Steve Kraske

Host of Up to Date

Steve Kraske is an associate teaching professor of journalism at UMKC, a political columnist for The Kansas City Star and has hosted "Up to Date" since 2002. He worked as the full-time political correspondent for The Star from 1994-2013 covering national, state and local campaigns. He also has covered the statehouses in Topeka and Jefferson City.

Before arriving in Kansas City, he worked at daily newspapers in Iowa and Illinois and at United Press International in Madison, Wis. Kraske is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a bachelor's degree in journalism. He was a 1992 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Kraske has won awards for both his print and radio work and has appeared on NPR, CNN and Fox. He's a big fan of "Prairie Home Companion" and Kansas City jazz. His father lives in Stillwater, Minn., not far from the St. Croix River.

Aaron Pellish / KCUR 89.3

Missouri hasn't had two Democratic U.S. Senators in 40 years, but Jason Kander is looking to change that. Today, we speak with the current Missouri Secretary of State about his run to defeat incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt in what has become a very competitive race.

First, the final reactions to last night’s presidential debate from KCUR's panel of undecided voters. Then, a survivor of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, recalls that fateful day. Finally, Brian McTavish presents his latest Weekend To-Do-List.

In a time of diminishing budgets, guest host Brian Ellison learns how fine-arts program Harmony Project is helping underserved kids in Kansas City do better in school. Then, actor Bryan Cranston says a large part of his successful career has to do with hard work and good luck. This week's Local Listen features the classic rock band Kansas, touring in support of its first album since 2000.

Prairie Village has the distinction among Kansas cities of being the hometown of not one — but two! — operatic prodigies. Hear the latest tenor voice that's delighting audiences from California to Carnegie Hall. Then, we examine a different way to frame victims of sexual violence and the concept of rape itself. Finally, the latest Statehouse Blend Kansas, recorded live in Wichita.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

While the mud flies between the major party presidential candidates, the Smart Money Experts are focused on the issues. Today, we review the proposed tax and economic policies from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

First, with more than 5,000 "honor killings" occurring around the world every year, violence against women is a widespread problem with no single solution. Then, we hear both sides of upcoming ballot initiatives that propose a new public safety tax in Johnson County, and a new levy in Kansas City, Missouri, that would fund a light rail network. Finally, the most recent installment of A Fan's Notes.

First, a look at how an increasing Latino population in the Heartland is changing the region. Then, how the border showdown between Kansas and Missouri lives on through Granny Basketball. Finally, Brian McTavish gives us the latest Weekend To-Do List.

With the presidential campaigns reaching a fever pitch, the Media Critics discuss whether or not journalists hold Hillary Clinton to a different standard than Donald Trump, and if the press is giving political "spin" the same importance as evidence-based facts. Then, Bill Brownlee introduces Various Blonde in this week's Local Listen.

In conjunction with NPR's A Nation Engaged project, Native people answer the question, "What it means to you be an American now." Then, we find out why George Washington may not have agreed with the United State's role as policeman to the world. Finally, President of the Kansas Senate, Susan Wagle, gives us the inside story about what's going on with that state's tax revenues.

First, local undecided voters react to the slug fest that was the second presidential debate. Then, a look at a few measures on the Missouri 2016 ballot concerning cigarette taxes and establishing ID requirements for voting. 

Teen films from the 1980s (think Fast Times at Ridgemont High and 16 Candles) helped define a generation, but their influence on American culture lasted much longer than the decade in which they were released.

First, the Ethics Professors decide whether complaining about politics without casting a vote is something to feel guilty about, and discuss the morals of disclosing Donald Trump's old tax returns without his permission. Finally, Brian McTavish gives us a rundown of the latest Weekend To-Do List.

First, Ambassador Allan Katz examines the diminishing role of civility in politics, and what might be done to reverse it. Then, the story of Forsyth County, Georgia, which became a "white county" in 1912, after a campaign of violence and intimidation against its black inhabitants. This week's Local Listen features Brody Buster's One Man Band.

We begin with a look at the many challenges media outlets face when, under increasing scrutiny from all sides, they are covering a presidential race unlike any other.

For Cuban exile Carlos Eire, coming to the U.S. as a boy was a gift but it took him a few years to realize the freedoms it afforded him. Then, a new book from journalist Gary Younge brings statistics to bear by chronicling the stories of 10 young people who were killed by gunfire on November 23, 2013.

Up To Date's film critics review the latest independent, foreign and documentary movies showing in area theaters.

Here's a list of the films reviewed on the program:

  • Little Men
  • The Dressmaker
  • The Hollars
  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
  • Hieronymus Bosch, Touched by the Devil
  • Dough
  • The Light Between Oceans

St. Teresa's Academy is still going strong, 150 years after the school's founding on Quality Hill. Though a lot has changed since then, the staff's belief in the benefits of single-gender learning has not. 


Debunking The Voter Fraud Myth

Sep 29, 2016

In an effort to protect against voter fraud, new and stricter voter I.D. laws have proliferated. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach now requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote. We take a look at how claims of ballot-rigging are not as accurate as once thought.


An awesome snapshot of Kansas City is more than just picking an iconic location. Up to Date host Steve Kraske talks with three professional photographers who say  making a great photo takes plenty of preparation, a good plan and, in some cases, a tiny hexacopter.


Of the millions who watched last night's presidential debate, eight undecided voters from the Kansas City area watched from KCUR's studios. UMKC's Division of Diversity and Inclusion Vice Chancellor Susan Wilson invited them to see if what they heard influenced how they would vote. Susan shares what she found with Up to Date host Steve Kraske.

As Missouri's gubernatorial election draws near, the right-to-work debate hangs in the balance. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is in Kansas City to address his group's state convention, and says results from the races for governor and president will affect the future of organized labor.

How Uncertainty Builds Faith In 'A Gray World'

Sep 27, 2016

During troubled times some turn to prayer, but when left with no answers they may question their beliefs. Religion writer Bill Tammeus says that doubt is natural, and can play a big part in strengthening one's faith.

You know Chuck Haddix as host of KCUR's Fish Fry, but his day job is director of UMKC's Marr Sound Archives. He finds truly surprising audio clips while working there, and he shares some with us in this edition of Up to Date. "It's like Christmas everyday," he says.

Meet the young woman who runs a boxing program just for people with Parkinson's and the neurologist who explains how specific boxing movements can improve the quality of life for those with the disease.


Employers throughout the nation will soon need to ensure all salaried workers are making at least $47,476 annually, or will need to make them eligible for overtime pay by changing their status to hourly. The new rules about who is and isn't eligible for overtime are set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but 21 states have joined in a lawsuit to have the higher standards declared invalid.


In the early 1690s, Massachusetts got swept up in the madness of witch hunts, which culminated in the Salem witch trials and the execution of 20 people. On this edition of Up To Date, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff talks about the 1692 tragedy that still fascinates us today, and how it compares to modern times.

Water is life — you drink it, cook with it and even shower in it — but unregulated runoff from farms and business can pose a threat to keeping it clean. A new series from Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR, looks at the conditions of water in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest.


When children get headaches, it can be difficult for them  to understand or express what's bothering them. It can be equally challenging as a parent to decide on the appropriate action to take.


While small towns continue to lose population to cities, they're working to reverse that migration.  We talk with a panel of Kansans who made the decision to come back about how they're encouraging others to do the same. 


Democratic strategist and pollster Celinda Lake says Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both know women will play an important role in the 2016 election, and they need to win them over by November. Lake says women and men look for different things, so the candidates will need a multifaceted approach to win.