Ben Kieffer

River to River and Java Blend Host

Ben Kieffer joined Iowa Public Radio in 2000 and is host of IPR’s daily noon talk show River to River, which he also helps produce. Since 2001, he has hosted and produced IPR’s weekly, live music program which features artists from around the state and the country called Java Blend.

Prior to joining IPR, Ben lived and worked in Europe for more than a decade. He reported firsthand the fall of the Berlin Wall and covered the Velvet Revolution in Prague. Ben has won numerous awards for his work over the course of more than 20 years in public media.

Ben holds an adjunct faculty position at The University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he teaches courses on interviewing and radio news. He is a native of Cedar Falls and a graduate of the University of Iowa.

Ben’s favorite public radio program is Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

Pages

River to River
3:35 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Age of the Microbrewery

More than half of all U.S. brewing facilities are microbreweries
John Bollwitt

Traditional, big American breweries are in the midst of a global identity crisis. Meanwhile, craft beer microbreweries in the U.S. are flourishing like never before.

Read more
Java Blend
9:03 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Dave Zollo

Tune in to the podcast for a full hour with Dave Zollo & The Body Electric.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Dave Zollo & The Body Electric.

Download the podcast to find out more about the Iowa City icon and gospel rocker.

If you're a follower of the Midwestern indie music world (or of American roots music generally) you might be forgiven for thinking David Zollo has been around forever. The truth is, it just seems that way.

Read more
Ebola
6:30 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Iowa Hospitals Prepare for Ebola

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is undergoing
Jon Favrel Flickr

Though there’s only been two cases in the United States, hospitals across the nation and across Iowa are preparing for the possibility of caring for Ebola patients.

Read more
Crime, Justice and Public Safety
10:15 am
Fri October 17, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court: "There's far more agreement than is commonly understood"

U.S. Supreme Court building
Jeff Kubina / flickr

Has the U.S. Supreme Court become a partisan institution? According to polls, many Americans think so.

Read more
2014 Elections
11:41 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Iowa's Non-Major Party Candidates in the 2014 Elections

Ulises Jorge / flickr

The Republican and Democratic parties dominate politics in our state and our country.

Read more
Food
4:06 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

2014 World Food Prize Laureate Sanjaya Rajaram on Working with Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug with Sanjaya Rajaram working in a field in Mexico
Photo Courtesty of the World Food Prize

There are just over 7 billion people in the world today, and by 2050, our population is predicted to reach 9 billion.

Read more
Science and Technology
12:35 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Young People Inheriting a Situation That's 'Out of Their Control'

Cracks in the ice cover of the arctic ocean. As Earth's climate warms thes cracks are allowing methane to escape into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming.
Eric Kort, Creative Commons 2.0 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

One of the nation's best-known climate scientists is joining a lawsuit against the government to pressure for policies to address global warming.

Read more
Java Blend
1:46 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Jack Klatt

Download the podcast for a full hour with troubadour traditionalist, Jack Klatt.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Jack Klatt.

Download the podcast to find out more about the Minnesota artist and his rambling, rolling music straight from the banks of the Mississippi.

Read more
News Buzz
4:06 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Pilotless Airplanes? Rockwell Collins and the UI Push Forward

Early tests by Rockwell Collins and a UI group suggest remote-controlled airplanes may feasible in US airspace in the future.
a.koto Flickr

Would you fly in a plane without a pilot? How comfortable would you be with a plane remote-controlled from the ground?

Read more
Climate Change
3:46 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Iowa Scientists: Climate Change a Public Health Concern

Thorne says drought and agricultural effects are not the only concerns in terms of climate change in Iowa.
anothertom Flickr

180 scientists from  38 Iowa colleges and universities signed this year’s Iowa Climate Statement 2014. Co-author Peter Thorne says this year’s report focuses on climate change’s effect on Iowans’ health.

Read more
World Food Prize
2:26 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Iranian Wheat Scientist to Attend World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines

Wikimedia Commons

Government officials in Iran are sending one of their top food scientists to the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines next week. 

Read more
History
3:46 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Encore: Memories of Flight 232

Flight 232, before its deadly crash
C Zellmer Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Read more
Politics Day
5:07 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Decisions by Default: U.S. Supreme Court Stays Quiet on Same-Sex Marriage

U.S. Supreme Court Building
Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up any of the cases before them involving same-sex marriage.

Read more
River to River
1:54 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

What Does Don Gonyea Know About Ioway, Anyway?

