Ben Kieffer

River to River 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. 

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 30 years in public media.

Ben has taught courses at the University of Iowa on interviewing and radio news. He's a native of Cedar Falls and a graduate of the University of Iowa.

Wayne For America

River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the state they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known detail about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen.

John Pemble / IPR

 

 

With Caucus Day less than three months away, River to River has kicked off a series of interviews with 2020 presidential candidates. In this segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Booker discusses his plans to expand gun regulations, how he hopes to tackle climate change, health care, a new plan aimed at revitalizing rural communities, and how he stays sharp on the campaign trail with meditation.  

Timothy D. Easley / AP Photo

President Trump faces a low national approval rating and the impeachment inquiry is still in the air. Despite all this, a new set of surveys shows President Trump remains highly competitive in key battleground states – the likeliest to decide his re-election.

Charlie Neibergall

This program originally aired on 04-04-19. 

During an extended stay in the intensive care unit of a hospital, it’s common for patients to experience delirium. They may begin to see or hear things that aren’t there, experience delusions, or suffer from extreme confusion.

“It can be very distressing to family members and loved ones because it’s an acute and drastic change from someone’s normal cognitive baseline,” says Dr. Nick Butler, a geriatrician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

This program orginally aired on 04-04-19.

Many of us don't give a second thought to the software that runs aspects of our everyday lives, from morning alarms or fitness apps on our phones, to the code directing a red eye flight out of Chicago O'hare. Behind the software are computer programmers who work line-by-line to make these things possible.

On this segment of River to River host Ben Kieffer examines the world of programmers with journalist Clive Thompson, author of "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World."

Associated Press

Impeachment processes spanning U.S. history can help add perspective to the current ongoing inquiry against President Donald Trump. 

Adam Heater Media, LLC

There are more than five thousand religious communities across the state. The Comparison Project, based out of Drake University, seeks to bring people into the hundreds of faith groups based in Des Moines through “Meet My Religious Neighbor,” a monthly open house project.

Michael Leland/IPR

Much of Iowa saw inches of snow this week, in what some felt to be an unwelcome early start to the winter weather season.

Axne Defends Impeachment Inquiry

Nov 1, 2019
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

 

All three of Iowa's Democratic representatives in the U.S. House voted Thursday to approve a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Rep. Cindy Axne, who represents Iowa's third congressional district, says she stands by her decision based on the evidence of wrongdoing revealed thus far. 

Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

When you go to the polls next week, don’t forget your ID. The upcoming election will be the first to see the enforcement of Iowa's new voter identification law, further differentiating Iowa's voter regulations from some neighboring states. 

Rick Brewer / IPR

President Trump's poll numbers are rising, but not in the categories he would like. Unfavorable feelings toward the President are climbing up, according to the newest results from the Grinnell College National Poll that came out Tuesday. 

Jim Williams/Randel Bailey

At least 76 Iowans fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War despite Iowa's status as Union State. A new book,  Iowa Confederates in the Civil War, dives into the history of these soldiers and their motivations for leaving Iowa to fight for the Confederate States of America. 

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the states they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known details about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen.

Tim Rawle / Flickr

The Marine Corps confirmed after 74 years this month that one of the men featured in Joe Rosenthal's flag-raising photo at the battle of Iwo Jima was misidentified. A private Military historian from Johnston, Brent Westemeyer, helped reveal the true identity of one of these Marines as Harold 'Pie' Keller from Brooklyn, Iowa. 

University of Iowa / Public Policy Center

On this edition of River to River, higlights from The Burden of Gun Violence: Trends And Policy Solutions presented by the Univerity of Iowa Public Policy Center. Host Ben Kieffer moderated the conversation.

David Everett Strickler / Unsplash

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by Donna Hoffman, political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa, and Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University. Together, they discuss the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry and the five women in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Rick Brewer / IPR

When Neal Smith was born, the 19th amendment to the Constitution had yet to be ratified, which gave women the right to vote. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1958 during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, and is Iowa's longest serving congressman (1959-1995). 

