Open Spaces: Podcast


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

Click here to download the Open Spaces podcast.

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.

On this episode, school districts balance the impact of budget cuts and learning. Many women who have filed sexual assault reports in Casper believe their cases have been mishandled or neglected by law enforcement. And a story from Washington about how Republicans are arguing about climate change. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces March 24, 2017

Mar 24, 2017

On this episode, education students are skeptical of their future as teachers in Wyoming. Proposed budget cuts to Meals on Wheels at the federal level have those who depend on the delivery service worried about the future. When congress eventually reforms the affordable care act, the worry in Wyoming is that many could lose their insurance. We’ll also hear how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will affect Wyomingites and learn about declining moose numbers. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces March 3, 2017

Mar 3, 2017

On this episode, legislative freshmen discuss their experience during this year's session. The Wyoming Legislature resolved a major issue of housing inequality this session all because of one determined citizen. One University of Wyoming College of Law Professor is hoping a study of his will lend facts and sensibility to the immigration debate. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces February 24, 2017

Feb 24, 2017


On this episode, we will revisit the bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses. Wyoming kids are using the state’s newly adopted science standards for the first time this year. We’ll look back at what it took to reach agreement on teaching climate change. We'll hear what ranchers and labor advocates are saying about new wages for foreign sheepherders. Plus stories on health care, avalanches, and former Senator Olympia Snowe. These stories and more. 

Open Spaces February 10, 2017

Feb 10, 2017

On this episode, we will hear about a pair of legislative bills intended to address a $400 million shortfall in education funding. The question is will either pass. If President Trump’s travel ban sticks, it will have a major impact on some of the University of Wyoming’s international students’ studies and personal lives. Wyoming’s Transportation Director went to Capitol Hill to ask for more highway funds. Plus a conversation about wage gap legislation and education issues. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces February 3, 2017

Feb 3, 2017


Open Spaces January 20, 2017

Jan 20, 2017

On this episode, we’ll see how lawmakers are looking at ways to generate more revenue: from new taxes to diversifying the economy. We’ll explore a possible alternative to the controversial land transfer bill that would empower locals with negotiate with the feds. We'll look at what virtual education means for teaching in Wyoming. Plus a look at the lead contamination at Pinedale High School and an update on Liz Cheney’s first weeks in Washington. Those stories and more. 

On this episode, with Trump about to take over the White House, the coal industry’s relieved it won’t have to comply with a new rule curbing carbon dioxide emissions. In Washington, Wyoming’s U.S. Senators are working to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, but Senator Mike Enzi says it will be done with baby steps.We’ll hear how hard it is for Native Americans to find rentals in reservation border communities due to housing discrimination…Those stories and more on Open Spaces from Wyoming Public Radio News.

Open Spaces December 16, 2016

Dec 16, 2016

On this episode, we’ll hear why members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee say they believe still more budget cuts are needed. And we’ll learn how the Northern Arapaho are trying to make sure they don’t get left out of grizzly delisting the way the Standing Rock Sioux did on the pipeline. We’ll hear about the strange things that started happening when a UW student was commissioned to paint the sinking of the USS Arizona. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces December 9, 2016

Dec 9, 2016

On this episode, emotions are running high following the 2016 presidential election, so educators in Jackson are helping their large number of Mexican students cope, a housing crisis going on at the Wind River Indian Reservation, we go to a Russian rodeo, where fledgling Russian cowboys are trying to prove that producing beef, and in the last story in the Women Run The West series, Caroline Ballard reports part of the problem still lies in recruitment. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces December 2, 2016

Dec 2, 2016

On this episode, recently some right leaning groups have put a lot of pressure on the Wyoming legislature. The BLM is trying to figure out their next move when it comes to managing wild horses in the Checkerboard. We will have the story of a father and son who worked their entire careers to return wild bison to the Wind River Reservation. And we will have a chat with the famous artist Neltje. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces November 11, 2016

Nov 11, 2016

On this episode, Trump made big promises on the campaign trail about what he could do for coal... and miners voted for him, believing those promises... But can Trump deliver? Wyomingites have been turning out in high numbers to protest a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the state management over federal lands. We’ll also hear from the author of a new book who says humanity is experiencing a key transition point in its development. Those stories and more.

Open Spaces November 4, 2016

Nov 4, 2016

On this episode, we’ll hear about the race for mayor of Cheyenne and how tense it’s become. As Election Day nears, we’ll talk about campaign finance and how money can influence voters. And a gas leak shuts down the school in a tiny Wyoming town... but for months, it's a mystery where the gas came and from. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces October 21, 2016

Oct 21, 2016

On this episode, we will hear why last minute Presidential Executive Orders have Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation Nervous. Constitutional Amendment A would allow the Treasurer to invest state reserve funds in the equities market in an effort to get a higher return. He says it will have legislative safeguards. We will have stories on energy and a conversation with Libertarian U.S. House Candidate Larry Struempf. Those stories and more. 


