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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River to River
1:44 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Iowa App Makers

It wasn’t too long ago, when nobody knew what an “app” was. Today, many of us wouldn’t know what to do without our favorite mobile software applications. Host Ben Kieffer talks with mobile app and tech developers across the state, and we’ll discover some newly created apps, from our developers right here in Iowa.

River to River
1:18 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Ralph Nader and "The Seventeen Solutions"

Ralph Nader / Harper Collins Publishers

The Atlantic named Ralph Nader one of the 100 most influential figures in American history. A political activist and five-time presidential candidate, Nader talks with host Ben Kieffer about his new book "The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future."

River to River
1:20 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Politics Day: Presidential Debate Analysis

Photos: Clay Masters

There’s a joke going around among journalists: This presidential debate is the most important one since the last one, or until the next one. Host Ben Kieffer talks with analysts Dave Peterson from Iowa State University and Bruce Gronbeck emeritus professor from the University of Iowa, to give their take on the latest face off, and how  it impacts the presidential race.

 

River to River
12:23 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

World Food Prize Laureate Daniel Hillel & AARP Foundation, Jo Ann Jenkins

Daniel Hillel
Daniel Hillel / Headshot photo

On today's River to River the 2012 World Food Prize laureate, Daniel Hillel, talks about his role bringing advanced irrigation techniques to crops in arid and dry regions in the Middle East. Hillel has impacted farming lands in more than 30 countries with his technique of “micro-irrigation” that keeps the soil continuously moist without overusing the water supply.

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River to River
1:30 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

UI Law School Case, Child Living Conditions In Iowa, And A Political Roundup

Senator Chuck Grassley talks with host Ben Kieffer as he reflects on the death of former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. Then Walter Olson, a fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional studies, shares the importance of a current legal case where a University of Iowa law school graduate claims the school didn't hire her because of her conservative political views. Then, Des Moines Register's Senior News Director, Carol Hunter, discusses the launch of a new series examining the living conditions of Iowa’s children, and a political update by IPR’s Clay Masters.

River to River
11:19 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Anthony Robles, Defeating The Odds To Become A Champion

Anthony Robles was born with one leg but it was his courage and resolve that  allowed him to chase his dream and to reach something that is remarkable for anyone, becoming a national wrestling champion. Host Ben Kieffer talks with the champion about his life and  his book UNSTOPPABLE: From Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion.

River to River
1:06 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

The Sleep Doctor, Mark Eric Dyken

Ian Munroe / Flickr

The "Sleep Doctor" Mark Eric Dyken, a professor of neurology and director of Sleep Disorders Clinic, joins Ben Kieffer to discuss how sleep driving and the sleep inertia problems can result in possible early morning sleep deprived tendencies for homicide, suicide and sexsomnia.

River to River
2:33 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Congressional Candidates Bruce Braley and Ben Lange Debate

Republican Ben Lange and Democrat Congressman Bruce Braley
Pat Blank, IPR

Iowa’s 1st Congressional District candidates square off in a radio debate. Host Ben Kieffer, and a panel of reporters, pose questions to Democrat, Congressman Bruce Braley, and Republican challenger Ben Lange. The candidates discuss issues including jobs, the deficit and agriculture. 

River to River
1:05 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Latinos in Iowa

Richie Diesterheft / Flickr

The Latino Midwest examines the history, education, literature, art, and politics of Latinos in the Midwest in light of the demographic changes experienced by states in this region with growing Latino populations. It aims to explore the changing demographics and dynamics of Latino communities in Iowa, and to strengthen the responsiveness of policy makers, business leaders, and community organizations.

River to River
1:26 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Conflicts Within The War For Afghanistan

David Shankboone Wikimedia Commons

The idea was to transform Afghanistan from a desert to a bread basket when a U.S. settlement was established in Helmand Province in the 1960’s. But, Little America has become a modern example of our misunderstanding of a country where 80 thousand U.S. troops are trying to win hearts and minds . Host Ben Kieffer talks with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of “Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan.”

