Jake Brownell

Producer/Host -- Wish We Were Here & The Big Something Radio Programme

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 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 KRCC's Off Topic, and more recently as co-producer and host of Wish We Were Here and The Big Something Radio Programme. Jake is a firm believer that public radio is an oasis of journalistic and  intellectual integrity in today's hypersaturated media landscape, and he hopes to be a part of it for a long time to come. 

Ways to Connect

On this episode of The Big Something, author Brett McCracken discusses his book Hipster Chrisitianity, When Church and Cool Collide ; Daniel James Brown shares the incredible story of how a young team of working class American rowers beat the odds--and the Nazis--at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin; Rock Climber Alex Honnold talks about his career climbing some of the most iconic rock walls in the world, with no rope; and we bring you an episode of the show HumaNature from Wyoming Public Radio about a search and rescue mission in the Rocky Mountains.

PPLD Digital Photo Archive, image 001-5305

When you hear the name Ivywild these days, you likely think of the old school turned brewery and market just south of I-25 in Colorado Springs. But Ivywild, a whole neighborhood at the foot of the Broadmoor, was once a small suburb of Colorado Springs with a history as rich and colorful as any city in Colorado. Authors Molly Merry and Linda Johnson recently revived some of that history in a small book titled "Ivywild: A Treasure Filled Neighborhood History".

Colorado Springs Public Market

Local rancher and owner of Ranch Foods Direct, Mike Callicrate, describes the role of a public market in a city as that of the kitchen in a home. It's a place where people congregate and create community around food. For Callicrate and other board members of the Colorado Springs Public Market project, Colorado Springs is a city sorely in need of such a place.

On this episode of The Big Something: filmmaker Nathan Ward discusses The Rider and the Wolf, his new documentary about the disappearance of Colorado Mountain Bike pioneer, Mike Rust; Representatives of the Colorado Springs Public Market talk about the past, present, and future of the Public Market project; Local author Molly Merry recounts colorful stories from Colorado Springs’ Ivywild Neighborhood; and we revisit an interview with Senga Nengudi in advance of her upcoming appearance at the Gallery of Contemporary Art.

On this episode of Wish We Were Here, we bring you three stories from three current or former Colorado springs residents, completely unknown to one another. All three of these stories are  tied together by one man: Lorne Greene.

Tom Ross

Colorado Springs musician Tom Ross has dedicated much of his life to studying the music of different cultures around the globe and integrating those global influences into his own work as a composer. Ross was raised in Colorado Springs, where he trained with the legendary jazz guitarist Johnny Smith as a young man. He eventually made his way to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he earned a PhD in Ethnomusicology.

Local reporter and restaurant critic Bryce Crawford has a new gig.


On this episode of The Big Something Radio Programme, sociologist and author Kathy Giuffre discusses her first novel, The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato; food writer and reporter Bryce Crawford talks dining in the Pikes Peak region; and local musician Tom Ross takes us on a tour of his global musical influences. 



On Episode 7 of The Big Something Radio Programme we hear from the soon-to-be newest member of the Colorado state Supreme Court, Richard Gabriel; we bring you an interview with Artist Rodney wood, about Artocade: Trinidad’s Art Car Parade; Eliot Gray Fisher of Austin Based ARCOS dance discusses The Warriors: A Love Story, a multimedia performance coming to colorado springs; And lastly, we check in with members of

On this episode of Wish We Were Here, we bring you the story of Ron Stallworth. In the 1970s, he became the first black detective ever to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. He's also the author of Black Klansman, a memoir about one of his most memorable investigations, which you'll hear about in this episode.


In this segment from The Big Something Radio Programme, we bring you a conversation recorded by StoryCorps in Colorado Springs, featuring Greg Wickherst and Jason Belcher. Greg Wickherst is a single father of a three-year-old daughter named Izzy. While working as an admissions rep at IntelliTec college in Pueblo, he began taking cosmetology classes to learn how to do his daughter’s hair, and posted pictures of the hairstyles he was learning on Facebook.

In this episode of The Big Something we talk to a Greg Lutze, a Manitou Springs native who co-founded a digital photography company that aspires to be the Kodak of the 21st century; Legendary poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder speaks with us about his long and storied career; Writer Mia Alvarado takes us on a field trip to Stoner's Laundry, a laundromat that’s been a gathering place for a small neighborhood at the edge of downtown Colorado Springs for decades; And fathers Jason Belcher and Greg Wickherst discuss their relationships with their daughters in a conversation recorded b

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830, Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson attended the same primary school, and received similar educational instruction in Philosophy, History, Botany and Latin. Later in life, Jackson, residing in Colorado Springs, would begin a correspondence with Dickinson after being introduced to her work by Atlantic Monthly Editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson. In this correspondence, Jackson would implore the reclusive Dickinson to share her work. With the exception of getting one poem of Dickinson's published anonymously, Jackson was largely unsuccessful.

Daisy McGowan is the Director and Curator at the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art in Colorado Springs. For GOCA's second biennial exhibition Bright Young Things, McGowan aims to reflect the diverse background of emerging artists working in the Colorado Front Range Corridor. The show will run from July 10th until August 29th, and feature collaborative performance, ceramics, photography, painting and work in other media from 8 artists.

