Salmonfest Radio Podcast

The Salmonfest Radio podcast is a one hour program that blends backstage interviews from Salmonfest musicians paired with live music recorded at the festival, along with conversations from Salmon Champions – people whose lives deeply entwine with Alaska’s favorite fish.
Salmonfest Radio
splash graphic

The first Salmonfest music festival, then called Salmonstock, was held in 2011 as a way to spread the word and fundraise to protect Bristol Bay, one of the few remaining great salmon strongholds, from the proposed Pebble Mine. Still a mecca for salmon advocacy and celebration, Cook Inletkeeper initiated Salmonfest Radio to share the spirit of the event beyond the festival itself.

Salmonfest Radio Podcast Session
Salmonfest Radio Interview

We believe Alaskan’s connection to salmon is worth celebrating and that art and advocacy is a powerful tool for reaching hearts and minds. Each year we partner with the festival organizers to coordinate a line up of salmon champions to share salmon stories and powerful calls to action from stage. We dig deeper into many of these champion’s stories on Salmonfest Radio.

Listen here or subscribe via your favorite podcast app such as but not limited to:

Podbean  ~ Spotify  ~  Apple ~ IHeartRadio ~ Deezer ~ Google Podcast ~ Castbox

Salmonfest Radio Review

Tune into our final episode of Salmonfest Radio! Although we can’t fit 20 bands, 2 fisher poets, 31 voices of Salmon Champions we’ve interviewed over 21 episodes into a single show…we’re proud of this recap and all of what we’ve accomplished during our time recording.

Music Features:

  • California Honey Drops
  • The Chamberliners
  • Whiskey Class
  • Roar n Represent
  • Tim Easton
  • Ayla Ray
  • DeadPhish orchestra
  • DJ Starlight
  • WookieFoot
  • The Burroughs
On the Grounds: Causeway Champions

We’re breaking our episode format with this show! Listeners will be taken on a tour through the Salmon Causeway and chatting with organizers and coordinators of various non-profits who work on salmon issues throughout the state. You’ll hear voices representing Salmonfest, Fishermen for Bristol Bay, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Salmon Habitat Information Program, SalmonState and Mother Kuskokwim Tribal Coalition. This episode is special because you’ll hear sustained passion from people connected to Salmonfest’s original life force – the campaign to Stop Pebble Mine, as well as voices bringing attention to other emerging and important salmon issues. Together these advocates keep our favorite festival with a cause near-and-dear to Alaskan’s hearts.

Salmonfest Recorded Music featuring:

  • Nanwalek Seal Dancers
  • Roar N Represent
  • Roland Roberts Band
  • I Sing. You Dance.
  • Blackwater Railroad Co.
  • Hope Social Club
  • KP Brass Band
Can’t Turn Off The Mic

Salmonfest Radio is coming back strong with a backstage interview from the crowd-pleasing act, LowDown Brass Band. Their music is infused throughout the hour with horns to keep Alaskans dancing! And you’ll stick around for another energized interview with Dune Lankard talking about the exponential benefits of kelp, to salmon, and coastal communities.

Singing and Sketching Truth to Power

This episode of Salmonfest Radio is all about expression, female empowerment, and artistry. Revel in Carsie Blanton’s tunes from her show at Salmonfest 2021- tunes and lyrics that have no greater creative direction than her own. Carsie pulls performances together from seven different albums and gives us an interview backstage steeped in spirited activism.

Amber Webb, Bunnell Street Art Center’s Resident Artist last May uplifts Yup’ik stories, contemporary issues and ancestral knowledge through her art. With her ink on wood drawings she shares idigenous joy and perseverance. As an artist, caregiver, and mother, Amber is among a movement of female indigenous leaders committed to supporting the well-being of their culture, a culture intimately tied to the well-being of salmon.

These women live the life and values they are seeking for the future. They both name hard truths and feel their weight, still inspiring courage and hope as they move forward. Don’t miss this episode.

