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.

Ways to Connect

cobalt123 / flickr

Epilepsy affects millions; and yet, the cause of the neurological disorder is in most cases is unknown.

Also unknown are the details of the leading cause of death from epilepsy, what medical professionals call "sudden unexpected death from epilepsy" or SUDEP. Recently, University of Iowa neurologists have been chosen to join only 8 other groups around the world to study SUDEP.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about the the Coralville native and his music.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

In 2014, Gov. Terry Branstad won an unprecedented sixth term as Governor of Iowa, and Iowans elected the state’s first woman to Congress when Republican Joni Ernst won her seat in the U.S. Senate. 

Carl Wycoff / Creative Commons License

Iowa lost many notable citizens and natives in 2014. As we wrap up the year, we remember a few as a tribute to all.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Data centers, legislative scuffles, and national park scandals: this year was big for Iowa news.

Ed Yourdon / Flickr

Most people consider themselves either a night person or a morning person. What if you're sleepy all day long?

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host Ben Kieffer will chat with Bob Dorr & The Blue Band.

Mauro Heck

This week, Havana erupted in celebration with the announcement of a new era of relations between Cuba and the United States. On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowan Mauro Heck, who has just returned from Cuba.

Heck says that while Cuba is beautiful and the people are inviting, the country is "organized chaos."

In 2012, the Vatican accused Catholic nuns in the US of straying from church doctrine, but in a report released this week, the church now says it welcomes the efforts of the sisters.

Rich Herrmann

It’s deer hunting season. On this edition of River to River, hunting concerns in Iowa, including the problem of poaching.

The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia / Flickr

The invisible primary has ramped up with Jeb Bush's declaration that he is "exploring" a presidential run.

Bob Mical

The controversy over the retracted Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape of a student identified only as "Jackie" at a fraternity house on the University of Virginia campus has sparked many debates. On this segment of River to River - the lessons learned in journalism, ethics, and the way new media impacts how these stories are told and discussed.

Truthout.org / flickr

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture contains some very grisly findings, detailing CIA interrogation techniques, like mock execution and sleep deprivation.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about The Candymakers' latest album, Ridiculicious.

The refrain can be heard more than 20 times. "My hands are behind my head."

That Hartford Guy / Flickr

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?

John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV

During his administration, George W. Bush said the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects was humane and legal.

Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason

Our country is very much identified as "one nation under God," however, the number of non-religious Americans has risen dramatically.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about Switchback's latest album, Kanoka.

For over two decades, the musical partnership of Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, known as Switchback, has been entertaining audiences around the world with their unique American Roots ~ Celtic Soul blend of music. 

Oskar Annermarken / Flickr

Diabetes was first named in ancient Greek civilization, but there's still much we don't know about the condition.

VIEVU

President Obama made the announcement this week that, in the aftermath of Ferguson and other cases, the White House would call for $75 million over three years to make 50,000 body cameras available to police departments across the country.

Wikimedia Commons

There’s no denying the racial tensions flaring in the United States. The question of how to solve them, however, has yet to be answered.

Wikimedia Commons

Over the course of the next two years, political analyst Charlie Cook says we could see some infighting in Congress.

Hannah Trebec

Hannah Trebec grew up in East Berlin. At 20, the Berlin Wall came down and she was faced with a choice: to stay or to flee.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about Klyma's latest album, Another Man's Treasure.

Mei-Ling Shaw Williams / University of Iowa College of Education

Jazz legend Al Jarreau headlined the Iowa City Soul Festival in September of this year.

Örlygur Hnefill / Flickr

35 years ago this month, we were in the first few weeks of the Iran hostage crisis. The crisis would last 444 days, and one Iowan was there for all of them.

Daniel Foster

While it often goes unreported, elder financial abuse costs older Americans 2 to 3 billion dollars per year.

Emily Woodbury

A recent report from the Iowa Department of Human Rights indicates the number of inmates in Iowa will increase by four thousand in 10 years. The report looks at the number of people going into prison, how long they are staying, and how many people are released each year.

The Director of Research at the Iowa Department of Corrections, Lettie Prell, says prison officials have seen high numbers like this before.

“We view this forecast as being not set in stone, but as an indication of where we might be going if we don’t examine our current policies and practices."

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about Muckrockers' latest album, We The People.

Muckrockers are a group of working class musician-citizens aiming to illuminate and eliminate the corporate stranglehold on our government and our lives. 

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