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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Gina Barnett has coached executives and leaders worldwide from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, small businesses and non-profits. She has been speaker coach for TED Talks for the past five years.


In her book, “Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success,” Barnett focuses on embodiment: how the body affects our thoughts and emotions and, in turn, how we engage and are perceived.

Join us for a live broadcast of Access Utah from the State Capitol on Monday for the opening day of the 2016 Utah Legislature. We'll talk about the issues likely to be addressed in the legislature this year. Our guests will include Governor Gary Herbert, House Majority Leader, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville; House Minority Leader, Rep Brian King, D-Salt Lake City; Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Ralph Okerlund; R-Monroe; and Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City.

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival opens in Park City on Thursday. UPR's Sundance Correspondent Steve Smith is in Park City and will join Tom Williams on Thursday's Access Utah to set the scene and tell us about the films he's excited about. Then we'll talk with two filmmakers whose films are showing at Sundance.

Lee Benson of the Deseret News recently wrote a nice profile of Jim Steenburgh, author of “Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth.” And with fresh powder on the ground, we thought this a great time to revisit our conversation from November 2014.

For a generation, some of the money we’ve spent at the gas station and the mall has gone to empower the authoritarians and the armed groups that have given us our worst foreign-born crises. How can we get ourselves out of business with hostile petrocrats and the violent extremists?


Moab resident Steph Davis is a superstar in the climbing community. But when her husband made a controversial climb of Delicate Arch, the media fallout and the toll on her marriage left her without a partner, a career, a source of income...or a purpose. Accompanied by her beloved dog, Fletch, she set off in search of a new identity and discovered skydiving.  

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016 and today we’re kicking off a series of programs focusing on America’s national parks.

National Geographic

“Cars, for Americans, more than anything else represent freedom.” So says Matt Hardigree, executive director of, who is featured in National Geographic Channel’s  documentary film, “Driving America.” The film examines how car culture has changed the way we live, work, travel and socialize; and looks into the future, including potential game changers like Tesla’s electric cars.

My guest for the hour today is poet Rebecca Lindenberg. Clouds, mountains, flowering trees. Difficult things. Things lost by being photographed. Things that have lost their power. Things found in a rural grocery store. These are some of the lists, poems, prose poems, and lyric anecdotes compiled in “The Logan Notebooks,” a remix and a reimagining of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, a collection of intimate and imaginative observations about place—a real place, an interior landscape—and identity, at the intersection of the human with the world, and the language we have (and do not yet have) for perceiving it.




University Press of Colorado

In her new book, “Epiphany in the Wilderness: Hunting, Nature, and Performance in the Nineteenth-Century American West,” historian Karen Jones uses the metaphor of the theater to argue that the West was a crucial stage that framed the performance of the American character as an independent, resourceful, resilient, and rugged individual. 

According to recent studies, 50% of us set New Year's resolutions and 78% of us fail to keep them. But there's something compelling in the idea of a new you in the new year. Should we set New Year's resolutions? How do we keep them past, say, February? We'll ask you what you do and what successes or failures you've had. 

“The West was once seen as a beacon of opportunity, and it is still a place where many ways of life can flourish. But it is also a region that leaves some people isolated both culturally and geographically.” That’s David Kennedy, from his foreword to a collection of essays titled “Bridging the Distance: Common Issues of the Rural West.”



  Alex Thompson, writing in Politico Magazine, says “Political taboos, campaign dealbreakers and electoral glass ceilings are crumbling. Members of Congress are openly gay and bisexual, there’s a black man in the White House, and a woman may be next. Voters have accepted all sorts of behavioral warts and missteps in their political candidates, too. DUIs? A mistake of their youth. Draft dodgers? There’s a long list. Womanizers? A much longer list. Illegal drugs? In just a few short elections, we’ve gone from a president who “didn’t inhale” to one who openly admits using cocaine in his youth.

Yet one large taboo remains stubbornly fixed—mental illness. Sure, it’s part of the conversation, in that pundits these days can, and do, speculate casually about whether Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, Joe Biden has slid into depression, Hillary Clinton is clinically paranoid or Jeb Bush will be undone by a Freudian sibling tangle. But here’s the really sick thing: For a politician to admit to seeing a psychiatrist would likely be far more politically damaging than any of the possible symptoms of actual mental illness.”


On Monday's Access Utah, Alex Thompson will join the discussion and provide insight into a world of high expectations and powerful stigmas. In the upcoming year, could America elect a mentally ill president? And what might be the implications?



Join us for the Access Utah Holiday Special 2015. We’ll hear music for the season performed by the Lightwood Duo (Mike Christiansen on guitar and Eric Nelson on clarinet). We’ll also hear readings for the season by the author of The Christmas Chronicles, playwright Tim Slover. 

Ginny on

Periodically we join together as a UPR community to share what we're reading. On Wednesday's Access Utah we're doing it again, but with a twist: We want your list of the best books of 2015.

Elaine Thatcher joins me in studio and we'll hear from Anne Holman from The King's English Book Shop in Salt Lake City, Andy Nettell from Back of Beyond Books in Moab and Catherine Weller of Weller Book Works in Salt Lake City.

On Today’s Access Utah we continue our series on Mass Shootings in America by asking how the media should respond. Our guests include Tom Teves, whose son Alex was killed in the mass shooting in Aurora Colorado. Teves is a founder of No Notoriety a campaign that urges news outlets to limit how much they use a gunman’s name and photograph. Tom Teves says the hope is to curb shootings by denying many perpetrators what they want: fame.


