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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Java Blend
1:46 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Jack Klatt

Download the podcast for a full hour with troubadour traditionalist, Jack Klatt.

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Minnesota artist and his rambling, rolling music straight from the banks of the Mississippi.

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News Buzz
4:06 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Pilotless Airplanes? Rockwell Collins and the UI Push Forward

Early tests by Rockwell Collins and a UI group suggest remote-controlled airplanes may feasible in US airspace in the future.
a.koto Flickr

Would you fly in a plane without a pilot? How comfortable would you be with a plane remote-controlled from the ground?

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Climate Change
3:46 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Iowa Scientists: Climate Change a Public Health Concern

Thorne says drought and agricultural effects are not the only concerns in terms of climate change in Iowa.
anothertom Flickr

180 scientists from  38 Iowa colleges and universities signed this year’s Iowa Climate Statement 2014. Co-author Peter Thorne says this year’s report focuses on climate change’s effect on Iowans’ health.

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World Food Prize
2:26 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Iranian Wheat Scientist to Attend World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines

Wikimedia Commons

Government officials in Iran are sending one of their top food scientists to the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines next week. 

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History
3:46 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Encore: Memories of Flight 232

Flight 232, before its deadly crash
C Zellmer Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

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Politics Day
5:07 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Decisions by Default: U.S. Supreme Court Stays Quiet on Same-Sex Marriage

U.S. Supreme Court Building
Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to take up any of the cases before them involving same-sex marriage.

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River to River
1:54 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

What Does Don Gonyea Know About Ioway, Anyway?

Don Gonyea and Ben Kieffer at "Politics and a Pint" in downtown Des Moines
John Pemble

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea has spent many years in Iowa, covering political races and the Iowa caucuses; but can he reach the status of "honorary Iowan?"

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River to River
1:54 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Robert McChesney: "The Disintegration of the Commercial Model of Journalism"

Luc De Leeuw / flickr

On this segment of River to River, media political economist Robert McChesney has a bleak assessment of our new age of internet journalism.

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River to River
11:04 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream

Picnic in the woods, from 1918
Richard / flickr

What is at the heart of the American dream?

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Java Blend
10:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With In Rooms

Kick back and relax in this tropical Java Blend podcast with In Rooms.

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the Latin America-influenced indie band.

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News Buzz
3:07 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Latest Job Numbers

United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez
US Department of Labor

United States health officials say they are confident they can prevent the spread of Ebola in the U.S. after the first case was diagnosed in Texas this week.

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Crime
5:22 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Job Prospects for Iowa Ex-Felons

A shift in law that brought e-cigarette stores under the same code as tobacco stores meant Kelley Page could no longer continue to operate his Des Moines-based store, Great Alternatives.
Mobydoux Wikimedia Commons

Kelley Page saw his e-cigarette store as the new chapter in his life. So it stung that much more when it was taken away because of his past.

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News Buzz
5:19 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Chicago Attorney says Templeton Rye Misled Consumers

Templeton Rye's Heritage Pork Project pigs
El Photography and Design

A lawsuit against Templeton Rye has received approval to proceed by the state attorney general’s office, but Founder Keith Kerkhoff says the allegations of the lawsuit are untrue. 

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Medicine
11:09 am
Thu October 2, 2014

To Test or Not to Test

Kristen Powers discusses genetic testing with her father and her doctor.
Kristen Powers Official Twitch Trailer

If you inherited a deadly, incurable disease, would you want to know?

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Politics
3:24 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

President Obama as a "War President"

Screen shot from the White House’s official video of President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2014.

This week, Great Britain joined the United States and France in air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. 

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River to River
4:45 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Engaging in #GamerGate: "There is that fear going into it, as a woman"

Anita Sarkeesian, author of the video blog "Feminist Frequency," has been harassed for her critique of sexism within the industry
Anita Sarkeesian

This month, the video game industry has found itself at the center of a dispute that's led to intense debate under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.

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Politics
5:22 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Loebsack: Use of Force in Syria Requires Congressional Approval

Dave Loebsack's Official Portrait
U.S. House of Representatives

Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack says the most recent military campaign ordered by President Obama in Syria requires congressional approval. 

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Politics
4:52 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

King: Mowrer Campaign Owes Me an Apology

Steve King at an event in Ames, Iowa in August 2011.
Gage Skidmore Wikimedia Commons

Republican Congressman Steve King says Jim Mowrer, a Democrat and Iraq war veteran who is running against him to represent Iowa’s Fourth District, owes him an apology.

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Java Blend
9:24 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With Bonne Finken

Download the podcast for a full hour with home grown artist, Bonne Finken.

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

Download the podcast to find out more about the powerful vocalist who was born and raised in Iowa.

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Unexpected Iowa
5:32 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Iowa the "Bright Radical Star"

The Iowa Constitution
IowaPolitics.com Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Iowa gained attention for the Supreme Court decision overturning a ban on same sex marriage. But the ruling was no surprise given the court's history.

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Unexpected Iowa
4:03 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Butterfly Stroke Invented in Iowa Pool

Ben Kieffer stands with UI Swimming Coach Marc Long at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center at the University of Iowa.
Lindsey Moon Iowa Public Radio

Today, there are four recognized strokes in competitive swimming. It wasn't always that way. 

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Unexpected Iowa
4:35 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Iowa: First In the Nation for 42 Years

Iowa Caucus

Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first significant hurdle for presidential hopefuls from both parties.

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Unexpected Iowa
5:07 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

The Perfect Score: Iowa and Standardized Testing

Standardized testing has become the norm, not only for college-bound high schoolers but for students K-12. What many people don't know is that the origins standardized testing like the ACT lie in Iowa.
William R. Goodwin Wikimedia Commons

Most of us have filled in those tiny rows of bubbles with a No. 2 pencil. But who creates standardized tests? Who tests them? And why do we have to use a No. 2 pencil in the first place?

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Unexpected Iowa
4:21 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Iowa's Landscape: Not so Flat After All

rural Johnson County, Iowa
Lindsey Moon Iowa Public Radio

In our collective imagination, Iowa is often depicted as nothing but a flatland covered in corn. But is it really?

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Java Blend
9:20 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Java Blend Exclusive Hour With The Dandelion Stompers

Tune in for a great home grown fusion of local artists.

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

Listen to and download the podcast to find out more about the New Orleans-influenced Iowa City group.

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News Buzz
4:14 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Jill Pruetz on Chimpanzees and Aggressive Behavior

Jill Pruetz

Not many animals will use lethal aggression towards those in their own species, but two groups do - humans, and chimpanzees.

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News Buzz
3:31 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Searching for a Piece of Jack Trice

Joshua and Lori Kagavi

"The honor of my race, family & self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will."

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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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