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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Music
12:28 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Vinyl's Comeback & the Rise of Music Streaming

Daytrotter albums at Ragged Records, in Davenport
Ragged Records / facebook

Today on River to River, we explore the continuing changes in the music industry...including the fact that more and more users are listening from large online libraries of music – like Rhapsody, Spotify, or Pandora – rather than purchasing individual songs or albums. We also discuss why vinyl records are making a comeback.

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Java Blend
12:18 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour with Tiff Jimber

Tune in to catch rising pop-star from California, Tiff Jimber.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Santa Monica based pop-rocker,  Tiff Jimber.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about her and her recent U.S. tour.

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River to River
2:03 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

CSI: Iowa

Blood spattered on pavements in London, March 27, 2010.
foistclub

Over a hundred years ago, searching for fingerprints became routine for crime scene investigation. In the intervening years the tools of forensic investigation have greatly evolved.

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River to River
2:15 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Murky Waters and Pi Day

Though Iowa’s rivers and streams may look particularly scummy or murky, the DNR says the state’s waterways are perfectly fine. The murky appearance is caused by organic matter and is safe.
Ben Kieffer Iowa Public Radio

Is winter almost over?  And how has the long, harsh season affect Iowa's waterways and aquatic life?  Also, the latest Quinnipiac poll, 2014's Cancer in Iowa report, Iowa's new tourism ad campaign and Pi Day at the Science Center of Iowa.

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Health
2:07 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Surviving and Thriving After a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Dr. Terry Wahls: on the left, second stage MS (2007) - on the right, out of the wheelchair (2008)
http://terrywahls.com/

She was a marathoner and a mountain climber, but when Dr. Terry Wahls was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she faced a bedridden life.

This hour, we learn how she beat progressive MS.

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River to River
4:16 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

President Obama Sits Between Two Ferns

Java Blend
11:47 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Comfort Kings

Tune in to hear Cedar Valley's own Comfort Kings.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Waterloo's renowned bluegrass and folk string band, Comfort Kings.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about their latest album, Prairie Fire.

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Culture
3:25 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream

Mark Botham

What is at the heart of the American dream? Bigger houses, fancier clothes, faster cars... or is it about having time for family, friends and community?

For decades University of Iowa Associate Professor Benjamin Hunnicutt has studied why we work as hard as we do, why we’re work obsessed, and how attitudes about work and leisure in our culture have changed over time. His is also the author of Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream.

On economic progress -

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News Buzz
2:18 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Fireworks, Finding Exo-Planets, and More

Daniel R. Blume http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

On this News Buzz edition of the program, hear about a legislative shouting match, legalizing fireworks, the ACLU lawsuit against the Iowa Secretary of State, a survey of Iowans' thoughts on gay marriage, the Kepler mission, and a push to increase studying abroad.

Legislative shouting match and and other legislative fireworks:

ACLU lawsuit:

Same-sex marriage opinions:

Finding exoplanets:

Studying abroad:

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Java Blend
10:12 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With TWINS

Tune in this weekend and download our podcast for power-pop rockers, TWINS.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Waterloo, IA's, loud and proud pop-rockers, TWINS.

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about their latest album, Funny Faces and their upcoming album, Tomboys on Parade.

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River to River
4:36 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

'Strangers Will Choose My Grave' - Ukrainian Events, Family, and Music

Mass grave in Kharkov, Ukraine
Trey Ratcliff http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

‘Strangers Will Choose My Grave’ is part of the lyrics to a folk song that can bring a Iowan Ukrainian-American to tears.  A video of that song appears below.

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River to River
1:02 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Putting Global Income Inequality into Context

Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With an average annual income of $236, the DRC is considered the poorest country in the world due to war and corruption.
Irene2005

How does where someone is born affect how much money they'll earn over a lifetime? What does income inequality indicate about a country's society and basic economic health?

Branko Milanovic tackles these questions as a lead economist in the World Bank's research department, where he works on the topics of income inequality and globalization.

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Politics Day
3:34 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Putin and Ukraine

Putin depicted on a Russian doll
Amy Allcock

President Obama says that Russian incursion in Ukraine is against international law and a miscalculation that risks pushing former Soviet-bloc nations further from Moscow.  Russian President President Putin has defended his actions and criticized the U.S. response.  Listen to this political analysis of the situation.

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River to River
3:28 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

College Depression

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.  Also in this program, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism. “Rupert Murdoch, the greatest media imperialist of our era, the guy who’s had patience of decades to take over China.

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News Buzz
3:25 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Wildlife Populations Down This Winter

Iowa's deer population has been dwindling since its peak in early 2000
Geoffrey Fairchild

Today on River to River, we bring you six stories.

First, University of Iowa President Sally Mason meets with the Board of Regents for a special meeting this afternoon to discuss her remarks on how the university handles sexual assault allegations. Iowa Public Radio correspondent Dean Borg tells host Ben Kieffer what to expect out of the meeting.

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River to River
3:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

The Teenaged Brain

chandrika221

The drama of mood swings, impulsiveness and bizarre behaviors during adolescence
can take a toll on both teens and their parents. Neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author Dr. Daniel Siegel says that there is a lot of misinformation about this developmental period.

“There are common myths that we all hear about…that are actually not only wrong, they’re misleading and in some ways they’re disempowering.  So by learning the truths you can actually understand things as they actually are and then do something about them.”

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Politics Day
3:51 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Putin Puts Military on Alert While Kerry Urges Caution

Ukrainians sing the national anthem during a pro-European Union rally in Kiev
Voice of America

Russian President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 Russian combat troops on high alert, rattling nerves in an already unstable Ukraine.  The move along Ukraine's border caused U.S.

