Michael King and Brad Smalley, of Wild West Podcast. Photo credit: Rachael Sebastian
Kansas-themed podcasts share their deep dives into the state’s legends and attractions
Wild West Podcast
Michael King spent 40 years as an award-winning middle school principal in Oklahoma and Dodge City, with an interest in helping teachers use technology and digital recordings to enhance their curriculums. “I’d have them write and tell stories about the community, and then we started doing history-casts,” King says.
Being tech-savvy, King also did some video production, including some work for Boot Hill Museum, where he met Brad Smalley, manager of the facility’s Long Branch Saloon. Smalley regaled King with some of the wild characters of Dodge City’s history, inspiring King to begin researching and writing about local history. “It has a richness, so much history,” King says of Dodge City.
“The goal is to tell the stories of our state and our community, and let people appreciate that history,” King says
Eventually, King decided to start the Wild West history podcast and immediately thought of his actor friend Brad. In addition to being part of the Long Branch Saloon variety show for a number of years, Brad has worked in dinner theater and even landed a role in a documentary television show about Bat Masterson and Bill Dooley that aired on the Discovery Network’s American Heroes Channel.
Thus the Wild West podcast was born, educating and entertaining listeners about the multitude of important historical figures who lived in, or came through, Dodge. “I think the first month we did our podcast we had eighty-five downloads. Today, we’re hitting around two hundred fifty thousand downloads,” King says. While early podcasts are looser conversations between King and Smalley about Wild West history, later podcasts feature Smalley reading the stories from one of King’s five books about Kansas history. The pair share a particular affinity for Bat Masterson. Mike’s book, A Man in a Black Derby Hat: Bat Masterson: Selected Short Stories, has provided perfect podcast-length episodes for Smalley to present.
“The goal is to tell the stories of our state and our community, and let people appreciate that history,” King says. The Wild West podcast is available on most podcast platforms and through the podcast website, wildwestpodcast.buzzsprout.com.
The Kansas BHA Podcast
About twice a month, the Kansas Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers produces an informative and entertaining podcast for Kansas outdoor enthusiasts, discussing fishing, hiking, biking, camping, birdwatching and conservation. The Kansas BHA mission is to “raise awareness and educate Kansans of the benefits and necessity of public and wild places.” The Kansas BHA podcast is available on most podcast platforms, and more information can be found at the Kansas chapter’s website, backcountryhunters.org/kansas.
Uncovering Kansas is a monthly podcast hosted by Rachel Berbiglia, who aims to inform her fellow Kansans about all the interesting people, places and events around the state. The podcast covers a wide range of subjects, from the Kansas youth poetry group Poetry Out Loud to the Wichita-based community development organization The Neighboring Movement. Episodes are available on a variety of platforms and the website uncoveringkansas.com.