Jake Brownell

News & Programming

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 2014-2016's Wish We Were Here and previous to that, The Big Something Radio Programme. Jake now oversees production of our music program, Air Check. Jake is a firm believer that public radio is an oasis of journalistic and  intellectual integrity in today's hyper saturated media landscape, and he hopes to be a part of it for a long time to come. 

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of the Pikes Peak Library District

 

In the mid-20th Century, a man named Robert LeFevre (pronounced Luh-FAVE) created a small mountain academy just north of Colorado Springs called The Freedom School. The school, and his teachings, played an important role in the popularization of libertarianism in America. They also helped shape the minds of some of the the most powerful men in American industry and politics, not the least of which were Charles and David Koch, aka The Koch Brothers--two of the wealthiest men in the world.

On this episode of Wish We Were Here we tell the nearly-forgotten story of LeFevre and his short-lived libertarian boot camp.

millicentxo.com

Colorado Springs native Emily Knurr is bringing a new sound to the local music scene with her synth-pop project, Millicent. Formerly a singer-songwriter of the acoustic variety, Knurr turned her attention to dance beats and electronic production in 2013, and Millicent was born. In the years since, she's released several singles, a self-produced album and, most recently, the excellent EP, DeuxProduced in collaboration with Denver's Charlie FitzDeux has caught the attention of bloggers, music writers, and fans around the country with its catchy hooks, lush sonic textures, and impressive vocal performances from Knurr. 

Stoney Bertz has been making waves in the Colorado Springs music scene since 2011, when she released her first album Fades and Green Stuff on SoundCloud. She’s been on an upward trajectory ever since, creating a steady stream of excellent records and earning a reputation for her sharp lyricism and infectious flow. In 2015 she won Best Solo Hip-Hop Artist at the Colorado Springs Indy Music Awards.

On this episode of Air Check:

Colorado Springs hip hop artist Stoney Bertz tells us about about how high school debate camp influenced her approach to songwriting; Local synth-pop group Millicent joins us for an in-studio performance and interview; Our very own Iggy Igloo shares some music from a genre that’s very close to his heart; And, at the end of the show, we discuss the summer concert season at Red Rocks and tell you how you can win tickets to some amazing upcoming shows.

Noel Black

On this weekend’s special episode of Wish We Were Here, we take a close look at all sides of the proposed Broadmoor land swap deal and the way that open space defines Colorado Springs as a city.

At the heart of deal lies a 189 acre undeveloped piece of parkland at the southwestern corner of the city called Strawberry Fields. It’s been the subject of more than a dozen public meetings, myriad news stories, a widely circulated petition, and a fierce debate on social media.

UPDATE: Colorado Springs City Council has voted 6-3 to approve the land swap with the Broadmoor. Stay tuned to KRCC in the coming days for more. 

Jake Brownell / KRCC

The city of Colorado Springs released its appraisals of the properties at issue in a proposed land exchange with the Broadmoor Hotel yesterday. This comes amidst mounting criticism over what some have described as a lack of transparency in the process.

Amy Rawn

On a warm Saturday afternoon at their home in Pueblo Colorado, Fletcher and Olympia Holiday are preparing to rip out the one-by-ten foot section of wall adjacent to their front door.

By their side is Colorado Springs beekeeper Lazarus Fields. All three of them are outfitted in mesh head nets, gloves and full-body protective clothing. Behind the wall, there is a colony of honeybees numbering in the thousands. If you stand close enough, you can hear their persistent hum.

The membership drive is underway at KRCC right now, and for this episode Air Check we decided to take the opportunity to look back at some of our favorite artist interviews and in-studio performances that we've hosted at KRCC over the past few years. On this episode, we revisit a conversation with Shearwater frontman, Jonathan Meiburg, an in-studio performance from in/PLANES -- the new project of Haunted Windchimes members Desirae Garcia and Inaiah Lujan -- and an interview and in-studio performance from Neil Halstead of the legendary shoegaze band, Slowdive. All that plus a round-up of some of our favorite tracks from the last month and a remembrance of Prince, who died on April 21st. 

