Ongoing Coverage:

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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News Buzz
2:52 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Iowa Leading in LGBT Equality Once Again

Iowa was third in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, but how else are Iowa cities achieving equality for their LGBT residents?
Alan Light Flickr

In the third annual Municipality Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign, each of the five Iowa cities measured scored above the national average.

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News Buzz
2:29 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Do Pesticides Cause Depression?

Seven pesticides commonly used by farmers may be linked to depression.
jetsandzeppelins Flickr

Mining 20 years of data, a new study by the National Institutes of Health has found a link between some pesticides and depression. 

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Health
3:52 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Encore: 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. 

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Politics Day
4:53 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

President Obama Makes Historic Deal with China on Carbon Emissions

A historic deal regarding carbon emissions has been reached between China and the U.S.  Is it realistic?

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River to River
5:23 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Iowa Veterans' Stories in Washington D.C.

Sign welcoming Iowa veterans to Reagan Washington National Airport in D.C. on October 16, 2013
Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

For Veterans Day, join host Ben Kieffer as he travels to Washington D.C. with more than 80 Iowa veterans.

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Books
3:20 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Iowa is in Two "American Nations," Which One Do You Live In?

Colin Woodard's 11 "American Nations"
Courtesy of Colin Woodard

Why do we classify states or regions as “red” or “blue”? How did certain areas of the country gain particular political reputations? 

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Java Blend
9:32 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Hero Jr Exclusive Acoustic Set

Rock out for a full hour with Hero Jr in this episode of Java Blend.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," with Ben Kieffer rock out with Hero Jr while they play a special acoustic set featuring songs from their latest album.

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Newsbuzz
1:54 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

ISU Honors Students, Veterans Lost

ISU's Gold Star Hall
Iowa State University

Diane Rasmussen, who lives in Omaha, can't make impromptu trips to Arlington, Virginia, where her son Deric is buried. Now, if she wants to feel close to him, she can visit Gold Star Hall in ISU's Memorial Union.

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Newsbuzz
1:10 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

NPR Correspondent Mara Liasson Weighs in on Iowa Politics

Why do female candidates often go by their first names? Liasson weighs in on gender issues in politics.
Gage Skidmore Flickr

Senator-Elect Joni Ernst's 'Squeal' ad made waves this election cycle. NPR political correspondent Mara Liassion believes Ernst's gender was crucial to that appeal.

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Health
9:46 am
Fri November 7, 2014

How Is Iowa Doing In the Fight Against Cancer?

17,630 people in Iowa will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014
Faculty of Medicine NTNU

Cancer-related deaths continue to decline in the U.S., and scientific breakthroughs are occurring at a breathtaking pace. But is this trend in jeopardy?

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Politics Day
3:58 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Politics Day: Mid-Term Election Analysis

nshepard / flickr

Republicans hand a major defeat to President Obama and Senate Democrats, seizing control of the U.S. Senate; and Iowa makes history, electing its first female senator, Joni Ernst.

One lone Democrat remains in Iowa’s six-member congressional delegation to Washington. This politics day, host Ben Kieffer and several political analysts examine the results of Iowa’s races and fit them into the national picture, to ask, what may be in store for the final two years of the Obama presidency?

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Business and Economy
10:22 am
Wed November 5, 2014

When the Government Charges Your Property With a Crime, Not You

Carole Hinders, owner of Mrs. Lady's Mexican Food, in her restaurant's kitchen
Photo Courtesy of the Institue for Justice

Carole Hinders of Arnold’s Park, IA, wasn’t charged with a crime, but that didn’t stop the I.R.S. from seizing the entire balance of her checking account, more than $30,000.

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Sleep
4:35 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Is Your Office Affecting Your Sleep Patterns?

A recent study found that the amount of natural light office workers are exposed to may impact the duration and quality of their sleep.
Mark Norman Francis Flickr

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that those who worked close to windows slept better and longer than those who didn’t. Dr. Eric Dyken, a sleep expert, says this has to do with our bodies' circadian rhythms.

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Java Blend
9:46 am
Mon November 3, 2014

New Local Band Jack Lion Inspires Atmospheric Chill

Listen and download the podcast for a fresh brewed hour with Iowa City locals, Jack Lion.

You may recognize some of Iowa City-based Jack Lion's members from another local band, Slip Silo. But, it's not just their name that has changed. 

Jack Lion’s members unearth the early ’00s interest in connections between jazz and electronic music and refashion it for this current era. Striking a balance between jazz composition, down-tempo break-beats, and hazy atmospherics they have made their mark as one of Iowa City’s headiest and most adventurous bands. 

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Ukraine
3:52 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Ukraine Strained by Gas Deal, Multiple Elections

Kiev, Ukraine
Dieter Zirnig Flickr

Yesterday in a deal brokered by the European Union, Russia agreed to supply gas to Ukraine through March. 

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River to River
3:31 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Author Justin Cronin Describes Post-Apocalyptic World in "The Passage" Trilogy

stpaulgirl / flickr

New York Times bestselling author and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, Justin Cronin, takes us into the post-apocalyptic world he’s created in the newly released second book of his highly-acclaimed vampire trilogy.

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Superheroes
2:51 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

UI Course Takes Superheroes Seriously

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...a college course?
JD Hancock Flickr

While Iowans will see superheroes and villains out trick-or-treating tonight, University of Iowa students will be seeing them in their textbooks this spring.

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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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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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