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KUER Announces New Politics Podcast “State Street”

On State Street, KUER reporters Sonja Hutson and Emily Means aim to make politics taste good.
Ivana Martinez / KUER
On State Street, KUER reporters Sonja Hutson and Emily Means aim to make politics taste good.

Hosts Sonja Hutson and Emily Means explore politics ... the Utah way.

On State Street, KUER reporters Sonja Hutson and Emily Means aim to make politics taste good. These days, everything is political — redistricting, homelessness, air quality, even who gets to be at the table. For new Utahns, there’s a lot to learn about why the state is the way it is. For natives and long-time residents, there are a lot of questions about where the Beehive State is headed.

“There’s so much history and context behind the laws that get passed and who gets elected. It often gets lost in the shuffle of breaking news,” Hutson said. “Emily and I wanted to make a podcast that equips people with the information they need to understand why those decisions are being made. Our goal is to make the political conversation more accessible to people.”

State Street is a new podcast produced by the state-wide public radio station KUER, NPR Utah. The show’s first six-episode season debuts Sept. 13, with new episodes released on Mondays. A trailer is now available, giving listeners a sneak peek at what’s ahead in the first season:

  • Doug Fabrizio is the host of Radiowest and has been working at KUER for over three decades. In episode 1, he takes listeners through the biggest events of the last 30 years that helped build the political moment we’re in now. 
    • “In some ways, Utah is and has been — for a very long time — one of the most politically stable states there is.”
  • Natalie Gochnour has been a self described political insider for the past 30 years. She’s worked for three governors, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. In episode 2, Gochnour shares her perspective on the “Utah way” of doing politics — which she says is civil and collaborative.
    • “It became the mantra that we're going to do it differently in Utah, that we're going to be more balanced, that we're going to care for one another.”
  • Deeda Seed is an activist with the Center for Biological Diversity that’s opposed to the Inland Port. She’s had the opposite experience with the “Utah way.”
    • “Who gets left out of the ‘Utah way’ are people who are lower income or have fewer resources or don't know how to organize — average Utahns, marginalized communities.”
  • Troy Williams is the executive director of Equality Utah, which lobbies on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. He tells us the key to making the “Utah way” of politics work is to form strong relationships. 
    • “I just realized that if I wanted to be successful in this work, I couldn't see people that had different points of view as my enemy. I had to always, in my mind, picture them as my future ally.”
  • Nicole Nixon is a former KUER politics reporter and now covers California politics for CapRadio. In episode 3, she explains why Utah and California politics are a lot more similar than you might think. 
    • “Having a supermajority, one of the perks of that is you get to basically do whatever you want and tamp down any opposition.”

Emily Means is a lifelong Utahn. Sonja Hutson is a transplant to Utah from California’s Bay Area. Now, the two KUER reporters have joined forces to cover the sometimes wacky world of Utah politics. Together, they bring an outsider’s analysis and a local's insight to State Street — along with their dry humor and pop cultural references.
“As politics reporters, Sonja and I are huge nerds who love talking about local and state issues,” said Means. “We want to share that enthusiasm and passion with everyone else. We want to be the cheese on the broccoli of being informed about Utah politics.”

State Street is for people who know that politics matters to them, but feel like they don’t matter to politics. It’s for people who keep up with the news until they’re tired of keeping up with the news. It’s a podcast that helps you understand not just what happens in Utah politics, but why it happens.

The show’s production team includes KUER’s All Things Considered host, Caroline Ballard, Digital Content Manager Chelsea Naughton, Programming and Production Manager Roddy Nikpour, Digital Producer Palak Jayswal and News Director Elaine Clark.

When it’s launched Sept. 13, State Street will be available wherever listeners get their podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, RadioPublic, Pandora, TuneIn and Stitcher.

Katherine is the Audience Development and Communications Manager at NPR Utah.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.