Pope Francis

Sep 21, 2015

This week, Pope Francis arrives for his first visit to the US, so Monday, we’re talking to religion writer and biographer Paul Vallely. He says conservative and liberal Catholics try to claim the Pope as their own. Francis opposes divorce, but has made the path to annulment easier. He advocates equal pay for women, but won’t allow them to be clergy. We’ll talk about the Pope’s complicated past and why Vallely says that behind the icon of simplicity stands a steely and sophisticated politician.

Wednesday, our guest is David Bigler, a “revisionist historian” of the 19th century Utah and Mormon story. For nearly 50 years, Bigler has been a prolific writer and iconoclast, bringing insight to controversial events like the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Utah War. David Bigler and editor Will Bagley join Doug to talk about what we learn from clear-eyed history and an openness to “revision” as new sources are uncovered. They’ll also tell us a few good stories from Utah’s past.

Walt Disney

Sep 14, 2015
Courtesy of © Disney

Monday, we’re examining the life and legacy of one of America’s most influential storytellers, Walt Disney. Not only did he elevate animation to a cinematic art form, he also invented the theme park and established a media and marketing empire. But despite his achievements, Disney was a polarizing figure in his day, and he remains so nearly 50 years after his death. The PBS series American Experience has produced an extensive documentary about Disney and we’ll talk about it with director Sarah Colt.

Wednesday, Doug’s guest is Ardean Watts, who served as associate conductor of the Utah Symphony and is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Utah. Watts says that if there’s one unifying theme in his life though, it’s that he’s a generalist who is interested in everything. So, we’ll ask him to tell us stories from his distinguished music career, but we’ll also talk about his LDS background, raising a family of 8 kids, Chinese philosophy, mushroom hunting and more.

Prophet's Prey

Sep 7, 2015

Monday, Doug talks with director Amy Berg about her film Prophet’s Prey. It’s an exposé of the rise and fall of Warren Jeffs, the self-declared prophet of the FLDS Church. The film recounts the dogged efforts of numerous people—including the writer Jon Krakauer, and Sam Brower, a private investigator—to shed light on Jeffs’ incredibly secretive polygamous community and ultimately bring the man to justice. (Rebroadcast)

Library of Congress

Labor icon Joe Hill was executed by firing squad for the murder of a Salt Lake grocer 100 years ago. His controversial conviction rested largely on two pieces of evidence: the gunshot wound he sustained the night of the murder and the IWW membership card in his wallet. The writer Bill Adler has made new findings he says debunk the evidence against Hill. He'll join Doug to talk about his book, The Man Who Never Died," and make the case for Hill's innocence. (Rebroadcast)

Listen to Me Marlon

Aug 19, 2015

Marlon Brando wasn’t just one of the most acclaimed and influential actors of all time, he was also one of the most elusive and enigmatic. In the new documentary Listen to Me Marlon, filmmaker Stevan Riley charts Brando’s career on camera and the life he lived away from it. He tells the story using no talking heads or interviewees. Brando kept an extensive archive of personal audio recordings, and it’s his words that tell his story. Riley joins us Wednesday to talk about Brando’s life and legacy.

Our guest Wednesday is radio producer Starlee Kine. Her podcast Mystery Show is the number one podcast on iTunes, but while she’s out solving cases for clients – mysteries that can’t be solved on the Internet – she tries to downplay all the radio equipment she totes along. Kine says she’s been thinking of herself as more of a detective than a journalist these days. She’ll join us Wednesday to talk about her career, her love of mystery, and about her new role as a microphone-packing PI.

Monday, we continue our Through the Lens series with Daniel Junge’s film Being Evel. It’s a profile of Robert “Evel” Knievel, America’s most famous daredevil. He practically invented the genre of extreme sports and was considered a superhero in his day. To the thrill of millions, he jumped motorcycles over canyons, cars, buses, and perhaps most memorably, the fountain at Caesars Palace. Junge joins us to talk about Knievel’s trailblazing, tumultuous life and the motivations behind his death-defying feats.

Elephant Company

Aug 3, 2015


When author Vicki Constantine Croke saw an illustration of an elephant and rider on a precarious cliff ledge from 1943, she wanted to know more. It was of “Elephant Bill” Williams, an Englishman who was a gifted trainer and champion of elephants in Burma. His work made headlines though when the Japanese invaded, and his “Elephant Company” managed a daring escape over treacherous mountain terrain. Tuesday, Croke joins us to tell the story of Williams, the animals he loved and the lessons they taught him about courage and trust. [Rebroadcast]