Erin OToole

Assistant News Director

I started my career in Cincinnati, Ohio where I was a traffic reporter by day and a volunteer public radio music host by night.  Although I spent almost nine years in commercial radio, I have always had a passion for the creativity and intelligence of public broadcasting.

I moved to Colorado in 2009 from the San Bernardino/Riverside area of California where I served as Morning Edition host and reporter for an NPR member station. During my six years there I covered a broad variety of topics including healthcare, immigration and clean energy.  In 2008 I was selected as a USC/Annenberg Health Journalism fellow, studying and reporting primarily on healthcare reform, domestic violence and health awareness media campaigns.

I graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University, San Bernardino.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, reading (science fiction or politics – or any combination of the two), listening to and creating music, and watching my dog chase squirrels for the first time in his life.

Please feel free to send me story ideas… or just suggestions for your favorite things to do in Colorado!

Ways to Connect

Robert Siegel behind the microphone at NPR's studios in Washington, D.C.
Stephen Voss for NPR

Longtime NPR host Robert Siegel is retiring after 30 years as a co-host of All Things Considered.

During his wide-ranging career, Siegel has covered some of the most historic events in modern U.S. history, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of 9/11. One of his many reporting projects brought him to Greeley, Colorado in 2003, where he delved into the fascinating story of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian writer who lived in the city in 1949. Qutb’s writings would later form the theoretical basis for many of the radical Islamic groups of today, including al Qaeda.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Despite a 2 percent uptick in obesity rates among adults, Colorado remains the leanest state in the nation.

The rate of adult obesity in Colorado climbed from 20.2 percent in 2015 to 22.3 percent in 2016, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report bolsters Colorado’s long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest states in the nation (though with room for improvement). Yet state health officials say the numbers aren’t great.

courtesy of Steve Ruskin

It’s hard to ignore the wave of "eclipse mania" that’s been building up over the last few months, leading up to the total solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21. Cities and towns in the path of totality – where the sun will be completely hidden by the moon — are enticing potentially massive crowds with their own unique eclipse-focused events. Transportation officials are warning of heavy traffic. Protective viewing glasses are becoming harder to find.

With modern-day traffic jams and overbooked hotels, it’s hard to imagine any parallels between Monday’s event and another eclipse from well over a century ago. But Colorado Springs author and historian Steve Ruskin says they’re there -- if you look hard enough.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Democrats in Colorado are withdrawing their voter registrations at a rate five times higher than Republicans. That’s according to data from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, which maintains voter records. The withdrawals follow news that the state would provide voter information to comply with President Trump’s investigation into voter fraud. 

Erin O'Toole / KUNC

[Monday, July 10, 2017] The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity received notice Monday of a complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, seeking a Temporary Restraining Order in connection with the commission's request for publicly available voter registration data. In response, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said he will not be releasing any information until further notice.

[Our original post continues below]

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams says he has no choice but to comply with a request for data from a federal commission looking into issues with voting and voter registration.

In a news conference on July 5, Williams reiterated what his office said in a June 29 news release: State law requires that he provide the data that is public to anyone who requests it – and he can’t pick and choose who gets it.

Courtesy of State of Colorado / colorado.gov

Colorado has two elected voices to turn to when it comes to the proposed Republican health care bill: Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner.

Bennet is a Democrat and has made clear his stance on the bill, calling it “fundamentally flawed.”

Courtesy of Rocky Mountain National Park

A late spring weather system dropped snow and rain on Northern Colorado in mid-May, leaving many trail goers and campers without their usual haunts for Memorial Day weekend -- including the iconic North Ridge Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

“As far as the snow coverage up there – they’re dealing with 4 to 6 feet of snow, and now we’re dealing with high winds,” says Kyle Patterson, the park’s spokeswoman. “And so it does not look probable that Trail Ridge will be opening this weekend.”

Ron Knight / Flickr

Around the end of April, a small, brown and white bird arrives on Colorado's eastern plains. The mountain plover may not seem like much to some, but it draws dozens of bird watching enthusiasts to the tiny community of Karval -- midway between Limon and La Junta -- for the annual Mountain Plover Festival.

For the festival, now in its 11th year, many of Karval’s farmers and ranchers do something rather unusual – they open up their land and their homes to host festival attendees.

courtesy of Library of Congress

Finding relevance in history isn’t always easy, but the wave of social activism and political reform that took place in the early 20th century -- later known as the Progressive Era -- is one that rings familiar.

You may have noticed a new voice hosting Morning Edition recently. As of last week, I have stepped away from my role as Morning Edition host to become KUNC’s Assistant News Director. I’ll primarily be responsible for shaping our newscasts and working with on-air hosts.

I’ve been hosting Morning Edition here at KUNC (minus a few months here and there) since July 2009. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long! Time really does fly when you’re having fun – and hosting Morning Edition here has given me great enjoyment over the years.

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