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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Ripple Effects
3:41 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Carrot or Stick? The Government's Role in Environmental Policy

A sunrise near Decorah
Katherine Perkins IPR

The Clean Air Act was most recently amended in 1990, with overwhelming bipartisan support.  Is that kind of sweeping environmental policy possible today? 

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Java Blend
11:19 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Mike Mangione & The Union

Tune in and download the podcast for a full hour with the sensational Mike Mangione & The Union.
Mike Mangione & The Union

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Mike Mangione & The Union

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the band's album, Red-Winged Blackbird Man.

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River to River: From the Archives
10:56 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Depression During College Years

Art major Jordon Deutmeyer stands outside of the University of Northern Iowa Honors Cottage in December 2013
Linh Ta/IowaWatch IowaWatch.org

Accommodations are available for college students struggling with depression, but university counseling centers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Hear about an IowaWatch.org report on the difficulty these students experience including what is often a harsh stigma associated with being depressed.

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River to River: From the Archives
1:30 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

The Teenage Brain

chandrika221 / flickr

Listen to the show - River to River

The drama of mood swings, impulsiveness and bizarre behaviors during adolescence
can take a toll on both teens and their parents.

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News Buzz
3:45 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

News Buzz: Human Trafficking, Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba

According to data from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there has been a steady increase in calls reporting human trafficking in Iowa. 

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News Buzz
3:32 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

News Buzz: NPR's Don Gonyea Ready for RAGBRAI

Wikimedia Commons

Don Gonyea, Scott Horsley and Brian Naylor, team “No Pie Refused” are ready for RAGBRAI.

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News Buzz
3:26 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

News Buzz: Is Iowa in Idaho? It's Time to End the Mix-Up

Iowa grows corn, not potatoes.
Flickr

Iowa and Idaho are two completely different states. Journalist and author Tim Woodward says its time to set the record straight.

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Java Blend
10:48 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With The Feralings

Tune in and download the podcast for a full encore hour with The Feralings.
The Feralings

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with The Feralings.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the spunky Iowa roots band. 

The Feralings are Benj Upchurch, Nicole Upchurch, Patrick Bloom, and Stacy Webster, but the name is a bit of a misnomer, as the members of the band are far more likely to invite you to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea than they are to jump you and steal your beer money.

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Courts
11:55 am
Thu July 17, 2014

If Someone Gets Hurt on the Sidewalk on Your Property, Are You Liable?

Wikimedia Commons

After Beth Madden fell off her bike as a result of a crack in the sidewalk, she filed a negligence suit. If you're a property owner, keep reading. 

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Politics Day
3:11 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Politics Day: From the Gaza Strip to the U.S. Border

Nick Knupffer

Ten years ago, it was wildly controversial to talk about psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Today’s that’s changed.

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Politics
5:40 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

4th District Congressional Candidate Jim Mowrer on Immigration, Iraq and Health Care

Jim Mowrer

After serving two tours of duty in Iraq with the Iowa National Guard, Jim Mowrer says he's ready to serve his country in a slightly different manner. 

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Ripple Effects
4:22 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Urban Iowa: "Once you put asphalt over the top of it, there's no reclaiming it"

Just outside of Des Moines, Ankeny's population has gone from 15,000 in 1980 to more than 50,000 in 2014. By 2035, population is expected to reach 90,000.
David Wade Couch

Today we continue our summer series on the environment by taking a look at urban development – what we’re doing right and wrong.

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Medicine
4:27 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

News Buzz: Preventing Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia was previously difficult to detect until late in the pregnancy.
Ken Hammond Wikimedia Commons

Preeclampsia, a cardiovascular condition that affects expecting mothers and often causes premature births, kills 100,000 women worldwide every year. Previously, it’s been difficult to predict or prevent before the late stages of a pregnancy. But a few researchers at the University of Iowa may change that.

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Environment
3:57 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

News Buzz: Decorah Eagle Electrocuted

Indy, or D18, when he first hatched.
Petrarchan47 Wikimedia Commons

A beloved Iowa eagle was found dead earlier this week. Indy, as his fans called him, a young male eaglet whose hatching was witnessed by thousands online earlier this spring was electrocuted by a power pole on Tuesday. The bird had a large following in the state and across the country; more than 500 people have posted condolences on the Raptor Resource Project’s Facebook page. Host Ben Kieffer speaks with their executive director, Bob Anderson, about what happened to the bird and what can be done to protect these eagles in the future.

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Crime
3:39 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

News Buzz: Mackenzie Found Guilty

Benton Mackenzie, in a wheelchair, and his wife, Loretta, outside the courthouse Wednesday.
Brian Wellner Quad City Times

Last summer, a Long Grove resident was arrested after police found marijuana plants in his home. Benton Mackenzie claims his family grew the plants in order to treat a rare blood-vessel cancer. This past week, the jury reached a guilty verdict for Mackenzie, his wife and child.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Brian Wellner, crime reporter for the Quad City Times, about the circumstances, outcome of the trial and why the jury couldn’t hear his primary defense.

