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.

Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Rural communities across America struggle to find adequate dental care nearby, which means oral health can be neglected until it manifests into an urgent medical issue. Some doctors gear their practices and pro-bono work to helping underprivledged and speical needs patients. We talk with one dentist based in Jerome and another in rural Adams County to get a sense for how folks get treatment in these locations. 

Ballet Idaho

Ballet Idaho's annual production of "The Nutcracker" has become a holiday tradition for many. But this year, the 1892 ballet has gone through a bit of a refresh with a whole new set and hundreds of new costumes. Idaho Matters talks with producers of the show about what audience members should expect in the 2019 production, which runs Dec. 19-23 at the Morrison Center in Boise. 

A bike, sleeping bag, and cart left ona sidewalk.
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio


Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a consequential case called Boise v. Martin. The case hinged on whether an ordinance against sleeping in public is constitutional. What does this mean for Boise -- and for cities in the West like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle with more acute homelessness problems? We dig into this issue with the Mountain West News Bureau’s Madelyn Beck and University of Idaho law professor Shaakirrah Sanders.  

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

This segment originally aired September 30, 2019.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is known for its devout followers, with many raised within the church remaining actively religious. Comedian Krystal Moore never fully felt like part of this community, but now draws on her experience to connect and bond with other former members of the church.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

This segment originally aired November 1, 2019.

In 1600, a Basque-born nun named Catalina de Erauso escaped the nunnery in Spain where they lived and began to dress as a man. They boarded a ship to South America where they spent 17 years fighting as a male conquistador. De Erauso returned to Spain where both the king and the pope gave them permission to live openly as a transgender man. This unbelievable story is the subject of a 17th Century Spanish play based on real events. Boise State professor Mac Test is translating the play to English, and joins Idaho Matters.

Interfaith Sanctuary is hosting their 14th annual Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza at the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise on December 22 or 23. The fundraiser helps keep the lights on and the shelter open 24/7. We learn about the event and the homeless shelter's needs this year. 

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

The Idaho House will have a new leader in the 2020 legislative session. Mat Erpelding resigned from his position as House Minority Leader and his District 19 seat in Boise last week, and has taken a new role as a lobbyist for the Boise Chamber of Commerce. Idaho Matters talks with the former Democratic lawmaker about his decision to leave electoral politics seven years after taking his District 19 seat in Boise. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boi

This segment originally aired July 18, 2019.

What happens when you give organic produce to pregnant women for six months? Until now, no one had tried it. A new Boise State study shows women who ate organic produce had lower pesticide metabolites in their urine than women who ate regular fruits and vegetables. Gemma Gaudette digs into the study.

Bronco BEAM

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.


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.

Steve Conner / AP Images

The Boise State Broncos are set to host their third consecutive Mountain West Championship after beating Fresno State in 2017 and losing to them in 2018. This year, the Broncos will face Hawaii who Boise State defeated on the blue in October. But despite their 19th place ranking and winning record, they might get shut out of the Cotton Bowl. We catch up with reporter Dave Southorn of The Athletic about their bowl chances, several months after we talked with him about the team's early season prospects. 

Joel Wayne / Boise State Public Radio


Looking for a new holiday tradition? We have a recommendation for you: the Old Boise Model Train Club. Boise State Public Radio’s “You Know The Place” podcast recently visited the club. Take a listen to this special presentation on Idaho Matters.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Lauren McLean is set to become the next mayor of Boise after soundly beating incumbent Mayor Dave Bieter by 31% of the vote. He'll leave the post after 16 years in Boise's top job. We analyze the results with Jasper LiCalzi of the College of Idaho, along with reporters Madelyn Beck of the Mountain West News Bureau and Heath Druzin of Boise State Public Radio. 

Ballet Idaho

After a successful "arts crawl" last spring featuring four of Boise's most prominent arts organizations, organizers are planning a similar event -- this time featuring youth artists. Next Tuesday (Dec. 10), Boise Contemporary Theater, Boise Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho and Opera Idaho will host a four-part event to highlight the artistic prowess of the community's young people. Idaho Matters talks with organizers to learn more about the Youth Art Crawl. 

Roger Phillips


There’s a symbiotic relationship between hunting and conservation, and we’re not just talking about a romantic notion of our hunter-gatherer roots. But with the number of hunters on the decline nationally, stakeholders are banding together to attract a different type of hunter. We get a firsthand account from Boise State Public Radio's Heath Druzin, who recently took a trek into the wilderness for this story.


Idaho Matters logo
Boise State Public Radio

  • Runoff preview in Caldwell and Boise.
  • Movement to value-based healthcare.
  • Raising money for birds through song. 
  • North End holiday tour. 

Boise Co-op


With Thanksgiving now just a couple of days away, we have something special for you: a visit inside one of the busiest bakeries in Idaho. George Prentice takes us along on a trip to the Boise Co-op where his tour guide was the head baker, who was preparing for the hundreds of pies the store would sell before the holiday feast.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg is apologizing and reversing a policy that would have barred students from using Medicaid to meet the school’s requirement for health coverage to enroll. Low-income students complained that they’d have to go into debt to buy health insurance that complied with school policy. Idaho Matters talks with Boise State Public Radio's James Dawson, who broke the initial story last week.

Idaho Matters logo
Boise State Public Radio

  • BYU-Idaho Medicaid kerfuffle.
  • Thanksgiving pie from a popular bakery.
  • Women in entrepreneurship. 
  • T-Rex exhibit. 

Surel's Place / via Facebook


The Treasure Valley is growing quickly, with many newcomers flocking to the area. Maybe you yourself moved here in the last 10 years. Do you remember your first impressions of the community after you moved here? What were the sights or sounds that stood out? Today, Idaho Matters is happy to premiere an audio piece by Croatian radio producer and artist Tomica Skavina. She’s spent the last several weeks as the artist-in-residence at Surel’s Place in Garden City, and with her fresh ears, she produced a piece called “The Treasure of Boise.” 

Idaho Matters logo
Boise State Public Radio

  • Saving African vultures.
  • "Empty Bowls."
  • An interfaith Thanksgiving.
  • From Croatia to Boise.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

Anna Wiese loves politics and history, so it was a shock when the 11-year-old girl found an important exhibit lost in a corner of the Idaho Capital. The showcase on Idaho's women legislators was recently moved into a more acceptable location due to the efforts of the Hailey native. Reporter James Dawson talks to Idaho Matters about his experience meeting the bright and driven young woman.

Martha Irvine / AP Images

Becoming a parent is often associated with the most joyful parts of a person’s life. But many mothers experience anxiety and other mental health issues within the first few weeks after the birth of the child. Postpartum depression -- as it is often called -- can result in various symptoms such as mood swings, anger and hopelessness. A counselor at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise created a program geared to alleviate these symptoms, and she explains how they are treating these moms. 

Lisa Marie Pane / AP Images

Idaho has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, with a majority of these deaths coming from firearms. However, little research has gone into this issue because of a ban on using federal funds to advocate for gun control. Despite this restriction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has figured out a way to move forward with new research in ten states, including Idaho. Guns & America reporter Heath Druzin talks to Idaho Matters about this important new study.