Jake Brownell

Programming & News Producer

Jake Brownell is an award-winning reporter and producer covering the news and culture of Southern Colorado. 

A native of the Twin Cities, Jake landed in Colorado Springs by way of a philosophy degree at Colorado College. During his time at CC, he pursued an interest in radio as a DJ and then as manager at the school's student radio station, The SOCC.  After graduating in the Spring of 2012, Jake went on to intern with 91.5 KRCC's The Big Something, where he began to hone his skills as an editor, interviewer, researcher and writer--skills which he put to use first as a producer of 91.5 KRCC's Off Topic, and more recently as co-producer and host of The Big Something Radio Show and the documentary series, Wish We Were Here. Jake now oversees production of our music program, Air Check, our community-driven reporting series, Peak Curiosityand reports on local issues and stories for the 91.5 KRCC News Department. 

In addition to 91.5 KRCC, Jake's stories have been featured on WBEZ, CBC Radio 1, and NPR stations across Colorado. His work has been recognized with two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for News Documentary, as well as awards from The Associated Press Television and Radio Association, Colorado Broadcasters Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and others. 

Ways to Connect

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

For the second time in five years, the El Paso County Board of Health has put the brakes on a plan to create a syringe exchange program. The decision came at the end of an impassioned, three-hour-long meeting Monday morning, where concerned citizens, healthcare providers, and others voiced both support for and opposition to the plan.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

For this year’s final Air Check episode, we sat down in the studio to reminisce about our favorite songs and albums of 2017. The past year was a fantastic year for new releases, so narrowing our choices down was a difficult task –– we’ve ended up picking everything ranging from the Malian blues artist Boubacar Traoré to Kendrick Lamar’s recent double platinum-certified album, Damn. 

Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

Of all the works of art that have been inspired by or created in Colorado Springs, perhaps none is more famous than the song, "America the Beautiful." It's a patriotic song nearly as recognizable and beloved as the National Anthem itself.

But despite the song’s popularity, the woman behind those famous lyrics is less well known. A new book called Katharine Lee Bates: From Sea to Shining Sea, by author Melinda M. Ponder, examines the life of poet Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote the first draft of "America the Beautiful" while teaching in Colorado Springs in the summer of 1893. Ponder spoke with 91.5 KRCC about how Bates' experience in Colorado Springs shaped her patriotism.

Arrivo Press Materials

Colorado will soon be home to a test facility for an experimental new high-speed transportation system. The company Arrivo has announced plans to build a test track in the Denver metro area.

Arrivo was created by a co-founder of Hyperloop, and like that company, its system uses magnetic levitation to move passengers at high speeds -- up to 200mph. But where Hyperloop aims to connect multiple cities across hundreds of miles, Arrivo is focused on shortening commutes within a given metro region.

Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Women's Film Institute

 

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival in Colorado Springs. It’s the longest continuously running women’s film festival in North America. Between Friday night and Sunday, viewers can catch dozens of films at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and in venues across the Colorado College campus.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Tuesday's election in Colorado saw voters across the state weigh in on everything from tax increases to school board and mayoral races. 

In El Paso County, unofficial results show voters embracing a slate of tax increases and spending measures, including a $14.5-million TABOR retention for I-25 and other infrastructure needs, a new fee in Colorado Springs to pay for stormwater projects, and a $42-million tax increase for District 11, Colorado Springs’ largest school district.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Musician Harriett Landrum is a longtime resident of Colorado Springs. Over the years, she's performed solo and as part of the duo, the Hopeful Heroines. Recently, she's been making music as her singer-songwriter act, My Name is Harriett.

Landrum came into the 91.5 KRCC studio in October to perform two songs for a recent episode of Air Check. She also talked to Jake Brownell about her use of loop pedals and the emotional release performing brings her.

