Press Release

How We Got to Now: New Podcast Catches Up with Surging Regional Growth

Through grant funding and institutional support, "Lost Highways" brings journalists inside a trove of hidden truths about the Rocky Mountain West.

DENVER, Colo. (AUGUST 29, 2019)—Colorado has stories to tell. Some of the best are buried deep inside archives, hidden within the collection of two million photographs, 200,000 artifacts, and 11 million documents that History Colorado has built over the past 140 years. This fall, a new podcast brings them to light.

Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains, a biweekly History Colorado podcast presented by the Sturm Family Foundation, harnesses the power of storytelling to support deeper and more inclusive dialogues on Colorado, the greater Rocky Mountain region, and the nation. Following an official launch event on Friday, September 13, the inaugural six-episode season debuts Wednesday, September 18 via, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and everywhere podcasts are found.

Season one explores the roots of familiar contemporary topics such as talk-radio culture, same-sex marriage, and American Indian mascots. It also mines insights from stories on Japanese incarceration and forced relocation during World War II, minority settlements, and the “Red Elvis,” a man who might have been John Denver before he defected to cold-war East Germany. Multiple community listening sessions will provide a forum for insight and dialogue in the first season. Details are published via History Colorado on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.        

The population of Colorado increased by nearly 600,000 people between 2010 and 2018, representing a growth rate of 11.4% and the sixth-fastest clip in the nation. The Centennial State has emerged as a social bellwether on major national issues in the past decade, such as marijuana legalization, energy development, gay rights, immigration, and the impacts of climate change. With the spotlight on our state, Lost Highways provides historical perspectives on dialogues and debates that have shaped our world today.

Join hosts Noel Black and Tyler Hill as they set out to discover their home state through stories they can't believe they never heard. Both veterans of public radio—and Coloradans—Black and Hill bring high standards to the project. The Sturm Family Foundation has pledged support to launch the podcast. History Colorado lends in-kind support through its ten museums and historic sites statewide; the resources of its Curatorial Services and Collections Access departments, which oversee the institution's vast collection and provides investigative services through the public Stephen H. Hart Research Center; and its Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which operates the nation’s largest state historical fund.

Lost Highways brings you stories about Colorado and the West that you likely haven’t heard,” said Noel Black. “These stories will take listeners well beyond the mountains-and-marijuana stereotypes that most people think of when they think of Colorado.” 

“These days, people have a hunger to understand how we got to now,” said Jason Hanson, Chief Creative Officer and Director of Interpretation & Research at History Colorado. “Lost Highways will give listeners a deeper understanding of how the issues impacting our lives today took shape—and perhaps help inspire ideas that will shape a brighter future. There is no better place to start these narratives than History Colorado's vast archive of stories. Our oral history collection and audio archive add vibrant dimensions to how people encounter our shared past.” 

“Our goal for this podcast is to spark people’s curiosity and encourage them to see this region in a different light,” said Stephen Sturm, Co-Managing Director of the Sturm Family Foundation. “At its best, history should be informative and entertaining, approachable and thought provoking, and bring the past in connection with the present. Lost Highways does this in spades and we’re excited for all Coloradans—natives or newcomers—to have ‘aha’ moments as they connect with the history of our state.”

About the Hosts
Noel Black is the senior producer and host of Lost Highways. Formerly, he was the creator, co-host, and senior producer of Wish We Were Here, an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning show and podcast produced by KRCC public radio in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tyler Hill is producer and co-host. He has worked at NPR’s Morning Edition, Weekend All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. 

Did You Know?
In 2018, Edison Research estimated that close to half of Americans (140 million people) had listened to a podcast; half of those (over 70 million) had listened to a podcast in the past month; and podcast listenership is still growing rapidly (33 percent since 2006).

About History Colorado 
In addition to being an enormous repository of untold stories, History Colorado has become a force for finding new and inclusive ways to serve Coloradans. In 2018 it provided programs to more than 18,000 students in their own schools, and assisted more than 40 schools with bus funds, to expand efforts that now serve more than 85,000 students annually. Its all-day Hands-On History program at El Pueblo History Museum responds to the four-day school week that is now administered by 61% of Colorado school districts. Its Museum of Memories project, a public-history initiative to help communities reframe challenges and struggles into histories of resilience and pride, garnered more than 480 participants last year.