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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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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Politics Day
4:24 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

November Matchups Set

David Young, the Republican nominee for Congress from Iowa's third district
Young for Iowa

The last round of primary elections until August was held on Tuesday.  Most of the matchups for the November midterm elections are set, including Iowa's contests.  In a surprise victory this weekend, delegates to the third district Republican convention, chose David Young, former Chief of Staff for Senator Charles Grassley, as their nominee.  That despite his fifth place finish in June 3rd voting.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa and Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa ab

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River to River
4:34 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Vegetables or Candy?

Martin Cathrae/Creative Commons

When you ask people what is important to eat, they'll tell you vegetables.  When you quietly watch, they'll mostly eat candy.  It turns out the same is true of news.  The launching board for our conversation is a new study showing that while people consistently rank news coverage of international news, business and politics as being most important to their lives, an analysis of their online behavior tells a different story.  The study sparked this recent article in

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River to River
3:27 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Procrastination at Bedtime: How Late Activity Ruins Plans for Shut Eye

"The Nightmare" by Henry Fuseli is thought to be a rendition of a condition known as sleep paralysis
Penn State

Procrastination - a problem for many of us at the workplace and at home; and now, a study shows it’s a problem at bedtime, too.

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Java Blend
9:53 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Bright Giant

Tune in and download the podcast for a full hour with Des Moines-based Bright Giant.
Stan Brewer

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

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the band's unique blend of indie pop.

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River to River: From the Archives
1:32 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Complications with Diagnosing Depression

Amanda Hatfield

Today's River to River examines the diagnosis of depression, treatment options, and the possibility of prescribing anti-depressants to people with mild symptoms of depression or even merely sadness. Guests also evaluate how depression in farmers is treated and viewed differently than others.

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River to River: From the Archives
12:13 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Growing Old and Dying in Prison

Iowa Medical and Classification Center at the Oakdale Prison near Coralville.
Ben Stanton

Today we listen back to a show, part of Iowa Public Radio's corrections series last summer, about what it is like to grow old and die in prison.

We hear from an offender who works in a hospice program. He has helped 20 fellow inmates face the end of life behind bars. Host Ben Kieffer also talk with a 74-year-old inmate about growing old. We also tour a hospice room at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.

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Java Blend
8:51 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Dave Olson

Tune in and download the podcasts for all of our upcoming summer encores from 2012.

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

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

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River to River: From the Archives
11:43 am
Mon June 16, 2014

An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

The deli counter at Hy-Vee
Emily Woodbury

The battle surrounding meat and livestock production ranks among the longest-waged and hardest fought in American history. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with historian and author, Maureen Ogle. Her new book is titled In Meat We Trust.

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News Buzz
2:19 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

"Iowa Pints" a Guide for Iowa's Brewery Boom

Iowa Pints release party flier
Facebook

Iowa brewer and author Jay Wilson first gained notoriety for his all-beer lenten fast.  Now he's back with a guide to help beer enthusiasts navigate Iowa's brewery boom.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with him about his book, Iowa Pints due out June 12th.

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River to River: From the Archives
1:56 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Fascination with the Idea of "Apocalypse"

Des Moines' Fourth Annual "Zombie Walk"
Emily Woodbury

Many of this year’s blockbusters, video games, and books are set in post-apocalyptic worlds - a growing trend in the past few years.

Today on River To River, we take a look at why this is such a common theme. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowans who are prepared to face an apocalyptic scenario, and he sits down with an Iowa Homeland Security representative, to find out how prepared the state of Iowa is for disaster.

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News Buzz
1:53 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

"Unprecedented" Settlement Could Mean Jail Time for Elder DeCoster

freefoodphotos.com

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Seattle, Washington food safety lawyer Bill Marler, who represented some of those sickened in a 2010 salmonella outbreak caused by contaminated eggs.  This week a settlement was reached with Quality Egg and two of its top executives, Jack and Peter DeCoster.  Marler says Jack DeCoster comes to the court with a "checkered past," that could make jail time more likely in this case.

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Java Blend
1:23 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Dan Dimonte and the Bad Assettes

Tune in for Dan Dimonte and his Bad Assettes with a full hour of multi-faceted, homegrown music.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Iowa City's own, Dan Dimonte and the Bad Assettes.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the making of their new fusion of inspired jazz.

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News Buzz
3:55 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Regents Change University Funding Structure

The Iowa Board of Regents has adopted a plan to change how state funding is allocated to Iowa's three Regents' universities.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with IPR's Dean Borg about the factors that will be used to set future funding levels, including numbers of in-state students and graduation rates.

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News Buzz
3:33 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Repel Bugs, Gnat-urally

Bug Soother

This spring, Freda Sojka says there's only one way to describe her business: busy. 

She's the brains behind the bug repellent "Bug Soother," that has become overwhelmingly popular over the last few years in Iowa. She says she discovered the recipe for the repellent by accident. “My grandson was at my house, and I didn’t want to put anything on him with DEET in it. I threw a few things together, and it worked.”

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River to River
3:22 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Air Quality Concerns: Are Coal Plants to Blame?

Southend, a Muscatine neighborhood that borders the Grain Processing Corporation and Muscatine Power and Water coal plants
Adam Burke

For decades, U.S. climate change policy has amounted to, "Do as I say, not as I do." However, this week President Obama announced its boldest step yet to reduce carbon emissions. The President wants to reduce carbon emission from power plants by 30% by the year 2030.

Today on River to River, what these guidelines mean for Iowa.

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Politics Day
5:34 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Analysis on Iowa's Primary Results

Newfrontiers https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Three open congressional seats from Iowa are up for grabs in this November’s midterm elections – a very rare occurrence in Iowa politics!

Today on River to River, an analysis of last night's primary results for those races. Joining host Ben Kieffer are guests Kathie Obradovich, of the Des Moines Register, and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa.

Ben asks them about the candidates’ strengths, possible weaknesses, and he has them ponder campaign strategies each camp is likely to employ leading up to November.

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