Northern Soundings: Alaska in Conversation

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Discussions with artists, scientists, writers

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Alaska in Conversation
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-06-12 09:44
last episode published
2019-06-12 03:00
publication frequency
12.47 days
Robert Hannon author  
Number of Episodes
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Science & Medicine Natural Sciences Government & Organizations Arts



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Art, Science and Animals

Every year UAF’s Summer Sessions puts on a wide range of free events for the public, including concerts and talks. By luck, I have an opportunity to play a small part in the programs, by talking with interesting people about their lives and passions.  ...
Robert Hannon author

A Provocative Quietist

On the show this week: Rev. Dr Nancy James is an Episcopal priest who serves as chaplain at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. She’s also a scholar and author specializing in the 17th-century mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon. James says while Guyon is not well kno...
Robert Hannon author

The Metal Woodwind

On this week’s show, I talk with Dorli McWayne, a faculty member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Music Department, principle flutist for the Fairbanks Symphony and Arctic Chamber Orchestras, and founder and director of the Fairbanks Flutists. She...
Robert Hannon author

An Examined Life

Seventy years ago, almost exactly to this day, secret police spotted a young Czech publically distributing anti-communist pamphlets in his country. As a result, Rudy Krejci was forced into hiding for five years and into a daring escape to Austria. On t...
Robert Hannon author

Hands On Learning

On this week’s show, I talk with John Manthei, one of the founders of Folk School Fairbanks. The non-profit organization dedicated to hands-on learning has a new home at Pioneer Park. Author and reviewer Frank Soos looks at a new work What A Fish Knows...
Robert Hannon author

The Japanese Experience in Alaska

Educator, archivist, and oral historian, Ron Inouye discusses Japanese influence in  Alaska history and shares his family’s experience during World War II when more than one hundred thousand Japanese-Americans were put in concentration camps. And Chris...
Robert Hannon author

Accountability and the Blogger

This show, columnist and blogger Dermot Cole explains the importance of holding elected officials accountable. Anchorage Museum Director Julie Decker is the author and editor of several volumes. She says the arts don’t get a pass on commenting about tr...
Robert Hannon author

Entreprenuerial Journalism

This episode we explore journalism past, present, and future with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Richard Murphy who served as the Photo Editor for the Anchorage Daily News for many years. As the Arctic grows in strategic importance, Brandon Boy...
Robert Hannon author

There and Back Again

Reading has always been an important activity in my life. Of course, “activity” may not rightly describe sitting in a comfortable chair with a good book. However, it is a pleasure 32 million Americans can’t share. This episode I talk with Literacy Coun...
Robert Hannon author

Not Afraid to Fail

While I’ve known Greg Pacetti for years, only recently did it strike me he would make an outstanding guest on the show. Greg is now semi-retired but still produces fine stringed instruments; and he has an album of songs you can find on-line. He describ...
Robert Hannon author

Nanook Brothers

Dr. Keith Champagne, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UAF, explains why he started the “Nanook Brotherhood Project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Corrine Leistikow from Tanana Valley Clinic explains why today’s wellness exam differs f...
Robert Hannon author

Big Wild Soul Redux

On this New Year’s Day episode, we hear of a new book examining the life and academic contributions of Terrence Cole. Dr. Mary Ehrlander talks about The Big Wild Soul of Terrence Cole. And we revisit a conversation with Terrence and his twin Dermot Col...
Robert Hannon author

Caravan Refugees

In the closing weeks of the mid-term elections, Mr. Trump characterized the long line of women, children, and men trudging through Central America and Mexico as an invasion. He also claimed, without evidence, the so-called caravan harbored Middle-Easte...
Robert Hannon author

Empowering Orphans, Fueling Jets

I first met sculpture Dennis Gaboury years ago when he and his wife, writer Elinor Burkett, were in Fairbanks. Elinor and Dennis met when she was writing one of the first books on the Catholic Church’s Clergy Sex abuse scandal. Dennis was abused by Fr....
Robert Hannon author

Geo-temporal Reflections

Over the past several episodes guest producer John Perreault has been visiting with scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory. This year marks its 30th anniversary.  Today John wraps up on a bittersweet note as he talks with Dr. Jeff Freymueller, wh...
Robert Hannon author

The Power in Listening

Whether it’s cocking an ear to the call of a bird or following up on seismic data coming in from sensors, listening to the natural world is important. In this episode guest producer John Perreault talks with Dr. Taryn Lopez with the Alaska Volcano Obse...
Robert Hannon author

