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

Domestic Violence
4:54 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

#WhyIStayed: Perceptions, Protections, and Problems with Domestic Abuse in Iowa

Iowa has both civil and criminal codes to help domestic abuse victims seek justice.
Ben Pollard Wikimedia Commons

Tiffany Allison breathed a sigh of relief when she learned her former attacker was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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Politics Day
11:10 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Scottish Independence Vote Too Close to Call

The Scottish flag
Ian Britton Creative Commons License 3.0

A visiting Professor from Scotland says he's "terrified" about Scotland's vote on independence from the UK September 18th.

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River to River
9:27 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Edward Snowden's Lawyer: "To be a patriot is to question the government all the time"

Mike Mozart

ACLU attorney Ben Wizner says the history books will be kind to Edward Snowden; he will be remembered well.

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Encore
12:54 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Kristi Ruth Talks About Nearly Losing Her Arm in a Farm Accident

Courtesy of Iowa State University Extension

In 2007, Kristi Ruth nearly lost her arm in a farm accident. It’s just once example of the hazards of agricultural work.

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River to River
5:13 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Binge Drinking: "I black out almost every single time I drink”

Whatsername? / flickr

Iowa ranks as one of the highest binge drinking states in the country.

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River to River
2:39 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

A Conversation with Jazz Legend Al Jarreau

Jasper / flickr

Jazz legend and vocalist Al Jarreau will headline the Iowa City Soul Festival this weekend with a free performance. 

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Java Blend
9:29 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Whitney Mann

Download the podcast for an hour with Michigan-born coutnry artist, Whitney Mann.

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

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the artist's deeply emotional music. 

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News Buzz
4:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Legions Expected at Harkin Steak Fry

Tom Harkin poses with an attendee of his annual steak fry in 1990
Harkin Campaign Office

Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton returns to Iowa this weekend. She and husband, President Bill Clinton, are the headliners at the 2014 Harkin Steak Fry.

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News Buzz
3:33 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

New Compound Could Offer Protection Against Brain Injury

Wellcome Images (Creative Commons)

A new class of compounds has been shown to protect against brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

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River to River
6:42 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Aging Water Systems May Lead to Next "Water Revolution"

Many Iowa sewer lines were made in the 19th century.
:::Derek::: / flickr

Washington, Ia.'s sewer system was made in the 1870s; and in 2011, repairs cost the city around $20 million.

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Politics Day
4:36 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

"I think we will be fighting ISIS a year from now"

U.S. Army Pfc. Jason Dore looks for any possible enemy contact in western Baghdad, Iraq. 2007
United States Forces Iraq

In a prime time address on Wednesday, President Obama will announce how the U.S. plans to confront the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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River to River
4:11 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Joan Becker: It Took A Prison Sentence To Get Mark the Help He Needed

Joan and Dave Becker with their son Mark, who shot Aplington-Parkersburg head football coach Ed Thomas to death 5 years ago.
Courtesy of Joan Becker

Five years ago, Mark Becker shot Aplington-Parkersburg head coach Ed Thomas. His mother, Joan, is now an advocate for mental health in Iowa. 

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Sports
12:54 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Changing the Mission of College Athletics

There’s little doubt that college sports are at a crossroads. As money collides with education, Drake University’s Athletic Director says it’s time to make sports “co-curricular” instead of “extra-curricular.”

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Business
10:35 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Iowa's Glass Ceiling

Molly Clubb, co-owner of Hired Hand, has grown a successful business in two male-dominated fields--agriculture and technology. But is she the norm?
Molly Clubb Hired Hand

CNBC ranks Iowa as the twelfth top state for business. So why are we dead last in economic clout for women-owned businesses according to a March report from American Express?

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Java Blend
9:51 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With The Giving Tree Band

Download the podcast for an hour with The Giving Tree Band.

In this encore episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend" from 2012 host, Ben Kieffer will chat with The Giving Tree Band

Download the podcast to find out more about the folky five piece band. 