River to River
1:26 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Coping With Suicide And Prevention

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Facebook

The last decade has seen a rise in suicide rates in the United States and several groups in Iowa are trying to do something about it. Host Ben Kieffer talks with several Iowans who are reaching out to those in danger of suicide, to family members who have experienced such a tragedy and a psychiatrist with advice on suicide prevention.

River to River
1:55 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Politics Day: The First Presidential Debate

DonkeyHotey Flickr

The first presidential debate kicks off this evening and many voters across the nation will tune in to hear what President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney will discuss. Our political experts talk about the expectations they have for the candidates and listeners say what they want to hear from each candidate.

River to River
12:59 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clinic & Talia Leman

Jon Farvel / Flickr

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Clinic, staffed by two primary care physicians Dr. Nicole Nisly and Dr. Katie Imborek, will focus on comprehensive primary care for adult LGBT patients delivered by providers and staff with expertise in the health care needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. 

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River to River
1:15 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Video Gaming In Iowa

Caitlin Monahan Flickr

As the video game culture continues to grow, several people in Iowa are making efforts to expand the industry even further. Host Ben Kieffer talks with a University of Iowa instructor who developed an entire curriculum based on video game journalism. Then, a recent Iowa graduate talks about becoming an editor at the world renowned gaming magazine, 'Game Informer.' Employees at the International Video Game Hall of Fame in Ottumwa, join the conversation to discuss upcoming gaming events in the city.

River to River
1:43 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

The Skilled Labor Gap In Iowa

Iowa is facing a shortage of middle-skill workers. Those are people to fill jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree. Host Ben Kieffer talks about Iowa workforce development efforts to fill the gap. And hear from employers and educators about their needs.

River to River
1:20 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Politics Day: Early Voting And Ground Game

Jason Brackins Flickr

Early voting begins tomorrow in Iowa and many county auditors have said they've seen an increase interest in absentee ballot requests. It's six weeks from Election Day, and on today's Politics Day we talk with our political experts about recent events and IPR's Sarah McCammon gives an update of the presidential candidates' ground game throughout the state.

Then, one Urbandale newlywed shares how his nuptials where thrown for a curve when the president showed up.

River to River
1:06 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Gender and Presidential News Coverage

European Parliament / flickr

In an election cycle where many top policy concerns are labeled “women’s issues,” about three-quarters of newspapers’ presidential coverage is written by men according to recent survey data by the Fourth Estate Project. River to River hosts a panel of women journalists from news outlets across the state to find out why this is, and what its impact could be on the upcoming presidential election.

River to River
1:14 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Partisan Media In A Presidential Election

Daniel Schildt Flickr

In recent years, partisan publications and blogs are becoming more of a resource for voters. Host Ben Kieffer explores the impact niche political news organizations have on elections, specifically with this year’s presidential election. Journalism professor, Frank Durham, and political science professor, Tim Hagle join the discussion, as well as representatives of partisan news sites across the state.

Politics
2:38 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Iowa Town Celebrates The U.S. Constitution With "Libertyfest"

Host of "Libertyfest", Hampton, IA
J. Stephen Conn / flickr

The town of Hampton is recognizing the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution with a week long "Libertyfest" celebration. Shawn Dietz, mayor of Hampton, wants to emphasize the historical document's impact on the nation. Though the event falls during election season, Dietz says the festivities honor patriotism and not partisanship.

Dietz joined "River to River" host Ben Kieffer in a discussion on the festivities.

River to River
1:21 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Anniversary Of The U.S. Constitution And Iowa Branding

This week people across Iowa are recognizing the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution during this year’s national observance of “Constitution Week”. Historian David Wendell talks with Ben Kieffer about constitutional issues 225 years ago and their prevalence today. Then, the mayor of Hampton, Iowa, discusses his efforts in organizing “Libertyfest”, a week long celebration of the constitution and the founding fathers who established it.