We’ll also be speaking to Deseret News reporter Chandra Johnson, whose series of articles on mass shootings can be found in the Deseret News National Edition.

Writer Ceiridwen Terrill writes about how, at a particularly sad and frightening time in her life, a wolf dog was the kind of companion she was searching for. In her book, "Part Wild: Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs," she talks about an animal who's heart is divided between the woman she loves, and the desire to roam free. In the end, Terrill realized she must confront the reality of taming a half-wild animal. We spoke with Ceirdwen Terrill in 2012, and today on the program we revisit that conversation. 

Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year for 2015 isn't a word at all; it's an emoji, one of those little faces that you see all over on social media. And I'm hearing extreme glottal stops (as in "the new football coach at USC is Clay Helhhh-uhhn (Helton)" and "strength" pronounced as "shtrength." It's enough to drive a language purist to distraction.

In response to the San Bernardino shootings, President Obama said, "We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world."

We’re going to hold an open forum on Wednesday’s Access Utah. We invite you to call in and talk about this. Why are so many mass shootings happening in the U.S.? What can be done about this? What should we do? Is this the new normal?

We’ll talk with Matthew LaPlante, Assistant Professor of Journalism at Utah State University, about terrorism, gun accessibility, mental illness, media coverage, culture, religion, prayer shaming, and more.

And we want to know what you think.

You can comment NOW through the Utah Public Insight Network online at, via Twitter @UtahPublicRadio, on our Utah Public Radio Facebook page or by email to


Ron Carlson’s latest novel, “Return to Oakpine,” is a tender and nostalgic portrait of western American life. In it, Carlson tells the story of four middle-aged friends who once played in a band while growing up together in small-town Wyoming. One of them, Jimmy Brand, left for New York City and became an admired novelist. Thirty years later in 1999, he’s returned to die. Craig Ralston and Frank Gunderson never left Oakpine; Mason Kirby, a Denver lawyer, is back on family business. Jimmy’s arrival sends the other men’s dreams and expectations, realized and deferred, whirling to the surface. And now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most essential thing they ever do.

Should Utah accept refugees from Syria? That’s the question we’ll address on Thursday’s Access Utah. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah's members of Congress want to stop Syrian refugees from entering the country until new security checks are implemented, a process that could take years. Senator Orrin Hatch says “It's irresponsible, particularly after [the Paris] attacks, to reduce this issue to one of mere compassion."


Signature Books

Our guest for the hour today is Utah author David G. Pace whose debut novel Dream House on Golan Drive is published by Signature Books. It is the year 1972, and Riley Hartley finds that he, his family, community, and his faith are entirely indistinguishable from each other. He is eleven. A young woman named Lucy claims God has revealed to her that she is to live with Riley’s family.


Her quirks are strangely disarming, her relentless questioning of their lives incendiary and sometimes comical. Her way of taking religious practice to its logical conclusion leaves a strong impact on her hosts and propels Riley outside his observable universe and toward a trajectory of self discovery.

Set in Provo and New York City during the seventies and eighties, the story encapsulates the normal expectations of a Mormon experience and turns them on their head.



Marco Borggreve

When NPR’s Robert Siegel suggested that the harpsichord is viewed as old and not enormously popular, Iranian-American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani responded: “I think these things would only matter to Americans. As long as there's a place for sundials and gardening and beautiful things, there's a place for the harpsichord. I completely reject the idea that the harpsichord is old and I reject the idea that something old is therefore not good or not popular. Lots of things are old. Lots of traditions are old. I like it because it's beautiful.”

Photographer Jonathan Diaz says “I have always been fascinated by the power and poignancy of a child’s imagination. Children are not afraid to dream big: they believe anything is possible. They are innocent. With this innocence comes dreams and honest aspirations that, from the view of an outsider, might seem impossible. However, through the eyes of a child, such dreams are absolutely obtainable.” Diaz is creator and photographer of Anything Can Be and a book “True Heroes” which features the dreams of 21 children are or were fighting cancer. Each child is featured in a professional photo shoot depicting his or her dreams. And 21 authors (including such best-selling writers as Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Ally Condie, and Jennifer a. Neilsen) were commissioned to write a story, featuring one of the children as hero.


In the first half of Monday’s Access Utah, we’ll talk with Jonathan Diaz, and Peggy Eddleman, author of “Sky Jumpers,” who wrote “Braelyn and the Speeding Train” included in the book.

Later in the program, Deseret News columnist Jason F. Wright writes “On Thanksgiving night in 2008, Taylor Richards of Sandy sat in his dark car a few miles from his parents’ home. He was exhausted, cold, 25 years old and a raging alcoholic. He was also alone. This wrong kind of silent night was interrupted by a phone call from his brother Spencer.

The holiday season is a time for celebration and family togetherness. It’s supposed to bring us joy. But Christine Moll, chair and professor of counseling and human services at Canisius College and a mental health counselor, says that for many the holidays are a time of stress, loneliness, anxiety, and dysfunction. On Wednesday’s AU, as we head into the holiday season, we’ll ask you what you do to make the season joyful. And how do you de-stress during the holidays? We’ll get advice from Christine Moll and Marriage and Family Therapist and Rage Against The Minivan blogger, Kristen Howerton. We’ll also turn to writers Sarah Cottrell and Michael Levin for humorous takes on holiday stress.