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

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. 

The Iowa Nice Guy says he’s running to represent the “Nice Party” of Iowa.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Economics teachers across the country use blackboards and chalk to teach people about supply and demand. The Planet Money team hands out candy to seventh graders.

DonkeyHotey / flickr

Two weeks to go until Election Day. Polls continue to show the Braley-Ernst Senate race is one of the closest in the nation – a contest that could decide party control in the Senate.

International Food Policy Research Institute / Flickr

From buying Iowa feed to learning from farming practices to possibly buying into our hog market, China's ag ties to Iowa are strong.

Pasu Au Yeung / Flickr

Art Durnev is a finance professor at the University of Iowa, but he got a crash course on political science when he encountered protests daily during a two-week stint at the UI's MBA program in Hong Kong.

John Bollwitt

Traditional, big American breweries are in the midst of a global identity crisis. Meanwhile, craft beer microbreweries in the U.S. are flourishing like never before.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," host, Ben Kieffer will chat with Dave Zollo & The Body Electric.

Download the podcast to find out more about the Iowa City icon and gospel rocker.

If you're a follower of the Midwestern indie music world (or of American roots music generally) you might be forgiven for thinking David Zollo has been around forever. The truth is, it just seems that way.

Jon Favrel / Flickr

Though there’s only been two cases in the United States, hospitals across the nation and across Iowa are preparing for the possibility of caring for Ebola patients.

Jeff Kubina / flickr

Has the U.S. Supreme Court become a partisan institution? According to polls, many Americans think so.

Ulises Jorge / flickr

The Republican and Democratic parties dominate politics in our state and our country.

Photo Courtesty of the World Food Prize

There are just over 7 billion people in the world today, and by 2050, our population is predicted to reach 9 billion.

Eric Kort, Creative Commons 2.0 / NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

One of the nation's best-known climate scientists is joining a lawsuit against the government to pressure for policies to address global warming.

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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