Stage to Stream: Next Gen

In this Episode of Salmonfest Radio we feature a sibling, strumming duo named BroGrass. They’re young, talented, and like many from their generation- aware of our climate’s struggle to maintain a habitat that is suitable for all. Get ready for a fast picking infusion throughout the entire episode!

Our Salmon Champions, Sue Mauger and Maddy Lee, dive deep into their passion for salmon science. This is Sue Mauger’s second time appearance on our show (see: EP 2 of season 1, Cool Tunes, Cold Water). Sue, the Science and Executive Director for Cook Inletkeeper (CIK), is in the process of wrapping up a two decade long career of temperature monitoring of salmon streams in the Cook Inlet watershed. Maddy started her salmon journey as CIK’s intern in 2017 paddling rivers with Sue. She has since navigated her own path into the world of climate and salmon science, building off of the longterm data sets Sue has collected. These two share their perspective, journeys, and science insights both technical and big picture.

Sharing Salmon and Salmon Rituals

Our fourth episode of Salmonfest Radio season 2 highlights long-time Anchorage based band Super Saturated Sugar Strings and returning Salmon Champion Sam Schimmel. From opposite ends of the festival grounds, both Sam and the Sugar Strings infused Salmonfest 2021 with salmon love and joy, Sugars Strings from the stage and Sam from the workshop barn where he spent the weekend smoking and sharing fish. In Inletkeeper’s recording lounge, we chatted with Sam about the importance of recognizing humans as part of a larger ecosystem and ensuring that within our movements to protect salmon the traditional access for subsistence endures. Sam is the team lead for a project called Operation Fish Drop which distributes donated sockeye salmon to Native Alaskans in the Anchorage area who no longer have access to their traditional fishing grounds. When Super Saturated Sugar Strings joined us in the backstage lounge, our conversation wandered from salmon rituals, to the gifting economy, to our civic duty to salmon. This heartfelt Alaskan band reminds us what Salmonfest is really all about and the magic that brings us in- we let the podcast version of this show run a touch longer than an hour to capture all of this great conversation.

Skinny Bear Spring

Episode 3 of Salmonfest Radio dives into bears, salmon, and brass! Our Salmon Champion & professional bear viewing guide, Drew Hamilton, will discuss Alaska’s “bear coast” the western side of Cook Inlet which is home to the world’s highest concentration of brown bears. A long winter has passed between fat bear fall and skinny bear spring, bears are now emerging from their dens and it’s the salmon systems of Bristol Bay and Cook Inlet that got them through. Drew will share what he’s learned of these symbiotic relationships through decades of observation.

Fisher Poet, Meezie Hermansen, will transition us with her poem about a hungry mama bear and a viral story bringing us back to Salmonfest; where we are featuring a nine piece showstopping band – The Burroughs. Their soulful funky flair is sure to get any audience moving and grooving. During our backstage interview we discussed adjusting to the pandemic, their passion for supporting the next generation of musicians, and their call for love and unity.

Resetting the Table: Indigenizing Salmon Management

Episode 2 of Salmonfest Radio keeps us rooted in our beloved Alaskan land, waters, and people. This episode features music and a backstage interview from a four piece band called Whiskey Class. Typically, Whiskey Class records as a duo and the sound is electronic; but at SalmonFest they rearranged and evolved their music to incorporate keys, bass, drums, and guitar for their performance. The duo, Liz and Patrick began creating their vibey beats and layered harmonies together while growing up in Juneau and Ketchikan where they absorbed the inspiring salmon: as Alaskans, as nutrition, as a muse, and as a growing symbol that unites us all.

Our Salmon Champions Dr. Jessica Black and Dr. Courtney Carothers brings us a thoughtful conversation about The Indigenizing Salmon Science and Management Project, which recognizes the inequities embedded within the way we manage salmon and asks how can indigenous values, knowledge, management, and governance mechanisms be better included in management systems? Our Champions believe opening our management spaces to include both indigenous worldviews and western worldviews will support a better future for the fish so many Alaskans have come to love and depend on, and in turn- benefit all species and walks of life. .

