Inside the News: A Roundup of Colorado-Based Podcasts

  • Corey Hutchins is a journalism instructor at Colorado College and a contributor to Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Post, and other news outlets. This column is produced with support from the Colorado Media Project, and is distributed statewide via the Colorado News Collaborative.

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A reader emailed recently to ask if I knew of a good roundup of Colorado-based podcasts. “We’re updating our list of potential media outlets for paid advertising for next year,” he said.

Not having an immediate answer, I thought it might be a good opportunity to create one.

It’s a daunting task. These kinds of lists are often tricky because they can’t be comprehensive. So if I missed your great podcast, try not to take it personally and consider sending an email suggesting it for inclusion in the published version that will live online at Substack as a rolling online reference.

📻 Some caveats: You won’t find every Coloradan with a regular show at a commercial or public radio station who posts their broadcasts online and calls them podcasts. Instead, I tried to round up individuals or organizations that produce standalone podcasts. Some are mainstream, others offbeat and quirky.

Plenty are about public affairs, several are about culture, personality, or random interests, and there’s at least one fictitious audio drama. You won’t see sports podcasts, frankly, because it’s just a big blind spot for me.

As for what’s here, I’ve broken them up into a few categories. So here goes:

Colorado-based organizations that produce podcasts and publish several with Colorado themes

  • Colorado Public Radio runs a suite of podcasts ranging from Back From Broken (about recovery, hosted by Vic Vela), Parched (about the Colorado River, hosted by Michael Elizabeth Sakas), Purplish (about “state politics, state government, elections and political identity,” hosted by reporters Bente Birkeland, Andrew Kenney, and Caitlyn Kim), Quién Are We? (exploring “what it means to be Latino, Hispanic or Chicana … or however you identify,” hosted by journalist May Ortega), and Real Talk (a collaboration with Denver7 about “raw, honest conversations with diverse voices from all walks of life,” hosted by Nathan Heffel and Micah Smith). Those are just a few; CPR has plenty more, so click that link to view them.
  • House of Pod, based in Denver, is an award-winning production company that creates podcasts “at the crossroads of science and social justice.” Some of their Colorado-specific productions include Coal at Sunset, in which the Institute of Science and Policy investigated “what happens when coal’s time in Craig, Colorado comes to an end.”
  • Denver Urban Spectrum offers a “podcast network for the BIPOC voice” in Colorado and features multiple shows.
  • Foxopus Ink, based in Colorado and founded by journalists Laura Krantz and Scott Carney, is behind the Wild Thing podcast. Season One tackled Bigfoot, Season Two tackled extraterrestrial life, and Season Three took on the history, science, and culture of atomic energy. The company also produced The Syndicate by Colorado journalist Chris Walker about how a “group of college friends took advantage of Colorado’s medical marijuana laws to create one of the longest, most lucrative smuggling runs in U.S. history.”
  • Studio 809, run by Dave Gardner, produces a collection of 13 podcasts from a studio in downtown Colorado Springs including “Making Democracy Work,” “Elevating Pikes Peak Women,” “Peak Environment,” “Peak Town Square,” and more.

Hyper-local Colorado news podcasts from around the state

  • City Cast Denver, hosted by Bree Davies along with producers Paul Karolyi, Olivia Jewell Love, and newsletter writer Peyton Garcia, broadcasts a daily podcast about the Mile High City. Here’s their pitch: “There’s a lot to love about Denver. Go ahead and try to define our city. Is it an oil-rich cowtown? A tech-friendly ecotopia? More likely it’s something entirely its own, changing before our very eyes. Every day, you’ll hear from the team highlighting what makes this beautiful, complex city we call home just a little bit better.”
  • Voices of Pueblo: Digging Deeper, hosted by Ben Cason “along with local reporters and content creators” of Pueblo’s nonprofit newspaper. The podcast “goes beyond the print story in the Pueblo Star Journal and brings listeners stories direct from our neighborhoods.”
  • Mountain-Ear Podcast, produced by staff at the Nederland-based newspaper, provides “a locally created news show that covers the communities of the Peak to Peak region.”
  • The Colorado Switchblade is a newsletter and podcast produced by Jason Van Tatenhove, a journalist and author living in Estes Park who speaks out against extremism after leaving the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group as its propagandist.
  • This Week in the Bear Cave is a conservative commentary podcast talk show that produces segments about news and information in Teller County. Billed as “Teller County’s premiere podcast,” it comes with the tagline “we ain’t scared!”
  • Citizen Podcasts, produced by the Alamosa Citizen digital news site in the San Luis Valley, offers a handful of podcasts including “The Valley” with host Chris Lopez.
  • The Daily Rewind, produced by journalists at the Sentinel newspaper in Grand Junction, delves into the news of the day with guests and newsmakers from around the Western Slope.
  • The Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper produced a podcast by Erin Udell that let her “into the stories and events that made Northern Colorado what it is today.”
  • Sharing Boulder, hosted by software engineer and Housing Advisory Board member Philip Ogren, explores “housing and land use issues in Boulder … with an aim to make our city more inclusive and beautiful.”
  • The 719 Perspective is an interview-based podcast from radio journalist Chloe Brooks-Kistler for the news outlet Daily Dose 719 in Southeast Colorado Springs.
  • Bucket List Community Cafe Podcast focuses on issues facing North Denver, and is produced by Mimi Herrick from the University of Colorado.
  • In The NoCo at KUNC in Northern Colorado offers a “daily window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The show unravels the big issues of the day and the untold stories of the moment, bringing you context and clarity about what’s happening in your backyard and beyond. We also find plenty of reasons to celebrate and highlight what makes Northern Colorado such an incredible place to live.”
  • The Gondolacast, by Aspen native Andrew Wickes, who is a former freeskier and X Games judge, summons “the characters, legends, movers & shakers, and passerby folk that make up Aspen.”