Don Gonyea and Ben Kieffer at "Politics and a Pint" in downtown Des Moines
John Pemble

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea has spent many years in Iowa, covering political races and the Iowa caucuses; but can he reach the status of "honorary Iowan?"

Read more
River to River
1:54 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Robert McChesney: "The Disintegration of the Commercial Model of Journalism"

Luc De Leeuw / flickr

On this segment of River to River, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism.

Read more
River to River
11:04 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream

Picnic in the woods, from 1918
Richard / flickr

What is at the heart of the American dream?

Read more
Java Blend
10:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With In Rooms

Kick back and relax in this tropical Java Blend podcast with In Rooms.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with In Rooms.

Download the podcast to find out more about the Latin America-influenced indie band.

Read more
News Buzz
3:07 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Latest Job Numbers

United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez
US Department of Labor

United States health officials say they are confident they can prevent the spread of Ebola in the U.S. after the first case was diagnosed in Texas this week.

Read more
Crime
5:22 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Job Prospects for Iowa Ex-Felons

A shift in law that brought e-cigarette stores under the same code as tobacco stores meant Kelley Page could no longer continue to operate his Des Moines-based store, Great Alternatives.
Mobydoux Wikimedia Commons

Kelley Page saw his e-cigarette store as the new chapter in his life. So it stung that much more when it was taken away because of his past.

Read more
News Buzz
5:19 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Chicago Attorney says Templeton Rye Misled Consumers

Templeton Rye's Heritage Pork Project pigs
El Photography and Design

A lawsuit against Templeton Rye has received approval to proceed by the state attorney general’s office, but Founder Keith Kerkhoff says the allegations of the lawsuit are untrue. 

Read more
Medicine
11:09 am
Thu October 2, 2014

To Test or Not to Test

Kristen Powers discusses genetic testing with her father and her doctor.
Kristen Powers Official Twitch Trailer

If you inherited a deadly, incurable disease, would you want to know?

Read more
Politics
3:24 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

President Obama as a "War President"

Screen shot from the White House’s official video of President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2014.

This week, Great Britain joined the United States and France in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. 

Read more
River to River
4:45 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Engaging in #GamerGate: "There is that fear going into it, as a woman"

Anita Sarkeesian, author of the video blog "Feminist Frequency," has been harassed for her critique of sexism within the industry
Anita Sarkeesian

This month, the video game industry has found itself at the center of a dispute that's led to intense debate under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.

Read more
Politics
5:22 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Loebsack: Use of Force in Syria Requires Congressional Approval

Dave Loebsack's Official Portrait
U.S. House of Representatives

Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack says the most recent military campaign ordered by President Obama in Syria requires congressional approval. 

Read more
Politics
4:52 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

King: Mowrer Campaign Owes Me an Apology

Steve King at an event in Ames, Iowa in August 2011.
Gage Skidmore Wikimedia Commons

Republican Congressman Steve King says Jim Mowrer, a Democrat and Iraq war veteran who is running against him to represent Iowa’s Fourth District, owes him an apology.

Read more
Java Blend
9:24 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Bonne Finken

Download the podcast for a full hour with home grown artist, Bonne Finken.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Bonne Finken.

Download the podcast to find out more about the powerful vocalist who was born and raised in Iowa.

Read more
Unexpected Iowa
5:32 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Iowa the "Bright Radical Star"

The Iowa Constitution
IowaPolitics.com Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Iowa gained attention for the Supreme Court decision overturning a ban on same sex marriage. But the ruling was no surprise given the court's history.

Read more
Unexpected Iowa
4:03 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Butterfly Stroke Invented in Iowa Pool

Ben Kieffer stands with UI Swimming Coach Marc Long at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center at the University of Iowa.
Lindsey Moon Iowa Public Radio

Today, there are four recognized strokes in competitive swimming. It wasn't always that way. 

Read more
Unexpected Iowa
4:35 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Iowa: First In the Nation for 42 Years

Iowa Caucus

Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first significant hurdle for presidential hopefuls from both parties.

Read more
Unexpected Iowa
5:07 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

The Perfect Score: Iowa and Standardized Testing

Standardized testing has become the norm, not only for college-bound high schoolers but for students K-12. What many people don't know is that the origins standardized testing like the ACT lie in Iowa.
William R. Goodwin Wikimedia Commons

Most of us have filled in those tiny rows of bubbles with a No. 2 pencil. But who creates standardized tests? Who tests them? And why do we have to use a No. 2 pencil in the first place?

Read more

Pages