Liquid Rock, Flowing Words

We begin with an interview about the Alaska Volcano Observatory which is celebrating 30 years of service. Volunteer producer John Perreault will bring us a series of conversations about its work over the next several shows. John begins the series with ...
Robert Hannon author

Love Takes Its Toll

This summer was a hard one for me and others who knew the talented musician, actor, and producer Sarah Mitchell. Sarah took her life with a gun in August. Sarah was the daughter of local performers Gianna Drogheo and Steve Mitchell and I knew her since...
Robert Hannon author

Memory, Myth, Story

Ernestine Hayes’ memoirs have attracted widespread praise and garnered her several prestigious awards, including an American Book Award. Hayes is a Tlingit elder and her works weave together myth, fiction and autobiographical details to produce rich, m...
Robert Hannon author

Beyond the Equinox Marathon

The Equinox Marathon is in its 56th year and its elevation gain and root-scored trails can be intimidating for runners used to flat conditions and paved roads.  While the event caps the Running Club North’s Usibelli series, for Drew Harrington it prove...
Robert Hannon author

Reviews and Lives

Most of us know or work with people who hail from another country. But asking how the people actually made it here demonstrates a keen instinct for story. That is the case with David James. Many know him for his book reviews in the Ester Republic, Fair...
Robert Hannon author

Returning Home

I continue my discussion with Linda Thai. She was two when she and her parents fled Viet Nam as part of the “Boat People” exodus. Locally, her story was first captured by David James in a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner profile piece. While Thai’s family fo...
Robert Hannon author

Fleeing From Home

The issue of immigration is again a dominate concern in the United States. Over the decades, the Irish, Eastern Europeans and Chinese met with hostility and at times violence when they sought opportunity or asylum on our shores. David James is a local ...
Robert Hannon author

Revisiting Recovery

This show is an encore conversation that originally aired in 2016. Last week I was on Ester Dome Road when I saw a figure running towards me. It turned out to be endurance athlete Bob Baker, known to many as “Bad Bob.” He was out training. In itself, t...
Robert Hannon author

Academic Leadership

After more than three and a half decades teaching, conducting research and leading various departments and units at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Provost Susan Henrichs is retiring. Susan was born in Alaska and after a sterling performance studyi...
Robert Hannon author

Fairbanks’ Latest Olympians

This episode we visit with Reese and Logan Hanneman. The brothers, who were raised in Fairbanks, have chalked up impressive wins in Nordic skiing. They were tapped to join this year’s U.S. Olympic Cross-Country Ski team. But as you’ll hear, nothing is ...
Robert Hannon author

Writing Through Adversity

Local poet and former state writer laureate Peggy Shumaker has not only produced a substantial body of poetry and prose, but she has worked tirelessly to nurture and champion the talents of other writers. She also contributes her insights as an editor ...
Robert Hannon author

A Healing Journey

Four years ago, a series of presentations by kids from Tanana galvanized the statewide Elders and Youth and Alaska Federation of Natives conferences. The young people, wearing camo-kuspuks, shared a disturbing litany of abuse, suicide, pain and addicti...
Robert Hannon author

Rocket Scientist – Neal Brown

Back in the day, KUAC’s Alaska Edition would air a monthly segment with my guest today. Neal Brown had an ability to identify an aspect of the natural world, whether it was the aurora, the solstice, weather patterns or green-up, and explain some of the...
Robert Hannon author

Rising Again & Public Chroniclers

As regular listeners know, I periodically address the theme of perseverance. This episode has it in spades. University of Alaska Fairbanks historian and author Terrence Cole is retiring after 30 years at UAF to address his diagnosis of gastric cancer a...
Robert Hannon author

Weaving Stories, Constructing Chambers

On May 23, University of Alaska Fairbanks historian Terrence Cole will give his “Final Lecture.” Terrence is retiring from UAF to concentrate on his health and to finish a book. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, several of which he shared ...
Robert Hannon author

Birds, Birds, Birds

Fairbanks is amid an annual rite of passage as thousands of migratory birds make their way farther north. Geese, ducks and swans can be spotted at various fields and ponds around town. And a well-timed pair of events at the University of Alaska Museum ...
Robert Hannon author


Former FBI director James Comey’s new memoir A Higher Loyalty has attracted both praise and condemnation. Comey lays out the argument that President Trump is “unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values.” The higher truth for Comey lies ...
Robert Hannon author