Personality-driven Colorado podcasts

  • This.Podcast is hosted by Jay Cain, with Courtney Hysaw, and Uncle Dam. The show “highlights the beauty, contributions and stories of Black and Brown leaders in Denver,” according to CBS Colorado. “It’s three friends coming together talking about society, and culture with amazing guests,” Cain said.
  • The Craig Silverman Show is hosted by a former Denver prosecutor. He promises “fascinating timely topics with terrific guests” and goes in-depth with his interviews.
  • How We Change the World is hosted by Denver-based Deborah Rohan who is a “lifelong advocate for justice,” an author of books, articles, and “hundreds of expert witness reports helping refugees gain asylum.” She produces a podcast each Wednesday “to help listeners find their purpose, follow their passion, and do their part to create a better world.”
  • State of Plate is produced by Matthew Schniper who runs the culinary focused Side Dish With Schniper Substack newsletter in Colorado’s second-largest city. The podcast is aimed at “dishing on Colorado Springs’ food and drink scene.”
  • Pueblo’s Podcast by Dave Moore is a podcast by a longtime local radio DJ that “shares the stories of Pueblo people. We feature great guests, grand events, grabbing history lessons and good conversations.”
  • Outdoors with Hiking Bob is a weekly podcast from Bob Falcone dedicated to outdoor recreation. “I host every episode, in which I either interview people important to outdoor recreation in Colorado and the Pikes Peak region, or chat with my co-host Kevin ‘Wild’ Westendorf, about our recent experiences and future plans, current events, or outdoor recreation related politics, to name a few topics,” Falcone says.
  • Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara is a current affairs podcast where the host, who runs the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute think tank, is “not afraid to express his “free-market” views, and his guests are not afraid to take on those opinions.”
  • Driving You Crazy, hosted by longtime Denver traffic expert Jayson Luber of the Denver7 TV station, looks at “the big issues in transportation, traffic, transit and whatever is driving you crazy.”
  • Dave The Planet chronicles the U.S. presidential campaign of Colorado Springs podcaster Dave Gardner. (He also produced GrowthBusters that deals with limits to growth.)

Colorado politics and policy podcasts

  • Get More Smarter, billed as “a weekly, lighthearted overview of Colorado politics,” is hosted by Jason Bane of the liberal ColoradoPols site and Ian Silverii, the former executive director of ProgressNow. Guests include journalists and newsmakers like Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.
  • In the Arena, produced by Colorado Concern, “explores the intersection of business and politics,” and is hosted by former Republican lawmaker Mike Kopp.
  • Making Action Happen is a podcast from Sara Blackhurst and Brian McCain of Action22 that “introduces you to Colorado community leaders, elected officials, and individuals to gain perspective on their ideas and experiences.” Action22 is a nonprofit that “serves as a voice and leader for action on public policy for 22 Southern Colorado counties” in southern and southeastern Colorado.
  • Self in Society is an occasional podcast from Colorado writer Ari Armstrong with guests ranging from philosophy professors who talk about Libertarianism or objectivity, a lawyer on the topic of “guns and tyranny,” or an Ayn Rand enthusiast, among others.
  • Colorado Inside Out, at PBS12 Colorado Public Television in Denver, hosted by Kyle Dyer, is a “thought-provoking and in-depth weekly analysis of Colorado current affairs by a panel of highly-informed journalists, activists and professional pundits.”

