Wisconsin Life "Wisconsin Life" celebrates the people, places, history and culture of the state. Come with us as we kayak the Mississippi River, interview musicians in Milwaukee, and bake pasties in Rhinelander. We connect you with diverse people and ideas through short stories updated twice a week.
Wisconsin Life

Wisconsin Life

From Wisconsin Public Radio

"Wisconsin Life" celebrates the people, places, history and culture of the state. Come with us as we kayak the Mississippi River, interview musicians in Milwaukee, and bake pasties in Rhinelander. We connect you with diverse people and ideas through short stories updated twice a week.

Most Recent Episodes

Tomahawk Circle: An Ojibwe Family Band

For the members of Tomahawk Circle, playing in a rural family band is a labor of love. This Lac Du Flambeau Ojibwe drum group criss-crosses the country most summers to share their music with an extended community of Indigenous people. At Pow Wows from Washington state to North Carolina, members of Tomahawk Circle surround a single animal hide drum, and belt out songs in the Northern Original style. Joe O'Connell with Chippewa Valley Museum's "Sounds Like Home" podcast brings us their story. (Story originally aired 12/29/2020)

Human Powered: 'Color Brave' Shows Complexity, Beauty Of People Of Color In Fox Valley

In 2018, a photo exhibit opened at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh. "The Color Brave Photo Project: Black and Brown Faces — A New Narrative," was the culmination of years of work by community leaders to show the complexity and beauty of people of color in the Fox Valley. At the center of the project was Tracey Robertson, a community leader who moved to Oshkosh from Chicago and started working for change. She spoke with Jimmy Gutierrez about her experiences in Oshkosh and how this project came together in a recent episode of Human Powered, a podcast from our partners at Wisconsin Humanities.

Human Powered: 'Color Brave' Shows Complexity, Beauty Of People Of Color In Fox Valley

The Regal Fritillary Is In Danger Of Going Extinct. Why Haven't More People Heard Of It?

WHYsconsin received a question from listener Rachel Potter of Fitchburg wondering, "Why don't more Wisconsinites know about the majestic regal fritillary butterfly?" To find out more about this rare insect, WPR's Mary Kate McCoy traveled to a restored prairie outside of Barneveld in southwestern Wisconsin with guide Rich Henderson, a board member of the Prairie Enthusiasts and a former state Department of Natural Resources ecologist. (Originally aired on 9/18/2019)

The Regal Fritillary Is In Danger Of Going Extinct. Why Haven't More People Heard Of It?

My Brother, Thomas: By Cierra Riederer

Back in 2019, "Wisconsin Life" worked with students at Monona Grove Liberal Arts Charter School, or MG21. The goal was to get more high school student stories on the airwaves. When we first showed up in the classroom, there was one student who seemed to be particularly interested in creating radio and interviewing people right away: Cierra Riederer, a junior. She decided she wanted to create a story about her brother, Thomas, who has Down syndrome. Cierra interviewed her mother and grandmother about their love of him. (This story originally aired 6/17/19)

In Central Wisconsin, A Metalworker And His Sons Make Art At The Forge

In central Wisconsin, four generations of blacksmiths work together, creating art they hope will last for hundreds of years. The metal sculptures created by Boleslaw Kochanowski and his sons grace public spaces in Stevens Point, Door County and beyond.

In Central Wisconsin, A Metalworker And His Sons Make Art At The Forge

Father And Son Cherish Same Church In Two Norways

Sometimes when we're far from home, it's nice to have something familiar around to keep us connected. Writer Eric Dregni has lived in Norway and Wisconsin. And by pure coincidence, he and his son have found a connection in both places with the same, familiar thing: a stave church.

Father And Son Cherish Same Church In Two Norways

Remembering Gene Purcell: My Brother's Brief Stint As A Rock Star Manager

Gene Purcell dedicated almost his entire professional life to public media. His passion began in La Crosse, where he started as a student reporter at WLSU-FM. Through the decades, he worked his way up the ladder. Purcell tragically passed away in July 2021 following an accident. Outside of work, he was a bit of a music nerd. Purcell played guitar, collected thousands of albums, and restored an old jukebox. He also had a short stint in rock star management. His sister, Connie Purcell, shares that story.

Remembering Gene Purcell: My Brother's Brief Stint As A Rock Star Manager

Watching The Chimney Swifts At Dusk

We all have a lot of things to cross off our to-do lists. Have you taken the trash out? Are the bills paid? Laundry folded? And if you're writer Catherine Jagoe, have you paused and turned your gaze skyward at dusk, to witness the dance of the chimney swifts?

Wisconsin Airman Killed In Afghanistan Remembered By Mom, Brother

For those who have fought and died in the U.S. Armed Forces, they leave with their families the weight of their sacrifice. Holly Higgins of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, lost her son, Daniel Johnson, while he served in the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan in 2010. Higgins talks about dealing with the loss with her other son, Erik Johnson, a Specialist in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. They shared their experience as part of StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative, which is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Wisconsin Airman Killed In Afghanistan Remembered By Mom, Brother

'Bitten With The Concrete Bug': Sculpture Gardens Showcase Wisconsin's Outsider Artists

Listener Chris Murphy of Madison asked our WHYsconsin project, "Why are there a higher concentration of outsider artist environments in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the U.S.?" WPR's Tim Peterson turned to the experts to learn more about the monuments and sculpture parks that embrace celebrate concrete, gems, and trinkets.

'Bitten With The Concrete Bug': Sculpture Gardens Showcase Wisconsin's Outsider Artists