Tag Archive for Radio

Turning Radio PSAs Into Fun, Shareable Content

Attendance Matters PSA Attending school each day is important. Kids who show up are more likely to get good grades, graduate, and even have better jobs as adults.

As part of an Attendance Matters campaign, I created a press kit for school districts to help spread this important message. A key component of this was working with kids to record radio public service announcements.

Sophia explains that high school graduates live longer, so she has a lot to accomplish in 75 years.

Extension Of ‘Secure Rural Schools’ Means Rural Counties Can Breathe Easy…For Now

This story aired May 7, 2015 on NPR’s All Things Considered

President Barack Obama has signed a $200 billion Medicare bill that reforms payments to physicians. Tucked inside that massive Medicare bill was a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, a federal program that pays rural counties and school districts with a lot of non-taxable forest land.

Secure Rural Schools was first approved by Congress in 2000. Since then, it’s been paying counties that have a lot of federal timber land because local governments can’t make money on that land. It’s not taxable. You can’t develop much of it.

Loss Of Federal Timber Payments Mean Tough Choices For Rural Schools

Warren Barnes teaches music at Basin Elementary and Idaho City High School. Barnes works with this preschool class during his prep period. (Credit: Emilie Ritter Saunders)

Warren Barnes teaches music at Basin Elementary and Idaho City High School. Barnes works with this preschool class during his prep period. (Credit: Emilie Ritter Saunders)

This story aired on NPR’s All Things Considered March 12, 2015.

The Basin School District in Idaho City has something most districts in the state don’t, preschool.

On Wednesdays, 12 preschoolers leave their small house-turned-school and walk across the playground to the high school’s music room. The children sit cross-legged in a circle and the music teacher hands out two brightly-colored sticks to each student. Music class for these preschoolers is all about rhythm, following directions, and giggling.

Idaho doesn’t have public preschool, and schools that want to offer it, have to find creative ways to pay for the program. State money isn’t an option.

Over the last 15 years, the Basin School District has paid for their unique preschool program with a grant, a voter-approved levy, some tuition, fundraisers, and federal Secure Rural Schools act money.

“I don’t know how the program could be reduced any more than it already is,” says teacher Mary Allen. “It’s already only two days a week.”

Basin’s entire budget is about $3 million. It’s taking a double hit because its levy funds runs out next year and it’ll lose Secure Rural Schools Act money.

Congress has allowed the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act to expire. Rural counties across the country now have $250 million less to work with.

What Do Idaho Voters Want? Without Recent Public Opinion Polls, It’s Hard To Tell

Election day might be the most consequential poll, but routine public opinion polling can also impact policy. [Credit: Emilie Ritter Saunders]

Election day might be the most consequential poll, but routine public opinion polling can also impact policy. [Credit: Emilie Ritter Saunders]

This story aired on Boise State Public Radio April 17, 2014. It was published in the Idaho Statesman April 23, 2014.

Idaho voters will soon be inundated with campaign ads and sound bites from political candidates who proclaim to know exactly what Idahoans want. But it’s unclear how voters are feeling heading into the May 20 primary election, thanks to a lack of public opinion polling. Without such polling, it’s tough to tell if politicians’ rhetoric matches the electorate’s viewpoint.

U.S. Senate candidate Nels Mitchell, a Democrat, said at his campaign announcement that voters “tell me  they don’t want their government shutdown, they want their government to work. They want a government that is efficient, and is responsive.”

Mitt Romney Returns To The Campaign Trail, This Time Stumping For Idaho Politicians

Rep. Mike Simpson, Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Jim Risch, and Gov. Butch Otter speak with Idaho media. March 20, 2014.

Rep. Mike Simpson, Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Jim Risch, and Gov. Butch Otter speak with Idaho media. March 20, 2014.” credit=”Emilie Ritter Saunders

This feature aired on NPR’s Morning Edition March 21, 2014. You can find the full transcript, here.

If there’s one place failed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney can still be effective, it’s in Idaho. The former Massachusetts governor won nearly 65 percent of Idaho votes in the 2012 presidential race.

Romney has kept a relatively low profile after his 2012 presidential defeat. But he’s back on the campaign trail, this time he’s stumping for Idaho’s two-time Republican Governor Butch Otter, eight-time Republican Congressman Mike Simpson, and Republican Senator Jim Risch, who’s running his first re-election campaign.