Colorado-based podcasts that aren’t so easy to classify

  • Local News Matters, produced by Tim Regan-Porter,the CEO of the Colorado Press Association, highlights “newsrooms large and small, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and others who are pushing the industry forward.”
  • Off the Walls is a podcast “about the people and the stories behind Denver’s street art.”
  • Western Fringe, by reporter Heidi Beedle, is “a podcast about the weird history of Colorado.” (Think cattle mutilations, cults, James Dobson, or MK Ultra hypnosis research that was performed at the University of Denver.)
  • IJN Cast, produced by Intermountain Jewish News staff writer Steve Mark, “takes you into the pages of the newest issue … plus bonus content. Dropping weekly on Thursday evenings.”
  • The Daily Sun-Up by the Colorado Sun is a podcast that offers “a quick bit of headlines, history and more every Monday-Friday” and features the statewide news outlet’s journalists.
  • Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains, from History Colorado, “expands the history of the American West by exploring how overlooked stories from the past have shaped current world events and continue to impact our lives today.” Hosted by Noel Black, and produced by Maria Maddox and Dustin Hodge, the team has gone deep into issues like Colorado’s “Gulag Archipelago,” a “hidden history of NORAD and North America’s Nuclear Defense,” Buffalo Soldier Cathay Williams, and Alan Berg, “the loud-mouthed Denver media personality who helped pioneer the ‘outrage for profit’ business model that drives political media today.”
  • Looks Like New, produced out of the Media Economies Design Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, “asks old questions about new tech.” Each month its hosts “speak with someone who works with technology in ways that challenge conventional narratives and dominant power structures.”
  • Black Millennial Mom podcast, hosted by radio personality Mercedes on 104.7 THE DROP, “focuses on showcasing the struggles and the authentic beauty of a generation of mothers and fathers who share their parenthood journeys.”
  • How Art is Born, hosted by R. Alan Brooks at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, “uncovers each creative’s artistic practice through engaging and authentic conversation.”
  • Heritage Voices, hosted by Jessica Yaquinto, president and CEO of the Living Heritage Research Council, provides “a platform for indigenous voices in Anthropology, CRM/Heritage, and Land Management discussions.” The podcast features “interviews with tribal members, descendant community members, and other Heritage/Cultural Resource Management professionals on tribal consultation, collaborative ethnography, and indigenous archaeology, etc.”
  • The Audit, a podcast by Colorado State University, “features conversations with CSU faculty on everything from research to current events.”
  • Elevated Denver Podcast is a production by an organization with a mission of “cultivating collaborative spaces of equitable power where Denver community members with lived experience and individuals from business, government, and non-profits come together to: share stories; critically examine housing and homelessness in Denver; and, identify opportunities to amplify what works, avoid redundancies, and address the gaps.”
  • Pro-Business Colorado (or PROCO360), hosted by former technology entrepreneur and state chamber of commerce executive Dave Tabor, is about “the spirit of opportunity created by people who could be successful anywhere, and CHOOSE to start and grow businesses here in Colorado.”
  • Smokin Poetry Podcast, hosted by Mike Harris, focuses on artists from Colorado Springs and beyond.
  • Camp Elasticity, by Zachary Kopp, provides “a forum for local voices in Denver and their connections anywhere.”
  • The Colorado Dream, hosted by KUNC’s Stephanie Daniel, focuses on stories of Coloradans who are overcoming obstacles to create a better life for themselves and their families in an effort to achieve the American Dream.”
  • ColoRadio Spotlight Podcast is “an exploration of the sights and sounds that make Colorado unique. From exclusive spotlight interviews with local musicians, artists, and creators, to curated playlists that showcase the diverse sound of the Colorado music scene.”
  • Escaping Denver is an audio drama in which characters Sara and Noah “wake up in complete darkness, trapped miles below the Denver International Airport (DIA) with no hope for escape.” Listeners “join their perilous journey as they struggle for freedom from a mind-bending labyrinth filled with unimaginable horrors. Their only hope could come from the complete stranger they can send voice messages to. Escaping Denver dives straight into the deep end of conspiracy theories surrounding the Denver International Airport.”
  • Architect-ing, hosted by Adam Wagoner, helps bring together Colorado architects and helps listeners “discover the stories of architects, to introduce the outside world and other architects to the personal experiences of our profession.”
  • OnStage Colorado podcast hosted by Alex Miller is about “Colorado theatre from the creators of OnStage Colorado.”
  • Stoned Appétit is a podcast “hosted by stoners from the South, transplanted in Colorado” who “sit down with esteemed guests each week to talk about what they’re vibin on. And … always hit on culinary & cannabis.”