River to River
1:25 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Author Hisham Matar

Hisham Matar
Writer's Centre Norwich / Flickr

In 1990, the father of Libyan-American writer Hisham Matar was taken away by Colonel Qaddafi's agents. That kidnapping became the basis for Matar's critically acclaimed novel, Anatomy of a Disapperance. Matar is visiting Iowa as the Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor in the University of Iowa International Writing Program from September 18 - 21. We discuss Libya's past, present and the anti-American protests across the Muslim world.

River to River
1:21 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Politics Day

Dave Lawerence Flickr

Are you one of the 47 percent of Americans who quote, “don’t pay taxes” and “believe government has the responsibility to care” for you?

Host Ben Kieffer, joined by our political experts, discuss the fallout from the surreptitiously taped video of Mitt Romney. Then, our experts talk about the impact of the Middle East attacks on the presidential race.

River to River
1:44 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Author Hunter Lovins and Bill Nye "The Science Guy"

Bill Nye "The Science Guy"
Ed Schipu / Flickr

Newsweek has named Hunter Lovins a "Green Business Icon" and a "Millennium Hero of the Planet" by TIME Magazine for her work in sustainable development. She is the President of Natural Capitalism Solution, and is also the Chief Insurgent of the Madrone Project a non-profit educational team that brings greater depth and scale to sustainability education by delivering advanced modular curricula curated for digital media purposes.

River to River
1:12 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

You Can't Lie To Me

Research shows one out of every five times a person opens his or her mouth -- out comes a lie. Also, 80 percent of all lies go undetected. Host Ben Kieffer talks with deception detection expert Janine Driver tells us how to sharpen our inner lie detector. Her new book is titled, "You Can't Lie to Me: The Revolutionary Program to Supercharge Your Inner Lie Detector and Get to the Truth."

River to River
4:18 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Scott Cawelti's "Brother's Blood"

This hour we visit a conversation host Ben Kieffer had with author Scott Cawelti, who tells us about the infamous Mark family killings and reflects on the mind of a mass murderer.

On Halloween night in 1975, Jerry Mark murdered his brothers’ entire family…four people, including two young children, in Cedar Falls. Since 1976, Jerry Mark has been held at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison where he is serving four consecutive life sentences.

River to River
1:13 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Politics Day: Iowa Congressional Races

In Iowa there are four congressional districts, which is down from five in the last election.

The November elections feature only four congressional districts in Iowa instead of five… and the districts’ new boundaries offer new challenges for incumbents.


Host Ben Kieffer talks with several political experts about Iowa’s congressional districts including the match-ups, the issues, the polls, and the prospects.

River to River
2:00 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Environmental Concerns for the EPA

Iowa farmland
University of Maryland Press Releases / Flickr

A committee of scientists led by University of Iowa professor Jerry Schnoor says the Environmental Protection Agency will need to develop novel tools, technologies, and a systems approach to solve environmental problems in the 21st century.

River to River
1:16 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Voyager 1's Journey Into Interstellar Space

Image of Earth and Moon captured by Voyager 1.
NASA

Thirty-five years after its launch, Voyager 1 is now the most distant man-made object, more than 11 billion miles from the sun and new evidence shows it’s nearing interstellar space. Host Ben Kieffer, talks with Voyager 1 scientist and University of Iowa space physicist, Don Gurnett, about the next phase of the spacecraft’s journey.

River to River
1:23 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Eboo Patel: Interfaith in America

After 9/11, suspicion and animosity toward American Muslims spiked. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core. Patel says this prejudice is not just a problem for Muslims, but a challenge to the very idea of America. Patel also discusses his new book, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America.

After 9/11, suspicion and animosity toward American Muslims spiked.

I’m BK. Next time on RTR, my guest is Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core.

River to River
1:18 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Media Violence

Call of Duty action shot
FireFish45 / Flickr

Ever wonder if consuming media violence makes someone more likely to act out violence in real life? On River to River, we’ll examine a new report by Iowa State psychology professors Craig Anderson and Douglas Gentile that says violent images such as scenes in movies, games or pictures in comic books, act as triggers for activating aggressive thoughts and feelings already stored in memory. Also, what can parents do about it?

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