Access Utah

Weekdays 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Access Utah is UPR's original program focusing on the things that matter to Utah. The hour-long show airs daily at 9:00 a.m. and covers everything from pets to politics in a range of formats from in-depth interviews to call-in shows. Email us at or call at 1-800-826-1495.

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Matt Lewis’ book “Too Dumb to Fail” is an impassioned argument that to stay relevant the Republican Party must look beyond short-term electoral gains and re-commit to historic conservative values. As we navigate the 2016 presidential season, Lewis has an urgent message for fellow conservatives: embrace wisdom, humility, qualifications, and inclusion--or face extinction.

Many are responding to an invitation from the LDS Church to participate in a new effort to help refugees. The church has launched a new website,, and Utah Refugee Center executive director Deb Coffey told the Deseret News that her phone has been ringing off the hook. "I've got people all over the state doing service projects," Coffey said. "My phone is blowing up; my email is blowing up. It is unbelievable what's already happening." We talked about refugees and Utah in December, when Gov. Herbert was the lone Republican governor to say his state would accept Syrian refugees. We’ll talk about refugees again today in the wake of this groundswell of energy on this issue.

Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva are producers of the duPont-Columbia Award-winning NPR series Hidden Kitchens, and two Peabody Award-winning NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project, with Jay Allison. They are also the producers of the Hidden World of Girls and the Hidden Kitchens heard on NPR Morning Edition. The series inspired their first book, Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2005 and nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food.

During a long and distinguished career with the U.S. State Department, Ambassador Christopher Hill was sent to some of the most dangerous outposts of American diplomacy, from the Balkans to North Korea to Iraq. In his memoir, “Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy,” he takes us from one-on-one meetings with Slobodan Milosevic, to Bosnia and Kosovo, to the Dayton conference, where a truce was brokered. He draws upon lessons learned as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon early on in his career and details his extensive experience as a U.S. ambassador. 


All her life, Emily felt different from other kids. Between therapist visits, sudden uncontrollable bursts of anger, and unexplained episodes of dizziness, things never felt right. For years, her only escape was through the stories she crafted. It wasn’t until a near-fatal accident when she was twelve years old that Emily and her family discovered the truth: a grapefruit-size brain tumor at the base of her skull. In her new memoir, “All Better Now,” Utah writer Emily Wing Smith chronicles her struggles with both mental and physical disabilities, the devastating accident that may have saved her life, and her way through it all: writing.



Marta Nimeva Nimeviene

  We recently received an email from a listener: “I wanted to suggest a potential topic to explore in an upcoming show. I came across an article in the [Odgen] Standard Examiner the other day about a man getting arrested for an unpaid ambulance bill. He died while in jail."

Temple Grandin didn’t talk until she was three and a half years old, communicating her frustration instead by screaming, peeping, and humming. In 1950, she was diagnosed with autism and her parents were told she should be institutionalized. Instead, she went on to become professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a world leader in designing humane facilities for livestock. She is a prominent author and activist in the autism field, and her life is the subject of a 2010 HBO movie.

Chalmers Butterfield

The murder/suicide involving a prominent Cache Valley couple has shocked the community and highlighted issues of suicide, depression, mental illness, and other issues among the elderly. We’re going to talk about these issues on Access Utah today. Tom Williams is joined by Pat Sadoski, with Cache Valley Senior Consulting; and Amy Anderson, with the Sunshine Terrace Foundation. We’ll also hear some recorded comments from commentator Thad Box.

In his early 20s, Benjamin Franklin embarked on a “bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection,” intending to master a list of thirteen virtues. He soon gave up on perfection but continued to believe that these attributes, along with a generous heart and a bemused acceptance of human frailty, laid the foundation for both a good life and a workable society.

Alex Santiago

  UPR is presenting quarterly folk music programs, featuring musicians from around Utah. We hope you joined us for the most recent program Saturday evening. We’ll continue the conversation and music with four musicians: Hal Cannon and Greg Istock from 3hattrio, Cory Castillo, and Todd Wilkinson.

In "Frank: The Voice" (2010), James Kaplan told the story of Frank Sinatra's meteoric rise to fame, subsequent failures, and reinvention as a star of live performance and screen. Frank Sinatra was the best-known entertainer of the twentieth century-infinitely charismatic, lionized and notorious in equal measure. Kaplan examined the complex psyche and turbulent life behind that incomparable voice, from Sinatra's humble beginning in Hoboken to his fall from grace and Oscar-winning return in From Here to Eternity. 