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Java Blend
11:55 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With King of the Tramps

Stop by The Java House to catch the gospel sounds of King of the Tramps.
Roger Feldhans

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Auburn, IA's whiskey gospel rockers, King of the Tramps.

Listen to and download the podcast after this weekend's broadcast to find out more about how The Tramps are making more than just music.

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Education
4:36 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

How Education Fits Into the Poverty Trap

Free and reduced lunch being served as part of the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to provide food and nutrition to students living in poverty.
USDA Photo by Bob Nichols

The poverty rate of black Iowans is more than three times that of whites. For Hispanics, it is more than twice the poverty rate of whites.

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River to River
2:11 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

News Buzz: Funnel Week and Northwood Evacuation

Pictured above is the Worth County Courthouse in Northwood, Iowa. Yesterday, about 300 people where evacuated from Northwood after a fire broke out at the city’s municipal airport.
Jimmy Emerson / jimmywayne

Residents of Northwood are back in their homes after being asked to evacuate yesterday due to an explosion and fire at the city's municipal airport.  Iowa Public Radio statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell discusses which bills in the legislature might become laws in 2014.  The Blank Park Zoo's Amur tiger has died, and what Iowa City is doing about a recent rash of sexual assaults in taxicabs.  Also, an Olympics update from the Des Moines Register's sports columnist Bryce Miller in Sochi.

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Java Blend
9:30 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour with Mike Himebaugh

Tune in and download the podcast for music that will make you smile from Mike Himebaugh.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with "Chicago Twang" artist, Mike Himebaugh.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about Mike's latest album, Green.

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Health Care
4:38 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Ethical Questions Surrounding Brain Death

Garrett Brockway, who passed away from brain trauma a year ago and lives on through his organ donations
Courtesy of Brockway family

This winter, two stories gained national attention regarding brain-dead pregnant women and their unborn children. One husband kept his wife on life support until the baby was born, while the other husband fought to take his wife off life support.

Today on River to River, we discuss ethical questions in the emergency room. Host Ben Kieffer looks at these cases with medical professionals and with Iowans who have been through similar situations here in Iowa.

Today's guests include:

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Politics Day
4:20 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Ukrainian Violence and Politics

Kiev City Hall on February 16, 2014
streetwrk.com Used under Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode

In about two weeks, the first of at least six Republican primaries will feature establishment Senate incumbents versus Tea Party challengers. Host Ben Kieffer and political analysts look at these primaries and the GOP’s bid to retake the U.S. Senate.  Also, A U.N. panel accuses North Korea of crimes against humanity, and Ukraine erupts again.  Guests are Dennis Goldford, Professor of Politics at Drake University and Jim McCormick, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Iowa State University.

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River to River
2:24 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Iowa Supreme Court: 2013-2014 Session

The Iowa Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines, Iowa.

Host Ben Kieffer examines several cases before the Iowa Supreme Court this term dealing with a wide breadth of issues including HIV criminalize, solar energy, defamation in campaign ads, and the

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Java Blend
5:20 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Minus Six

Tune in this Saturday and download our podcast for Minus Six.
Leslie Zeglin

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," Ben Kieffer chats with Moline, IL pop-rock group, Minus Six.

Listen and download the podcast to find out more about their recent album, Come Out From Where You Hide.

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News Buzz
3:17 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

E-Cigarettes, LIHEAP, Lake Darling and More

Providing a boost from a half dozen bottled waters, dignitaries at the ‘gate setting’ of Lake Darling, add a little water to the soon to be filled lake. The ceremony concludes a $16 million multi-year project.
Joe Wilkinson Iowa DNR

In a News Buzz edition of River to River, Host Ben Kieffer talks with IPR's Clay Masters about debate over a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine to minors. 

We hear from Cedar Rapids Democratic Senator Liz Mathis about the need for emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.  She says one family found it less costly to spend a week in a hotel, rather than heat their home using propane. 

We get local reaction to a new study on the effectiveness of mammograms. 

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News Buzz
2:16 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

The 'Colbert Bump' for an Iowan

Lake Street Dive bassist and native Iowan Bridget Kearney appeared with her band on the 'Colbert Report' this week.  She says that the bump in attention after the appearance was immediate and significant. 'River to River' host Ben Kieffer talks with Kearney in this final segment of a 'News Buzz' edition of the program.

And here is the video of their appearance on the Colbert Report:

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River to River
2:00 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Falling Out of the Middle Class

rwcox123

In last month’s State of the Union address, President Obama said this year he hoped to strengthen and build ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa sociologist Kevin Leicht and John Gallo of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

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Politics Day
4:02 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Olympics Don't Ease U.S. Russian Strain

U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul greets President Obama
whitehouse.gov

Just outside the spotlight of these Olympic games in Sochi, Russia and the U.S. are navigating a tense point in their relationship.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College and Tim Hagel, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about the tension and the ongoing cooperation between the U.S and Russia.  They also reflect on the U.S.

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River to River
3:28 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Race and Identity in Media and Society

Nathan Gibbs

On this River to River program, host Ben Kieffer talks with NPR host and special correspondent Michele Norris who will discuss her Race Card Project and how it has become much broader in scope since she launched it. Norris will be speaking Wednesday at Coe College.

Then, a conversation with award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien about race and identity as reflected in the media. Her parents had to leave Maryland in 1958 to get married due to that state’s laws against interracial marriage.

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