Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is substitute host of Central Standard and Up To Date and has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008. He has been acting producer and associate producer of Up To Date and was acting producer of The Walt Bodine Show. A member of the Religion Newswriters Association, he also contributes occasionally to KCUR news coverage. Even before joining the KCUR staff, he was a producer and frequent guest on Up To Date's "Religion Roundtable," as well as a committed listener and volunteer.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Brian served as pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church for 13 years and now is executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, he is also a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in preaching at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo.

Ways To Connect

With the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, some county clerks have refused to issue marriage licenses, citing religious beliefs. The Ethics Professors discuss performing government duties that conflict with one's faith. Plus, is it okay to break the law in the name of a just cause?

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The newly elected Kansas City, Missouri, city council features six members who have never served on the before. On yesterday's edition of Up To Date, we spoke to three of those new members, and today we meet two more newcomers to the job. 

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Kansas is facing the lowest number of state highway troopers in ten years. Guest host Brian Ellison examines the reasons for this and looks at efforts to recruit and retain new troopers on both sides of the state line.

Guests:

  • Technical Trooper Cory Beard is with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
  • Capt. John Hotz is with the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The newly elected Kansas City, Missouri, city council features a lot of new blood— six out of the 12 members have never served on the council before. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk with three newcomers to the job.

Guests:

  • Quinton Lucas will be the 3rd District At-Large councilman.
  • Jolie Justus will represent the 4th District.
  • Alissia Canady will represent the 5th District. 

We talk to the senior pastor of Kansas City's Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church about last week's shooting and murder of nine people at an AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. We also discuss the formation of racial identity in this country with a history professor, a vice-chancellor of diversity and inclusion (who is also a psychologist) and a high school teacher.

Two retired MLB players--Rex Hudler of Fox Sports (now a Royals announcer) and Fred Kipp of the Dodgers and the Yankees--share their experiences on and off the field, then and now. 

Kansas City's Rosies

Jun 1, 2015

70 years later, we catch up with Kansas City's own Riveter Rosies--the women behind the manufacturing of the aircrafts taken to battle in WWII. 

During World War II, the noses and tails of airplanes often were painted with cartoon characters, topless women or even some geographical landmarks. A history professor explains the meaning and stories behind those iconic designs.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Sen. Kay Wolf from Prairie Village, provides an insider perspective on the historic 2015 legislative session underway in Topeka. 

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Democrat Kansas Rep. Jim Ward from Witchita, provides an insider perspective on the historic 2015 legislative session underway in Topeka. 

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Kansas Legislature / Kansas Legislature

Democrat Kansas Rep. Jim Ward from Wichita, provides an insider perspective on the historic 2015 legislative session underway in Topeka. 

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Since 2007, the number of children in need of foster care in Jackson County has nearly doubled. We speak with Denise Cross, President and CEO of Cornerstones of Care, about what accounts for the increase of need in the area. We also examine how the community is accommodating and caring for children in need of a home.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, you can call Cornerstones of Care toll-free 855-778-5437 or visit www.healthyfamilies4kids.org.

For many, the goal after living through trauma is to get back to normal. On this edition of Up To Date, guest host Brian Ellison speaks with two authors who tell stories of people who not only survive tragedy, but thrive in the aftermath. 

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Kansas City’s Steve Metzler was a business leader, a nonprofit supporter, and a patron of the arts, but phrases don’t begin to describe the impact he had on the community.

On this edition of Up To Date guest host Brian Ellison shares memories with those whose lives were touched by Metzler and talks with Steve's long-time partner, Brian Williams. 

Technology is finding it's way into every part of our lives, and it may be in our roads sooner than we think. One Kansas City engineer is proposing a smart I-70 that could charge electric cars by contact, connect to navigation systems, and more. 

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Wiki

When you walk into a restaurant, there is a certain je ne sais quoi that can make or break the experience.

Of course the food is of paramount importance, but poor lighting, decor and authenticity can make even an exquisite plate of duck confit look like a soggy KFC drumstick.

Luckily, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jill Wenholt Silva know a thing or two about restaurant ambiance. Here are their picks for standout restaurants with great ambiance:

openclipart.org

"We said we were going to have 20,000 listeners by this time … but we have ten times that," says Gimlet Media co-founder Matt Lieber on the podcast Startup. But as podcasting grows as a medium, can it sustain what is typically given away for free?

In this episode of Central Standard, our podcast review panel explores how to make money with the form and makes recommendations for what to tune into next (when you're not listening to back episodes of Central Standard!).

