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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Java Blend
2:00 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Caroline Smith

Download the podcast for a full hour with indie-rocker, Caroline Smith
Reginald VanNurden

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

Download the podcast to find out more about her latest album, Half About Being a Woman.

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Java Blend
1:06 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Bonne Finken

Stop by The Java House for a full hour with home grown artist, Bonne Finken.
Bonne Finken

On Friday, Sept. 5,  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 Bonne Finken.

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News Buzz
5:39 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Two Iowan Sisters Leave Liberia After Ebola Threat

Libby (left) and Kayla Casavant sit in Kayla's Monrovia apartment, before both of them fled after the Ebola outbreak.

Both Kayla and Libby Casavant were working in Liberia when the worst known outbreak of Ebola hit West Africa. 

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Sports
3:08 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

What Should Parents Know About Concussions?

Flickr

Football season is officially underway this weekend, and this season, there’s extra emphasis on the effects of concussions.

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News Buzz
12:52 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

UI Professor Kembrew McLeod Responds to Criticism of Pink Locker Room Protest

University of Iowa Professor Kembrew McLeod is organizing what he calls a "Million Robot March Against Pink Locker Rooms" in protest of the university's painted pink locker room for visiting football teams.

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River to River
4:05 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Des Moines' School District Tries New Approach with Grading

The school year has begun once again, and students heading back to Iowa’s largest school district may notice a difference in the way they are graded.

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River to River
3:47 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Iowa Police Departments' Use of Military Gear

Guardsmen train on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle prior to Iraq deployment
The National Guard

Recent clashes between police and civilians in Ferguson, Missouri have led local community members to consider the military-style equipment given to local police departments.

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Politics Day
4:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Politics Day: Developments in the Middle East and the 2014 Senate Race

assortedstuff / flickr

A new Washington Post forecast gives the GOP a 63 percent chance of taking the Senate in November.

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Education
3:17 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Preventing Sexual Violence Through Mentorship

Grinnell College's MacEachron Field. The college implemented the MVP program on campus in 2012, first among student athletes.
Wikimedia Commons

One in five women are sexually assaulted during college. In the fight to combat that trend, peer-to-peer mentorship can make a difference.

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Medicine
3:35 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Beyond the Ice Bucket Challenge: Iowans Affected by ALS

Thousands of people have undergone the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness, funds or both for ALS.
Rauglothgor Wikimedia Commons

A year ago this time, the national ALS Association raised nearly 2 million dollars. This year, in the same time period, they've raised 40 times that. What changed?

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Java Blend
9:36 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Tony Bohnenkamp

Download the podcast for a full hour of pop-rock with Des Moines native, Tony Bohnenkamp.
Sarah Hadley

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Tennessee based pop-rocker.

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River to River
3:05 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

What’s Happening in Ferguson Could Happen Anywhere

Protestors march on W. Florissant Ave. on the evening of August 20, 2014.
Chris McDaniel St. Louis Public Radio

State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Iowa’s 35th House District, says Iowans should learn from what's happening in Ferguson.

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Politics Day
3:48 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

AG Eric Holder Goes to Ferguson

President Barack Obama talks with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Mo.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Ongoing violence in Ferguson, Missouri is being viewed through a different lens overseas.  Much of the coverage reflects pre-existing views of the U.S. 

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Politics
4:03 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Murphy: Look to Renewables, Not Frac Sand Mining

IPTV.org

Pat Murphy says he’s opposed to opening up counties in Northeast Iowa to silica sand mining.

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Healthcare
3:50 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Residency Opportunities Lacking for Young Doctors

Des Moines University's campus in Des Moines, Iowa
Wikimedia Commons

Medical schools are accepting more applicants into their programs, but training programs for doctors after medical school aren't keeping up. 

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Mental Health
5:52 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Suicide "Post-vention" Done Right

Robin Williams's death catalyzed a flood of suicide coverage in the media. Beck-Cross explains there are best practices in covering this type of death that news media need to follow.
Milosz Reterski Navy NewsStand

Robin Williams's death has dominated news coverage in the past week. But how much of that coverage has been helpful and how much as been harmful?

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Java Blend
2:00 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Danika Holmes

Tune in and download the podcast for a full performance with seasoned Iowa artist Danika Holmes.
danikaholmes.com

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Iowa native artist.

