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

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. 

Smokers High Life / flickr

We know movie and wine critics, but what about a career as a pot critic?

Justin Valas

The President's order to protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation has been welcomed by some, condemned by others.

Flickr

According to a report released earlier this year by Iowa Policy Project, immigrants make up about 4.5 percent of the state’s economic output.

Emily Woodbury

This year, U.S. farmers are bringing in what is expected to be a record breaking harvest. On this edition of River to River - the modern day harvest.

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

Listen to the podcast to find out more about The Mayflies' latest album, Saturday Afternoon Girl.

Paul Hamilton / Flickr

Most driver-to-driver hand gestures are decidedly unwelcome. But riding along a rural road in Iowa, you might encounter a friendly one--the farmer wave.

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.

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. 

Sasha Wolff Wikimedia Commons

36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but understanding why exactly these types of headaches happen has been elusive. 

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

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.

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? 

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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. 

Dieter Zirnig / Flickr

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

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.

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.

Ernst/Braley Campaign Facebook Pages

With the midterm elections less than a week away, the Iowa Senate race looks closer than ever.

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.

Jeremy Weber

"Our problems with wolves stem from jealousy and competition...they're just like us," says Doug Smith, Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologist.

Paolo C. / flickr

A bone found on the banks of a Siberian river has yielded the oldest modern human genome yet recovered.

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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