On any summer weekend, a visit to one of the Pikes Peak region's many open spaces proves just how popular and valuable Colorado Springs' natural recourses are. In last week's episode of The Big Something, Susan Davies, Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition, and "Hiking" Bob Falcone, President of the Friends of Cheyenne Canyon sat down with Noel Black to discuss trail work, future projects, and what makes Colorado Springs' access to the outdoors so special. 

On Episode #6 of The Big Something, Susan Davies and Bob Falcone and open space coalition discuss trails and open space in Colorado Springs; Poet Robin Izer tells us about the fateful correspondence between Emily Dickinson and Colorado Springs transplant Helen Hunt Jackson; GOCA Director Daisy McGowen talks front range art in honor of the 2nd biennial Bright Young Things Exhibit; And Deepa Daya tells her amazing story of gaining physical sight at the age of 30.


On the evening of June 17th, a young white man opened fire on a group of black churchgoers after bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, killing nine people.

In this segment from last week's episode of the Big Something, Noel Black brings you a profile of beloved Manitou artist Charles Rockey. He just released a book of fables and illuminations--Love Songs of Middle Time--that he’s been working on for the past 15 years. You can buy copies of the book at the Manitou Art Center, the Manitou Heritage Center, and Miramont Castle in Manitou.

During the Cold War, the Army began making land acquisitions to develop a training site where mountain post soldiers could prepare for war in an environment similar to potential areas for deployment. The result was the establishment of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, an over 200,000 acre training area in Southeastern Colorado. More than 20 years later, in 2006, the Army sought to expand the site. Instead, they met a local organized resistance, and were unable to extend their training ground.  

Wolf Creek Pass is a multi-lane highway, winding through the San Juan Mountains between South Fork and Pagosa Springs. The high mountain pass is renowned for its grand views of the San Juan valley, river, and waterfalls, along with its National Forest access. In the last couple of years, however, the most noticeable part of Wolf Creek Pass is that much of the once thriving green spruce forest has now died off and turned red. In this segment from last week's episode of The Big Something, Emelie Frojen investigates.

 Last month, KRCC welcomed StoryCorps and their mobile booth back to Colorado Springs.  StoryCorps, a non-profit organization, dedicates itself to recording and preserving the oral histories of people from all backgrounds. They store these records at the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress. In the following interview, Colorado Springs' first female mayor, Mary Lou Makepeace, and current Colorado Springs Councilwoman Jan Martin sit down together to discuss what it means to be a woman in politics.

On this episode of The Big Something Radio Programme, news director Andrea Chalfin speaks with the authors of a paper about the conflict between the military and ranchers in Piñon Canyon; Big Something intern Emelie Frojen looks into the beetle kill on Wolf Creek Pass; Former Colorado Springs Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace and former City Councilwoman Jan Martin look back on their careers in politics; And a portrait of Manitou artist Charles Rockey as he releases a book of fables and illuminations 15 years in the making.


The late Myron Wood was one of the most prolific  photographers of the Pikes Peak Region and Southwest during the 20th Century. Though he himself never achieved the degree of fame that his talents might merit, students of his such as Robert Adams gained renown in the New Landscape movement.

Journalist and novelist Peter Heller has led a life of adventure, covering extraordinary stories in remote parts of the world for such magazines as Outside, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He’s the author of several critically acclaimed books of nonfiction, and more recently, he’s made a foray into fiction-writing with his bestselling novel The Dog Stars and his new book, The Painter. He’ll be in Colorado Springs to speak at Colorado College on Wednesday as part of the Journalist-In-Residence speaker series.

On this month’s episode of The Big Something we talk to a Greg Lutze, a Manitou Springs native who co-founded a digital photography company that aspires to be the Kodak of the 21st century; Legendary poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder speaks with us about his long and storied career; And writer Mia Alvarado takes us on a field trip to Stoner's Laundry, a laundromat that’s been a gathering place for a small neighborhood at the edge of downtown Colorado Springs for decades.


San Simeon Films

Poet and essayist Gary Snyder is something of a living legend. He first rose to prominence in San Francisco in the 1950s as a central figure in the Beat Movement and San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. He read his poem “A Berry Feast” at the reading at which Allen Ginsberg debuted the poem “Howl,” and he was the inspiration for the character Japhy Ryder in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel, The Dharma Bums.

Noel Black

(Many poems in the slideshow NSFW or young eyes.)

In this episode of Wish We Were Here, we tell the story of Colorado Springs native Brian "Scoop" Nemeth, a man with high-functioning autism whose singular goal in life is to become "The Black Bill O'Reilly" — a national news and opinion anchor on the Fox News Network's prime-time broadcast.

In 2002, retired FBI and CIA investigator Charlie Hess began writing letters Robert Charles Browne, a convicted murderer who claimed to have killed dozens of other people around the country. This episode of Wish We Were Here tells the story of their correspondence and the cold cases Hess would close with Browne's help.

Episode #5 of Wish We Were Here airs Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 8 at 4 p.m.

You can subscribe to the podcast HERE.

Over the course of his career at NPR, Peter Breslow has covered stories all over the world—from war zones in the Middle East to a blues bar in Alabama. In the process, he’s earned some of the most prestigious awards in journalism. Now a senior producer at Weekend Edition, he’s helped to define the sound and scope of one of NPR’s signature programs. Breslow is in town teaching at Colorado College this month, and he’ll be giving a talk tomorrow on the CC campus. KRCC’s Jake Brownell spoke with Breslow in advance of that talk.