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.

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River to River
4:37 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Elder Financial Abuse Cost Eldora Resident His Life Savings

Although believed to be underreported, it's estimated that seniors lose approximately $2.6 billion per year due to financial abuse
Daniel Foster

While it often goes unreported, elder financial abuse costs older Americans 2 to 3 billion dollars per year.

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River to River
10:43 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Iowa Prison Population Likely to Increase

Mitchellville, Iowa
Emily Woodbury

A recent report from the Iowa Department of Human Rights indicates the number of inmates in Iowa will increase by four thousand in 10 years. The report looks at the number of people going into prison, how long they are staying, and how many people are released each year.

The Director of Research at the Iowa Department of Corrections, Lettie Prell, says prison officials have seen high numbers like this before.

“We view this forecast as being not set in stone, but as an indication of where we might be going if we don’t examine our current policies and practices."

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Java Blend
10:32 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Muckrockers' Music on the State of the Nation

Download the podcast for an hour with Iowa City locals, Muckrockers.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about Muckrockers' latest album, We The People.

Muckrockers are a group of working class musician-citizens aiming to illuminate and eliminate the corporate stranglehold on our government and our lives. 

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Arts and Culture
10:25 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Native Iowan One of Nation's First Pot Critics

Smokers High Life / flickr

We know movie and wine critics, but what about a career as a pot critic?

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News Buzz
5:29 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Iowa DREAMer Responds to President Obama's Announcement on Immigration

Justin Valas

The President's order to protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation has been welcomed by some, condemned by others.

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Java Blend
9:56 am
Thu November 20, 2014

The Candymakers' Recipe for Sweet Groovy Music

Stop by The Java House for a free full hour with the Quad Cities' The Candymakers.
Image provided by artist.

On Friday, Nov. 21,  at 2 PM at Iowa City's downtown Java House, IPR Studio One's Ben Kieffer will host a special hour of "Java Blend" with The Candymakers.

Ben Kieffer will chat with the band to find out more about their new album, Ridiculous, while they perform a live 50-minute set. This program is free and open to the public!

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Immigration
9:19 am
Wed November 19, 2014

How Could Immigration Reform Impact Iowa’s Economy?

The Des Moines skyline
Flickr

According to a report released earlier this year by Iowa Policy Project, immigrants make up about 4.5 percent of the state’s economic output.

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River to River
3:40 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

The Modern Harvest: Managing "by the square foot instead of by the field"

Jim Sladek and Ben Kieffer on the combine
Emily Woodbury

This year, U.S. farmers are bringing in what is expected to be a record breaking harvest. On this edition of River to River - the modern day harvest.

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Java Blend
9:46 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Mayflies Trio Brews Up Tunes To Dance To

Listen to the podcast for a full hour with a trio from the local roots rockers, The Mayflies.

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

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News Buzz
3:38 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

"Farmer Wave Week" Celebrates a Friendly Highway Gesture

Todd Collins has created a week celebrating a hands-just-slightly-off-the-wheel motion that encapsulates 'Iowa Nice.'
Paul Hamilton Flickr

Most driver-to-driver hand gestures are decidedly unwelcome. But riding along a rural road in Iowa, you might encounter a friendly one--the farmer wave.

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News Buzz
2:52 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Iowa Leading in LGBT Equality Once Again

Iowa was third in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, but how else are Iowa cities achieving equality for their LGBT residents?
Alan Light Flickr

In the third annual Municipality Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign, each of the five Iowa cities measured scored above the national average.

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News Buzz
2:29 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Do Pesticides Cause Depression?

Seven pesticides commonly used by farmers may be linked to depression.
jetsandzeppelins Flickr

Mining 20 years of data, a new study by the National Institutes of Health has found a link between some pesticides and depression. 

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Health
3:52 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Encore: Migraine Science Making Strides

Sasha Wolff Wikimedia Commons

36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but understanding why exactly these types of headaches happen has been elusive. 

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Politics Day
4:53 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

President Obama Makes Historic Deal with China on Carbon Emissions

A historic deal regarding carbon emissions has been reached between China and the U.S.  Is it realistic?

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River to River
5:23 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Iowa Veterans' Stories in Washington D.C.

Sign welcoming Iowa veterans to Reagan Washington National Airport in D.C. on October 16, 2013
Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

For Veterans Day, join host Ben Kieffer as he travels to Washington D.C. with more than 80 Iowa veterans.

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Books
3:20 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Iowa is in Two "American Nations," Which One Do You Live In?

Colin Woodard's 11 "American Nations"
Courtesy of Colin Woodard

Why do we classify states or regions as “red” or “blue”? How did certain areas of the country gain particular political reputations? 