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River to River
2:22 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

IPR’s Rick Fredericksen Remembers a Day with Robin Williams

Courtesy of Rick Fredericksen

Robin Williams' death earlier this week sparked many stories of how he touched the lives of his fans and the people he met.

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River to River
1:52 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

The Iowa State Fair: Soap Boxes, Social Media, and News Coverage

A 25-foot tall replica of the figures in Grant Wood's "American Gothic" at the 2014 Iowa State Fair
John Pemble

Today on a "news buzz" edition of River to River - news from the 2014 Iowa State Fair.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Miller-Meeks: Troops Should Have Stayed in Iraq

Courtesy of the Miller-Meeks

Republican Candidate for Iowa’s second congressional district Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks says a mishandling of the U.S.’ withdrawal from Iraq is to blame for the current crisis in the region.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Blum: Secure the US/Mexico Border

Republican candidate for Iowa's 1st Congressional District, Rod Blum
Rod Blum for Congress

The Republican candidate for Iowa’s first congressional district, Rod Blum, says we need to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. 

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Politics Day
11:21 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Watergate's Lessons, 40 Years Later

President Nixon with his first cabinet.
White House photo office Wikimedia Commons

Nixon resigned the office of president 40 years ago this month. But the question remains: What were the lessons of Watergate? And has our country learned them? Former Iowa State University Political Science Professor Jim Hutter and David Yepsen, political reporter for the Des Moines Register for a quarter of a century, join host Ben Kieffer to discuss how Watergate and Nixon's resignation changed our political scene, our media landscape and our nation. 

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Politics
11:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Senator Tom Harkin on Immigration, Health Care

Senator Tom Harkin poses with President Barack Obama after the Affordable Care Act passed Congress.
Pete Souza Official White House Photo

Tom Harkin has served in Congress for nearly 40 years. During this River to River interview, Harkin talks with host Ben Kieffer about immigration, health care and the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of Harkin's landmark pieces of legislation 24 years later. 

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Sports
11:23 am
Tue August 12, 2014

When Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Kinnick Stadium
Wikimedia Commons

After a ruling Friday, the N.C.A.A. has lost the right to restrict colleges from paying student athletes.  Should we pay certain student athletes? 

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River to River
11:21 am
Mon August 11, 2014

From Iowa to Texas: "How to Unmarry Your Wife"

Sarah Viren and her family hiking near Williams Lake
Sarah Viren

Imagine you are married. You have a daughter, and when your spouse gets a job in another state, you plan for everything - including the fact that your new state does not recognize your same-sex marriage.

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News Buzz
3:54 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Ebola Vaccines in Ames and Algae Blooms in Lake Red Rock

Blue-green algae is dangerous to drink and to swim in.
Chris Tomlinson Geograph

Ebola and algae scares hit in Western Africa and Toledo respectively this week. The threats may feel far away, but they hit home closer than you think.

On this News Buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Anne Pham, in charge compliance and enforcement of the drinking water program at the Department of Natural Resources. She explains what made the water in Toledo undrinkable and how we can protect Iowa water.

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News Buzz
3:13 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Stoned Behind the Wheel

University of Iowa is a smoke-free campus, so NIDA and NADS couldn't use joints like this one, and instead had to use vaporizers.
Public Domain Wik

Stoned drivers have been getting behind the wheel in Iowa City. But they have good reason.

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News Buzz
12:22 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Capturing the "Freedom Summer"

Edie Black, a Freedom School teacher from Smith College with two of her students in Mileston, Mississippi, a small community of independent black farmers in the Mississippi Delta. The Freedom School experience changed both teachers and students in ways th
Matt Herron

50 years ago, Matt Herron gathered a team of photographers to capture the tumultuous summer of 1964 in Mississippi. Now he's in Iowa, sharing his photos and his stories. His work will be displayed in the  Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch through September 21.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Herron about how photography interacted with the civil rights movement and how we can use photography today to make history hit home.

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Java Blend
11:09 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys

Tune in and download the podcast for a foot-stompin' good time with Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
lindayloumusic.com

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the Twin Cities-based artist.

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River to River
4:12 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

3rd District Congressional Candidate Staci Appel on Minimum Wage, Jobs and Climate Change

Staci Appel
Courtesy of the Appel for Iowa campaign

Former Iowa State Senator Staci Appel from Ackworth, Iowa would be the first woman to represent Iowa in Congress if elected. She says it's time for politicians to start working with, not against each other. 

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