Creating In Two Worlds

Greg Shipman is known for his craftsmanship at University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute. He runs its machine shop that manufactures anything scientists need that can’t be had off the shelf. Last year, the shop’s reputation led a local surg...
Robert Hannon author

Earth Day

This episode wasn’t supposed to be about Earth Day. Originally, I thought I’d focus on art and literature. I spoke with painter Madara Mason about her exhibit at the UA Museum of the North. Her work sparked this episode’s Katexic Clippings.  But then t...
Robert Hannon author

What’s In A Name

Years ago, KUAC aired “The Radio Reader” where the host would read entire books a half-hour at a time. Once, the host tackled a book about Alaska, and whenever his eye and lips ran up against the town of Nenana or the Tanana River, something weirdly in...
Robert Hannon author

Genetic Insights

Some years back, Greta Johnsen, served as KUAC’s morning host. She now works for WBEZ in Chicago and she is co-host of a fun and engaging podcast called Nerdette. Recently the podcast focused on Greta’s rare genetic disease, a disease she inherited fro...
Robert Hannon author

Autonomous Submersions

Many KUAC listeners will recognize John Perreault’s name. He serves as the radio station’s weekday morning host.  He also keeps the station’s programs flowing as the FM Operations and Traffic manager.  But John also enjoys a passion for the sciences, w...
Robert Hannon author

When We Talk About Guns

In late March, many communities around the country saw thousands of people taking to the streets to protest gun violence. The main March for Our Lives event took take place in Washington D.C. but the movement’s website tallied more than 800 other coinc...
Robert Hannon author

Nurturing Rural Teachers

Concerns about delivering quality education to rural Alaska extend back beyond statehood. I encountered this first hand more than a decade ago when I was organizing listening sessions in Yup’ik villages. Elders bemoaned the diminishment of Native cultu...
Robert Hannon author

Raising Awareness of Rising Sea Levels

Recently, the University of Alaska Fairbanks hosted the Sydney Chapman Lecture Seminars. The gathering targeted rising sea levels. One of the presenters was Robert Bindschadler, a retired NASA earth-scientist who enjoyed a long  and distinguished caree...
Robert Hannon author

Civil Rights, Civil Society

February is Black History month and a serendipitous encounter with a local community leader in January gave me the opportunity to honor that important occasion. I’ve known James Nathanial Hunter Jr. for years. However, I knew him as “Hunter” when I ser...
Robert Hannon author

Pushing Past Disease & Decolonization

Last month, I began a periodic series on Northern Soundings that celebrates remarkable people who move past hardship to fully embrace life. This episode I talk with Kathy Bue. I met Kathy through Nordic skiing. For years she ran the adult lessons progr...
Robert Hannon author

The Olympics, Maps and Alaska

When this segment aired on KUAC, the Olympic Winter Games were days from begining in South Korea. Fairbanks and Alaska were well represented in cross country skiing. Half of the 20 members Nordic ski team was either Alaskan or Alaska-based.  Arguably, ...
Robert Hannon author

North to the Future: Elearning

Alaska adopted the motto “North to the Future” in 1967 to observe the centennial of the state’s purchase from Russia. It underscored the general optimism at the time that Alaska represented a place of opportunity. But the region’s sprawling geography h...
Robert Hannon author

International Relations: Brandon Boylan

Julie and I took a trip to Costa Rica in late January and early February. That has delayed my posting of recent episodes. Look for them to appear on a daily basis until I’m caught up with my radio show.  Today’s offernig, though, seems like an “evergre...
Robert Hannon author

Beavers and Raven

When I first arrived in Fairbanks in the early 1980s, I had a small dry cabin off Noyes Slough. One summer night, having trouble sleeping, I went onto the porch overlooking the water.  It was peaceful and soothing until I heard something shifting in th...
Robert Hannon author

Of Rabies and Resilience

Last year University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Karsten Hueffer and his team reported they had determined how the rabies virus makes its way to hosts’ brains. When I talked with Hueffer at the time, I learned the rabies virus holds a unique fascina...
Robert Hannon author

Microbial Worlds: Art of the Microscopic

I once read a book by a microbiologist who said he rarely told his students, and was even less forthcoming in casual conversation, about his view of the world. He says if we could see microscopically, we would observe a world seething – every surface p...
Robert Hannon author

Libraries: Bastions of Real News

This year marked the Fairbanks North Star Borough Noel Wien Library’s 40th anniversary. The library, as a Fairbanks institution, goes much further back to a log cabin on 1st Ave. founded by the Episcopal Church. But the main building that currently ser...
Robert Hannon author