take a look at how budget cuts are affecting suicide prevention efforts in the Wyoming, where rates are stable but still high. We will hear about a new teaching tool being used in Arapaho and new methods are being used to keep invasive species from taking over. These stories and more. 

Open Spaces June 9, 2017

Jun 9, 2017

On this episode, jobs are coming back to coal country in Wyoming, reuniting families and boosting the economy. The job numbers aren't as high as before the crash, but things are starting to even out. Superintendent Jillian Balow sees opportunity as Wyoming transitions to new federal education guidelines. And a story about how Wyoming leaders may change the Endangered Species Act. Plus, we'll hear about a Cheyenne program to develop more service dogs. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

On this episode, some legislators and communities are discussing whether communities should be allowed to raise more local money through fees or taxes. We'll find out how a group of middle schoolers is helping Laramie restaurants go green. A Jackson climber who sees friends die by avalanche and addiction creates a common solution. And Wyoming’s congressional delegation discusses the President’s budget. Those stories and much more.


Open Spaces May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017

On this episode, 37 UW workers will lose their jobs following graduation. Wyoming arts organizations remain nervous that federal funding could get eliminated. And we’ll experience the exciting countdown until gates open for antler hunting season. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017

On this episode, Wyoming U.S. Representative cast her vote to do away with the affordable care act this week. Leadership at the Casper Police Department continues to be scrutinized for an alleged hostile work environment. We will look at the debate over concealed carry on the University of Wyoming campus. Plus a look at the return of wolf management to the state of Wyoming and the Importance of Humanities at UW. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces April 14, 2017

Apr 14, 2017

On this episode, as the state reworks school funding, lawmakers weigh politics versus efficient spending. We also talk with award-winning author Timothy Egan and it's been over a month since Uber arrived in Wyoming and they've seen a lot of interest. These stories and more. 

Open Spaces April 7, 2017

Apr 7, 2017

On this episode, we will be joined by Governor Matt Mead who will recap the legislative session and reiterate the need to diversify the state economy. We will be joined by Baroness Catherine Ashton who is visiting Laramie this week. Plus stories on energy and an evocative new play is exploring what the Ku Klux Klan and Native Americans have in common using black humor. Those stories and more.