Erika Janik

Erika Janik spins multiple "Wisconsin Life"-related plates as she acquires, edits, records, and mixes radio stories for broadcast -- all while searching for new roadside attractions, hiking trails  and local beer to explore.  She is the author of five books including "Apple: A Global History", and most recently "Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine.  Erika blogs at


Stories from Erika Janik

May 24, 2017

For several years now, kids and seniors in Lodi have played games, painted, sung songs, and read stories together as part of an intergenerational program at the Good Samaritan Center.

April 21, 2017

For many years, Sagashus Levingston felt like she was faking motherhood. The women she knew looked nothing like the mothers in books and on TV, and she felt like she was constantly failing to live up to what other people thought she should be. Rather than keep trying to change, though, Levingston decided to change the story with a group she called Infamous Mothers.

March 29, 2017

Vata Edari always loved chocolate. And reading about it and experimenting with chocolate became a refuge for her from her work as a successful criminal defense attorney. But when people began to take notice of her chocolate, her hobby became a business. Edari tells us about her path from law to chocolate. 

February 15, 2017

It’s hard to imagine that any musician could be as prolific as Jay Anderson. The saxophonist performs nearly every night, has started his own record label, and grows his own food.

November 25, 2016

Corin Reilly always wanted to be an actor. He found a way to live his dream as part of Encore Studios, a theater company for people with disabilities. 

"I began acting when I was 18 years old," says Reilly. 

November 9, 2016

Raised beadwork was once widely practiced by the Iroquois but the art form had declined precipitously in the mid-20th century. But since the 1990s, native artists have made a major effort to keep the tradition alive. I went to meet two Oneida artists, Rebecca Webster, and her teacher, Loretta Webster, at an exhibit of their work in Madison.

October 21, 2016

Antonio Saldana began working in the fields with his family as a migrant worker when he was four years old. He tells us about his childhood and becoming the first in his family to graduate high school and then college in Green Bay.

October 12, 2016

Peter David knew little about wild rice when he began his job as a biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. He’s since devoted his life to understanding and protecting Wisconsin’s rice.

October 19, 2016

There’s a door on Menomonie’s Wilson Place Mansion that’s much more than a door. Well-known blacksmith Thomas Googerty crafted the door on Menomonie’s Wilson Place Mansion. As part of our ongoing look at the objects that tell Wisconsin’s story, Jim Bryan tells us about the social responsibility, craftsmanship, and educational innovation behind that door. This story was produced in partnership with Wisconsin 101.

October 7, 2016

The Hiawatha statue, also known as the "Big Indian," in La Crosse's Riverside Park is one of the most recognizable statues in the city.