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

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

 

The Colorado Springs park system fell four spots this year in a national ranking put out by the non-profit Trust for Public Land. The organization cites below-average park funding as a primary reason. 

The ranking looks at the 100 largest cities in the country, and evaluates them based on factors including park acreage, accessibility, and amenities. This year, Colorado Springs ranked 46th.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC


Peak Curiosity is a community-driven reporting series from 91.5 KRCC. We ask listeners to submit their questions about the Pikes Peak region and Southern Colorado, and then we answer them. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to submit your question!

Briffaut

On this  episode of Air Check, Dr. Steve Hayward -- co-host of A Day In the Life on 91.5 KRCC -- joins us for the musical roundtable discussion, Paulina Ukrainets talks with Colorado Springs based musician Gwen Wolfenbarger, AKA Seal Eggs, about her music and inspiration, and we have an in-studio performance from Briffaut playing a song from their newest release Helsinki.

Blue Flower Arts

 

For our second episode of the Converge Lecture Series Podcast, we're joined by poet Richard Blanco.

If you watched the second inauguration of Barack Obama in 2013, then you're familiar with Blanco's work. The White House asked him to write and read a poem for the occasion, making him one of only five writers ever to have held the title, “Inaugural Poet,” a distinction he shares with Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. He was also the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to hold the position.

El Paso County PIO, Twitter

 

Conditions across southern Colorado are dry, and they’re expected to stay that way as we move into the summer months. That has officials preparing for what could be a difficult fire season.

El Paso County PIO, Twitter

--- Update 4/19/18, 9:45 p.m. ---

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is reporting that the #117Fire has been completely contained.

--- Update 4/19/18, 7:30 a.m. ---

The #117Fire is now estimated at 60% containment, with little to no growth. It remains nearly 41,000 acres. The state's Type II team has officially taken over command of fighting the fire as of 6 a.m. There's a new fire information phone number: 719-428-5223 (from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.).

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

It’s been nearly two years since residents in southern El Paso County learned their drinking water contained potentially unsafe levels of chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs (also referred to as PFAS). The chemicals were long used in products ranging from non-stick pans to industrial fire fighting foams, and they’ve been linked in recent years to certain cancers and other health conditions.

Ohio-based attorney Rob Bilott has been working on cases related to PFC contamination since the late 90s, and is credited with helping to bring the issue to light nationally through his litigation in West Virginia. He’s not affiliated with a local lawsuit against manufacturers of the PFC-containing firefighting foams thought to be responsible for contamination in the Widefield aquifer, but he’ll be speaking about the issue at Mesa Ridge High School in Widefield on Tuesday, 4/17, at 7 p.m.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs is the second best place to live in America, according to a new ranking out from the U.S. News and World Report, and city officials are celebrating the recognition.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

On this week's episode of Air Check, local audiophile and music enthusiast Chris O'Shea sits in on the musical roundtable discussion, Low Cut Connie talks with Vicky and plays a couple songs in studio, and we suggest a few concerts that we think you might enjoy attending in the near future.   

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

 

As the march for gun reform in downtown Colorado Springs was winding down this weekend, 91.5 KRCC noticed something a little bit unexpected. Seated at a table in Acacia Park on the periphery of the rally were a man and woman wearing hats that immediately betrayed their political differences.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Hundreds of people, possibly 1000 or more, turned out in Colorado Springs Saturday to protest gun violence and call for legislative action on the issue. The downtown rally was part of a nationwide action, dubbed #MarchForOurLives, organized by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Colorado Springs FIre Department @CSFDPIO

Residents who have been evacuated due to a fire along the El Paso-Pueblo County line can start returning to their homes, with the exception of three locations. The fire, which started Friday on Fort Carson near a training exercise, has burned 3300 acres and is 80% contained as of late afternoon Saturday. 

Colorado Springs FIre Department @CSFDPIO

7:00 p.m.: In a press briefing Friday evening, officials confirmed that several structures have been lost in the fire, but said no loss of life or injury has been reported. El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said most of the threatened structures are believed to be safe at this point, and that fire crews are focused now on extinguishing the blaze. He said he hopes the fire will be out before midnight.