Screen Grab from THE RIDER AND THE WOLF by Grit and Thistle Film Company

UPDATE: On Monday, 4/25/16, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation officially confirmed that the remains found in January in Saguache County were those of Mike Rust. An investigation into Rust's death is ongoing. Stay tuned to KRCC for more information. 

On this special episode of Wish We Were Here: Tales and Investigations from the Shadows of America's Mountain, we worked with Nathan Ward at Grit and Thistle Film Company to produce an audio version of last year's documentary The Rider and the Wolf about the life and disappearance of Hall-of-Fame mountain biker Mike Rust. Rust went missing from his home in Colorado's remote San Luis Valley on March 31, 2009. On January 8, 2016, the remains of a body that may be Mike Rust's were discovered after a tip came in to the Saguache County Sheriff's Department.

Jake Brownell / KRCC

In January, the Colorado Springs Parks Department unveiled a plan to trade city land to the Broadmoor in exchange for several pieces of property owned by the hotel. Heralded by proponents as an opportunity to expand upon and enhance the city's park system, the plan has garnered criticism from residents who want the most significant parcel, known as Strawberry Hill, to remain in the public's hands.

Jake Brownell

Air Check is a new show from KRCC highlighting great music from the Pikes Peak region and beyond. 

If you’ve ever been to KRCC and seen the 20,000 CDs in our filing cabinets, and the 20,000 records in our vinyl vault, then you know that we are serious about music. Think of Air Check as a showcase for all the incredible music that lives at KRCC. We’ll introduce you to things you may have missed, take a closer look at genres and artists we think you’ll love, and invite local and touring musicians into the studio for exclusive interviews and in-studio performances. 

In this, the second episode of Air Check, we bring you an interview and in-studio performance with the Seattle-based indie folk group, Hey Marseilles; Our very own Dick Fairley, host of the Thursday Evening Jazz excursion, tells us about the history of women in jazz; We remember the life and work of George Martin, AKA the Fifth Beatle; and we review some of our favorite new releases from the last month.

Photo copyright Nancy Wood, used with permission from the Nancy Wood Literary Trust

A 12-year-old girl in blue jeans probably isn’t the first thing you picture when you hear the word paleontologist. But in 1979, young India Wood discovered a bone on a ranch in northwest Colorado that would change her life. For the next three years, Wood single-handedly excavated a site that would yield one of the finest Allosaurus fossils ever found. This is her story.

Jake Brownell

Air Check is a brand new show from KRCC highlighting great music from the Pikes Peak region and beyond. 

If you’ve ever been to KRCC and seen the 20,000 CDs in our filing cabinets, and the 20,000 records in our vinyl vault, then you know that we are serious about music. Think of Air Check as a showcase for all the incredible music that lives at KRCC. We’ll introduce you to things you may have missed, take a closer look at genres and artists we think you’ll love, and invite local and touring musicians into the studio for exclusive interviews and in-studio performances. 

Courtesy of Dan Crossey

Most people think of Pikes Peak as a tourist destination – the Fourteener with a highway and a donut shop on top. But for many local mountaineers, climbers and skiers, Pikes Peak is also a wilderness playground. For backcountry skiers Dan Crossey, Mike Houston, Bill Blair, and Nate Porter Pikes Peak was like their backyard. But on April 25, 1995, what should’ve been a routine day of Spring skiing on Pikes Peak quickly turned into a nightmare.

On this episode of The Big Something: local comic book artist Langdon Foss discusses his recent 4-short comic The Surface; retired Navy seal and author of the book Navy Seal Shooting, Chris Sajnog, discusses his thoughts on what it means to be a responsible gun owner; Big Something intern Charlie Neaves tells the story of Mission Wolf, an off-the-grid wolf sanctuary in the mountains west of Pueblo; and Jake Brownell sits down with KRCC Music Director Vicky Gregor to look back at the life and work of the late David Bowie. All that today on The Big Something.