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Java Blend
10:21 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Christopher the Conquered

Tune in and download the podcast for a full hour with Christopher the Conquered.
Christopher the Conquered

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Christopher the Conquered

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the band.

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Politics Day
5:21 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Politics Day: International Developments

assortedstuff / flickr

The Obama administration is asking for #3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to address the flood of unaccompanied children coming illegally into the U.S.

Today on River to River, we talk about the politics behind this latest chapter in the immigration debate. Also, our guests analyze the latest developments in the Middle East, Ukraine and the disputed presidential election in Afghanistan.

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Books
9:11 am
Wed July 9, 2014

25 Years Later: Memories from Flight 232

Flight 232, before the crash
C Zellmer Wikimedia Commons

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

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Ripple Effects
1:30 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Landfilling a Long Term Commitment; What's the Alternative?

Trash from an overfilled can
Lindsey Moon Iowa Public Radio

What do you throw away? Do you think about it? Do you care?

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Java Blend
9:56 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Joe & Vicki Price

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Joe and Vicki Price.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the country duo. 

Joe and Vicki Price bring their energetic country blues back to the stage of The Java House to showcase Joe’s new release “Rain or Shine”.  Joe has been performing his rough and tumble blues for over 35 years.

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River to River
5:08 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Decades of Advocacy for Women: Leaders at RVAP and Planned Parenthood Retire

Karla Miller of RVAP (left) and Jill June of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland (right)

Great strides have been made in understanding and combating domestic and sexual violence, but much more needs to be done. In the first half of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Karla Miller, who just retired after 22 years as director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program in Iowa City.

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Politics Day
4:00 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

More Than Red and Blue, Political Typology Shades of Gray

Wikipedia

We often like to think of states in terms of red and blue, and people in terms of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  But, the Pew Research Center finds our politics offers many more shades of gray.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with a Pew researcher about their latest political typology study and what hints it might provide for the upcoming midterm elections.  Are you a "Young Outsider," or a "Hard Pressed Skeptic?"  You can take the quiz

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River to River
5:52 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

The Washington Redskins: “I think it’s very derogatory; native people are not red”

Keith Allison

The U.S. Patent Office says the Washington Redskins' federal trademarks must be canceled. Today on River to River we ask - what’s in a name?

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River to River
5:52 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Iowans Weigh in on Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision

Nicholas Eckhart

Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby can be seen as "narrow" or "broad" - depending on how it's looked at. Today on River to River, we ask a political scientist and a legal expert what implications this ruling has for the future.

Today's guests include: Scott Peters, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, and Mark Kende, Professor of Law at Drake and the Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center.

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Health
4:28 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

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. Until recently, scientists thought migraines were a vascular issue, caused by irregular blood flow to the brain, but Dr. Lynn Rankin of Unity Point Health in Des Moines says we’ve come to a new understanding in the last few years. Migraines are most likely a brain disorder that has to do with pain circuitry. 

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News Buzz
4:44 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Lightning Follows the Path of Least Resistance (Don't let that be you!)

The last Iowa death caused by lightning was in 2008
William Ingram

True or False - If taller things are around you, you're safe from getting hit by lightning.

True or False - You should determine whether it is safe to be outside based on the amount of seconds between lightning and thunder.

True or False - You can develop tree looking "tattoos" if you survive a lightning strike.

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News Buzz
4:26 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Taking Flight This Weekend: Iowa's Air Shows

A fan plays with his Thunderbird F-16 souvenir during the Quad City Air show at the Davenport Municipal Airport in Iowa
U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez

Fly Iowa "takes flight" in Iowa City this weekend, for the first time since 2001, showcasing the role of aviation in Iowa.

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News Buzz
4:02 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Former State Official Says Branstad Aides Involved in Secret Settlements

John Pemble IPR

Des Moines Register political columnist, Kathie Obradovich, joins River to River to discuss the ongoing investigation into settlement agreements given to former state employees for their silence upon termination.

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Politics
4:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Sister Activism: An Opera and Reflections from a Nun on a Bus

Sister Simone Campbell
Wikimedia Commons

When Sister Simone Campbell first heard about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget deal, she was less than impressed. “America was not founded on individualism, you can’t have a quilting bee alone. We need to encourage solidarity. He made it seem like it’s the responsibility of the poor to pull themselves up by the bootstrap, that’s not right.”

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Java Blend
11:27 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Cornmeal

Tune in and download the podcast for an encore episode with Americana band, Cornmeal.

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Cornmeal. 

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the progressive bluegrass and Americana band out of Illinois. 

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