A spokesperson for Fort Carson explained that the blaze -- which was sparked on Fort Carson and joined up with another flare up that started in the area yesterday -- began in the vicinity of a training exercise that was being conducted on post. He added that the training was necessary and could not have been delayed, despite red flag fire conditions in the region Friday.

Matt Chmielarczyk

On this episode of Air Check, local musician Nina de Freitas picks a favorite new tune and sits in on the musical roundtable discussion, Dar Williams plays a couple songs in the 91.5 KRCC studio and talks with Vicky about her love affair with America's towns and cities, and some local music aficionados tell us about their concert picks in the weeks to come.

City of Colorado Springs

The 2018 Winter Olympics came to a close in Pyoengchang this past weekend. Meanwhile, the city of Denver is actively exploring whether to make a bid for the Winter Games in coming years. With all this Olympic news swirling around, we thought it would be a good time to check in with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, to discuss the impact of the games on Colorado Springs -- so called Olympic City, USA.

Charlie Riedel / AP

The City of Denver is exploring the possibility of an Olympic bid for a future Winter Games. Officials are studying the potential cost to the city and whether residents support the idea.

Jim Mone / AP

 

Manufacturing and chemical giant 3M will pay $850 million to settle a lawsuit with the state of Minnesota over groundwater contaminated with Perfluorinated Compounds, or PFCs. 3M is also one of several companies named in a lawsuit over PFC contamination identified in El Paso County drinking water in 2016.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Authorities released more information Tuesday about the circumstances and victims of a shootout in Colorado Springs that left El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Micah Flick dead, and three other law enforcement officers wounded.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Updated 2/6/18 at 12:05pm

34-year-old El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Micah Flick, an 11-year-veteran of the department, was killed Monday afternoon as law enforcement officers investigated a stolen vehicle in east Colorado Springs.

David Moffly / Baeble Music

On this episode of Air Check, hear a special in-studio performance and interview with Suzanne Santo of the Americana band HoneyHoney. We also bring you our favorite upcoming concert recommendations, as well as the usual musical roundtable, with a twist. 

David Crosby

For our first episode of the Converge Lecture Series Podcast, we're joined by writer George Saunders.

Saunders has been dazzling readers for more than two decades with his essays, articles, short stories, and now his debut novel: Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction last year.

    

In partnership with Converge Lecture Series, 91.5 KRCC presents a new podcast dedicated to exploring big ideas with some of the biggest writers and thinkers around.

Fortress Press

Amber Cantorna was raised in a devout Christian family in Colorado Springs -- the daughter of an executive at the powerful Colorado Springs-based conservative Christian ministry, Focus on the Family. She was homeschooled, deeply involved with the church, and a firm believer in the religious values espoused by the organization. This included Focus' stance on the topic of marriage, which Cantorna characterizes as being "strictly between one man and one woman, and that was not to be debated -- that was a very black-and-white issue. And the LGBT community was seen as destroying the family unit." 

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs Police have arrested 31-year old Neal Joseph Arnceneaux in connection with an incident that kept areas of northeast Colorado Springs cordoned off Friday afternoon and into the night. 

The initial incident occurred after CSPD responded to a domestic violence call Friday around 3:40 p.m. on Union Blvd., says Lt. Howard Black. He says shots were exchanged between the suspect and police.  No one was hit.

National Resources Conservation Service / www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov

Southern Colorado progressed from abnormally dry to moderate drought this week, according to the latest data from the US Drought Monitor. This comes as the region -- like the rest of the state -- is also seeing unusually low snowpack.

Courtesy of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Peak Curiosity is a community-driven reporting series from 91.5 KRCC. We ask listeners to submit their questions about the Pikes Peak region and Southern Colorado, and then we answer them. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to submit your question!

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

After days of sustained outrage, the city of Colorado Springs has taken down a large blue frame erected last week in Garden of the Gods.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

UPDATE: As of mid-day Monday, 12/18/17, the city had removed the frame.

ORIGINAL STORY--FRIDAY 12/15/17: A newly-installed structure at Garden of the Gods has local outdoor enthusiasts crying foul. In a widely shared post on Facebook, the outdoor adventure non-profit UpaDowna brought the frame to the attention of its followers, many of whom have described the structure as “ugly” and a blight on the natural beauty of the park. 

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 2017's final Air Check episode, we sat down in the studio to reminisce about our favorite songs and albums. Last year was a stellar period 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. 

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