Matt Chmielarczyk / Matt Chmielarczyk Photography

On this episode of Air Check we bring you a special in studio performance from a pioneer of American punk rock, the front man to X, Mr. John Doe. We also revisit the Bells of St. Vrain, a local group of musicians whose art has a lovely sound that fits in perfectly with the upcoming holiday season, and meet with a group of theater pipe organ enthusiasts working to keep the instrument alive. All that and our favorite new releases on Air Check. 

Carole Henson / Wikimedia Creative Commons

The City of Manitou Springs is calling on artists nationwide to submit proposals for a public art installation in the city. The winning proposal will receive up to 15,000 dollars from the city to pay for materials, manufacture, and installation of a durable, 3-dimensional piece of art. 

City of Colorado Springs

 

Great Outdoors Colorado, or GOCO, has awarded $60,750 to Colorado Springs-based conservation group, Palmer Land Trust. The grant will fund efforts to recruit a new generation into the cause of land conservation. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

For the second time in three years, stormwater is on the ballot in Colorado Springs. It's not an issue readily apparent until it rains, when small ponds often fill the streets of the city. It also presents a legal issue with the city's southern neighbor. A proposed fee, backed by the mayor and a majority of city council, would raise money to fund improvements and maintenance on the city's stormwater infrastructure. Proponents hope this effort will succeed where others have failed.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The recent events in Las Vegas have many people wondering what they can do to help address gun violence in this country. For some, it means calling their congressperson or signing petitions. For one man in Colorado Springs, it means offering people a symbolic way to dispose of their firearms. His organization, founded in 2013, is called RAWtools, and it takes unwanted guns and turns them into gardening tools.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

This week on Air check we have a special collection of performances and interviews from local and national talent. Local group Cocordion sits down with Vicky to shares the story of how they came together and discusses their new album, Expectations; Harriett Landrum, aka My Name is Harriett, performs some of her solo work and talks with Jake about her process of building a big sound through looping; And finally, G Love drops by to play a couple songs and chat with Vicky about his illustrious career. 

Claire Holt

Some of the biggest names in contemporary poetry and literature will be coming to Colorado Springs as part of a new lecture series called Converge. New York-based poet Marie Howe kicks off the series this Sunday, October 1, at the Pinery at the Hill in Colorado Springs. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

 

Local musician Jackson Jason leads something of a double life. The 19-year-old lives in Widefield, Colorado, where he grew up, and works as a janitor at Fort Carson. He spends a lot of his free time making music, but says most of his friends and family aren’t too interested the sample-based electronic tracks he produces.

But on the internet, it’s a different story. In online communities dedicated to sharing music – on sites like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube, and Reddit – he has a huge following. Fans from around the world have flocked to his music, and his tracks have generated more than a million plays on Soundcloud alone. 

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs Utilities is researching the possibility of closing its Martin Drake Power Plant sooner than a previously established 2035 deadline. Early results from a new survey suggest public support for such a move.

Courtesy of the City of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs City Council president Richard Skorman has issued a formal proclamation designating October 9th, 2017 as Indigenous Peoples' Day. The move places Colorado Springs in the company of such cities as Portland, Minneapolis, and Denver, all of which have voted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day on the federal holiday known as Columbus Day.

Robyn Walsh / Via Miette Hope

Musician and Colorado Springs native Miette "Mimi" Hope caught a big break in 2014, when she was awarded a full scholarship from Vans to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the years since, she has performed with John Mayer, collaborated with the Boston Conservatory, and released a number of recordings, both solo and with her band, Auva. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

From PTSD to traumatic brain injuries, the invisible wounds of war can be just as devastating as the physical ones. And for some, that service-related trauma can lead to other issues, including problems with the law. In Colorado's 4th Judicial District, which encompasses El Paso and Teller Counties, there’s a court program designed for vets with trauma who've been charged with certain misdemeanors and low-level felonies. It's called the Veterans Trauma Court, and it was recently recognized as a national leader among similar programs around the country.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The Imagination Celebration is giving area residents the opportunity to connect to distant lands and cultures from right here in Colorado Springs. As part of the annual What If Festival in downtown Colorado Springs this Saturday, the Imagination Celebration has stationed a "portal" -- a golden shipping container outfitted with a camera, microphone, and an eight-by-eight-foot projection screen -- at the Pioneers Museum. The portal functions like a giant, community Skype box, linking up with other portals stationed in places as diverse as Gaza, Berlin, and Brooklyn.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Colorado Springs Tuesday to protest the Trump administration’s decision to end the program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program was created by the Obama administration in 2012, and allowed certain people who had entered the United States illegally as children to apply for work permits and protection from deportation. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