It's been 20 years since there's been a Latino on Kansas City, Mo.'s city council; and there isn't currently any Latino representation on the Unified Government board of commissioners either. That's even while our metro's Hispanic community has been growing significantly.

  • CiCi Rojas, president and CEO, Central Exchange
  • Irene Caudillo, president and CEO, El Centro
  • Louis Ruiz, Kansas state representative, District 31 (Wyandotte County)

From the world's fascination with Pope Francis to the rise of ISIS overseas, religion played a significant role in some of the biggest headlines of 2014.

On Wednesday's Up To Date guest host Brian Ellison speaks with Kevin Eckstrom, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service, and Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, executive religion editor of the Huffington Post, on the top religion stories last year, and religion's rising profile in the news. 

Rob Friesel / Flickr-CC

From serving stuffed celery sticks with cream cheese on the Thanksgiving table to participating in the Pilgrim Run every year or bringing kilts, scotch and good cheer to houses on New Year's Eve, family rituals take many different forms.

The path to wholeness for those whose lives have been touched by addiction is always different. But for at least one group of Kansas Citians, that road has been filled … with writing. Poetry and prose that chronicle and process and maybe even transform the struggle. 

On Friday's Up to Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks two women taking part in an annual reading of work stemming from addiction.

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Beth Lipoff/KCUR

In sports, we teach kids valuable lessons like, “Winning isn’t everything. The most important thing is that you did your best.” But if you’re a pro athlete, that goes out the window. Your job is to win.

On Friday's Up to Date, we look at the psychology of the clubhouse in a pennant race as the Royals gear up for possibly their first post-season appearance in a generation. We also hear from a team official about what it feels like to be at the K these days.

Guests:

Hannah Copeland / KCUR

Next week voters will cast their votes for Chair of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners— the highest elected office in the county. They’ll narrow the field from three candidates down to the two who will be on the November ballot. All three joined Friday's Up to Date for a candidate forum, their last before Tuesday’s election.

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Theresa Thompson / Flickr-CC

On Thursday's Up to Date, guest host Brian Ellison covers primary ballot issues on both sides of the state line. In Kansas, KCUR has kept an eye on Milton Wolf and Sen. Pat Roberts as they battle to be the Republican nominee for the U.S.

Nathan Haley / Flickr-CC

The recession hit more than five years ago, but its effects are still rippling through this country-- and that's what President Obama is here to address. In Wednesday morning's speech, he will be talking to a crowd at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo., about the economic challenges facing middle-class families and why he has taken executive action on issues such as minimum wage.

Up to Date will provide coverage of the event, with a live feed of the speech and post-speech analysis from local experts.

Scott Morgan for Secretary of State / Department of Justice

Primary elections in Kansas and Missouri are one week from today. On the Kansas side, a lot of the action will wait until November but one primary race in particular has gained a lot of attention, more than you might expect. Incumbent Kris Kobach is well known for his work on election and immigration laws. His opponent, Scott Morgan, says that's a big part of the problem.

401(K) 2012/Flickr-CC

Election season has kicked off, and we’re gearing up to a flurry of primaries throughout the area. Today, we’re taking a look at the ballots in Kansas City, Mo., and the state of Missouri.

On Monday's Up to Date, we discuss the streetcar proposal that’s found its way into the voting booth. Voters will decide whether they want to expand the taxing district east and south, and as a result, expand the proposed streetcar lines.

Milton Wolf / YouTube

Throughout this election season, KCUR will bring you AdWatch, a series evaluating the words and images filling the airwaves aimed at Missouri and Kansas voters.

The hotly contested Republican race for U.S. Senator from Kansas, where incumbent Pat Roberts and challenger Milton Wolf have turned their sights squarely on one another, has brought a slew of ads to the Kansas airwaves.

Butterflyxoeio / Flickr Creative Commons

So, you like animals? You enjoy watching them, taking care of them, and talking about them? Would you make a good zookeeper? Guest Host Brian Ellison takes a look at the true life of Kansas City Zoo zookeepers on Tuesday's Up to Date. Find out what it's really like to chase a fugitive chimpanzee and keep the penguins healthy and happy in their habitat. Speaking of penguins, you can watch the penguins at the Kansas City Zoo live right here.

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Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week we saw the closing of another Supreme Court session with landmark rulings about religious freedom, cell phone privacy, and recess appointments. But there was another decision: a 5-4 ruling that may have an impact on unions and how they operate, including right in the Kansas City area. On Tuesday's Up To Date,  guest host Brian Ellison talks with the AFL-CIO's Craig Becker on the highest court in the land's ruling on union agency fees.

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