Great Smoky Mountains Association is launching a new podcast series, Smoky Mountain Air.

Hosted by GSMA staff members Valerie Polk, videographer and publications associate, and Karen Key, senior publications specialist, Smoky Mountain Air features interviews with authors, scientists and park experts, who each shed new light on life in the Smokies past and present.

Smoky Mountain Air brings the science, stories and sounds of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to listeners all across the country. In the podcast’s first few episodes, the hosts draw on readings and interviews with authors and naturalists featured in issues of Smokies Life, GSMA’s biannual magazine. Current and forthcoming episodes include guests Rose Houk, David Brill, Steve Kemp and Stephen Lyn Bales, as well as an interview with Horace Kephart co-biographer Janet McCue and filmmaker Paul Bonesteel.

“Smoky Mountain Air author interviews serve as an entry point to what we call the missing issues of Smokies Lifemagazine,” said Frances Figart, GSMA’s creative director and the biannual magazine’s editor. “These are issues that everyone asks us about on a regular basis because they can no longer find them anywhere in print.”

Four of the missing issues were re-released online at no charge to readers in April, in partnership with Smokies LIVE, a virtual version of Smokies Life. Smokies LIVE was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the March 24-May 9 closure of GSMNP.

While the park is resuming operations in phases, GSMA realizes that some members and park supporters may prefer to continue experiencing the park from afar. Smoky Mountain Air, as well as Smokies LIVE, will enable people to learn more about the history, science and culture of the Smokies from the comfort of their homes.

“I believe that Smoky Mountain Air will give members and park supporters another great way to connect to GSMA, the region and Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Aday said. “It seems like a natural extension of all the great content members have come to expect from GSMA, and I think people are going to be really pleased.”

Smoky Mountain Air can be found on all the usual podcast-hosting platforms, including Apple, Spotify, Google Podcast and Stitcher. The missing Smokies Life issues can be found at To read Smokies LIVE visit