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

mikek7890 / Flickr

Thursday, August 28, marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.  Host Ben Kieffer looks back on this historic day with Rev. Milton Cole-Duvall who attended the March when he was a 19-year-old college student and former Iowa state Rep. Wayne Ford who was an 11-year-old boy living in Washington, D.C.

Catherine Dietz-Kilen

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Claudia Beverly, the Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professor will be in Iowa in the coming weeks.  Hear about how to ensure seniors get appropriate and quality healthcare.  You will also hear from Tracey Robertson from the Heritage Area Agency on Aging, and two notable senior athletes to talk about physical fitness.

Alan Light / Flickr

According to a study by the Iowa Council on Homelessness, in 2011 roughly 17,900 individuals in Iowa were homeless at some point throughout that year.  What are the causes of homelessness and what can communities do to help? Also, Iowa City has a new ordinance which aims to further restrict panhandling in the downtown area. 

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Does drinking coffee prevent dementia? Will diet soda give you cancer?  Science and health reporting is often misleading and confusing.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Reconciliation, military rule or civil war--the three possible paths for Egypt. What can, or should, the U.S. do in regards to the Egyptian crisis? 

Jon S / NS Newsflash

Join host Ben Kieffer for this edition of River to River that quickly moves through a variety of news stories of note: implications of an Iowa Supreme Court decision, a possible new Department of Transportation app to prevent texting-and-driving, a tapeworm diet, Iowa college football, and more.

Kasper Nybo / Flickr

The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 was the most costly natural disaster in the history of the world and killed almost 16,000 people.  Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Daisuke Ogata, a Japanese college student visiting Des Moines for the summer, and Mary McCarthy of Drake University to discuss how this tragic event has changed U.S.-Japan relations.

Jeremy Wilburn / flickr

How sexually active is your teen? It turns out that 34% of Iowa high school students are currently sexually active. So what do you know about the sex-ed being taught at your kids’ school?

In the first part of our program, host Ben Kieffer learns about a nationally recognized sex education program that many Iowa schools use, which focuses on the financial impact of having a child. Then we broaden the discussion to find out what’s being taught in Iowa’s public schools and Catholic schools. What’s appropriate? What’s effective at preventing teen pregnancy?

Emjay
EmJay

This Saturday, Dec. 28, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by EmJay on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

Love Over Gold

This Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Love Over Gold on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

Ben Kieffer will chat with founding members Lucy Thorne and Pieta Brown throughout the broadcast to find out more about their new band.

Dan Patterson / Flickr

It's been 20 years since the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers flooded, inundating much of the Midwest for months.  Host Ben Kieffer looks back on this extensive natural disaster that affected millions of Midwesterns with IPR corespondent Dean Borg, Lester Graham who covered flooding along the Mississippi for NPR, and Bill Stowe who worked for Iowa Power and helped coordinate the isolation of Des Moines's electrical system when the Skunk River flooded the city.

Bairo Pite Hospital / http://www.bairopitehospital.org/

There’s a place in the world where 75% of the population still live in villages with no access to electricity, running water, or the Internet. That place is a little island in SE Asia, called East Timor.

Today on River To River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Iowa native Dan Murphy, who founded the Bairo Pite Hospital in the country back in 1999. Dan shares his experiences treating illness and disease in the area, and gives us an idea of why we should be focused on this little known developing country.

Hipknosis

This Saturday, Dec. 14, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Hipknosis on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

Ben Kieffer will chat with the artists throughout the broadcast to find out more about their return to touring.

Farmers may harvest nearly 14 billion bushels of corn this year – that’s a record and 29% more than last year. However, as a result corn prices have dropped to their lowest since 2010.

Today on River To River, we explore this topic and much more! We travel to the Iowa State Fair, talk weather and corn price predictions, find out what a digitized cemetery is, and explore a new law cracking down on Iowans who register RVs in Montana to avoid paying the 5 percent Iowa registration fee and annual registration fees.

The Future Laureates

This Saturday, Nov. 30, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by The Future Laureates on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

Eric Allix Rogers / reallyboring / Flickr

The advent of automobiles brought increased mobility to Americans, but cars also created suburban sprawl and isolation.  Host Ben Kieffer looks at new urbanism, a movement that cultivates qualities found in older communities like walkability and connectivity.

Ryne Doughty
Ryne Doughty

  This Saturday, Nov. 23, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Ryne Doughty on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

The Candymakers

This Saturday, Nov. 13, at 2 PM IPR Studio One's Java Blend presents an encore performance from 2012 by The Candymakers recorded at The Redstone Room in Davenport. 

The Candymakers are a blues band with the traditions of old-school R&B, funk and soul. This young band offers a sound that is contemporary, yet keeps the essence of music past. Though the band is known for its soulful male and female vocalists, it is anchored by the collaborative genius of its blues driven guitarist, funky rhythm section and sultry horns.

Aubrey Boonstra

This Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Dick Prall on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

Ben Kieffer will chat with the artist throughout the broadcast to find out more about his latest project with Wilco's Pat Sansone. 

The Ericksons
Photo courtesy of the artist.

  This Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by The Ericksons on IPR Studio One's "Java Blend."

Ben Stanton / Iowa Public Radio

In this encore edition of River to River, listen back to host Ben Kieffer's tour of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum with its Director Tom Schwartz.  Schwartz talks about the role of presidential museums and libraries in light of the recent opening of the George W. Bush Library in Dallas.  Schwartz also discusses President Hoover himself and the museum’s exhibit that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  It’s called Iowans and the Civil War: The Western Theater.

Briar Rabbit
Cynthia Hunt and James Green

This Saturday, Oct. 12, at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Briar Rabbit on "Java Blend."

Dessa Parts of Speech
Doomtree Records

 This Saturday at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Dessa on "Java Blend."

 This Saturday at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by The Parish Festival on "Java Blend."

Nathan Jongewaard / flickr

There has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks about an Iowa State Trooper who was driving the Governor back in April. He was caught doing 84 mph, given a speeding ticket and disciplined. So, what are the risks of speeding?

This Saturday at 2 PM, we'll broadcast a recent performance by Raldo Schneider on "Java Blend."

Kevin B.F. Burt
Kevin B.F. Burt

On Friday, Dec. 13,  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 Kevin B.F. Burt.

eGuide Travel / flickr

The US Treasury Secretary says that the debt ceiling needs to be raised, but can it be done without another partisan showdown? Join host Ben Kieffer to hear about what’s getting done in DC, and what is not likely to get done before politicians are again entrenched in another election cycle.  Also, have a look overseas to updates on mid-east peace talks, Egypt, and China's recent economic slowdown.  Kieffer is joined by Donna Hoffman from University of Northern Iowa and David Skidmore from Drake University.  

Emjay
EmJay

On Friday, Dec. 6,  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 EmJay.

Pages