Frankie Barnhill

Idaho Matters Senior Producer

Frankie Barnhill is the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast. She's always interested in hearing surprising and enlightening stories about life in the West. Have an idea for Idaho Matters? Drop her a line! 

She's also the host and producer of Wanna Know Idaho, Idaho's audience-powered podcast. 

Frankie's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. The award-winning journalist has received national accolades from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated for breaking news reporting, as well as regional Edward R. Murrow awards for both hard news and features. Frankie co-hosted Boise State Public Radio's first podcast, Speaking of Serial, which won an Idaho Press Club award. 

Frankie earned her production chops at American Public Media, where she interned for Marketplace Tech Report and American RadioWorks. She was also a researcher in Minnesota Public Radio's newsroom for an investigative report on bullying.

As a freelance reporter in 2014, Frankie won a grant to profile five emerging artists for Boise State Public Radio's audience. The project, entitled “Artist Statement”, was an exploration of Boise's burgeoning artistic scene.

Frankie was a fellow with the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources in 2013 and again in 2015 and 2018, where she began to hone her environmental reporting skills.

Frankie graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a degree in English literature. The Missoula native spends most of her free time dreaming about owning a dog someday, going to concerts and serving on the board of Story Story Night.

Housing, Construction, Sold Sign
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Home prices in Boise continue to soar, pricing many buyers out of the market. Simultaneously, city leaders are concerned about an increase in family homelessness, and have set a goal of eliminating family homelessness in five years. How will they get there? 




Adobe Stock

As of the morning of this post, more than 380,000 Idahoans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. While encouraging, Idaho still has a long way to go to meet its goal of vaccinating 80% of the population by September. 

Now that every person over the age of 16 is eligible to get the vaccine, will they choose to? 




This interview originally aired Jan. 26, 2021. 

“Burnout” is a feeling many Idahoans can relate to these days. From the political upheaval in the country, and the anxiety that comes with trying to get through the COVID-19 pandemic to the economic instability in the face of those two crises, there’s a lot to feel exhausted by. 


This interview originally aired Jan. 21, 2021. 

Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the most beautiful natural lakes in the northwest. The North Idaho body of water is home to flora and fauna and is an important place in the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s culture. It’s also home to many vacation homes and folks from around the world visit the lake each year to enjoy its recreational opportunities. 


This interview originally aired March 9, 2021. 

Author Jill Santopolo’s first novel for adults called "The Light We Lost" struck a chord with readers around the world. It was a New York Times Bestseller, and it earned a spot as a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.


This interview originally aired Dec. 3, 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has made online dating sites more popular than ever. And when it comes to meeting someone for the first time online, your profile picture can make or break potential dates. A recent study suggests 43% of people think they can get a sense of someone’s personality by their picture. So what happens when men add their cats to their photos?

Boise Contemporary Theater


This interview originally aired March 15, 2021. 

Last year, the impact of COVID-19 was just starting to be felt in Idaho. People were staying at home, and everything from concerts to a night out at the theater was being cancelled.

Many of them — like Boise Contemporary Theater — are built around having an audience. The Idaho Botanical Garden was one of many organiztions that had to cancel their fundraising events, leaving gigantic holes in their budgets.


This interview originally aired March 11, 2021.  

Poet Jasmine Mans caused a stir when a video of her performing her poem “Footnotes for Kanye” went viral on YouTube. Since then, she’s built a big following through live performances and is being featured in national ad campaigns for Ulta Beauty and Secret.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This interview originally aired March 16, 2021.

Many young adults have a dream of leaving where they were raised, to find a life outside of the confines of where they grew up. Author Grace Olmstead knows this feeling well. She grew up outside of Emmett, Idaho but left to go to college on the East Coast. Except for visits back home she’s spent the better part of a decade living and working outside of Washington D.C.

This interview originally aired March 22, 2021.

Many Idahoans are familiar with a few basics when it comes to Ernest Hemingway and his ties to Idaho: his promotion for the Sun Valley Resort, his love of hunting, and that he died by suicide at his home along the Big Wood River. That’s probably where most people’s knowledge ends.

The folks at Idaho Public Television decided to dig a little deeper, and the end result? A new documentary titled "Idaho’s Hemingway" exploring his time in Idaho from 1939 until his death in 1961.

Riley Haun / University of Idaho

This interview originally aired Nov. 30, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic isn't the first pandemic in recorded history. In fact, personal stories of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic exist deep in the archives. For college students today struggling through quarantines, strained social dynamics, new academic demands and the politics of visiting home for the holidays, it might be comforting to know that young adults their age went through — and survived — all of this before.

Don Day / BoiseDev


At the beginning of the pandemic last year, resort towns in Idaho and other western states worried what would happen to their tourism-based economies. Would tourists still come and spend their money in these towns? Would businesses be able to survive? In McCall, Idaho the answer to these questions is becoming clearer.

Gold Feather Gardens / via Facebook


As warmer weather arrives in Idaho, you may be getting your gardening gloves on. But for less experienced green thumbs, you may be frustrated and less than happy with what springs up in your garden. Maybe you started a garden for the first time last year as a pandemic hobby but aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort this year. 


The Idaho Legislature reconvenes Tuesday after several members of the lawmaking body tested positive for COVID-19 in march. The two-week recess means lawmakers are two weeks behind schedule to do the people’s business and then head back to the home districts until next January. 

Madelyn Beck


If there’s one good thing that’s come from the pandemic, perhaps it’s this: Idaho has seen a boom in pet adoption over the last year. As office workers moved their laptops home and set up desks in their spare rooms, some decided it was the purrfect time to welcome a furry friend. 

screenshot / Creative Hearts And Minds of The Nez Perce


Before white colonizers took land from indigenous people already living in Idaho, the Nimiipuu people occupied much of the north central part of the state. French fur traders who encountered them in the 1800s mistakenly called them Nez Perce. But their real name is Nimiipuu, meaning “the people.” Through everything they've endured, the community has held on to their traditions through their language, stories, art and more.

Idaho Matters speaks with high school student and Nez Perce filmmaker Brandon McHone about his first documentary, called "Creative Hearts & Minds of the Nez Perce."

Gustavo Sagrero / Boise State Public Radio


Across the country, Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities are coming together and standing up to often deadly hate and violence directed at their people. Between March of 2020 and February 2021, the group “Stop AAPI Hate” has received almost 4,000 reports of hate incidents against this marginalized group. Accounts of violence and malice continue to come in, and experts say the actual number is far higher than what’s been reported. 


Idaho has its own shameful history of racism and bigotry against people of Asian descent.


As the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments head into the Final Four this weekend, Idaho Matters share the story of an Alaska man who found his sense of self on the basketball court.

More than a year after movie theaters first shuttered at the beginning of the pandemic, the Treasure Valley's largest cineplex has announced it’s reopening later this month. But if you’re not ready to return to the theater, there’s still plenty to enjoy from streaming services.

Heath Druzin / PostIndustrial Magazine


Idahoans have been familiar with far-right groups for a while. But the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 put them back into the national conversation. At least three people from Idaho have been arrested for their involvement in the storming of the federal building.


More recently, anti-government leader Ammon Bundy did a kind of lecture tour in neighboring Utah after mainstream social media platforms responded to the insurrection by cracking down on these kinds of groups.