A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price.

Show airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis. Or install the WICR HD 1 app on your cell phone and stream live from anywhere.

And more party photos from HHL 14 . . .

. . .where Johnny Appleseed, Mayor Joe Hogsett, May Wright Sewall, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln, and lots of former show guests celebrated Hoosier History Live’s fourteen years on the air at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library on the evening of July 14. And former children’s television star “Janie” came as herself! Catering and bar by Black Plate Catering. Entertainment by Herron High School Strings and wandering fiddler Caleb Hawkins.


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Books by Nelson Price

Book cover of The Quiet Hero, A Life of Ryan White, by Nelson Price.

Indiana Legends book cover.Book cover of Indianapolis Then and Now, 2016 edition, by Nelson Price and Joan Hostetler, featuring photos by Garry Chilluffo.


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August 20, 2022

Fireflies and Monarch butterflies: Are they vanishing?

Monarch Banner

MonarchEven folks who complain about "bugs" are apt to say they love two insects. Fireflies and Monarch butterflies have captivated generations of Hoosiers, who swap anecdotes about memories of the insects dating to their childhoods. Lately, though, a different breed of anecdote is making the rounds: Observations that the number of fireflies and Monarch butterflies may be dwindling.

"Where are all of the Fireflies?" was the headline atop an article in the Indianapolis Star last month that featured a swarm of anecdotal accounts that the numbers may be dwindling of the beloved insect, which often is called a "lightning bug".

To address this and other issues related to fireflies and Monarch butterflies, a nationally known entomologist (who happens to be based on Hoosier turf) will be Nelson's guest. Dr. Tom Turpin, a professor emeritus at Purdue University and founder of its annual "Bug Bowl" competition, will share insights about the two popular insects.

Tom TurpinProfessor Turpin, who wrote a blog called "On Six Legs" for the Purdue Extension Service, also will discuss a species of firefly that was named Indiana's official state insect in 2018. The Say's firefly achieved that designation (after a resolution passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb) thanks to a crusade sparked by students at elementary schools in West Lafayette and New Harmony.

Professor Turpin also was a key figure in the crusade for the species of firefly, which is named in honor of a historic scientist who was based in New Harmony when he identified it in the early 19th century. Sometimes called the "Father of American entomology", Thomas Say (1787-1834) was born in Philadelphia but came to New Harmony in the 1820s aboard a "Boatload of Knowledge" that included scientists, economists, artists and other intellectuals. Their arrival was part of a second experiment in Utopian living at the village in southwestern Indiana.

According to Professor Turpin, the factors that could be impacting the numbers of fireflies and Monarch butterflies do not include predators among other insects. That's because both, he says, are "bad tasting to insect predators".

FireflyHe adds this caveat when discussing fears that the numbers may be decreasing: "Insect populations have traditionally varied from season to season, and from area to area in the same season. That is why observations of a particular person might be accurate, and also widely different."

The Star article quotes entomologists who point to fireflies as good indicators of environmental health. They also report that definitive data is not available about possible population declines in Indiana or across the Midwest. In any case, fireflies often become disoriented by artificial lights at night, which interferes when they seek to find mates.

Professor Turpin, who is known for his wit as well as his passion for insects, has been a popular Hoosier History Live guest on previous shows that have explored that aspect of our natural heritage. Last year, he shared insights on a show about the emergence of an insect that, unlike fireflies and Monarch butterflies, many people disdain: the cicada.

Roadtrip: Stuben Country and Pokagon State Park

Guest Roadtripper and public historian Glory-June Greiff is always on the lookout for old buildings and old structures built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the New Deal era.

She says she periodically loves to go to Steuben County, up in the far northeast corner of Indiana abutting Ohio and Michigan, which she says is a land of history and lakes and bucolic roads for wandering.

Glory continues “Pokagon State Park, of course, offers swimming in a real lake, miles of trails through forests and beautiful wetlands, and a saddle barn with patient horses. The park is dotted with structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), including a charming brick and timber gatehouse that has been converted into a CCC pocket museum. One of the few buildings NOT built by the CCC is the Nature Center, which has just undergone a fabulous renovation with all new displays and exhibits on the Native Americans who were here before, the fascinating geology that formed the lakes and rolling terrain, and of course, the work of the CCC boys in the 1930s. Nearby is the site of their camp, which has been marked out with trails and signs showing what once was there.

The Inn has great food, but if you're looking for cheap and funky, nearby Fremont has the Bull Pen and DJ’s, a walk-up place, both right on the main Toledo Street.

About 10 miles west on SR120 is Orland, site of another major New Deal project, the Fawn River Fish Hatchery on the north edge of town, built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). A lot of it is now the town park, and it's a nice place to picnic. It's a lovely drive to get there.”

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Hoosier History Live is an independent production group. We raise our own money and we control our content. We make our own editorial decisions, much like a newspaper. Our goal is to deliver an interesting and compelling show, newsletter, and show podcast to you every week. Regardless of the challenges.

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What people are saying about Hoosier History Live

Another Hoosier History Live endorsement from a Hoosier in California . .