Open Spaces October 14, 2016

Oct 14, 2016

On this episode, we will hear the views of U.S. House candidate Liz Cheney. The Republican will give her views on energy, education, and health care among other things. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi will also join us. Wyoming has not always embraced renewable energy... but as the state faces a historic bust, could that be changing? In 2014, a building at the Wyoming Women’s Center was renovated for the purpose of housing inmate mothers and their children. But because of staffing issues, it’s been empty ever since. And we will speak with the chair of the national endowment for the arts Jane Chu.

Open Spaces September 23, 2016

Sep 23, 2016


Open Spaces September 16, 2016

Sep 16, 2016

On this episode, we will hear How a small community college in Riverton has been doing big work to study the effects of climate change on one of Wyoming’s largest glaciers. State Superintendent Jillian Balow joins us to discuss the state of education. We will hear about an important restoration in Grand Teton National Park and we’ll follow along with a team of scientists studying Laramie’s raccoon population. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces September 2, 2016

Sep 2, 2016

On this episode, as part of our series on the reservation housing shortage, we’ll find out why it’s so hard for Wyoming’s tribes to build new homes. A new school year is underway, and with it comes a debate over athletics funding at the University of Wyoming. Thanks to new technology, fire lookout towers aren’t as common as they used to be. We’ll hear from the few remaining people who staff them. We will also hear about how both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton plan to win over energy-state voters. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces August 26, 2016

Aug 26, 2016

On this episode, we will hear from a woman who has covered the Muslim Community in Gillette. We’ll hear why Wyoming women got the right to vote first in the nation, and how that legacy of equal rights is at odds with the state’s female political representation today. As the the coal industry weakens, mine clean-up costs are a concern. We will learn about new ways to teach science and the high cost of the University of Wyoming utility bill. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces August 12, 2016

Aug 12, 2016

On this episode, we’ll learn how the Wind River Reservation’s two tribes are struggling with a shortage of housing and how that’s leading to overcrowding. Coal companies in the West have dug up an area the size of New York City to get to the coal underneath. Now, they're trying to put nature back together. And we’ll explore what makes Western Music…Western. We’ll also get an update on the delisting of the grizzly bear and learn why you should have hope for the Wyoming Cowboys football team this season. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces August 5, 2016

Aug 5, 2016


On this episode, we will hear from three candidates for the U.S. House who are battling to get media attention. The Cathedral Home for Children in Laramie is introducing their students to drumming as a coping method. We will also learn about how immigrants have helped the economy and why it’s easier to peek into the lives of wildlife. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces July 29, 2016

Jul 29, 2016

On this episode, a father and former coal miner on life after coal. We'll also look into how budget cuts to substance abuse treatment might put Wyoming prisoners at risk for going back to drug abuse. A project on the Wind River Indian Reservation is studying whether backyard gardening could help combat diabetes and other diseases. We’ll also chat with some of Wyoming’s delegates at the Democratic National Convention, learn about a new computer coding school in Cheyenne …and learn how renewable energy industries are creating jobs. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces July 15, 2016

Jul 15, 2016

On this episode, it’s been a tough start for new University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols as she’s spent the first two months on the job cutting $41 million from the UW budget. She’s even more concerned about the future. Researchers say counting moose and their young is tricky business. We’ll hear about a unique program to prevent teen suicide on the Wind River Indian Reservation by teaching a love for horses. Those stories and an interview with the new poet laureate. 

Open Spaces July 1, 2016

Jul 1, 2016


On this episode, U.S. Senator John Barrasso is preparing the Republican Party platform for the upcoming convention. Part of that is trying to get Donald Trump on board. Hard times for coal means hard times for other industries as well. We’ll also hear about how Wyoming is predicted to be the last state to close the gender wage gap and summer is the perfect time for the great American road trip. Those stories more. 

Open Spaces June 17, 2016

Jun 17, 2016

On this episode, we will hear that a surge in democratic candidates will make Wyoming’s general election much more competitive. What does the day-to-day look like for police officers who patrol public schools? We’ll hear how thrilled everyone was to release several hundred endangered toads onto the plains of the Laramie Basin. Plus a look at the job market for recent UW grads and Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that recent gun control efforts are misguided. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces June 10, 2016

Jun 10, 2016

On this episode, poor decision making has led to some tragic outcomes this year in Yellowstone Nation Park. We will profile democratic U.S. House candidate Ryan Greene and Wyoming ranks high when it comes to referring students to law enforcement. We’ll look at the evolving role of School Resource officers in our public schools. Those stories and more. 

Open Spaces: Women In Wyoming's Legislature

Jun 3, 2016

On this episode, we welcome you to a special edition of Open Spaces. We bring you a conversation about Women in the Wyoming Legislature…and why there are so few of them. This panel was recorded live earlier this year at the Leap Into Leadership conference, in conjunction with Leadership Wyoming Class of 2016. We’ll hear about some of the barriers that women face when they want to run for office. We’ll discuss why it’s important to have women in the legislature, and how we can better encourage women to run for office. 

Open Spaces May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016


On this episode, a transgender Laramie high student is now running for a seat on the school board. Budget cutting is the topic of the day in state government and the latest debate over the management of wolves. These stories and more.