This week on Air Check we to talk to local electronic musician Jackson Jason about his surprising rise to fame on the internet; Colorado Springs native Miette Hope reflects on her musical career and her time so far studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston; We hear singers from Gaza, a violinist in Rwanda, and more through a portal in front of the Pioneers Museum in downtown Colorado Springs; and we take a minute to talk about some of our favorite local music.

Here at 91.5 KRCC, we're committed to showcasing the best music Southern Colorado has to offer on our nightly music mix and through interviews, reviews, and in-studio performances on our show, Air Check.

Now, we're offering one more way to keep track of all the great music being made in Southern Colorado: a regularly updated Spotify playlist that you can listen to anytime. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Cold Heart Revival began with a fateful encounter at an open mic night in Colorado Springs. 

"I'm originally from New Jersey, and my job had moved me out to the Springs," says guitarist and lead vocalist Stephen Masi. "I'm really bad at meeting people so I was like, 'I'm just gonna play a bunch of open mics and try to connect with some folks.'"

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The long-awaited solar eclipse wowed viewers across the country Monday. Here in Colorado Springs -- though not quite in the "path of totality" -- clear blue skies made for great viewing of a 90% partial eclipse, and crowds gathered across the city to catch the spectacle.

CLARISSA VILLONDO / BRIGHTESTYOUNGTHINGS.COM

Tomás Pagán Motta has been a favorite artist of 91.5 KRCC DJs since he released his impressive self-titled debut album in 2015. Now, the Maryland native has a new album, Living A Lie, and is embarking on a national tour in support. His first stop will be here in Colorado Springs for a special 91.5 KRCC concert with in/PLANES at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center on Friday, August 11.

In advance of that (sold out) show, Pagán Motta spoke with Vicky Gregor about his new album, his approach to songwriting, and how his song "My My (Living a Lie)" found its way into an episode of the Netflix comedy, Flaked.

Jeff DeWitt / Courtesy of Woodshed Red

On this episode of Air Check, members of the band Woodshed Red serve up a bluegrass take on Pink Floyd and discuss their eclectic influences in the studio at 91.5 KRCC; Cold Heart Revival performs a few songs from their debut LP, Over The Water; representatives from Flux Capacitor and Pikes Peak Library District explain how a beloved DIY space found a new home in the local library; Tomás Pagán Motta shares his thoughts on songwriting, touring, and hearing his own music on the Netflix TV show, Flaked; and we share our favorite songs from the past month.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Efforts to manage and preserve the Colorado River are getting a boost from the Walton Family Foundation, which has pledged $20 million over the next two years to fund projects aimed at water conservation and restoring river ecosystems.

Steven De La Roche

Nina de Freitas is no stranger to the music business. Her father, Carlinhos Brown, is a popular Brazilian recording artist with several Latin Grammies and an Oscar nomination to his name. Her mother is a musician as well. Born in Brazil, de Freitas moved with her mom to the US at age 3, and has spent much of her life in Colorado. 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Members of the Colorado Springs arts and music community are celebrating a new partnership between the Pikes Peak Library District and local DIY arts groups. Among them is Flux Capacitor, a popular local warehouse music venue, which was shuttered in December due to fire code violations.

Through the partnership, Flux Capacitor, or "The Flux,” and others will be able to host concerts and events in the Knights of Columbus Hall, a historic building owned by PPLD, located west of the downtown library at 25 W Kiowa St. The building has been largely unused for years. 

Pages