To learn more visit:


The Bang and the Boom: From Toksook Bay to Eklutna

With the steady beat of a Yup’ik drum and the explosive boom of the removal of a long-abandoned deadbeat dam, our first episode of season two, kicks off with a bang.

Listen to learn about ongoing efforts to revive the King Salmon run of the Eklutna River – a run that sustained the Native Village of Eklutna for thousands of years until the river was dammed and fish passage blocked in 1929. Now a coalition of salmon people are working together to overcome barriers and restore water and eventually salmon to the river.

We’re kicking off our first episode with the performer that gave the inaugural performance on the new main stage of Salmonfest 2021: Byron Nicholai with his project I Sing. You Dance. A remarkable young Yup’ik artist who melds traditional Yup’ik singing and drumming with electronic beats.

Links to learn more:

Featured Music:

Episode 13: Spawn On Alaska

We’re wrapping up our final episode of season 1 of Salmonfest Radio with some classic sub-aquatic neo-folk n’ fish-punk-rock brought to you by The Ratfish Wranglers. Truly embodying the spirit of Salmonfest, this Kechikan spawned band centers Alaskan values and fishy culture in their funky and playful performances. Our 13th episode “Spawn On Alaska” features The Ratfish Wranglers not only as our musical spotlight, but also as our Salmon Champions. You’ll hear their collective commitment to advocating for, and celebrating, the salmon landscapes and culture that provide so many Alaskans a sense of home.

Featured Music:

  • The Ratfish Wranglers
Episode 12: You Can't Eat Gold

We are nearing the end of Season 1 of Salmonfest Radio! This episode “You Can’t Eat Gold” spotlights an important and familiar story of a salmon landscape facing the threat of a proposed large, open pit gold mine; this time it’s the Donlin Mine in the Kuskokwim watershed. We’ll hear from two Salmon Champions working to protect the communities that depend on the salmon of the Kuskokwim river. Together they will help us understand why considering the needs of people and an entire ecosystem is more important than gold. During our 12th episode we will also get to know The Sweet Lillies through their harmonic jam grass tunes and their 2019 Salmonfest backstage interview.

Featured Music:

  • The Sweet Lillies
  • Steve Poltz and Joel Rafael
  • Wookiefoot
  • Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
Episode 11: Evolving Casts

The sport fishing opportunities of Bristol Bay’s salmon landscape draw in anglers from all over the world. Our 11th episode “Evolving Casts” features Salmon Champion Nancy Morris Lyons, a lodge owner who was concerned early on by the lack of local people benefiting from the growing tourism sector. In collaboration with others Nancy launched the Bristol Bay Guide Academy which recognizes that local people have the best voices to share Bristol Bay with visitors and empowers local youth with the skills and encouragement needed to be leaders in the sport fishing world. Our artist feature, Suzzane Little, played with her band Food for the Soul at Salmonfest 2019 but is even more connected to the festival through her work with the organization Musicians United to Protect Bristol Bay – you’ll hear tunes from various artists as part of their collective effort to elevate Bristol Bay through music.

Featured Music:

  • Bonnie Nichols
  • Super Saturated Sugar Strings
  • Andrew Duhon
  • T Sisters
  • Blackwater Railroad Co.
  • Rainbow Girls
Episode 10: Death by a 1000 Cuts

Salmonfest Radio presents our 10th episode: “Death by a 1000 Cuts.” While our Musician Feature and Salmon Champion share a dedication to fighting against ecological devastation, they live in very different realities. Dana Lyons has built his musical career in the Pacific NorthWest advocating against projects that contribute to climate change and the like, infusing environmental justice movements with his often comical and always honest lyrical tunes. Salmon Champion Charlie Wright, a subsistence fisherman from a small village along the Yukon River shares the challenges indigenous people of the region are facing. Charlie acknowledges that local folks are willing to take drastic measures to support what’s left of diminishing Yukon salmon returns, but recognizes the paradox of local people having to solve a problem that they didn’t cause.
Featured Music:

  • Dana Lyons
  • Wookiefoot
  • The Burroughs
Episode 9: Alaskan Solutions and a Taste of Home

What’s your favorite way to eat salmon? Our 9th episode of Salmonfest Radio Salmon Anticipation Season is serving up salmon in all the best ways, tune for mouth watering inspiration for the salmon season to come. Our Salmon Champion Harrison McHenry, owner and head chef at Fresh Catch Cafe on the Homer Spit, shares his experience serving salmon to tourists and locals alike. While Harrison asserts there’s nothing better than a fresh ocean caught King, you’ll hear bands from across the 2019 Salmonfest lineup garnish this episode with their preferred way to eat Alaska’s favorite fish. Our band feature Rumpke Mountain Boys keep this episode movin’ and groovin’ with their midwestern trash grass acoustics and backstage banter.

Featured Music:

  • Rumple Mountain Boys
  • Cousin Curtiss and Harrison B
  • T Sisters
  • California Honey Drops
Episode 8: Alaskan Solutions and a Taste of Home

In our 8th episode of Salmonfest Radio we’ll give you a taste of California and a taste of home. Our artist feature, Matt Embree, visited Alaska for the first time Salmonfest 2019, bringing his Long Beach solo alt rock and ska beats to the ocean stage. Like so many visitors, Matt was struck by the generosity and kindness Alaskans greeted him with. That spirit of generosity and community care is fully embodied by this episode’s Salmon Champions Sam Schimmel and Natalie Sattler. Together, they executed Operation Fish Drop, distributing 12,000 pounds of sockeye to Anchorage Elders and Alaska Natives in a single day. You’ll hear themes of food insecurity, first foods and Alaskan solutions packaged with some great tunes in our latest episode of Salmonfest Radio.

Featured Music:

  • Matthew Embree
  • DeadPhish Orchestra
Episode 7: Beyond Borders

Stories, salmon and music transcend borders. As the Canadian government greenlights a hardrock mining district on the British Colombia side of watersheds shared with Southeast Alaskan communities, our Salmon Champions Tis Peterman and Heather Hardcastle are using stories to reconnect local communities up and down river, uniting local power on both sides of the border fighting for their place at the table. Our band feature, Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise, cross musical boundaries, mixing harmonic harp and vocals with hip hop beats and soul. Hear the dynamic pair share their origin story and music in this episode of Salmonfest Radio.

Featured Music:

  • Kuf Knots and Christine Elise
  • Blackwater Railroad Co.
  • Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Episode 6: Big Trees, Fat Bears, Strong Communities

Music and salmon are valued and appreciated by people across ideologies – they are powerful forces that build community and bring people together. Both our artists and salmon champion feature in this episode consciously use their platforms to create these connections. In episode 6 “Big Trees, Fat Bears, Strong Communities” you’ll hear music and an interview from Cousin Curtiss & Harrison B – two solo artists that teamed up at Salmonfest to energize the crowd. Our Salmon Champion, Amy Gulick, is a writer and photographer who helps us shift our thinking from salmon as a resource to salmon as a relationship – encouraging a culture that respects and protects the relationship to salmon that Alaskans share.

Featured Music:

  • Cousin Curtiss and Harrison B
  • Matt Embree
  • Kitchen Dwellers
  • T Sisters
Episode 5: Horseshoes, Hand Grenades & Sockeye, Oh My

We’ve got a big bill of Fish, Fun and Music this hour! The Wisconsin band, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, packages the tradition of Americana music perfectly and speaks the simple truth of their love and understanding of the Great Outdoors. These guys are at the root of what makes Salmonfest its blend of activism and art. Our Salmon Champion, Tom Quinn, has been studying and teaching about the fish of Bristol Bay for over 30 years and although his perspective is science heavy- he hits us in our Salmon Spiritual Center (™) and adds wild detail to what our favorite fish offers us and goes through.

