Show Spotlight: The Big Tent

Hosts of The Big Tent, a weekly Radio Boise public affairs showProducer Valerie Hayes, Luke Fowler, Jaci Kettler, Jen Schneider and new co-host Charlie Hunt [pictured above from left to right] welcome listeners under the Big Tent weekly for fresh discussions surrounding politics and policy – local and national. Guests are always in for potent, and sometimes hilarious, coverage of today’s most pressing topics.

(The Big Tent airs live every Thursday from 3:30 – 4 PM [a NEW timeslot] or listen anytime on-demand in their archive.)

How did you discover Radio Boise?

Luke: I really think it was one of the founders and former co-hosts of The Big Tent, Justin Vaughn, that steered everyone to Radio Boise. Originally, it was Justin, Jen and Corey Cook. Jaci and I joined the show after Justin left, and Charlie is our new addition. So, it was easier for the rest of us to find Radio Boise, because we already had friends/colleagues working with the station, and we knew all the cool stuff they were doing.

How long has The Big Tent been on the air? What drew you to take on this show?

Jen: The show started in January of 2018. [As mentioned] It was started by Justin Vaughn and our former Dean, Corey Cook. They both saw it as an opportunity to expand the reach of the new BSU School of Public Service (SPS). SPS is really focused on serving the people of Idaho, and in promoting civil discourse, so this seemed like a great opportunity do more of both.

Does anyone have a ritual surrounding your show? You know – a special lunch to eat, news site to browse, or a certain song you have to listen to?

Jen: I still get super, super nervous before every show, so I mostly just try not to throw up.

Jaci: We often loosen up before the show with some light ribbing of each other. Good-natured fellow that he is, Luke probably receives more than his fair share.

Luke: Pretty much what Jaci said. We just make fun of each other and crack jokes. I also try to say all the things that I’m not allowed to say on the air out.

What is going on in the Treasure Valley that you’re excited about?

Jaci: I’m excited about the growth in local media, extending coverage of state and local issues.

Charlie: I stay fascinated by the Valley’s efforts to maintain a unique and personal identity even as national politics and social issues are becoming so polarized.

Jen: I’m really interested in all of the conversation (and sometimes conflict) around growth in the Valley.

Luke: I think in general we’re all really interested in how the Treasure Valley is changing so quickly in both positive and negative ways. For me personally, I’m really excited about the opportunities to influence these changes and how people think about some of the big questions surrounding them, either through my role at the [Boise State] School of Public Service or through The Big Tent.

What other kinds of things keep you busy in life [outside of radio]?

Charlie: I’m new to the area, so I’m looking forward to checking out some of the great live music that’s happening in the Treasure Valley.

Luke: At my day job, I teach public policy and administration courses, run the Master of Public Administration program and research how environmental policies are managed at the local-level.  In my personal life, my wife and I are currently remodeling a house built in the 1930s in the Depot/Bench neighborhood, so my other hobbies, like grabbing drinks with friends, have taken a backseat lately.

Jaci: I research and teach American politics, so I spend a great deal of time reading and thinking about politics. When I need a break, I enjoy grabbing drinks with friends, walking our dog and reading fiction. I’m trying to get outside more, including hiking in the foothills and walking the Greenbelt.

Why do you believe volunteering for community radio is important?

Jen: I loved Radio Boise the minute I walked in the door. It’s super welcoming, and it still sort of amazes me that there’s this place for people who love music, community and creativity to gather and put something good out into the world.

Charlie: I think Radio Boise and its mission blend really well with what we try to do at the School of Public Service, which is bring together a lot of diverse but important subjects and lifestyles that make Boise and the Treasure Valley what they are. In teaching, in research and on the radio, the goal is always to improve people’s lives and create a better community, and community radio is an obvious and crucial part of that.

The Big Tent airs Thursdays from 3:30 – 4 PM.

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Past 2019 Show Spotlights

June: Feelings’ Sunday Soul Party
May: John’s McCarty’s Jazz: Beyond the Sky
April: Joe Black’s Sonic Mushroom Cloud

March: Daphne’s Stanford’s The Poetry Show!
February: Joe Pollard’s Daft Manifesto
January: DJ Winkle’s Bangers and Mashups


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