Central Standard

Monday - Friday at 10 a.m.

Central Standard is a daily radio show that explores what really matters to the people in the Kansas City area. We tell the stories of our city and region from the bottom up and through the perspective of individuals. We are an inclusive forum that explores art, ideas and how the news affects lives and communities.


  • Monday: MU Alumni React / Buffalo Bill
  • Tuesday: The Lexicon Of The MU Conflict
  • Wednesday: Gaming As A Spectator Sport / Dark Matter
  • Thursday: Fossil Hunting In KC / Story of a Song
  • Friday: Screentime: Spectre
The Los Angeles Times / Creative Commons

There's a federal surveillance file from the early 20th century that refers to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas during World War I as a "University of Radicalism."

"That's not hyperbole," said researcher Christina Heatherton of Trinity College in Connecticut during a conversation on Central Standard

Heatherton was writing a book on the Mexican Revolution.

Tyler Adkisson / KBIA

The situation at Mizzou has brought a bunch of potentially unfamiliar terms together in one place. Systematic oppression and safe spaces: what they mean, and their relevance on college campuses today. Also, a little clarity on the first amendment. 


To outsiders, last week's protests at the University of Missouri in Columbia were eye-opening first encounters with race at the school. For others, they were reminders. A nuanced look at the history of race on MU's Columbia campus, including past protests.


Witnessing the death of his brother, moving to Bleeding Kansas during the border war, losing his father and protecting his family. All of this happened in the life of Billy Cody before he ever turned into the legend known as "Buffalo Bill."


Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

If you’ve ever wondered what food tasted like 100 years ago, Dixon’s Famous Chili on Highway 40 is like a culinary time capsule.

With its red décor, bar stools and historic photos, it looks like a 1960s-style diner, and that’s when this particular restaurant opened near the stadiums on U.S. Highway 40.

In 1919, Vergne Dixon opened the original location at 15th and Olive streets just east of downtown, which makes it one of the oldest family-run establishments in the Kansas City metro; Dixon’s Chili eventually became a chain of 13 restaurants, including one in Minnesota. 

Jeffreyw/Flickr --CC

Cold weather and chili go hand-in-hand.

Hot and hearty, and eminently customizable, it’s an American classic and a perfect winter meal.

But what is chili? There are many recipes that vary by region, including a Kansas City loose-meat assemble-it-yourself style of chili.

“I think it’s chili if you think it’s chili,” Food Critic Jill Silva told guest host Sylvia Maria Gross Friday on KCUR's Central Standard.

We visit Dixon's Famous Chili, a KC institution since 1919; a hot sauce expert recommends the best way to add heat to chili; then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chili dishes in and around Kansas City.


What is the environmental impact of hunting? Two hunters share their views on hunting and conservation — and encourage people to interact with nature, even if it's just with a camera.


The Breakthrough Moment

Nov 12, 2015

Enrique Chi of the band Making Movies stopped by the studio to tell the story of his band's breakthrough moment. Which included a broken van, a crowded bus and a car engulfed in flames. This story kicks off a Generation Listen KC storytelling event at Knuckleheads with the theme Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

We explore how veterans are using art to reconnect with civilian life, and we'll also investigate how we thank veterans for their service.


Paul Sableman / Flickr

If white flight is making a u-turn and the suburbs are seeing an influx of black residents, are we becoming any more integrated, or are we just trading places?


Jen Chen/KCUR

For Dave Loewenstein, a Lawrence-based artist, there’s more to creating a mural than just painting the side of a building.

In his experience, making a piece of public art has encouraged conversations (and offers of help) from passers-by, resulting in what he calls an “improvised gathering space.”

“It’s sort of like a Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner for a while when the murals are going up,” he told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

During Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. last month, he praised the late Thomas Merton as one of four great Americans. Merton was one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century. He spent the last twenty years of his life as a Trappist Monk in a monastery called the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.

After his death, his writings remained in the public sphere, but it seemed that little else was left from the man who inspired so many. But this summer, hundreds of his items reappeared in Missouri.

In the early 20th century, new laws inspired by World War I ensnared revolutionary thinkers all over the country, and sent them all to the same place to do time: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. It turns out Leavenworth was a hotbed of radical training and thought. At the center of it all was Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon.


