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We Refused to Die

In 1942 the Japanese army forced about 70,000 US and Philippine prisoners of war to march some 80 miles across the Bataan Peninsula on the way to a prison camp. More than 10,000 died or were summarily executed along the way. Among the survivors was Gene Jacobsen, who published a book about the ordeal. Jacobsen died in 2007 at the age of 85. Today, we're rebroadcasting his story of three and a half years as a prisoner of war. (Rebroadcast)
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The Rocky Mountains have always posed a forbidding obstacle for travelers, but there’s one place where "God ran out of mountains," and passage is relatively easy.  For generations, Indians, fur traders, missionaries, and explorers moved through South Pass, a treeless valley in southwestern Wyoming. It’s a place rich with history and extraordinary tales, and it's the focus of historian Will Bagley's latest book. He joins us to explain how South Pass figured in the development of the American West. (Rebroadcast)

Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker's copy editing department, maintaining the magazine’s high standards for grammar, punctuation, and style. In a new book, she shares her vast knowledge, good cheer, and sharp pencil with the rest of us. It’s partly a book of practical advice on language usage, and it also offers a peek inside the hallowed halls of one of the world’s most important publications. Norris joins us Thursday to share what she's learned as a self-proclaimed "comma queen."

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law

Something changed in America’s schools after the tragedy at Columbine High School. Worried about child safety, administrators, parents, and teachers teamed up with police to crack down on discipline. Trouble that once landed kids in detention is now punished with out-of-school suspension, expulsion, even arrest. The result is a pipeline that funnels children from school straight to prison. Wednesday, we’re talking about the school-to-prison pipeline in Utah and asking whom it affects and what can be done to stem its flow.

The New Wild

May 19, 2015

  When journalist Fred Pearce set out to write a book about the role invasive species play in our environment, he imagined it would be about the havoc they cause. What he found surprised him though. He says the horror stories are overblown and that these resourceful plants and animals are often responding to the damage that humans have wrought. They push their way through concrete and thrive in pollution. Tuesday, Pearce joins Doug to explain why he says invasive species could be nature’s salvation.


May 18, 2015

The environmental journalist Cynthia Barnett says humans have always tried to control rain. We’ve burned witches at the stake to stop it. We’ve sacrificed children to bring it. Now we’ve used technology to change it, with results we weren’t intending. Barnett has written a book she calls a natural and cultural history of rain. And whether you love a rainy night or rainy days bring you down, Barnett joins us Monday to explain how the story of rain is one we all share.

US Naval History and Heritage Command

Friday, the writer Hampton Sides joins us to talk about his book, an epic survival tale in the world’s most unforgiving region. In the late 19th century, theories abounded about what lay at the North Pole, with one cartographer speculating that warm ocean currents sustained a verdant Arctic island. Bankrolled by a wealthy newspaper magnate, the U.S.S. Jeannette set sail to discover what was on top of the world. The resulting tale involves madness, starvation, and a desperate fight for life. (Rebroadcast)

Wikimedia Commons


The geographer Alastair Bonnett laments a trend he’s noticed whereby our cities and towns look increasingly the same. He says our human places are being shaped into what he calls the “blandscape,” a global geography of monotony. In a new book, Bonnett leads a guided tour off the map of the blandscape to discover extraordinary locales that he says can relieve us from the dulling effects of the familiar and routine. He’ll join us to explore these places and to talk about their enchanting powers. (Rebroadcast)


May 13, 2015

When journalist Maziar Bahari was arrested following his coverage of Iran’s 2009 election, he figured he’d be released quickly. He saw his work as fair and focused on helping the West understand Iran. But the government charged him as a spy, with “evidence” that included everything from his reporting to a satirical interview with The Daily Show. Bahari is in Utah, and joins guest host Elaine Clark to talk about his months in prison and to explain how his torturer became a vicious muse.

Ray Troll,

For centuries, wild salmon runs around the world have been disappearing, due largely to industrial development and dam construction. So when you see salmon on a restaurant menu, it’s likely the meat came from a fish farm. Filmmaker and fisherman Mark Titus went on a personal journey to learn what’s happening to America’s salmon and figure out what can be done to restore them and their waters to better health. He joins us Tuesday to talk about his new documentary about the future of wild salmon.


May 11, 2015
Rob via CC/Flickr,

To many people, the term “vitamin” is shorthand for “health,” and so the more vitamins we consume, the healthier we’ll be. But what exactly do the 13 dietary chemicals we call vitamins actually do for our bodies? And how much of each vitamin do we need? The journalist Catherine Price went looking for answers to these basic questions. What she learned undermines much of what we thought we knew about nutrition. She joins us Monday to talk about our quest for better health through nutrition perfection.



Unruly Things

For Utah musician and educator Ardean Watts, mushrooms are the perfect symbol for his philosophy of life ... a love of unruly things.


Utah is full of real stories and real characters that make this place unique. And it’s full of filmmakers ready to bring those stories to an audience. Are you one of them?

21st Century Fitness

What does it take to be fit and healthy? We consult the brightest minds to try to cut through the fat and find out.

LDS Topics

Conversations on LDS faith, history and culture

Local Music Series

There's a young vibrant music scene in Utah. RadioWest brings some of the newest and best bands into the studio to talk about and to play their music live.

About RadioWest

Listen weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MT on KUER 90.1. Join us at 801-585-WEST or