"Hoosier History Live is a bright spot in my media constellation. I also frequently forward your weekly enewsletters to friends around the globe. I may now be a Californian, but my Hoosier interest is endless. The podcasts and streaming are good tools. By all means, persevere!"

Tom Cochrun, former news anchor, WTHR-TV Channel 13 Indianapolis


"... a compelling and engaging project..." 

"Molly Head and Nelson Price are Indiana-based visionaries who have created a compelling and engaging media project with Hoosier History Live. Podcasts, website, enewsletter, and live call-in radio show; it’s all there!"

- Keira Amstutz, President and CEO, Indiana Humanities


"...'Live' - and 'Lively' as well..." 

"Hoosier History really is 'Live' - and 'Lively' as well. The program brings to new audiences the delight and wisdom that comes with knowing more of our past and our connections as Hoosiers." James H. Madison, Emeritus History Professor, Indiana University 


"...best Americana-themed show..."

"Hoosier History Live is the best Americana-themed show anywhere on radio!"

- John Guerrasio, former IRT actor


"...always a great show"

“Hoosier History Live is always a great show.  We did a small  sponsorship as a gesture of support, and I didn’t think a little history show would have much impact. But many people mentioned to me that they had heard our credit on the radio.”

G.B. Landrigan, Realtor, Certified Residential Specialist


"... an intelligent, well-researched program..."

"I’ve loved listening to Hoosier History Live during the pandemic as an intelligent, well-researched program to escape the news for an hour."

-Lee Little, JD, MLS, Research Librarian, Indiana University


"... a compelling and engaging media project..."

"Molly Head and Nelson Price are Indiana-based visionaries who have created a compelling and engaging media project with Hoosier History Live. Podcasts, website, enewsletter, and live call-in radio show; it’s all there!"

- Keira Amstutz, President and CEO, Indiana Humanities


"...a great way to represent what I do..."

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with Nelson Price and the Hoosier History Live team. I feel being on the show was a great way to represent what I do with motorsports history. I am particularly excited by the show's new distribution through a podcast and making it accessible live through the Web.”

-Mark Dill, owner, FirstSuperSpeedway.com

"...great value to sponsors..."

"Hoosier History Live has amassed a vast library of content over the years, both with the show audio and newsletter material. I believe that the Hoosier History Live content has great value to sponsors and advertisers via widespread online distribution. Nowhere else do you find the fresh new material each week, the depth of stories, the richness of detail, and the long-term consistency."

- John McDonald, CEO, ClearObject in Fishers, Indiana, Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing IT company in Indiana for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.


"I love the podcasts..."

"I love the podcasts! I work on Saturdays and cannot always hear the live broadcasts. Sometimes I also like to listen a second time."

- Terri Gorney, Fort Wayne listener


"...fun and interesting..."

"Hoosier History Live is a fun and interesting way to learn about the heart and soul of Indiana. No boring classes or books here! The production team does an outstanding job."

Judy O'Bannon, civic leader and public broadcasting producer


"...does more to promote Indiana history..."

"Hoosier History Live does more to promote Indiana history than does any single source."

Andrea Neal, Indianapolis author and educator

"...infuses joy into the pursuit of history..."

"Nelson Price, more than anyone I know, infuses joy into the pursuit of history. And that joy rings out loud and clear on the radio show, Hoosier History Live."

Marsh Davis, President, Indiana Landmarks

"...enthusiastic, curious and knowledgeable..."

 "Hoosier History Live is a perfect place to consider and reconsider history ... not just what happened in the past, but what it may mean in the present. Nelson Price is the perfect host: enthusiastic, curious and knowledgeable. Tune in to Hoosier History Live and be prepared to be surprised."

James Still, playwright in residence, Indiana Repertory Theatre


"...a great way to learn more about history..."

"The links on the Friday Hoosier History Live enewsletter are a great way to learn more about history, and from a variety of sources."

Jill Ditmire, Omni Media Specialist

"...I want to call in!..

"No, I haven't heard of another call-in talk radio show about history. Our airwaves are now full of the worst vitriol! Give me the phone number for the show. I want to call in!"

Ken Burns, speaking at a preview of his film "The War" at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, April 18, 2007

"...interactive, more entertaining and more 'relevant'..."

"As museums and educational institutions scramble to make their offerings more interactive, more entertaining and more 'relevant', Hoosier History Live seems to have mastered that formula."

Glynis Worley, rural Bartholomew County listener


Podcast Listening 101: The Basics

With voice searching on Google, it's incredibly easy to listen to Hoosier History Live podcasts.

We still broadcast live every Saturday on WICR 88.7, but more and more of our listeners are getting their Hoosier History Live shows by podcast, and it's easier than ever!

It's really this simple: If you have a smartphone, go to the Google search engine, click on the microphone button, and say "Hoosier History Live podcasts." Or if you don’t use the microphone, type in the words "Hoosier History Live podcasts" at the Google search bar.You'll immediately get a list of recent shows to choose from. Click on one of them and let the listening begin!

If you have a preferred podcast provider like Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, you can use their search function to call up Hoosier History Live as well. When you see our yellow Hoosier History Live logo, just click on the episode you want to listen to. 

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