Behind the Headlines

Friday's from 9 a.m - 10 a.m.
  • Hosted by , Roger McDonough

  From its politics to its public lands to polygamy, Utah has always been fertile ground for news. Here on UPR, The Salt Lake Tribune presents a fresh way for Utahns to process the headlines. Behind the Headlines, a live weekly broadcast, examines the week’s top local stories through the eyes of reporters on the beat.

KCPW's producer and news host Roger McDonough and a rotating panel of the state’s top journalists – including columnist Paul Rolly, investigative reporter Matt Canham, senior government reporter Robert Gehrke, reporter Kathy Stephenson and others – will talk about what’s happening in the Beehive State along with the hows and whys.

Listeners can join the discussion by sending questions to #TribTalk on Twitter, Google+, commenting on or calling (801) 355-TALK.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah lawmakers say they'll try again to abolish capital punishment, while a county prosecutor says he's already done pursuing the death penalty. Developers want to 'fix' Utah Lake by building massive islands on it — but experts say the project would do more harm than good. And in a newly-surfaced video, Senate President Stuart Adams says Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell needs 'educating' on Critical Race Theory.

Latter-day Saint apostle Jeffrey R. Holland criticizes BYU faculty members and students who challenge the faith’s teachings on same-sex marriage. A Utah school Board member draws fire for posting a message critical of LGBTQ students. And research points to a likely burial site of Paiute children who attended Utah Indigenous boarding school.

Salt Lake City's mayor pursues a mask order for schools to slow the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant. History packets falsely claiming that “most slaves were generally treated kindly” in the United States get pulled from a Utah learning center. And a first-ever water shortage is declared for the Colorado River - casting doubt over planned water infrastructure projects.  

Western Resource Advocates

A new proposal seeks to provide a conservation-minded alternative to the controversial $1.8 billion Lake Powell Pipeline. Members of the Indigenous-led organization Utah Diné Bikéyah ask to assist in a federal review of Native American boarding schools. And how Utah athletes are faring at the summer olympics in Tokyo.

Salt Lake Tribune

This week in Utah news:

How the data on women's equality in Utah has changed through the years (and how it hasn't). Gov. Spencer Cox joins President Biden's Council of Governors, upping his bipartisan ties. And with the Delta variant taking over in the Beehive State, what do you need to know? 


The Salt Lake Tribune

State and local leaders plead with you not to light personal fireworks as Utah's extreme drought persists and the promise of a terrible wildfire season looms. A Utah woman sues her landlord after getting evicted for breaching her contract by 'voicing suicidal thoughts'. And Utah's poet laureate marks a moment in history with a poem about vaccines, hope, and shared humanity.

Sen. Mitt Romney is part of a bipartisan group to strike a $579 billion deal on infrastructure spending. A Utah congressman helps launch the 'conservative climate caucus.' And as drought continues, municipalities adopt fireworks restrictions to try to stave off wildfire.

Salt Lake Tribune

The big boost a small, unproven Salt Lake City company got from the pandemic, and why the Securities and Exchange Commission began inquiries. The Utah Inland Port Board approves a truck-to-train transloading facility for Salt Lake City's northwest quadrant. And some Utah officials appear to be skirting transparency laws by using their private cell phones to conduct government business. 

Utah's Canyon Country

Utah's members of Congress ask to meet with President Biden before he takes action on national monuments. Senate hopeful Becky Edwards charts a moderate path, and slams Mike Lee as too 'strident.' And the high cost of housing is pushing many renters in Utah to a financial breaking point. 


A freshman Republican congressman answers a barrage of questions from constituents about his vote for a commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol attack. The Utah Jazz advance to the next round of the NBA playoffs - a team effort - but with star performances by shooting guard Donovan Mitchell. And a Tribune columnist offers her take on the importance of Pride celebrations.

Drought, Police Reform, And More On Behind The Headlines

May 28, 2021
ABC4 Utah

Drought strains Utah's water supplies and the dry conditions mean a severe (and expensive) fire season may be coming. Conservationists object to proposed exploratory drilling near the edge of Dinosaur National Monument. And a year after George Floyd’s death, how much has changed in Utah police practices?


This week in Utah news:

Utah lawmakers meet in a special session to allocate federal coronavirus relief funds - but guns, masks and critical race theory end up on the agenda as well. Plus, with the best record in basketball the Utah Jazz head to the NBA playoffs. How far can the team go?

 Utah Gov. Spencer Cox says he's exploring the idea of paying residents to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Cox is cancelling COVID-related unemployment payments in the state. And the various ways Utah restaurants and bars are responding to the lifting of public health orders. 

Salt Lake Tribune

This week in Utah news:

First Lady Jill Biden makes a (very) quick visit to Utah. Senator Mitt Romney gets booed by delegates at the state GOP convention. And the LDS Church asks a court to toss out James Huntsman’s lawsuit seeking a tithing refund.  


This week in Utah news:

The Bureau of Land Management offers a $10,000 reward after a prehistoric petroglyph panel was defaced with the words ‘White Power.’ Utah’s new homeless services coordinator says that rather than building a new shelter, existing facilities need to transition people out of homelessness more quickly. And the challenge to protecting threatened cultural relics inside the Bears Ears National Monument.


Salt Lake Tribune

This week in Utah news:

A new 'homelessness czar' is appointed to oversee Utah's response to the growing number of unsheltered people in the state. Local refugee resettlement groups express frustration that President Biden has yet to expand the numbers of refugees the U.S. is willing to accept. And after three years in sanctuary in a Salt Lake City church, Vicky Chavez and her two daughters can now leave without fear of deportation.


Salt Lake Tribune

This week in Utah news:

The end of the statewide mask mandate is nigh! But Salt Lake City says not so fast. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visits Utah as part of a review of National Monuments. And Weber County commissioners declare their county a ‘Second Amendment sanctuary.’


A member of a prominent Utah family accuses the LDS Church of fraud and sues to try to recoup millions of dollars in tithing. The increased oversight coming for Utah's 'troubled teen' industry. And the bills signed, left unsigned and vetoed by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox - including measures on pornography, social media, bail reform, and the Utah Inland Port. 


Analysis shows that millions of dollars of COVID relief was paid to TestUtah for coronavirus testing. Petitioners ask Gov. Spencer Cox to veto a bill creating a bank of funds for projects of the Utah Inland Port. And with vaccine appointments opening up to Utahns 16 and older next week, what do kids, pregnant women, and those who have already been infected need to know? 

Attorney at Law Magazine

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joins a multistate lawsuit challenging an executive order on climate change by President Biden. A year into a global pandemic, a sports reporter turned COVID columnist reflects on lessons learned. And religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack recalls her brush with forger and bomber Mark Hoffman. 

A bill that would bar transgender girls from K-12 girls sports stalls in a Utah Senate committee. A measure to allow a name change for Dixie State University appears to have life again. A House committee advances a proposal to block cities and counties from creating gun regulations. And Deb Haaland is poised to become the first Native American to head a Cabinet department.

At 9 a.m. on Friday, Salt Lake Tribune reporters Brian Maffly and Taylor Stevens, along with news columnist Robert Gehrke, join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox suggests he won’t sign a bill that would bar transgender girls from competing in female K-12 sports. A new study shows that Utahns who seek payday loans pay 652% annual interest — the second highest rate in the nation. Sen.

Sen. Mitt Romney's close call during the Jan. 6th Capitol violence gets a spotlight during this week's impeachment proceedings. With the backing of Paris Hilton, Utah lawmakers seek to reform the state's 'troubled teen' industry. And Wall Street looks to commodify water in the West. 

More than 7,000 people sign a petition seeking to remove a Utah school board member over her comments about LGBTQ students and Black Lives Matter. A new bill at the legislature seeks to prevent transgender girls from participating in female sports in Utah schools. Utah says it will begin vaccinating those 65 years of age and older beginning March 1st.  And a comment during a legislative committee meeting triggers 'alarm bells' for opponents of the Utah Inland Port.

A Utah lawmaker pursues impeaching Attorney General Sean Reyes.

Sandy Democratic Rep. Andrew Stoddard said his filing was over Reyes's efforts challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and in response to his ties to the Republican Attorneys General Association and their "involvement in the domestic terror attack on our Nation’s Capitol." 

Lawmakers meeting to override Gov. Herbert's veto.

The 2021 Utah legislative session kicks off under unusual circumstances. Among the many items up for consideration are several police reform measures and an effort to put pressure on schools to resume in-person classes. Plus, a new president means a significant change in public lands policy, and a likely reversal of strategy for two Utah national monuments. And Camp Last Hope, a new kind of homeless encampment, takes shape in Salt Lake City.

University of Utah Health

Utah’s all-GOP House delegation calls president Donald Trump's second impeachment a mistake that will divide the nation. Huge demand for vaccines causes the Salt Lake County Health Department's scheduling website to crash. And the CEO of a Utah pharmacy is charged with importing a controversial COVID-19 medication in falsely labeled shipments from an unapproved drug provider in China.

NBC News

The storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob calls into question the stability of America's democracy. Two members of Utah's congressional delegation vote to object to the will of the American people as expressed through the presidential election, even as Sen. Mitt Romney remains steadfast in his defense of democratic norms. And Utah welcomes a new governor.  

Salt Lake Tribune

Utah records its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 deaths. Frontline healthcare workers become the first residents to receive vaccine doses in the state. Lawmakers plan to give $1,500 bonus to Utah teachers, but may withhold the bonus from educators in the Salt Lake City School District. And federal land managers pull the plug on a Utah tar sands lease after the revelation that the applicant was a contractor with the Bureau of Land Management.


Utah Inland Port Authority

The latest meeting of the Utah Inland Port Authority board draws critics and counties seeking development opportunities. The San Juan County Commission calls on president-elect Joe Biden to fully reinstate the Bears Ears National Monument. And Utah's 'troubled-teen' industry is coached on how to protect itself from investigations.