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. She co-hosted Boise State Public Radio's first podcast, Speaking of Serial, which won an Idaho Press Club award. 

She earned her production chops at American Public Media, where she interned for Marketplace Tech Report and American RadioWorks. Frankie 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.

Nati Harnik / AP Images


Earlier this month, the Trump Administration proposed changes to fundamental environmental rules. The National Environmental Policy Act has been in place since President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1970. 

But in recent years, some people have questioned whether some elements of NEPA go too far, holding back industries like ranching and mining. 

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January is peak season for skiers and snowboarders in Idaho. But with these kind of high-impact sports, brain injuries can be far too common. How should folks stay safe while taking part in their favorite cold weather sports? 

During National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, Idaho Matters is joined by Dr. Steven Gale, director of the St. Alphonsus hospital trauma center, and Bert Mecham with Fremont County’s EMS in eastern Idaho.

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Thousands of high-paying STEM jobs continue to go unfilled in Idaho. That’s according to the Idaho Stem Action Center, which released updated numbers to the legislature last week. 

But with more computer science teachers and students interested in the field, will that storyline change soon? 

Dr. Angela Hemingway joins Idaho Matters from the Idaho STEM Action Center. 

Jad Abumrad Radiolab
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RadioLab explores big ideas every week on WNYC. The nationally-distributed public radio show disrupted both the public radio and podcast space and has inspired many producers in the world of audio storytelling. The show airs on Boise State Public Radio News at noon on Saturdays. 


Host Jad Abumrad has spent years perfecting his craft, and will share some of his experience in storytelling with an audience in Boise. He joined Idaho Matters ahead of his talk as featured speaker at The Cabin on Saturday, Feb. 1. 

Minidoka Japanese internment camp laundry
IMLS Digital Collections & Content / Flickr Creative Commons

During World War II, tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were rounded up and held in camps around the country. One of those internment camps was in south central Idaho. The Minidoka camp housed folks from Washington, Oregon and Alaska. 

Now, a traveling exhibit curated by the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C. will open to the public this Saturday, Jan. 25 in Boise. Idaho State Museum Director Liz Hobson joins Idaho Matters to talk more about the exhibit.

Idaho Matters is the place on-air and online where folks with different views can talk with each other, exchange ideas, debate with respect and come away richer from the experience. 

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James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

It was an historic election night in the capital city as the race for Boise mayor will now go to a run off. Plus, numerous initiatives and levies were on the ballot throughout Idaho and we dive into those results. We bring you a full hour of election results and analysis on Idaho Matters.

Idaho Statesman

Every three years, hospitals across Idaho take part in a survey to determine the state's biggest health needs.

The survey, which pulls data from health sources and interviews, is conducted by the St. Luke's system. The new results are out Friday. The two most significant concerns? Obesity and mental illness.

Jean Fitzgerald Mutchie, Lyle Nelson and Dr. Alejandro Necochea joined Idaho Matters to talk about what these statistics mean and some possible solutions.

MLK day organizers boise state university
George Prentice / Boise State Public Radio

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Idaho Human Rights Day. George Prentice talked with the organizers of the MLK Living Legacy Celebration, that will be taking place at Boise State University.

Francisco Salinas is the director of the Boise State Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Ryann Banks is a Boise State University Student who is this year’s chair of the celebration. 

Joel Wayne / Boise State Public Radio

Hot springs were practically made for winter, which is why we're presenting this episode of our You Know The Place podcast. Join hosts Lacey and Joel on their trip up to Kirkham Hot Springs in Lowman and a quirky bar in Idaho City. 

Rachel Cohen / Boise State Public Radio

The J-1 visa program was intended to promote international understanding, hosting international workers for positions like camp counselors and au pairs. Hospitality workers make up a large percentage of visa holders, and Idaho's tourism industry relies on these folks for seasonal work. Our Twin Falls reporter Rachel Cohen fills in Idaho Matters on the work-travel visa program that's "essential" to Idaho tourism. 

