Tom Williams

Program Director | Access Utah Host

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996.  He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.)  He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah” and “Opera Saturday.”  He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.

Ways To Connect

The Mormon village was originally conceived as a place removed from the rest of the world, a place where the Saints could live strong faith-based identity. Although common in Europe, the pattern that Mormons used of residential villages with outlying farms was unusual in the American West. The first studies of these villages were by travelers who lived among the Mormons and wrote about their experiences. By linking these early accounts to the move of more formal academic studies of the twentieth century, “Saints Observed” provides the most complete look at Mormon community life.

Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms.

This program originally aired in July of 2013.

On Wednesday's Access Utah, we revisit a conversation with Julia Corbett. Her book, "Seven Summers: A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West" is the story of a naturalist-turned-professor (Corbett) who flees city life each summer with her pets and power tools to pursue her lifelong dream: building a cabin in the Wyoming woods. 


girl on fence calls to horse
April Ashland

We want to hear about your dog, cat, rabbit, armadillo, or any other animal you love. Post a picture, comment or question on our page for Dr. James Israelsen, with Mountain View Veterinary Health Center.

Seven moves in seven years as a pre-teen cursed Kirk Millson with a pathologically low tolerance for routine. After terrorizing his wife, Alison, with several near-death wilderness experiences, he toughened up his young children on a steady diet of desert excursions until their luck changed and his career intervened. 

On Thursday’s AU we revisit our conversation with Doris Kearns Goodwin:

“The gap between rich and poor has never been wider . . . legislative stalemate paralyzes the country . . . corporations resist federal regulations . . . spectacular mergers produce giant companies . . . the influence of money in politics deepens . . . bombs explode in crowded streets . . . small wars proliferate far from our shores . . . a dizzying array of inventions speeds the pace of daily life.”  

National Geographic

If the trends of population growth and richer diets continue, experts say that by 2050 we will need to double the amount of crops we grow. Jonathan Foley, author of “Food: Feeding Nine Billion” in the May edition of National Geographic is director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

Go back a few generations and odds are that your family lived and worked on a farm. We’re going to go back to our roots with USU professors Joyce Kinkead, Evelyn Funda, and Lynne McNeill, authors of “Farm: A Multi-Modal Reader,” which explores what farms, farming, and farmers mean to us as a culture.

Today's Access Utah is a rebroadcast of a program that originally aired April 29, 2013.

In the late 1940s Helmuth Hubener, a Mormon teenager, decided to leave Hitler’s Youth and confront the Nazi regime and his church leaders. Eventually, he was excommunicated from his church and became one of the youngest opponents of the Third Reich to be executed. 

April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

Friday on Access Utah we’ll hear from some of the 16 Moab students who showed up recently for the town’s first “Rock Camp.” Then from the UPR series “My Address Is…” we’ll meet Don Baldwin, who grew up in Salt Lake City but decided as a young man that he wanted to be a dairy farmer; and the Landau family, who live in the city and bike to work and hike from home. 

Finally we’ll talk to a woman whose address is often “The Road:” National Geographic photographer, Karen Kasmauski, who explores how science allows us to understand ourselves and how that shapes our destiny.

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of a high plateau in a mountainous region where there were gold-digging ants. This launched the myth of Tibet as a place of beauty, riches and peace. University of Cambridge Professors, Lezlee Brown Halper and Stefan Halper, were invited to visit Tibet in 1997 as guests of the Chinese government.

This is program originally broadcast on December 10, 2013.

Utah has been the focal point for many brave settlers yearning for a new way of life. While Utah's Mormon legacy is well documented, there are lesser-known stories that contribute to the state's history. In “Hidden History of Utah,” public historian, author and history columnist Eileen Hallet Stone looks into the state's forgotten past and presents a revelatory collection of tales culled from her Salt Lake Tribune "Living History" column.

We’re going to gather Utah writers to reflect on the environment for Earth Day 2014. Where are we with regard to the environment and the land we love? What progress has been made? What are the most pressing current problems?

In our increasingly polarized society, there are constant calls for compromise, for coming together. For many, these are empty talking points—for Lucy Moore, they are a life's work. As an environmental mediator, she has spent the past quarter century resolving conflicts that appeared utterly intractable. 

  Twenty years ago, beginning on April 6 1994, more than 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in a horrific genocide that spanned 100 days. Genocide continues to be a tragic global issue. Paul Rusesabagina, whose autobiography “AN ORDINARY MAN,” inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” will join us from Brussels Belgium.

As the manager of the exclusive Hotel Milles Collines he sheltered more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutu moderates from the mass killing going on around him. In his book, he relates the anguish of those who saw loved ones brutally murdered, and describes his ambivalence at pouring scotch and lighting the cigars of killers in the Swimming Pool bar, even as he was trying to cram as many refugees as possible inside the guest rooms upstairs.

The $1,000 genome has long been considered a milestone—the price at which sequencing can finally go mainstream. Companies such as 23andMe provide inexpensive consumer tests that examine about half a million points of a person’s DNA sequence.  But until now investigating all 3 billion base pairs that make up a human’s genome cost $10,000 or more.

“How about doing a story about the tar sands in Grand County & the Book Cliffs Highway? Seems like the state is thinking that Grand County is the new sacrifice zone for energy development.” That’s from UPR listener Kiley Miller. 

gulp book cover
Mary Roach

In “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal,” Mary Roach explores the much-maligned but vital tube from mouth to rear that turns food into the nutrients that keep us alive. She introduces us to scientists who tackle questions no one else thinks to ask. 

Noted musicians/musicologists Hal Cannon and Gary Eller are searching eastern Idaho and northern Utah for songs written before the radio era (before 1923) about the early people, places and events of the region. Such songs provide unique glimpses of the early culture of the region.

On Thursday’s AU we’ll explore issues in higher education with Utah State University President Stan Albrecht. We’ll also be talking to Southern Utah University President Scott Wyatt. 

On Wednesday’s AU we revisit a popular episode from a few months back: Generations of Ogdenites have grown up absorbing 25th Street’s legends of corruption, menace, and depravity. The rest of Utah has tended to judge Ogden—known in its first century as a “gambling hell” and tenderloin, and in recent years as a degraded skid row—by the street’s gaudy reputation. Present-day Ogden embraces the afterglow of 25th Street’s decadence and successfully promotes it to tourists.

Imagine, at five years old, you are sentenced to prison for 13 years. You have no access to your family or friends, to an education, to the outside world or to society. In some places, if a parent is sentenced to prison and they lack a guardian for their child, the child is imprisoned with the parent. Many of these children go to prison at a young age and are released to the world at age 18, with no life skills or support system, knowing nothing of the world but what they experienced in a jail cell.

A large body of social science research has found a number of correlations between religious belief and practice and a range of aspects of marriage and family life (e.g., marital happiness, stability, parent-child cohesion, positive youth outcomes). What is much less known are the processes at work in this area.

We’ll merge science and art on Thursday’s AU. The Bear River Watershed Council has organized a photo exhibit called “Radiant or Ravaged.” 

To view more pieces of the exhibit visit the Bear River Watershed Council's Facebook. For more details on the event visit their website here

Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, U.S. Presidents have the power to unilaterally create National Monuments. President Obama used this power in March to add 1,665 acres to the California Coastal National Monument.