Featured Music:

  • Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
  • Keller Williams
  • Ratfish Wranglers
Episode 4: The Call to Protect Bristol Bay

Salmonfest Radio presents Episode 4 The Call to Protect Bristol Bay. Let the soulful grooves of the California Honey Drops on stage Salmonfest 2019 break you out of a midwinter lul and hear our exclusive backstage interview as we dig into the heart of things with lead singer and trumpet player, Lech Wierzynski. Bristol Bay has been deemed the last salmon stronghold in the world, yet the threat of Pebble Mine and mines like it still loom over the region. Our hosts Dave and Satchel will bring listeners up to speed on the Pebble Mine saga to make way for our Salmon Champion, Rachel James, who puts her soul into her work holding a coalition of people working to protect Bristol Bay together. Rachel shares with us the two-step solution the local people are calling for to protect the salmon culture and economy in Bristol Bay for the long haul.

Featured Music:

  • California Honey Drops
  • Steve Poltz
  • Kuf Knotz & Christine Elise
  • Wookie Foot
Episode 3: Salmon Sorrows and Joys

Salmonfest Radio Episode 3 Salmon Sorrows and Joys brings us back to what’s at the heart of Salmonfest: protecting Bristol Bay and Alaskan salmon communities. Both our musical feature Banjo Rion, and our Salmon Champion Lydia Olympic are deeply rooted to Bristol Bay, Rion as a commercial fishermen and Lydia, a Yupik woman from Igiugig. Each interview reminds us why we must continue to fight the Pebble Mine and what’s at stake. Per usual our hosts Dave and Satchel will layer this episode with music recorded at Salmonfest because our salmon movement is stronger with more joy, music and salmon centric dance moves.

Featured Music:

  • The Sweet Lillies featuring Banjo Rion
  • Ratfish Wranglers
  • Hope Social Club
  • JunoSmile
  • Blackwater Railroad Co.
Episode 2: Cool Tunes, Cold Water

Welcome to another hour of fish, fun, and music.

Episode 2: Cool Tunes, Cold Water features Alaska’s honorary resident musician Tim Easton and Salmon Champion Sue Mauger. Hear Tim’s backstage interview and music recorded in a post Salmonfest performance at Bunnell Street Art Gallery in Homer, AK. Sue Mauger, Cook Inletkeeper’s Executive and Science Director takes us out in the field as she monitors stream temperatures of the Ninilchik river and examines how climate change is affecting our fresh water salmon habitat. Hosts Dave and Satchel will tie it all together, weaving in cool tunes recorded at Salmonfest along the way.

Featured Music:

  • Tim Easton
  • Andrew Duhon
  • T Sisters
  • The Burroughs
Episode 1: Protect What You Love

Introducing the first episode of Salmonfest Radio: An hour of fish, fun, and music.

Episode 1: Protect What You Love features the funky crowd favorite band Diggin’ Dirt with music recorded from their 2019 Salmonfest set and a special backstage interview. We will hear from Georgie Heaverly, a young Cook Inlet commercial fisherwoman and fisher poet, during our first Salmon Champion segment. Whether it be testifying during board meetings or uplifting the fishermen way of life through art and poetry, Georgie encourages all commercial fishermen, and especially the next generation to get involved in the decision making that affects their livelihoods. This episode is woven together by our hosts, Dave Aplin and Satchel Pondolfino.

Featured Music:

Diggin Dirt
Kitchen Dwellers
Ava Earl
Rainbow Girls
Ratfish Wranglers

Poem by Georgie Heaverly “Protect What You Love”

Thank you to all of our supporters!

KBBI AM 890 Radio
KNBA Radio Station
KDLL 91.9FM Radio

Salmonfest Production Team

Salmonfest Production Team

Pastor Tim Christensen

Brian Belay

And of course our listeners!

Salmonfest Radio is edited, directed, and produced by Kyra Harty and co-hosted by Satchel Pondolfino and Dave Aplin. To contact our team, please reach out to While we have sunsetted production of new Salmonfest Radio episodes, we invite you to learn from and enjoy our archive of salmon-filled episodes below or wherever you get your podcasts.