John Pemble/IPR

River to River's "Home State View" series helps us understand how the presidential candidates are viewed as leaders in the states they call home. Host Ben Kieffer interviews journalists who have spent years covering the candidates. We get the little-known details about each hopeful's history. Click the "play" button to listen.

Toimetaja tõlkebüroo/Unsplash

The U.S. is in the midst of a mental health crisis, with 1 in 5 Americans experiencing mental illness each year. 

Lech Naumovich / Unsplash

On Tuesday, four officials of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa – that’s the entire RAGBRAI staff - announced their resignations from RAGBRAI, and announced they’re starting a new ride called Iowa’s Ride. This bike tour will take place the same week RAGBRAI is scheduled in the summer of 2020.

Matt Alvarez / IPR

With just over 100 days left until the Iowa caucuses, River to River  is kicking off a series of conversations with presidential candidates. Julián Castro joined host Ben Kieffer in IPR's Iowa City studio to discuss the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and the Newton Maytag plant that went from manufacturing washing machines to wind turbines. Castro also answers questions from listeners.

Sgt. Jason Bushong / U.S. Army

Global climate change is a huge challenge, but it also presents real opportunities for business. Joe Bryan and John Morton of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center were guests of the Greater Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday October 15. Host Ben Kieffer discusses how climate change and energy policy impact military capability and economic competitiveness, as well as international trade and diplomacy.

John Minchillo / AP Photo

In this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer breaks down Tuesday's fourth presidential  debate with Jim McCormick, professor of political science at Iowa State University. The long debate consisted of Sen. Elizabeth Warren being the target of attacks from her opponents on issues like paying for healthcare, as well as standout moments from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro.

Elias Castillo / Unsplash

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer examines the historical roots of Latinos living in the heart of the country. Kieffer is joined by Rene Rocha, professor of political science at the University of Iowa,  to discuss migration and the Abolish ICE movement. 

Associated Press

President Trump announced that the United States will be pulling troops from Syria and plans to impose sanctions on Turkey this week in response to the nation's military actions against neighboring Syria.

On this segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by University of Northern Iowa Assistant Professor Evan Renfro, to examine what lead to this conflict and offers analysis on the United States' responses.

Eric Garcetti / Flickr

Providing permanent, stable housing without requirements such as sobriety or employment has become a growing priority for organizations working with individuals struggling with addiction. This philosophy, known broadly as "housing first" functions on the idea that housing is a human right, and it's growing in popularity here in Iowa. 

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with housing and harm reduction experts to get a better idea of how housing first projects can support Iowa's addiction community.

This program originally aired on April 18, 2019

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer looks back on past conversations with presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin. Then, we hear highlights from a Q&A session with Kearns Goodwin at Hancher Auditorium after her Spring 2019 Levitt lecture about leadership in turbulent times.

KIEFFER: What can you tell us about the leadership qualities that Iowans should be looking for during this caucus season?

AP Photo/Pool, John Gaps III

This program originally aired on April 02, 2019.

In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court handed down a unanimous ruling in the case of Varnum v. Brien, making Iowa the third state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. 

On this episode of River to River, a look back at the historic decision 10 years later. 

Guests: 

Wikimedia Commons

 

This program originally aired on March 19, 2019.

As the country prepares to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which set the stage for women gaining the right to vote, scholar Sally Roesch Wagner is marking the anniversary by editing  "The Women's Suffragette Movement." The anthology highlights the work of women who led the national campaign for voting rights.

Wagner joins River to River host Ben Kieffer to discuss the collection of writings and the importance of the suffrage movement today. 

he honor was to mark King’s plans to donate more than $1 million to charity after his decision to display a hand-written sign before the Sept. 14 Iowa State-Iowa football game seeking money for beer prompted an overwhelming number of donations.
David Pitt / AP

 

Carson King, 24, has raised over $1 million for charity and a wave of controversy after going viral with a sign requesting beer money at the Cyclone-Hawkeye game on Sept. 14. Media Ethicist and Iowa State University Professor Michael Bugega joins this 'News Buzz' edition of River to River to give his perspective on the investigation of Carson's past tweets by The Des Moines Register and the following backlash. 

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