Wednesday's Show

DesignsByKari via Flickr/CC,

The Fight Over Utah's "No Promo Homo" Laws

Late last week, the LGBT activist group Equality Utah filed a lawsuit against the Utah State Board of Education and others over what it calls “anti-gay school laws.” The law explicitly prohibits “the advocacy of homosexuality.” Opponents say it limits free speech, denies equal protection to LGBT students, and puts them in harm’s way. Others say there shouldn’t be any discussion of sex in public schools. Wednesday, we’re talking about the lawsuit and the effects of so-called “no promo homo” laws.
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Taber Andrew Bain via CC/Flickr,


In a new book, legal scholar Mehrsa Baradaran argues that America has two systems for personal banking. The rich have personal bank accounts at brick-and-mortar businesses, while the poor either don’t bank at all or rely on payday lenders and check cashers that charge exorbitant rates and fees. The result, Baradaran says, is a sadly ironic situation where “the less money you have, the more you pay to use it.” She joins us Tuesday to explain how we got into this mess, and how we might get out of it.


Oct 24, 2016

Monday, we’re taking a haunted tour of America with writer Colin Dickey. Don’t worry though, we won’t try to convince you that ghosts or the paranormal are necessarily real. Dickey’s new book explores the bigger cultural questions behind these tales. Traveling to haunted mansions, brothels, industrial ruins, parks, and more, he asks why we tell these stories and how they help us make sense of our world. Dickey joins us to talk about what he calls “an American history in haunted places.”


Oct 21, 2016

Abortion may be legal in America, but conservative legislatures have been working for years to pass laws that restrict women’s access to it. Hundreds of those laws have been enacted this decade, and they’ve forced many abortion clinics to close their doors. In a new documentary, filmmaker Dawn Porter tells the stories of clinic workers and lawyers fighting the restrictions designed to regulate abortion out of existence. Porter’s film is called Trapped, and she joins us Friday to talk about it. (Rebroadcast)

The Perfect Horse

Oct 20, 2016
Judy Fahys

Thursday, the story of a daring rescue of horses caught up in the Third Reich’s vision for genetic supremacy. Horses still played a role in the military, and Hitler aimed to use stolen purebreds to create the ideal war horse. But with the stud farm under imminent threat from the starving Russian army, the Nazi officer in charge asked General Patton himself for help. Author Elizabeth Letts joins us to explain why soldiers set aside alliances and risked their lives to save The Perfect Horse.

The psychologist Alison Gopnik is worried about modern day parenting, including her own. It’s too much like being a carpenter, she says, where you shape chosen materials into a final, preconceived product. Kids don’t work like that. In a new book, Gopnik suggests parents think less like carpenters and more like gardeners: creating safe, nurturing spaces in which children can flourish. Gopnik joins us Wednesday to discuss how we can raise better kids by changing our approach to parenting.

The Hidden Brain

Oct 18, 2016

NPR’s Shankar Vedantam says that in some ways, human behavior is the ultimate frontier of science. After all, there’s a lot we don’t know about why behave the way we do. But if we can get a glimpse at the unconscious patterns that influence us, Vedantam argues we have the potential to make big changes in our lives and our world. Shankar Vedantam is host of the popular podcast Hidden Brain, and Tuesday, he joins us to explain how science and storytelling can improve the human experience. (Rebroadcast)

A recently released poll of Utah voters threw another wildcard into the already abnormal presidential election. The polls show that late-running independent candidate Evan McMullin has garnered a surprising amount of support here, putting him in the running for Utah’s electoral votes. Pundits say his surge is due in part to the decline of Republican candidate Donald Trump, whose appeal here has never been up to par. A panel of guests joins us Monday to talk about McMullin’s rise and how the 2016 presidential race is shaping up in Utah.

Hooligan Sparrow

Oct 14, 2016

Friday, we're talking about a thrilling exploration of the power of protest and the efforts to contain it. Filmmaker Nanfu Wang will join us to talk about her documentary film Hooligan Sparrow, which follows the efforts of activist Ye Haiyan as she and fellow protestors work to shed light on sexual exploitation in China. They’re marked as enemies of the state and routinely harassed by thugs, and the web of trouble also threatens Wang’s film, not to mention her personal safety. (Rebroadcast)

Jerry Rapier

There was a time when adoptions were a source of shame for a birth mother, and weren’t discussed in the adoptive family. But that slowly changed with birth control, a demographic shift in babies available for adoption, and the “adoption rights movement.” Today, 95% of infants in the U.S. are placed in “open adoptions” where the birth mother and the family have some sort of contact. Thursday, we’re talking about how adoption has changed over time, and what it means for children and families.

Courtesty of the Sierra Club, special thanks to Ellen Byrne

David Brower is widely regarded as the father of the modern environmentalism movement. He served two decades as executive director of the Sierra Club and fought fiercely to defend wilderness and rivers in the American West. Supporters admired his passion, vision, and unyielding efforts, while his opponents found him polarizing and reckless. In a new book, the journalist Robert Wyss explores Brower’s complicated personal life and his fearless stewardship of the environmental movement.


Thursday's Show

The Science of Swearing

Benjamin Bergen is a cognitive scientist and he loves swearing. He actually studies it for a living. In a fascinating new book, Bergen examines why we use swear words, why they’re so powerful, and how they work in our language and on our minds. Swearing, he says, can be useful, funny, and cathartic. It also helps us express the strongest human emotions. Doug spoke with Bergen earlier this week, and Thursday we’re airing that conversation. But don’t worry: we’ve bleeped all the swear words.
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Live on Stage

A Conversation with Jonathan Lethem

On Thursday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m., novelist and essayist Jonathan Lethem joins Doug Fabrizio on stage as part of the Utah Humanities Council Book Festival. Hosted by Weller Book Works.

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The Gospel According to Ralphael

In a run-down commercial block on Salt Lake City’s State Street, a man has spent 50 years building sculptures into the walls of his warehouse ... all to explain the world as he sees it.

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