Why It’s Tough To Track What Lobbyists Give To Idaho Lawmakers

Tim Hurst is Idaho's Chief Deputy Secretary of State. Part of his job is to ensure lobbyist disclosure reports are above board.

Tim Hurst is Idaho’s Chief Deputy Secretary of State. Part of his job is to ensure lobbyist disclosure reports are above board.” credit=”Emilie Ritter Saunders

Late last year, St. Louis Public Radio and NPR launched an interactive data project that lets Missouri voters see just how much money their state representative has accepted from lobbyists. It’s an easy-to-navigate visual that gives people a sense of the kinds of relationships that have developed under their Capitol dome. A similar one-stop-shop of lobbying disclosure info wouldn’t be possible in Idaho.

We know that registered lobbyists in Idaho have spent more than a $1 million over the last two years advocating for their clients’ policy desires at the state Legislature. Disclosure information shows that out of 422 lobbyists, the average spent in 2012 was $1,500. More than half of Idaho’s registered lobbyists didn’t spend anything that year. But it’s not clear who is on the receiving end of those lobbying gifts.

One Boise Startup Joins The Crowded Subscription Box Market

Rachael and Joe Bunt mailed their first Crafters Crate in March 2013. They have nearly 200 monthly subscribers.

Rachael and Joe Bunt mailed their first Crafters Crate in March 2013. They have nearly 200 monthly subscribers.

This story aired on KBSX 91.5 fm on Sept. 12, 2013. It appeared in the Idaho Statesman on Oct. 29, 2013.

At a mostly empty, metal-sided warehouse near the Boise Airport, Rachael and Joe Bunt are organizing hand-made craft kits into a small assembly line. They’re putting together September’s Crafters Crate that will be mailed to subscribers this week.

“This is like Pinterest in real life,” Joe Bunt says. “I’m always wanting to create something new.”

Joe and his wife Rachael started Crafters Crate in March. It’s a subscription-based business; no brick-and-mortar storefront is required. That’s partly what drew the couple to jumping on the subscription-box trend.

Why More Idaho Moms Breastfeed Than Anywhere In The U.S.

Rachel Gootchey nurses her 10-month-old son Jasper. She also breast-fed her first child without complications.

Rachel Gootchey nurses her 10-month-old son Jasper. She also breast-fed her first child without complications.” credit=”Emilie Ritter Saunders

A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month shows more Idaho moms breastfeed their babies than anywhere else in the country.

We wanted to know why. It turns out Idaho’s cultural and racial makeup are two of the largest contributing factors to the increasing number of breastfeeding moms.

Rachel Gootchey nurses her 10-month-old son Jasper, and she also nursed her first child. Gootchey was raised by a mom who breastfed, so it seemed like the most natural thing for her to do with her own children.

“And honestly, one of the biggest deciding factors was it’s just cheaper. It’s free,” Gootchey says with a laugh. “I’m a cheapskate, so I breastfeed.”

Live On The BBC…

A tragic ordeal ended with a spot of good news as rescuers found a kidnapped California girl who had been abducted to the Idaho wilderness.

If you live in the western U.S., you may have gotten an Amber Alert on your iPhone this week with details of Hannah Anderson’s kidnapping. I got the alert. I never would have thought the multi-state, multi-agency search would end in Idaho and captivate a global audience.

I covered the story for Boise State Public Radio, NPR, Northwest News Network and the BBC.

Here’s the live segment that aired on the BBC World Service:

Bottom Rung: Why An Influx Of Retirees To Idaho Is Creating More Low-Wage Jobs

Jordyn Skinner is a freshman at Boise State University. She also works part-time at Franco's Pizzeria.

Jordyn Skinner is a freshman at Boise State University. She also works part-time at Franco’s Pizzeria.

Jordyn Skinner is a freshman at Boise State University. She also works part-time at Franco’s Pizzeria.

There’s a brand new pizza joint in southeast Boise. It’s nestled in a mini-strip mall with a gas station, dry cleaner and hair salon.

On a recent Friday evening, Franco’s Pizzeria was just starting to pick up. It’s a tiny place. The cash register is only a few steps away from the industrial pizza ovens. There are a handful of tables and stools inside for someone who just wants a quick slice.