Montana Public Radio

Beth Anne Austein

Host and Producer

Beth Anne Austein has been spinning tunes on the air (The Folk Show, Dancing With Tradition, Freeforms), as well as recording, editing and mixing audio for Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS, since the Clinton Administration. She’s jockeyed faders or "fixed it in post” for The Plant Detective; Listeners Bookstall; Fieldnotes; Musicians Spotlight; The Write Question; Storycorps; Selected Shorts; Bill Raoul’s music series; orchestral and chamber concerts; lecture series; news interviews; and outside producers’ programs about topics ranging from philosophy to ticks.

Ways to Connect

PD (U.S.F.D.A.)

If you're in the habit of reading labels,  you've noticed some recent style changes: bigger, bolder print, new serving sizes, updated nutritional "daily values," and more. That's because food manufacturers are complying with new labelling rules issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  'Food Guys' Jon Jackson and Greg Patent wonder if the new labels will lead Americans to drink less soda pop, or to ask why there's sugar in cans of beans and jars of pickles.

courtesy of the Garifuna Collective

In July 2019, Al Obando of The Garifuna Collective transported host John Floridis from Butte's Montana Folk Festival to the small coastal Caribbean towns where the Garifuna community (also known as the Garinagu) speaks an endangered language and sings and dances what UNESCO calls "a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity."

Courtesy of Winona LaDuke

"This is my idea of when America was great: when there were 8,000 varieties of corn ... when there were 50 million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world ... in a territory with 250 different species of grass. Tremendous biodiversity: that is where life is, in biodiversity. Today, in the same landscape, you and I know that does not exist."

In February 2019, environmental justice activist, economist and writer Winona LaDuke delivered the annual Brennan Guth Memorial Lecture in Environmental Philosophy, as part of the University of Montana President’s Lecture Series at Missoula's Wilma Theater.

Rita E

Ah, the apricot. This overlooked fruit, long claimed by China, India and Armenia, probably made its way to Europeans via the Silk Road. Aromatic, pulpy and not too sweet - apricots have 7 g. of sugar and 2 g. of fiber per 100 g. of fruit -  it's great fresh or dried and makes wonderful jams, tarts, cakes, wine, leather - and chutney.

Tom Beetz (CC-BY-2.0)

Pat Martino had been playing jazz guitar professionally for 19 years in 1980 when a severe brain aneurysm sent him into life-saving surgery - and then into life-altering amnesia. He barely recognized his own parents, let alone his guitar, and felt as if he had been "dropped cold, empty, neutral, cleansed ... naked." Martino's long journey back from that musical erasure began with his father playing back his own recordings for him. Slowly, he taught himself how to play again. By the early '90s, Martino had returned to the soul-jazz, post-bop and jazz-rock fusion scene.

Complete this sentence: "Béla Fleck is to the banjo as ______ is to the _______." Louis Armstrong to the trumpet?  Jimi Hendrix to the guitar? Clara Rockmore to the theremin? Among North American banjo players, only Earl Scruggs is as legendary (to diehard fans of bluegrass) for pioneering new techniques on this instrument.  From his early tutelage with Tony Trischka and nine years with the New Grass Revival to ingenuity with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and masters of other genres - as well as his duo with partner Abigail Washburn - Fleck's reinvention of the banjo goes beyond virtuosity. He's a banjo visionary.

Nick Littman, Missoula Writing Collaborative

In July 2019, Annie Garde ushered a flock of writers, ages 8-14, in KUFM's Studio B to read poems they'd written with the Missoula Writing Collaborative's "Words With Wings" summer camp. To prime the pump, teachers Dana Fitz Gale, Sheryl Noethe and Anna Zumbahlen dangled before their students art, verbal prompts and the occasional imaginary takeover of a university building.  Listen to "I'm From the Hayfields," "Ode to a Goat," "Non-Existant Pie," "You Are, You Are Not," "The Purple Bug," "The Best Night For Peach," "Ode to Chili" -- and 36 more.

Edgar Winter at Gulfstream Parkin 1998.
Flickr user, Carl Lender. CC-BY-2.0

The 1970s hits "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride" may have been your gateway to keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist, percussionist, singer, songwriter and record producer Edgar Winter. But Winter is no two-hit wonder; his music is all over "Netherworld," "Air America," "Dazed and Confused," "My Cousin Vinny," "Wayne's World 2" and "The Simpsons." He's toured in Ringo Starr's band and played with his band on late-night tv talk shows. Winter even popped up in a Miller Lite commercial, which may be the real proof that his work isn't synonymous with just rock & roll, but American culture.

If you've attended a Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale concert since 2007, you've watched energetic music director Darko Butorac on the podium, gesturing the classical masterworks to life. 2019 marks the year when he trims his directing duties down from three orchestras to two, in Asheville and Tallahassee. Butorac talks with host John Floridis about his final MSO season, his favorite pieces to conduct, his top five "desert island" composers, and parallels between conducting music and shooting hoops.

Justin Townes Earle carries the names of a pair of troubadour heroes: his father, Steve Earle and his father’s mentor, Townes Van Zandt. Like both, Justin is a recording, performing musician; like both, addiction is one of his oldest adversaries. And like both, Justin Townes Earle has become a sharp songwriter, conjuring, as Skip Anderson puts it, “memorable characters into relatable songs that Americana fans love and latter-day country radio loves to overlook.”

Pages