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Lauren Necochea is the newest Idaho lawmaker, appointed by Gov. Brad Little in December to replace former Minority Leader Mat Erpelding's seat in Boise's 19th District. Previously, she was the Director of the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy. Necochea joins Idaho Matters to discuss her transition from policy to electoral politics. 

This segment originally aired on Feb. 4, 2019. 

Wanna Know Idaho asked Idahoans to submit questions they want answered about our state. In the latest edition, host Frankie Barnhill seeks to answer the question on everybody's mind - "what happens to the poop at Zoo Boise?" Barnhill joins Idaho Matters to flush out the answer.

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After an American drone strike killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at the airport in Baghdad, many people around the world braced for possible war. Iran then retaliated with a missile strike on American bases in Iraq. Former State Department official and current Boise State University professor Steven Feldstein helps us make sense of the last week of tensions.

Jobs For Felons Hub / Flickr Creative Commons

  The ACLU of Idaho has long lobbied for change in criminal justice, urging officials to take a closer look at things like mandatory minimums, prison overcrowding and employment opportunities after folks serve their time. The group has a new statewide report they'll use to try and convince lawmakers to reform the criminal justice system.

Peter Devin / LED

Idaho's LED performance group was just named one of Dance Magazine's 2020 "25 to Watch list." The group formed in 2015 fusing original music with fresh choreography. LED co-founders Lauren Edson and Andrew Stensaas join Idaho Matters to talk about the recent honor. 

Otto Kitsinger / AP

Monday, Governor Brad Little gave his annual State of the State address at the Idaho capitol. The Republican laid out his vision for the new year in a forty-minute speech. 

But now, it's up to Republican and Democratic lawmakers to decide what to do with his proposals. James Dawson covers the statehouse for us and helps Idaho Matters break down the speech, and their response to it. 


This interview orginally aired Dec. 9, 2019.   

NPR reporter Kirk Siegler has spent the last few years investigating the urban-rural divide in the western United States. He's just moved from Los Angeles to set up in Boise so he can move closer to his reporting. He talks with Idaho Matters about the stories he hopes to tell from here.


This interview orginally aired Dec. 9, 2019.   

Three Boise State students are helping the problem of food insecurity and waste with a modern solution: they built an app. Bronco BEAM gives alerts to users whenever there is extra food from events around campus -- food that otherwise would be thrown away. Idaho Matters speaks with the three developers to find out why they decided to create the app.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images


It’s been more than a year since Governor Brad Little took his oath of office on the steps of the Capitol. The rancher and longtime elected official told the crowd that day that his goal would be to “reflect shared Idaho values.” As he prepares for his second year as Idaho’s top leader, Idaho Matters sat down with him.


Jude Matsalla / Flickr Creative Commons


Last summer, the Trump administration announced a rule change that would have penalized people applying for green cards if they used public benefit programs. 

This rule is currently blocked in federal courts. But as Boise State Public Radio’s Rachel Cohen reports, advocates across Idaho have been working to make sure the announcement doesn’t stop immigrants from signing up for programs that they’re legally eligible for. 

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Boise State Public Radio

  • First Reporter Roundtable of 2020. 
  • The science of impact craters.

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Cybersecurity is an in-demand industry in Idaho and beyond. In response to that need, Boise State University is launching a new online cyber security certificate. The university is partnering with organizations including the Idaho National Laboratory to secure the funding through a state grant. To learn more, Idaho Matters speaks with the Sin Ming Loo of Boise State College of Engineering, Peter Risse with Boise State’s Extended Studies Department and Wayne Austad of the Idaho National Laboratory. 

Nate Hegyi / KRCC

Follow along as two Mountain West News Bureau reporters share cultural holiday cooking traditions from across the region. Madelyn Beck of Boise State Public Radio takes Idaho Matters up close with Basque food in Idaho and Nate Hegyi of KRCC joins Montana hunters as they cook up an elk-filled twist on an eastern European classic. 

As we reflect on 2019, we're looking back at some of our best interviews, through challenging conversations and illuminating storytelling. This segment originally aired July 16, 2019.

Thanks for being a part of Idaho Matters this year! Have a question or story idea for 2020? Email us: