Arizona in Focus is a podcast from Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. Each season we dive deep into a particular topic or story to bring you stories you haven’t heard elsewhere. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify. Look for new episodes on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Episode 3 – Cutting athletic funding at inner-city schools: As high school athletic programs around the nation lose funding, students who benefit from sports participation suffer. Athletic directors and coaches at Phoenix inner-city schools have strong opinions about the impact they’ve seen sports programs have on their students.
Episode 8 – Liberty High football player shares his story of cancer … and beating it: Zach Hunzinger, a senior at Liberty High School in Peoria and captain of the football team, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, after doctors found a softball-sized mass in his knee. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, he is now cancer free. With the help of football coach Mark Smith, Hunzinger revisits the roller coaster ride the last year has been.
Episode 11 – Could CBD be the miracle athletes are looking for?: In this podcast, Jacob Lev takes a deep dive into CBD, a fast-rising product that early signs have shown a lot of positive results and helps people cope with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and inflammation just to name a few of the many things it helps with.
Episode 12 – The student, the employee, the NBA 2K player: In this podcast, Christian Thurley speaks with Austin Garrison, a senior at Arizona State who is pursuing a career in the NBA 2K League, a professional esports league. Garrison discusses his journey as he attempted to reach his goal of being drafted by an NBA 2K League franchise.
Our third season highlights sustainability in Arizona, including stories across the state regarding conservation, urbanization, technology, communities and creative solutions.
Episode 1 – Outside the box: we take a look at creative solutions people find to be more sustainable. We’ll meet local bee farmers who found a way to address killer bees without extermination, explore textile recycling plants that find new uses for old jeans and talk to a man who makes vinyl records out of unusual materials.
Episode 2 – To conserve and protect: we meet animal conservationists who are taking steps to protect and conserve native species. We’ll ride along to southern Arizona with a wildlife manager who prevents poaching with Arizona Game & Fish, visit a raptor rescue center in Cave Creek that nurses owls and other birds back to health, take a hike near Tucson with the former president of the Arizona Bighorn Sheep Society and journey to Pinetop with Arizona Game & Fish to see what they are doing to ensure the survival of the state fish: the Apache trout.
Episode 3 – Neighborhood eco-watch: we meet residents in Arizona who have made sustainability part of their lives and communities. We’ll meet a woman who owns a local garden with a passion for her community and healthy eating, a couple who write books that teach kids about environmental issues in the desert and residents of an ecovillage who have taken sustainable living to a new level.
Episode 4 – Big city, green living: we meet people who are trying to make the urban environment of the Phoenix area more sustainable. We’ll ride along with a bike share company that allows subscribers to leave their bikes anywhere and meet some experts who are trying to find solutions to the brutal summer heat in Phoenix.
Episode 5 – Smart sustainability: In the final episode of season three, we discover new technologies that incorporate sustainability to solve problems. We’ll watch a fashion show that features smart clothing made out of strange materials, visit Saguaro National Park to see why the National Park Service is putting microchips in cacti and play “Happy City,” a city planning game that helps people learn about sustainability issues.
Season 2 – Music
Our second season highlights the Arizona music industry, including interviews with musicians and a look inside the business of the music.
Episode 1 – Odd Squad Family: On our first episode of InFocus Season 2, we interview local Arizona rap group Odd Squad Family which is made up of N.U.B.S., who has no limbs, Snowman, who has albinism, and A-Factor. The Odd Squad Family tells their story of how the group got started, how they manage the business side of the music, and entertained us with a little freestyle rap.
Episode 2 – Redhill: On our second episode of In Focus Season 2, we interview local alternative band Redhill. Two of the band’s members tell us the story behind their unique orchestral style, their tour in London and how they build their fan base.
Episode 3 – Blaine Long: On our third episode of In Focus Season 2, we interview Arizona-based Americana musician Blaine Long, who released his latest album after appearing on NBC’s The Voice.
Episode 4 – Kaylor Cox: On our fourth episode of In Focus Season 2, we interview Tucson country musician Kaylor Cox, a 20-year-old who has already opened for well-known country artists.
Episode 5 – Miss DJ MJ: is a local Arizona DJ who doubles as a financial advisor. She has played around the country for popular clubs, private events and for major celebrities, while also helping people with their financial needs.
Episode 1: In the first episode, we look at the status of immigration policy as the clock ticks on a deadline for Congress.
Episode 2: In the second episode, we examine the increasingly complex politics of Congress’ efforts to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Episode 3: In the third episode, we take a step back from the ongoing fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to take a look at similar threats to the future of the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program. It’s what one advocate calls “the most important issue you’ve never heard of.”
Episode 4: They are the minority of the minorities, the recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals who come from countries you may not immediately associate with DACA. In this fourth episode of our In Focus DACA Special Report, we talk with the young immigrants from countries other than Mexico – who account for one in five of the 800,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.
Episode 5: On one side of the debate are the people who are demanding protection for those covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. They march. They chant. They protest. On the other side, opponents are just as convinced of their positions. But maybe not as loud. In this fifth episode of our In Focus DACA Special Report, we speak with those lawmakers and others who think the Trump administration is right to do away with DACA in its current form.
