Valley 101 show

Valley 101

Summary: Whether you're a longtime Arizona resident or a newcomer, chances are there's something you've always wondered about the Valley. From The Arizona Republic and comes Valley 101, a weekly podcast where our journalists find answers to your questions about metro Phoenix. From silly to serious, you tell us what to investigate. You can submit questions at or reach us on Twitter @azcpodcasts.

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 What buildings are the most iconic in the Phoenix skyline? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 779

For this week's episode, we're tackling a more subjective question, "What buildings would you say are the most iconic in the Phoenix skyline?"  There are a few ways to approach this question, from either an aesthetic standpoint or by evaluating a building's history.  But, thanks to the help of some expert sources, we've crowned one building the winner.  Listen to this week's episode, produced by podcast editor Katie O'Connell, to find out which one.  In this episode you'll hear: Alison King, founder of Modern Phoenix: The Neighborhood Network Michelle Dodds, city of Phoenix historic preservation officer

 Does light pollution threaten the night sky and human health? Valley 101 digs in | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 835

The creation of the light bulb in 1879 would forever shape our homes, streets and offices.  But by the 1950s, light pollution became a concern, as it effects both natural ecosystems and human health. In fact, studies have shown that light pollution can be linked to breast cancer. Today, the future of Arizona's dark sky could be threatened by light pollution. It's an issue dark sky advocates are working to ease.  This week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, breaks down what the Valley is doing to mitigate light pollution.  In this episode, you'll hear: The components that make up light pollution.  The impacts of light pollution on the state's tourism and economy.  The steps communities in Metro Phoenix are making to combat light pollution. 

 Why do so many Arizona mountains have letters on them? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1382

There are at least seven mountains in Maricopa County with letters whitewashed on the side. Have you ever wondered why they were put in? Or when? We'll give you one hint: It comes down to more than just community pride.  This week, Valley 101 digs into the history behind the "

 Why are there rumors about a U.F.O. crash landing at Dreamy Draw Dam? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1163

Anne Ferraioli grew up in Phoenix, but she said she never paid much attention to Dreamy Draw Dam.  Then she noticed there wasn't any water in it. And when she started looking into it, the results were surprising.  Ferraioli found article after article about a possible U.F.O. landing site at the dam. What she didn't find was much information about its actual history.  Given the curious results, Ferraioli asked the Valley 101 podcast to dig into Dreamy Draw Dam's history. Podcast editor Katie O'Connell took her question and ran with it.  In this episode you'll hear: How the U.F.O. rumors at Dreamy Draw Dam began Whether or not the director of Open Minds TV thinks the rumors are true The history of the dam and its purpose today

 What's it like to be homeless in Maricopa County? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1147

The stories of how someone became or experiences homelessness are incredibly varied.  Lawrence Small, 41, has been homeless for two months after experiencing domestic violence. But this isn't his first time experiencing homelessness. He was also homeless in Seattle when he was 34 years old. "Seattle is different from Phoenix," Small said. "Seattle, they help homeless people out there. The housing, jobs. Phoenix don't do it." Homelessness continues to rise across the Valley. In 2019, there were at least 6,614 people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County. To understand what it's like to be homeless in Maricopa County, the Valley 101 team partnered with reporter Jessica Boehm and the Maricopa Association of Governments, otherwise known as MAG. Each year, MAG does a Point in Time survey of the homeless population in an attempt to understand patterns and trends leading to homelessness.  This year, we went with them during the survey. In this episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, you'll hear three stories from people currently experiencing homelessness. 

 Lovebirds in Arizona: How did they get here? Are they invasive? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 608

The next time you're beneath a palm tree, see if you can spot a small green bird with a peach-colored face hanging out in its fronds. Those are feral rosy-faced lovebirds.  Metro Phoenix is home to roughly 2,000 of them, although they're originally from Africa. A wild lovebird population started growing here in the mid-1980s. Their appearance created confusion and curiosity among local residents, especially those in the birding community.  So just how did they get here? This week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, digs in to how they found a new home in the Valley. In this episode, you'll hear: How rosy-faced lovebirds got to the Valley Where you can find rosy-face lovebirds in the valley How they impact our environment

 Why can't planes fly when it's too hot in Phoenix? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 810

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport grounded flights due to extreme heat for the first time in 1990. It happened again more recently in 2013 and 2017. But why can't planes fly in certain temperatures? Turns out, it has to do with performance data provided by plane manufacturers and airline safety procedures. For more on what exactly that means, listen to this week's episode of Valley 101 podcast.  In this episode, you'll hear: What it was like in 1990 when Phoenix Sky Harbor grounded flights. What four components are necessary for planes to fly.  Kenneth Wood, an American Airline pilot, explain why "performance data" was integral to planes being grounded in high-heat situations.   Related reading:  Nope, turns out it was technically never too hot to fly out of Phoenix Extreme heat could delay Phoenix flights Flying for the holidays? These hacks will help speed you through Sky Harbor Airport

