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WPM Podcast Explores Changes in Ranching Lifestyle

May 3, 2022

A Stetson hat, cowboy boots, cattle driving, sprawling acres of land -- these are a few items and concepts that come to mind when most people envision the American West. While these Western images and motifs are widely held, the lore of the cowboy -- and its roots in the Mexican vaquero -- are surprisingly misunderstood.

Enter the fifth season of “The Modern West,” the Peabody Award-nominated and Edward R. Murrow Award-winning podcast produced by Wyoming Public Media (WPM) and PRX. Giving listeners a close look at the American West, the show explores the region’s complex history and modern-day struggles and resilience, as well as how its future is being shaped.

Guided by host and author Melodie Edwards’ personal connection to the American West, the fifth season of “The Modern West: The Great Individualist” focuses on how the ranching lifestyle is changing and what that means for the region’s inhabitants and environment. WPM is based at the University of Wyoming.

With episodes ranging from the popular history of the cowboy to regenerative ranching and the race for environmentally sound solutions, “The Modern West” surveys the ever-changing identity of the American West.

“Wyoming Public Media’s ‘The Modern West’ is part of our core mission to reflect the history and culture of Wyoming and the West. We’re a Wyoming network and uniquely positioned to tell the stories of those who settled this part of the country,” says WPM General Manager Christina Kuzmych.

Episodes of the fifth season will be available every Wednesday, starting May 11.

A reception honoring WPM’s storytelling and launching of “The Modern West: The Great Individualist” is Friday, May 6, at Laramie’s Historic Railroad Depot at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited.

“The Modern West: The Great Individualist” is sponsored, in part, by the LOR Foundation, working with people in rural places to improve the quality of life for communities.

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