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News Buzz
2:05 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Whiskey Wars Afoot in Iowa?

Bottoms up! A new Iowa made whiskey will soon hit the shelves.

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News Buzz
11:26 am
Fri September 5, 2014

ISU Graduate and War Correspondent Terry Anderson Talks About Being Taken Hostage

Terry Anderson, the former hostage in his birth place of Lorain Ohio, on June 21, 1992.
Paul M. Walsh Wikimedia Commons

Terry Anderson, a graduate of Iowa State University, was taken captive in 1985 on the streets of Beirut after a tennis match. 

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River to River
6:12 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Changing the Code: What Makes a Dog "Vicious?"

maplegirlie / flickr

In Des Moines, Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire terriers are defined as vicious breeds, even if they have no aggressive history.

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River to River
4:46 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Zach Wahls Reflects on White House Internship

Courtesy of Zach Wahls

What is it like to be an intern at the White House? What jobs are you given?

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Politics Day
4:23 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Politics Day: Developments at Home and Abroad

Pete Souza Official White House photo

Western sanctions have wounded the Russian economy by causing billions of dollars in capital flight, but is that enough to stop what Ukrainian officials say is the strengthening of an "invasion" force?

In this episode of River to River, political analysts Jim McCormick of Iowa State University, and Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa, share analysis on the escalating crisis in between Russia and western powers over Ukraine. Also, a detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups paints a dismal picture for Republicans, especially among women.

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Environment
3:53 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Frack Sand Mining Unlikely in Allamakee County

a silica sand mine
Wikimedia Commons

After the expiration of an 18 month moratorium, Allamakee County has adopted rules that will regulate silica sand mining in the area. 

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Java Blend
2:00 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Caroline Smith

Download the podcast for a full hour with indie-rocker, Caroline Smith
Reginald VanNurden

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

Download the podcast to find out more about her latest album, Half About Being a Woman.

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News Buzz
5:39 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Two Iowan Sisters Leave Liberia After Ebola Threat

Libby (left) and Kayla Casavant sit in Kayla's Monrovia apartment, before both of them fled after the Ebola outbreak.

Both Kayla and Libby Casavant were working in Liberia when the worst known outbreak of Ebola hit West Africa. 

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Sports
3:08 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

What Should Parents Know About Concussions?

Flickr

Football season is officially underway this weekend, and this season, there’s extra emphasis on the effects of concussions.

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News Buzz
12:52 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

UI Professor Kembrew McLeod Responds to Criticism of Pink Locker Room Protest

University of Iowa Professor Kembrew McLeod is organizing what he calls a "Million Robot March Against Pink Locker Rooms" in protest of the university's painted pink locker room for visiting football teams.

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River to River
4:05 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Des Moines' School District Tries New Approach with Grading

The school year has begun once again, and students heading back to Iowa’s largest school district may notice a difference in the way they are graded.

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River to River
3:47 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Iowa Police Departments' Use of Military Gear

Guardsmen train on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle prior to Iraq deployment
The National Guard

Recent clashes between police and civilians in Ferguson, Missouri have led local community members to consider the military-style equipment given to local police departments.

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Politics Day
4:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Politics Day: Developments in the Middle East and the 2014 Senate Race

assortedstuff / flickr

A new Washington Post forecast gives the GOP a 63 percent chance of taking the Senate in November.

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Education
3:17 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Preventing Sexual Violence Through Mentorship

Grinnell College's MacEachron Field. The college implemented the MVP program on campus in 2012, first among student athletes.
Wikimedia Commons

One in five women are sexually assaulted during college. In the fight to combat that trend, peer-to-peer mentorship can make a difference.

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Medicine
3:35 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Beyond the Ice Bucket Challenge: Iowans Affected by ALS

Thousands of people have undergone the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness, funds or both for ALS.
Rauglothgor Wikimedia Commons

A year ago this time, the national ALS Association raised nearly 2 million dollars. This year, in the same time period, they've raised 40 times that. What changed?

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