If you’ve ever been curious about how the KRCC Radio Show and Podcast Wish We Were Here is produced, where we get our ideas, and what our plans for the future of the show might be, please join us at the Innovation Institute next Thursday, January 21st.

We’ll be sharing clips, talking about the process of putting together a show, and taking questions from  4 p.m. to 5:30 in the Morreale Carriage House.

The event is free and open to the public. Join us at 4 p.m just behind the Morreale House at 1130 North Cascade.

Noel Black

With a national debate raging about the 2nd Amendment, we went to meet a man who epitomizes the right to bear arms: Dragonman. Born Mel Bernstein in Brooklyn, NY in 1945, Dragonman claims to be the most armed citizen in the state of Colorado. Among the five businesses he operates on his 240 acre property at the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, Dragonman is perhaps best known for his gunshop and the shooting range where he hosts an annual machine gun shoot. But there's more to Dragonman than guns and bluster.

With 2015 coming to an end, we thought it was time to invite KRCC Program Director Jeff Bieri and Music Director Vicky Gregor into the studio to discuss their favorite music from 2015. In this special episode of The Big Something, Jeff and Vicky count down their top ten albums/songs of the year. 

On this episode of The Big Something: In-depth Conversation on Culture and Ideas in the Pikes Peak region, we speak with outgoing Museum Director at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Blake Milteer, and his soon-to-be successor, Joy Armstrong; Author Jonathan Marcantoni talks about his new book and the mentorship program that he created for aspiring writers; Author Jeffrey Hobbs speaks with fellow writer Helen Thorpe about his bestselling book, “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace,”; and Big Something intern Madi Howard brings us the story of a new publication devoted to amplifying the voices of the homeless in Colorado Springs.

 

 

Tuesday at 7pm, Colorado College will host a conversation between authors Helen Thorpe and Jeff Hobbs. Helen Thorpe’s writing has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and elsewhere, and her books—Soldier Girls, and Just Like Us—have been widely praised by critics. Jeff Hobbs is the author of The Tourists: A Novel, and more recently, the New York Times bestseller, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. In advance of their upcoming talk, Thorpe interviewed Hobbs for KRCC about his book, which explores issues of race, class, and social inequality, through the life and untimely death of Hobbs’ good friend and college roommate.

For more information on the event, which is free to the public and will take place in Gaylord Hall on the Colorado College campus, click HERE.

For many years in the 1990s and 2000s, Colorado Springs was so synonymous with conservative evangelical Christianity that it earned the nickname "The Evangelical Vatican." But in late-2006, Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church--then one of the most prominent and influential evangelical churches in the country--was exposed for buying crystal meth and soliciting the services of a male prostitute. The small empire that Haggard and other evangelical leaders, like Focus on the Family's James Dobson, had built in the shadow of Pikes Peak almost immediately crumbled. But the churches, people, and culture that was established during those boom years remained.  Set adrift, this evangelical community was suddenly forced to look inward for direction after a decades-long pursuit of cultural and political power that had come to a screeching halt.

On this episode of Wish We Were Here, we speak to pastors, historians, ex-evangelicals, post-evangelicals, Christ-followers and more in an effort to understand where the Colorado Springs evangelical community has been, and where it's going.

Screenshot from a shared video of the proceedings

The alleged gunman in Friday’s shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood appeared in court for the first time today. KRCC’s Jake Brownell attended the hearing at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, and has this report:

 

    

As reporters and cameramen awaited the first advisement hearing of Robert Lewis Dear, a line of squad cars formed across the street, in front of the El Paso County Coroner's office.

Noel Black

44-year-old Officer Garrett Swasey has been identified as the police officer killed in today's incident. Swasey was a six-year veteran of the UCCS Police Department, and was responding in support of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

UPDATE: 7:00 PM MST:  Colorado Springs police are confirming three fatalities, two civilians and one police officer from UCCS.

Four other civilians and five officers are in the hospital in "good condition."

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.

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