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

Radon
3:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Iowa's Dangerously High Radon Risk

A radon testing kit
Megan Khines Flickr

It's colorless, odorless, and more prevalent in Iowa than any other state. Radon gas is causing 400 deaths in Iowa every year.

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Java Blend
11:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Local Group Firesale Gearing up for New Album

Stop by The Java House for a full free hour with Davenport-based Firesale.
Image provided by artist.

Who doesn’t love a good jam? Fire Sale certainly does. 

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International News
4:45 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

A Personalist Regime: Putin's Hold on Russia

UI Political Science Professor Bill Reisinger says Putin's personalist regime is less stable and less effective than other types of authoritarian regimes.
World Economic Forum Flickr

This weekend, pro-Moscow rebels - backed by what NATO says is the open participation of Russian troops - restarted the war in Eastern Ukraine. 

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Java Blend
9:13 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Des Moines' The River Monks Explode onto National Scene

Download the podcast for a full hour with Java Blend veterans and Des Moines natives, The River Monks.
Graham Gardner

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

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Legislative Day
3:08 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Narrowing the Skills Gap in Iowa with Specialized Training

Construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, and health services make up 54.6% of Iowa’s middle to high skill job market
Frank Guido

Iowa has a shortage of skilled workers, leaving jobs in some of the most thriving industries unfilled.

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News Buzz
2:15 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

How Facebook Hurts Grades

A new study from ISU suggests Facebook takes up cognitive function needed to focus on studying.
Dimitris Kalogeropoylos Flickr

The connections seems simple: the more time you're on Facebook, the more your grades suffer. 

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News Buzz
5:04 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Bread Bags--Iowa's New Cultural Icon?

Grocery leftovers or fashionable footwear?
SV Johnson Flickr

In her State of the Union response, freshman Senator Joni Ernst repeated an anecdote from her victory speech evoking her "down-home" upbringing.

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Religion and Science
5:18 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Are Religion and Science like Oil and Water?

Some believe science and religion can't coexist. Troy Van Voorhis disagrees.
fusky Flickr

When Troy Van Voorhis became a chemistry professor at MIT, he started getting questions from his students: Did science eliminate the need for religion? Did you have to be an atheist to be a good scientist?

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Politics Day
5:28 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

State of the Union 2015: Realistic Ideas or Pipedreams?

screen shot

As President Barack Obama enters his last two years of the presidency, he faces a Republican majority in Congress.

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Mental Health Services
6:51 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

What Mental Health Institutes Closures Mean for Southern Iowa

The mental health institution in Independence, Iowa.
kc7fys Flickr

In the budget proposal he released last week, Governor Branstad quietly cut funding for two of Iowa's four mental health institutes.

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Transportation
4:08 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Iowa Cities to Determine Regulations for Uber This Year

screenshot of Uber's log-in page

David Stoltze has been driving for Uber for about a month now. He says the work is pretty straightforward. 

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Java Blend
1:35 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

The Nadas are IA's Favorite Mix of Alt, Rock, and Country

Download the podcast for a full hour with Iowa natives, The Nadas.
Image Provided By Artist

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

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News Buzz
4:24 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Cyber-Vandalism, Cyber-Crime, and other Digital Threats to the U.S.

An online interactive map showing current cyber attacks worldwide
IP Viking - http://map.ipviking.com/

Several U.S. military social media accounts were hacked this week by those claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

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Politics Day
4:51 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Cedar Falls Takes Center Stage as Internet Leader

A harvested cornfield outside of Cedar Falls. Getting reliable rural internet service is one of the struggles both Obama and Branstad are trying to tackle.
Parshotam Lal Tandon Flickr

President Obama announced a new plan to support community-run broadband in Cedar Falls today.

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Space
5:10 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Another Earth in the Cosmos?

The Kepler vehicle backdropped by Earth's horizon and the blackness of space
NASA NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

The Kepler mission may have lost two of its wheels, but data being mined from the mission has unearthed eight potentially habitable planets.

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Java Blend
10:57 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Rebecca Rego's Music Bursts with Poetic Vocals

Download the podcast for a full hour with Illinois-based artist Rebecca Rego.
Image provided by artist.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about the artist.

