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

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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Java Blend
6:00 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Muckrockers

Find your way to The Java House for an hour with Iowa City locals, Muckrockers.
Image provided by artist.

On Friday, Oct. 31,  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 Muckrockers.

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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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River to River
4:32 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

The Significance of a 45,000 Year-Old Leg Bone

Neandertal skeleton (The man whose bone was found in Siberia was a human, not a Neanderthal, but had Neanderthal genes)
Paolo C. / flickr

A bone found on the banks of a Siberian river has yielded the oldest modern human genome yet recovered.

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Java Blend
9:22 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Mighty Shady

Tune in for a full hour with Des Moines-based indie groove artists, Mighty Shady.

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Des Moines indie groove band. 

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2014 Elections
12:43 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Iowa Nice Guy Announces Run for Governor of Iowa

The Iowa Nice Guy says he’s running to represent the “Nice Party” of Iowa.

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Planet Money
5:00 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

T-shirts, Candy, and Candlelight: How Planet Money Makes Sense of the Economy

David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein will speak at ISU tonight at 8 PM.
John Pemble Iowa Public Radio

Economics teachers across the country use blackboards and chalk to teach people about supply and demand. The Planet Money team hands out candy to seventh graders.

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Politics Day
4:02 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

America's Love-Hate Relationship with Political Polling

DonkeyHotey / flickr

Two weeks to go until Election Day. Polls continue to show the Braley-Ernst Senate race is one of the closest in the nation – a contest that could decide party control in the Senate.

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Agriculture and Hunger
5:10 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

One Reporter's Journey to Understand How China Is Fed

Hicks says one surprising thing is the large amount of women in Chinese agriculture. Often they run the small family farms while their husbands work in industry in the city.
International Food Policy Research Institute Flickr

From buying Iowa feed to learning from farming practices to possibly buying into our hog market, China's ag ties to Iowa are strong.

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International News
4:44 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

UI Professor Encounters Hong Kong Protests First-Hand

The so-called "Umbrella Revolution" is made up in large part of students who want unrestricted choice of candidates in the 2017 elections.
Pasu Au Yeung Flickr

Art Durnev is a finance professor at the University of Iowa, but he got a crash course on political science when he encountered protests daily during a two-week stint at the UI's MBA program in Hong Kong.

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River to River
3:35 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Age of the Microbrewery

More than half of all U.S. brewing facilities are microbreweries
John Bollwitt

Traditional, big American breweries are in the midst of a global identity crisis. Meanwhile, craft beer microbreweries in the U.S. are flourishing like never before.

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Java Blend
9:03 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Dave Zollo

Tune in to the podcast for a full hour with Dave Zollo & The Body Electric.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Dave Zollo & The Body Electric.

Download the podcast to find out more about the Iowa City icon and gospel rocker.

If you're a follower of the Midwestern indie music world (or of American roots music generally) you might be forgiven for thinking David Zollo has been around forever. The truth is, it just seems that way.

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Ebola
6:30 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Iowa Hospitals Prepare for Ebola

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is undergoing
Jon Favrel Flickr

Though there’s only been two cases in the United States, hospitals across the nation and across Iowa are preparing for the possibility of caring for Ebola patients.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
10:15 am
Fri October 17, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court: "There's far more agreement than is commonly understood"

U.S. Supreme Court building
Jeff Kubina / flickr

Has the U.S. Supreme Court become a partisan institution? According to polls, many Americans think so.

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2014 Elections
11:41 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Iowa's Non-Major Party Candidates in the 2014 Elections

Ulises Jorge / flickr

The Republican and Democratic parties dominate politics in our state and our country.

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Food
4:06 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

2014 World Food Prize Laureate Sanjaya Rajaram on Working with Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug with Sanjaya Rajaram working in a field in Mexico
Photo Courtesty of the World Food Prize

There are just over 7 billion people in the world today, and by 2050, our population is predicted to reach 9 billion.

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Science and Technology
12:35 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Young People Inheriting a Situation That's 'Out of Their Control'

Cracks in the ice cover of the arctic ocean. As Earth's climate warms thes cracks are allowing methane to escape into the atmosphere, where it can add to global warming.
Eric Kort, Creative Commons 2.0 NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

One of the nation's best-known climate scientists is joining a lawsuit against the government to pressure for policies to address global warming.

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Java Blend
1:46 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Jack Klatt

Download the podcast for a full hour with troubadour traditionalist, Jack Klatt.

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Minnesota artist and his rambling, rolling music straight from the banks of the Mississippi.

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News Buzz
4:06 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Pilotless Airplanes? Rockwell Collins and the UI Push Forward

Early tests by Rockwell Collins and a UI group suggest remote-controlled airplanes may feasible in US airspace in the future.
a.koto Flickr

Would you fly in a plane without a pilot? How comfortable would you be with a plane remote-controlled from the ground?

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Climate Change
3:46 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Iowa Scientists: Climate Change a Public Health Concern

Thorne says drought and agricultural effects are not the only concerns in terms of climate change in Iowa.
anothertom Flickr

180 scientists from  38 Iowa colleges and universities signed this year’s Iowa Climate Statement 2014. Co-author Peter Thorne says this year’s report focuses on climate change’s effect on Iowans’ health.

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World Food Prize
2:26 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Iranian Wheat Scientist to Attend World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines

Wikimedia Commons

Government officials in Iran are sending one of their top food scientists to the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines next week. 

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History
3:46 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Encore: Memories of Flight 232

Flight 232, before its deadly crash
C Zellmer Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

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Politics Day
5:07 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Decisions by Default: U.S. Supreme Court Stays Quiet on Same-Sex Marriage

U.S. Supreme Court Building
Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up any of the cases before them involving same-sex marriage.

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River to River
1:54 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

What Does Don Gonyea Know About Ioway, Anyway?

Don Gonyea and Ben Kieffer at "Politics and a Pint" in downtown Des Moines
John Pemble

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea has spent many years in Iowa, covering political races and the Iowa caucuses; but can he reach the status of "honorary Iowan?"

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River to River
1:54 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Robert McChesney: "The Disintegration of the Commercial Model of Journalism"

Luc De Leeuw / flickr

On this segment of River to River, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism.

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River to River
11:04 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream

Picnic in the woods, from 1918
Richard / flickr

What is at the heart of the American dream?

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Java Blend
10:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With In Rooms

Kick back and relax in this tropical Java Blend podcast with In Rooms.

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Latin America-influenced indie band.

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News Buzz
3:07 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Latest Job Numbers

United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez
US Department of Labor

United States health officials say they are confident they can prevent the spread of Ebola in the U.S. after the first case was diagnosed in Texas this week.

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Crime
5:22 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Job Prospects for Iowa Ex-Felons

A shift in law that brought e-cigarette stores under the same code as tobacco stores meant Kelley Page could no longer continue to operate his Des Moines-based store, Great Alternatives.
Mobydoux Wikimedia Commons

Kelley Page saw his e-cigarette store as the new chapter in his life. So it stung that much more when it was taken away because of his past.

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