Oldies but goodies: Colorado podcasts that might not be current, but are still worth a listen

  • With(in), an award-winning podcast “committed to shifting the conversation on who is in prison, specifically within the Colorado Department of Corrections,” still has episodes up from as early as 2022.
  • Wish We Were Here: Tales and Investigations from the Shadows of America’s Mountain doesn’t produce new episodes anymore, but its archive of hourlong stories from 2014 to 2016, hosted by Noel Black and Jake Brownell who worked at KRCC at the time, is a treasure trove of illuminating information and masterful storytelling about Colorado Springs. The standalone episodes still hold up nearly a decade later.
  • Mesa Verde Voices is a podcast “connecting the experiences of the Ancestral Pueblo people from the Mesa Verde region with people today” via a collaboration with KSJD Community Radio, Mesa Verde Museum Association, and Mesa Verde National Park. Hosted by Kayla Woodward, it aims to “tell authentic and educational stories of the Indigenous peoples of the Southwest.”
  • Colorado Cold Case, hosted by Colorado College Journalism Institute Director Steven Hayward and former Gazette reporter Kaitlin Durbin, examined some of the more than 100 “unsolved cases dating back to 1949 that have surpassed the one-year investigative grace period, designating them as ‘cold.’”
  • Up and Vanished (Season 2), hosted by Payne Lindsey, investigated the 2016 disappearance of Kristal Anne Reisinger in Crestone, Colorado, and compellingly explored the druggy underbelly of one of Colorado’s quirkiest mountain towns.
  • Alphabet Boys (Season 1) by investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson, focused on Colorado and exposed, using secret undercover recordings, “how the Federal Bureau of Investigation infiltrated and undermined the racial justice movement during the summer of 2020.”
  • Vulnerable Creatures, from Colorado Springs podcasters Matthew Schniper and Lauren Hug, is a multi-part audio journalism series explained like this: “A kitten is injured. Christian Breuer, a young autistic man, is the only suspect. His fiancée triggers an animal cruelty investigation, then disappears. Christian faces charges based on a faulty affidavit, compelled into a calloused legal system which has little understanding of and makes no considerations for his disability. People with autism are vulnerable to bullying and domestic abuse, and often have tragic run-ins with law enforcement. Given that 1 in 44 children today are identified as autistic, Christian’s story shows how neurodiversity may be the next human rights movement.”
  • Per-sistence was a 2020 podcast from then-Colorado College journalism minor Sam Sanson that “tells the story of PFAS contamination in Colorado’s Fountain Valley. Starting with a decade long cover up of dangers certain PFAS chemicals pose, and ending in Congress today.”
  • Latino Northern Colorado, produced by Rhonda Solis and Chris Garcia, was an interview-style podcast that until August 2022 focused on issues and opportunities impacting Latinos “living, working, growing, and playing in Northern Colorado, and the contributions of Latino leaders in our community and across the country. Topics include health, education, leadership, housing, politics, economics, social equity, and more.”
  • Colorado Red offers a “look into the lesser known murders and true crime of Colorado.”
  • Hashtag Colorado Life, by Ryan Nicholson and Carrie Smith Nicholson, is a travel podcast is “for natives and newcomers who want to explore this beautiful state like a local.”
  • TRENDS, hosted by Rossana Longo-Better at KGNU at the time, explored issues in Boulder County through “the experiences of community members, especially those often rendered invisible by commercial media.”
  • Thirst Gap: Learning to live with less on the Colorado River, by Luke Runyon, is a six-part series about “how the Southwest is adapting to water shortages as climate change causes the region to warm up and dry out.”
  • On Something, by journalist Ann Marie Awad, was a podcast about “how life has changed in the aftermath of marijuana legalization efforts across the United States.”
  • Boom Days is a podcast about the Colorado Coalfield War.

That’s it for now. So, press in those earbuds, pair a Bluetooth speaker, or set your dash panel to aux, and give a listen.

I’m Corey Hutchins, co-director of Colorado College’s Journalism Institute. For nearly a decade I’ve reported on the U.S. local media scene for Columbia Journalism Review, and I’ve been a journalist for longer at multiple news organizations. Colorado Media Project is underwriting this newsletter, and my “Inside the News” column appears at COLab, both of which I sometimes write about here. Subscribe to this weekly newsletter here, or e-mail me at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.