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Java Blend
9:32 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Hero Jr Exclusive Acoustic Set

Rock out for a full hour with Hero Jr in this episode of Java Blend.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," with Ben Kieffer rock out with Hero Jr while they play a special acoustic set featuring songs from their latest album.

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Newsbuzz
1:54 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

ISU Honors Students, Veterans Lost

ISU's Gold Star Hall
Iowa State University

Diane Rasmussen, who lives in Omaha, can't make impromptu trips to Arlington, Virginia, where her son Deric is buried. Now, if she wants to feel close to him, she can visit Gold Star Hall in ISU's Memorial Union.

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Newsbuzz
1:10 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

NPR Correspondent Mara Liasson Weighs in on Iowa Politics

Why do female candidates often go by their first names? Liasson weighs in on gender issues in politics.
Gage Skidmore Flickr

Senator-Elect Joni Ernst's 'Squeal' ad made waves this election cycle. NPR political correspondent Mara Liassion believes Ernst's gender was crucial to that appeal.

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Health
9:46 am
Fri November 7, 2014

How Is Iowa Doing In the Fight Against Cancer?

17,630 people in Iowa will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014
Faculty of Medicine NTNU

Cancer-related deaths continue to decline in the U.S., and scientific breakthroughs are occurring at a breathtaking pace. But is this trend in jeopardy?

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Politics Day
3:58 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Politics Day: Mid-Term Election Analysis

nshepard / flickr

Republicans hand a major defeat to President Obama and Senate Democrats, seizing control of the U.S. Senate; and Iowa makes history, electing its first female senator, Joni Ernst.

One lone Democrat remains in Iowa’s six-member congressional delegation to Washington. This politics day, host Ben Kieffer and several political analysts examine the results of Iowa’s races and fit them into the national picture, to ask, what may be in store for the final two years of the Obama presidency?

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Business and Economy
10:22 am
Wed November 5, 2014

When the Government Charges Your Property With a Crime, Not You

Carole Hinders, owner of Mrs. Lady's Mexican Food, in her restaurant's kitchen
Photo Courtesy of the Institue for Justice

Carole Hinders of Arnold’s Park, IA, wasn’t charged with a crime, but that didn’t stop the I.R.S. from seizing the entire balance of her checking account, more than $30,000.

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Sleep
4:35 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Is Your Office Affecting Your Sleep Patterns?

A recent study found that the amount of natural light office workers are exposed to may impact the duration and quality of their sleep.
Mark Norman Francis Flickr

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that those who worked close to windows slept better and longer than those who didn’t. Dr. Eric Dyken, a sleep expert, says this has to do with our bodies' circadian rhythms.

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Java Blend
9:46 am
Mon November 3, 2014

New Local Band Jack Lion Inspires Atmospheric Chill

Listen and download the podcast for a fresh brewed hour with Iowa City locals, Jack Lion.

You may recognize some of Iowa City-based Jack Lion's members from another local band, Slip Silo. But, it's not just their name that has changed. 

Jack Lion’s members unearth the early ’00s interest in connections between jazz and electronic music and refashion it for this current era. Striking a balance between jazz composition, down-tempo break-beats, and hazy atmospherics they have made their mark as one of Iowa City’s headiest and most adventurous bands. 

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Ukraine
3:52 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Ukraine Strained by Gas Deal, Multiple Elections

Kiev, Ukraine
Dieter Zirnig Flickr

Yesterday in a deal brokered by the European Union, Russia agreed to supply gas to Ukraine through March. 

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River to River
3:31 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Author Justin Cronin Describes Post-Apocalyptic World in "The Passage" Trilogy

stpaulgirl / flickr

New York Times bestselling author and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, Justin Cronin, takes us into the post-apocalyptic world he’s created in the newly released second book of his highly-acclaimed vampire trilogy.

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Superheroes
2:51 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

UI Course Takes Superheroes Seriously

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...a college course?
JD Hancock Flickr

While Iowans will see superheroes and villains out trick-or-treating tonight, University of Iowa students will be seeing them in their textbooks this spring.

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Politics Day
6:41 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Politics Day: One Week To Go

Ernst/Braley Campaign Facebook Pages

With the midterm elections less than a week away, the Iowa Senate race looks closer than ever.

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River to River
4:23 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Jack Hatch on legislative priorities, fund raising and gaining the support of Iowa Democrats

State Senator Jack Hatch in Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines studio
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Just a week away from election day, polls show Governor Terry Branstad has a double-digit lead over Democratic State Senator Jack Hatch.

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River to River
5:39 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Doug Smith of the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project: "They're just like us"

Yellowstone wolf in the woods
Jeremy Weber

"Our problems with wolves stem from jealousy and competition...they're just like us," says Doug Smith, Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist.

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