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Terrorism
5:41 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

How Controversial Cartoons Become a Reason for Killing

A spread of Charlie Hebdo covers.
Gongashan Flickr

Twelve people, including four cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, were shot dead Wednesday in an apparent militant Islamist attack.

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Sports
11:58 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Tracey Griesbaum and UI Provide Details on Firing

Photo of Tracey Griesbaum and players during an Iowa vs Indiana field hockey game in 2007
Jon Fravel www.flickr.com/photos/jfravel

Today on River to River, we explore the controversy surrounding the firing of the University of Iowa’s former field hockey coach, Tracey Griesbaum, as well as take a broader look at what the playing field is like for female coaches in both men’s and women’s teams in the U.S.

Griesbaum led the UI field hockey team through 169 wins in 14 seasons. She posted 12 winning seasons and made six appearances in the NCAA tournament.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:54 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Blum May Face Repercussions for Vote Against Speaker

Rod Blum (left) and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaking with small business owners at a business roundtable at MobileDemand in Hiawatha.
Gage Skidmore

Though Ohio Republican John Boehner won a third term as Speaker of the House, he does not have a friend in Iowa Congressman Rod Blum of Dubuque.

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Business and Economy
4:40 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Geoscientist: Crops Cannot Grow if Oil Spills from Proposed Bakken Pipeline

Fort Madison land owners attend a crowded informational meeting about the proposed pipeline.
Joyce Russell Iowa Public Radio

A Michigan State Geoscientist is warning about a possible oil spill from a proposed crude oil pipeline that could bisect 18 Iowa counties.

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Java Blend
11:52 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Iowa Roots Band Brother Trucker Perfects "Iowa Sound"

Download the podcast for a full hour with local Iowa roots artists, Brother Trucker.
Image provided by artist.

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" host Ben Kieffer talks with Brother Trucker.

Download the podcast to find out more about the band and their Iowa-inspired music.

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Health
11:17 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Epilepsy's Fatal Potential

One in 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime
cobalt123 / flickr

Epilepsy affects millions; and yet, the cause of the neurological disorder is in most cases is unknown.

Also unknown are the details of the leading cause of death from epilepsy, what medical professionals call "sudden unexpected death from epilepsy" or SUDEP. Recently, University of Iowa neurologists have been chosen to join only 8 other groups around the world to study SUDEP.

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Java Blend
9:33 am
Mon January 5, 2015

A Soul Shaking Hour With Iowa Blues Legend Kevin BF Burt

Download the podcast for a full hour with Kevin BF Burt.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about the the Coralville native and his music.

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Year in Review
3:39 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

2014: The Year in Politics

John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

In 2014, Gov. Terry Branstad won an unprecedented sixth term as Governor of Iowa, and Iowans elected the state’s first woman to Congress when Republican Joni Ernst won her seat in the U.S. Senate. 

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Year In Review
3:35 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Remembering Those We Lost: 2014 Obituary Show

Cemetery in Nevada, Iowa
Carl Wycoff Creative Commons License

Iowa lost many notable citizens and natives in 2014. As we wrap up the year, we remember a few as a tribute to all.

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2014 in Review
3:00 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

IPR's Top Stories of 2014

Iowa Statehouse
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Data centers, legislative scuffles, and national park scandals: this year was big for Iowa news.

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Sleep
4:46 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Owl, Lark, or Somewhere In-between?

Ed Yourdon Flickr

Most people consider themselves either a night person or a morning person. What if you're sleepy all day long?

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Java Blend
9:00 am
Mon December 22, 2014

A Rockin' Hour With Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

Download the podcast for a full hour with Iowa legends, Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer will chat with Bob Dorr & The Blue Band.

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News Buzz
3:35 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

News Buzz: Stories from Iowa, Cuba, and West Africa

Havana, Cuba
Mauro Heck

This week, Havana erupted in celebration with the announcement of a new era of relations between Cuba and the United States. On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowan Mauro Heck, who has just returned from Cuba.

Heck says that while Cuba is beautiful and the people are inviting, the country is "organized chaos."

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Religion
4:33 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Sisters Pleased with Vatican Report

a screenshot of the press conference held in Rome Tuesday morning to announce results of a report about nuns in the U.S.

In 2012, the Vatican accused Catholic nuns in the US of straying from church doctrine, but in a report released this week, the church now says it welcomes the efforts of the sisters.

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