This campaign season has been extraordinary, and the show is coming to Utah, with caucuses on Tuesday and a Republican presidential debate that was scheduled for Salt Lake City and is now canceled.

We’ll talk about it on Thursday’s Access Utah. Our guests include Deseret News political columnists Lavarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli. We’ll also talk with Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon, and Jonathan Choate, who is getting the word out about the Republican caucuses.

University of Georgia Press

How did early American writers think about the spaces around them? Today on Access Utah we’re talking about regions—imagined politically, economically, racially, and figuratively—and the roles these regions played in the formation of American communities, both real and imagined. 

In 1937, a schoolteacher on the island of Maui challenged a group of poverty-stricken sugar plantation kids to swim upstream against the current of their circumstance. The goal? To become Olympians.

Pulitzer prize winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg joins Tom Williams for Access Utah. Duhigg’s book “The Power of Habit” explored the science of habit formation in our lives, companies, and society. His new book “Smarter Faster Better” explores the science of productivity. Duhigg says that in today’s world, it’s more important to manage how you think, rather than what you think. This episode of Access Utah is a part of the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative in partnership with Utah Humanities, the Salt Lake Tribune, and KCPW.

From the extra pounds and unrelenting bullies that left her eating lunch alone in a bathroom stall at school to the low self-esteem that left her both physically and emotionally vulnerable to abuse, Jasmin Singer’s struggle with weight defined her life.

Singer says that most people think there’s no such thing as a fat vegan, but most people don’t realize that deep-fried tofu tastes amazing and that Oreos are, in fact, vegan. So, even after she embraced a vegan lifestyle, having discovered her passion in advocating for the rights of animals, she defied any “skinny vegan” stereotypes by getting even heavier.

Some people love it, some people hate it. Like it or not, on Sunday, daylight saving time (DST) begins in Utah. Tuesday on Access Utah we’re going to revisit an episode from December 2014.

Benjamin Franklin conceived of it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle endorsed it. Winston Churchill campaigned for it. Kaiser Wilhelm first employed it. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt went to war with it, and the United States fought an energy crisis with it. 

(AP Photo/Trent Nelson)

Should Utah abolish the death penalty? Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, says yes. His SB 189 has passed the Utah Senate and now goes to the House as we head into the last week of the 2016 Utah Legislature. Gov. Gary Herbert is among those maintaining support for the death penalty.

We’ll talk about it on Monday’s Access Utah.

Our guests will include Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan; Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton; and Salt Lake City attorneys David and Steve Shapiro, whose parents were murdered and who oppose the death penalty.

University of Colorado Press

 In essays that combine memoir with biography of place, Kevin Holdsworth creates a public history of the land he calls home: Good Water, Utah. The high desert of south-central Utah is at the heart of the stories he tells - about the people, the “survivors and casualties” of the small, remote town - and is at the heart of his own story.

The Crown Publishing Group


On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives. For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the grief and shame of that day. 

How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

“It’s a sight Utahns are all too familiar with -- gray, smoggy air filled with dangerous particulate matter. Officials say sensitive groups like children and the elderly should be especially cautious during times of inversion. During red air days the air is unhealthy for everyone. We know this. So why do we continue driving to work? Why do we idle our cars, contributing to the problem?”

In his new collection of essays “Sublime Physick,” Patrick Madden seeks what is common and ennobling among seemingly disparate, even divisive, subjects, ruminating on midlife, time, family, forgiveness, loss, originality, a Canadian rock band, and more, discerning the ways in which the natural world transcends and joins the realm of ideas (sublime) through the application of a meditative mind.


Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, is sponsoring HB221, which would preserve parents' rights to exempt their children from immunizations but would require those parents to watch an educational video to receive the exemption.

Great Old Broads for Wilderness began in 1989 on the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by a feisty bunch of lady hikers who wanted to refute Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s notion that wilderness is inaccessible to elders. About that time, wilderness designation had been proposed for Escalante, and Senator Hatch opposed it, saying, “if for no other reason, we need roads for the aged and infirm.”

This episode originally aired in July, 2015.

“The True American” tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. 

But days after 9/11, an avowed "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren’t so lucky, dying at once.  “The True American” traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter.