oklahoma | KGOU


Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol, Monday, May 4, 2020, in Oklahoma City. Treat is one of the Legislature's most vocal abortion opponents.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Optimistic in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s political shift, conservative Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing for laws to further restrict abortion access.

WahZhaZhe, Tsalagi, Español: No Matter The Language, COVID Creates Challenges For Immersion Learning

Jan 14, 2021

In normal circumstances, foreign language immersion instruction requires some classroom creativity to make it work.

In the 1970s, the Red Dirt music scene took root in Stillwater and gave rise to artists like Garth Brooks, the Turnpike Troubadours and Stoney LaRue. KGOU’s Katelyn Howard spoke with author Josh Crutchmer about his new book that details the scene’s history and how it spread across the country.

Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma is one of more than 30 states making the decision to partially reopen May 1 after weeks of stay-at-home or safer-at-home orders meant to keep the coronavirus pandemic from overwhelming healthcare systems. Slowing the curve of COVID-19 infections and deaths has come at a profound economic cost, however, with 30 million workers across the country filing for unemployment benefits since mid-March.


Oklahoma Businesses Will Require SBA Funding

Apr 1, 2020
A worker mops the floor at a nearly empty food court at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, as airlines limit flights due to the virus outbreak.
(AP photo/Sue Ogrocki)

In light of economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, Oklahoma state officials say many businesses will turn to the U.S. Small Business Administration for low-interest loans. Unemployment claims in the state are also at a high as workers are laid off. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the specifics of SBA loans and the state's unemployment trust fund. 

State’s attorney Brad Beckworth presents information in the opening statements during the Oklahoma v. Purdue Pharma opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
Chris Landsberger / Oklahoman

The legal fight over who is responsible, and who should pay for the national opioid crisis that has killed thousands of Americans will likely take years.

Before becoming the internationally recognized author of Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison grew up a precocious child in Deep Deuce, Oklahoma City. Now, a collection of his letters is available in hardback. KGOU’s Richard Bassett spoke with John Callahan, the literary executor for Ralph Ellison and one of the editors of the book. Bassett began by asking what the letters reveal about Ellison’s feelings for Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Holds Film Conference, Invests In Recruiting Projects

Nov 20, 2019
Oklahoma Film and Music Office Director Tava Sofsky, left, leads a discussion Thursday with film producer Jonathan King during the opening session of the inaugural Oklahoma Film and Music Conference.  (Photo by Steve Metzer)
(Photo by Steve Metzer)

Last week, hundreds of entertainment industry professionals attended Oklahoma's first-ever Film and Music Conference. The event's goal was to help the state's talent further develop industry skills and knowledge, as well as to encourage companies to produce projects in Oklahoma. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how the state incentivizes production companies to film in Oklahoma and what officials are saying about Oklahoma's potential for attracting movies.

Declining ACT Scores Raise College Readiness Concerns

Nov 6, 2019
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma high school graduates’ scores on the ACT college-readiness exam declined in every subject this year, according to a report released Oct. 30.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt hand delivers hundreds of commutation certificates on Friday, November 1, 2019.

The state of Oklahoma plans to release hundreds of prisoners Monday after their sentences were reduced by the state's Pardon and Parole Board. 462 state prisoners could be sent home, which would represent the nation's largest single day commutation.

Why is there a Putnam City school district in Oklahoma but no Putnam City?

Reynolds Ford in Norman is prohibited from selling cars on Sunday under an Oklahoma state law.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

KGOU listener John Potts noticed every auto dealership in the state is closed on Sunday, so he asked How Curious for an explanation. It turns out that Oklahoma is one of several states that forbids motor vehicle sales on Sundays.

A mysterious ball of light seems to appear and disappear on a road in far northeast Oklahoma. One listener who witnessed the so-called “spooklight” asked: Where is it coming from?

Wiley Post is seen in a 1921 mugshot.
Oklahoma History Center

Aviator Wiley Post gained global fame in the 1930s. He was known for smashing around-the-world flight records, but did he also spend time in an Oklahoma prison for a felony?

The Collapse Of A Hospital Empire — And Towns Left In The Wreckage

Sep 25, 2019
I-70 Community Hospital in Sweet Springs, Mo., is one of eight hospitals owned or managed by Miami businessman Jorge A. Perez that closed in recent years. Twelve Perez-affiliated hospitals are in bankruptcy.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

EmpowerHMS helped run an empire of rural hospitals. Now, 20 of them have either entered bankruptcy or closed their doors, including five in Oklahoma.

A woman with her land claim in 1889.
Oklahoma History Center

In 1893, an anonymous reporter from Kansas wrote about a town in northern Oklahoma  comprised entirely of women. But when he tried to go back to the site one week later, it was gone. Was this town real?

Land surveyor Aaron Morris stands with his equipment on "Magnetic Hill" near Springer, Oklahoma.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

On a special stretch of road near Springer, Oklahoma, it feels like gravity doesn’t quite work--  when you shift a car into neutral gear, you feel like the car is rolling backwards up the hill. KGOU listener Vicki Weiss asked How Curious: Does this spot really defy gravity?

OU researcher Miranda Vesy holds a Texas horned lizard, often called a horny toad.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

KGOU listener Gabe Denton remembers seeing horny toads all the time when he was growing up in Choctaw, but he hasn’t seen one in decades. Denton asked How Curious: What happened?

Trade War Leads To New Challenges For Oklahoma Pecan Producers

Aug 28, 2019
An Oklahoma State University orchard worker shakes a pecan tree at harvest last year. Producers say this year’s still-growing crop could be the largest in five years.
Todd Johnson / Oklahoma State University Department of Agriculture

Oklahoma’s pecan producers expect the largest crop yield in years. But trade tensions with China, the largest buyer of U.S. pecans, could make exporting the product difficult. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the industry’s challenges in Oklahoma and how growers are attempting to reach the domestic market amid foreign tariffs. 

The question of whether to expand Medicaid and extend health insurance to thousands of Oklahomans promises to be a major topic over the next year.

The Healthcare Working Group, a bipartisan legislative committee charged with deciding whether to endorse Medicaid expansion or other policy moves, kicked off its work last week and is expected to unveil recommendations before next year’s session. Meanwhile, a signature-collecting drive is underway to put a state question on a 2020 ballot to accept expansion.