Episode 6: In September, we began a countdown to Dec. 8, the day some Democratic lawmakers hoped they could force a vote on the Dream Act by threatening to scuttle the budget that expired that day. Dec. 8 has come and gone. The budget has passed and the government is open, for now. And Congress is no closer to passing a Dream Act than they were three months ago. In this sixth and final episode of our In Focus DACA Special Report, we take a look back at what happened and what might be next.
Season 1 – Health
Our first season highlights the health issues young Arizonans face. We’ll hear how a service dog changed the life of a woman in Chino Valley with autism, how an ASU student copes with sleep paralysis and what health reform could mean for young Arizonans trying to access care.
Episode 1: Service dog helps navigate life with autism: Producer Ben Flores talks with 25-year-old Lynsie Andreasky about living with autism. Lynsie was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when she was 16. Since then, she has faced a lot of challenges, including depression and overwhelming anxiety.
In this episode, Lynsie shares her personal story and how she has overcome challenges thanks to a service dog named Kaycee. We learn how even the smallest dogs can be trained to help reduce anxiety and facilitate social interaction.
Episode 2: What plans to defund Planned Parenthood could mean for Arizonans: A Republican health care reform bill stalled in the House of Representatives this week, but the proposal gave an inside view into plans to defund Planned Parenthood. In Arizona, approximately 33,000 people received care at a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015. If government health plans no longer covered care there, thousands of people might have to look elsewhere. Could other clinics step in to serve them instead? Producer Freesia DeNaples brings us the story.
Episode 3: Sleep deprivation and the student brain: Getting a goodnight’s rest isn’t always easy, especially when you’re a young adult balancing school, work, clubs and social pressures. According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2010, more 60 percent of the 1,125 university students studied reported poor quality sleep. That can have a deep impact on health, learning and job performance. On this episode of In Focus, we explore the consequences of sleep deprivation among young adults. We hear from one college student who had a frightening experience with sleep paralysis he attributes to stress, and we speak with a sleep specialist about how to get better sleep – even during your college years.
Episode 4: Student triathlete swims, bikes and runs his way out of depression: Young adults — especially those ages 18 to 25 — are at a higher risk for depression than people in any other age group. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this episode of In Focus, we explore why mental illness is especially common in young adults and why exercise – in addition to counseling and medication therapy – may help address or even prevent the onset of depression. We hear the story of one student who found relief from depression through triathlon training and talk with experts about the effects of physical exertion on the brain.
Episode 5: Finding ‘hidden resources’ for autism care: Raising a child with autism can be incredibly challenging under the best of circumstances. For families who live in small towns, far from big-city resources, it can be even harder. In this episode of In Focus, we talk with Elizabeth Gullikson, a 30-year-old mother and resident of Yuma. Her four-year-old son, Gavin Cunningham, has autism. Elizabeth and her family try to acquire the best help for Gavin, but it can take some serious digging to excavate the right resources.
Episode 6: What homelessness means for pregnant women and LGBTQ youth: There are nearly 10,000 homeless people in the state of Arizona. In this episode of In Focus, we explore issues that especially affect two populations of homeless young adults: pregnant women and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Ten percent of homeless women are pregnant, according to an article published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal, and the Williams Institute estimates that 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth come from the LGBT community. We hear from one mother who found herself struggling with an addiction, homeless and pregnant with her fifth child, and why LGBT youth are disproportionately represented in homeless populations.
Episode 7: ‘Aging out’ of foster care in Arizona: On this episode of In Focus, we look at the foster care system in Arizona, specifically for those in the system over the age of 18. Although foster children can leave the foster care system when they turn 18, they can sign a voluntary agreement to continue until they turn 21. Why might some teens decide stay? We talk with one young woman who explains her choice.
Episode 8: Thriving without sight in Arizona: Many people lose sight as they grow older, but there are more than 15,000 visually impaired Arizonans between the ages of 18 and 34. In this episode, we hear the stories of two of them. Hiris Vela, 20, and Elijah Harris, 19, are both community college students who grew up legally blind in Arizona. They share what it was like to try to get by in high school and how they learned to thrive without sight. And we wrap up the In Focus season with a roundtable of producers, who share their behind-the-scenes insights from their reporting across the state.
Episode 9: Social media memorialization and ‘cybergraves’What happens to social media accounts when you die? Producer Roddy Nikpour speaks to someone who had to deal with his sister’s death. He saw strange results when his family memorialized her Facebook profile, but modern research says they’re normal. Plus, an anthropologist sheds light on the importance of physical objects in remembering the dead.
Episode 10: Arizona’s new detection system for wrong-way driving: We discuss wrong-way driving and the new technology that the Arizona Department of Transportation is installing on the Interstate 17. Digital Producer Alexis Kuhbander speaks to someone who barely avoided a wrong-way collision, along with a public safety official and vehicle-detection system expert, who highlight the importance of the thermal enhancements.