Every year, the Third Coast International Audio Festival seeks out the best new audio stories from around the world. The winning entries in the competition exhibit radio’s ability to provoke, entertain and transport us with little more than the sound of the honest human voice. Tuesday on RadioWest, we’re featuring a few of the winning stories from this year's contest and talking with some of their producers. We’ll spy on the world below from the vantage of a red-eye flight, investigate a Guatemalan massacre and meet a teenage Olympic boxing hopeful.

Leslie Howard has performed throughout the world. He is perhaps best known for his recording of the complete piano music of Liszt. It's the largest recording project ever undertaken by a solo musician. Joining Doug in the studio (complete with piano), Howard talks about his career and his passion for music. (Rebroadcast)

Of Mice and Men

Nov 2, 2012
<i>Alexander Weisman</i>

Thursday on RadioWest we’re talking about John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men. Many people are familiar with the story of George and his simple-minded friend Lennie, two itinerant ranch hands looking out for each other during the Depression. They and the other characters they encounter all seek their own “little place” in a difficult world, and who can’t identify with that? Well known and simple as it may be, Of Mice and Men’s frank engagement with issues such as racism, sexism and class warfare make it a compelling and difficult story to take in.

After six episodes and a year off, RadioWest and Plan-B Theatre Company's Radio Hour returns with "Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle." Holmes & Watson must discover how the Countess of Morcar’s stolen jewel came to be inside a Christmas goose. The mystery begins with a street fight and ends with a full confession. Join us for wild goose chase of a holiday whodunit, performed as radio drama.


Oct 16, 2012

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is staging Hamlet in Cedar City and it's giving us the chance to talk about the Bard's great tragedy. Among our guests is the scholar Eric Rasmussen, who says the play has not lost any relevance over 400 years. Even as he watches the Presidential debates, Rasmussen sees the question that faces Hamlet: which do you value more - action or measured contemplation? We'll talk about how Hamlet has been understood over time and what it still has to teach us today.

In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez, a poet-musician from inner-city Detroit, produced two albums. His producers thought they would be hits, but they were utter flops – in America, that is. In South Africa though, Rodriguez was bigger than Elvis or The Rolling Stones, and his albums provided the soundtrack for white opposition to apartheid. Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul has documented Rodriguez’ unlikely fall and rise, and he’ll talk with Doug about it on Friday.

Secret Abilities

Oct 2, 2012
Moda Photography

The Layton-based band Secret Abilities has some creative descriptions for its brand of pop punk. They say it’s like a bowl of mac ‘n cheese with cut-up hot dogs and a glass of Kool-Aid. Or they say they play “spooky, broken rock ‘n roll for lovers.” Whatever they play, lead singer Davin Abegg wants his band’s music to be fun and catchy. He also says it’s a kind of therapy, not unlike religion. On Wednesday, Abegg and Secret Abilities are in-studio to talk about their music and what it means to “believe in rock ‘n roll.”

Wednesday, we're previewing our latest partnership with Plan-B Theatre Company: the radio drama "Sherlock Holmes and the Blue Carbuncle." Holmes expert Leslie Klinger and playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett will join us. Klinger says part of Holmes' appeal is his dedication to justice, not legality. In this holiday whodunit, Holmes solves the crime of course, but reminds us that Christmas is the season of forgiveness. We'll talk about the story and perform a scene from the play which premieres in December.

Why Read Moby Dick?

Sep 13, 2012

Friday, we're talking about why you should read "Moby-Dick." Our guide is the historian Nathaniel Philbrick, whose award-winning book "In the Heart of the Sea" told the story of the real-life shipwreck that inspired Melville's novel. Philbrick says "Moby-Dick" is as close to an American Bible as we have. It's eloquently written, it's full of wisdom and you can return to it again and again. Nathaniel Philbrick joined Doug last year to share his passion for one of our nation's great literary works.

Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera.

When Richard Wagner premiered his epic, 4-night work The Ring of the Nibelungen in 1876, he didn't think of it as an opera. He called it a total work of art that combined drama, poetry, music and staging. Harvard musicologist Thomas Forrest Kelly says that even then it was considered one of the most important artistic events of its time.  Next week, PBS will air a new production of the masterpiece, so we've asked Dr. Kelly to join us to talk about Wagner and about the power of music and myth.