 Who are some celebrities from Arizona? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1362

Celebrities. You love 'em or you hate 'em. Or, you love to hate 'em. We on the Valley 101 podcast team have a few we just absolutely gush over.  We're sure we're not swayed by the fact that they're from Arizona. This week, Katie O'Connell, Maritza Dominguez and Taylor Seely each share their favorite celebrity with local ties, plus stories of how the Valley inspired or shaped them. In this episode, you'll hear: How growing up in Arizona David Hallberg into a resilient world-class ballet dancer.   How Jordin Sparks became an "American Idol" winner and took to the stage on Broadway.   The story of Steven Spielberg's first movie premiere, which happened in Phoenix when he was 17 years old

 What’s it like to be an adult with autism in metro Phoenix? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1337

Autism is often seen as a “kid’s disorder,” meaning the focus is on helping children – but where does that leave autistic adults? We talked with leaders in the Valley’s autism community about the “services cliff” people with autism often experience at the age of 21 and what Arizona is doing about it. 

 Happy New Year from Valley 101 (but we're off this week) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 199

We spent most of 2019 exploring the Valley thanks to your questions. We'll be back in 2020 with more. Submit your question today at

 Copper, cattle and climate: Why are these included in Arizona's 5 Cs? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1332

Citrus, cotton, copper, cattle and climate — these are the five Cs of Arizona. They're the five economic drivers that transformed Arizona from a small cowboy town to a growing metropolis.  In this episode, you'll hear: How copper helped grow the population in Arizona, and how it's still a major industry in the state.  How the cattle industry grew in Arizona and why it's still a major industry despite its downturn post-peak downturn How Arizona has leveraged its climate to attract tourists in the past, and how residents can think about its climate going forward. 

 In 'Wallace and Ladmo,' Phoenix had one of the most successful local children's shows ever | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1327

Did you know that Phoenix had one of the most successful local children's shows of all time? "The Wallace and Ladmo Show" ran from 1954 to 1989, collecting fans like Steven Spielberg and Alice Cooper along the way. What made the show a success was its dark humor. Yes, it was a kids' show, but it featured characters like Aunt Maud, who liked reading tragic stories to children. Or Marshall Good, an unemployed "cowboy" from New Jersey who had never ridden a horse.  Kids may have tuned in for the cartoon, but high schoolers and their parents got the more offbeat jokes.  In this week's episode of Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, podcast editor Katie O'Connell explores the history of this Valley original. In this episode you'll hear: Previously unaired interview audio with all three of the show's stars Clips from the show's skits, including one with Muhammad Ali Republic reporter Richard Ruelas, who has written two books on the show, sharing his childhood memories of it

 How did Phoenix get controversial giant pots as a public art project? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1031

In the 1990s, Phoenix was in a public controversy over the public art project called Wall Cyle to Ocotillo. The country was going through a recession and the local residents were mad. Mad about the taxpayer money spent on the art, mad about the look of the pots, and mad the city choose out-of-state artists.  Eventually the public argument died down, but the curiosity about the project didn't. Almost thirty years later, Phoenix residents still have questions.  This week on Valley 101, a podcast from The Arizona Republic and, we dig deep into the history of Wall Cycle to Ocotillo, while also looking at the significance of public art.  In this episode, you'll hear: Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, the artists who designed Wall Cycle to Ocotillo Edward Lebow, current director of Phoenix's Public Art Program  Audio from a student mockumentary parodying the art project 

 Where do real Christmas trees in Arizona come from? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1244

Metro Phoenix isn’t exactly the idyllic location for Christmas. There’s no snow for building snowmen, the sweaters are often more for aesthetic than necessity, and the hot cocoa? Well, let’s just say Starbucks still keeps their plastic cups fully stocked.  But at the very least, locals can create their own holiday wonderland by decorating their homes, hanging twinkle lights, and ornamenting a Christmas tree. Those opting for a real Christmas tree may find themselves wondering: If we live in a desert, where do the real Christmas trees come from?  LINKS: For information on how to purchase a permit to cut a Christmas tree from a national forest, click here. For more information on our show, visit: Follow our show on Twitter: @Valley101pod Follow our host on Twitter @kailawhite Follow producer Taylor Seely on Twitter: @taylorseely95

 What's the cake-shaped castle by Loop 202 freeway? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1314

It looks like a tiered wedding cake and is even painted a soft yellow like buttercream. Listen to learn its century-old history (and how to get tour tickets). Click here to see photos and video from inside Tovrea Castle. Note: Those are only for subscribers to You can subscribe at


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