  • Christina Heatherton, professor of American Studies, Trinity College
Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Lee Meisel starts his days by slinging whole pig carcasses over his shoulder and carrying them on his back into the kitchen of his own small restaurant in Lawerence, Kansas. 

He's a slender guy and the pigs weigh about 200 pounds each. "The pigs might have a few pounds on me," he admits.

Perhaps it's not clear, but this is the picture of a man living his dream.

Flesh And Bone

Nov 6, 2015
Paul Andrews

Lee Meisel, the owner of Leeway Franks in Lawrence, discusses his approach to butchering — and how his time working at an old-school butcher shop and going to Haskell University helped him find his direction in life.

Jen Chen/KCUR

Murals are more than just decorative outdoor projects. Two local muralists and the co-director of Called to Walls, a new documentary about community-based art in the Midwest (screening tonight at KU) discuss the process of creating a piece of public art that can reflect the past, present and aspirational future of a community.


He predicted that the Royals would win the 2015 World Series ...  in 2011. We talk with Joe Posnanski about the team "that loves to be on the brink," his prognosticating skills and how he writes for his mother.


We've all heard it: Exercising is good for you; it's beneficial to your health, both physically and mentally. But what happens when you exercise for a long time — such as with marathon-running or other endurance sports?

A local cardiologist shares the results of his research: Prolonged stressful exercise isn't good for your heart.


Courtesy Anthony Ladesich

Anthony Ladesich never got to buy his father a drink.

Ladesich was just 19 when his father, Vincent Floyd Ladesich, died after a brief illness in 1992. Afterwards Ladesich vaguely remembered how, when he was about 12, his father had called him to the basement one day, excited to play him some tape recordings of his friend from World War II.

Ladesich, a self-described punk, was more interested in riding his skateboard than listening to his dad's old tapes. But after his father died, Ladesich dug through old boxes and found the reel-to-reels.

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, material for his films, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

Ladesich is showing his movies in the Kansas International Film Festival.


  • Anthony Ladesich, filmmaker, Be It Ever So Humble, There Is No Place and Studio A

In the entire history of the natural world -- that's hundreds of millions of years -- only four groups of animals have developed the ability to lift up off the ground and fly. A KU professor has been piecing together that story.


Now that same-sex marriage is the law of the land, what has and hasn't changed for same-sex parents in our region? Three local parents tell their stories.


  • Jacqueline Smith, Central Grazing Company
  • Dustin Cates, Heartland Men's Chorus
  • Lynn Barnett, MidAmerica Family Treatment Center
Frank Morris / KCUR

The morning after the Royals take the crown in the 2015 World Series, KCUR listeners tell us what this moment means to them. Plus, what fireworks have to do with the Kansas City-style of celebration.


  • Frank Morris, national correspondent and senior editor, KCUR


Oct 30, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

Crunchy vegetables, tangy dressing, melted cheese, warm and tender meat (or not), encompassed in soft, chewy bread ... sandwiches have it all.

A grilled cheese expert shows demonstrates the art of cooking them low and slow; we visit a kitchen that pickles all sorts of things in-house; then KCUR's Food Critics search for the best sandwiches in and around Kansas City.


Jen Chen/KCUR

Sandwiches — they’re portable, and practically anything can go between two slices of bread (or even atop just one piece of bread).

From banh mi to Cubans to Reubens, local restaurants are offering traditional versions and riffs of the good ol’ hand-held.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pickling is a trend picking up all over the country, and Elise Landry, sous chef at Ça Va in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood, is pickling everything. Turnips, husk cherries, shallots … you name it, she’s pickled it.

“The other day I was called a pickled petunia by a customer, which I’ll always remember,” she laughs.

Initially, Landry started pickling to keep the seasonal produce she got from the Brookside Farmer’s Market fresh. But it’s gone far beyond practicalities.

Two standout high-school debaters share their stories and assess last night's third Republican presidential debate.


  • Monica Medeiros, senior, Lincoln Prep
  • Michael Franklin, junior, Sumner Academy

You may have seen it on social media: The could-it-be-true-maybe-not? tidbits about various Royals players with the hashtag "Friendly Royals Facts." But really, who are these guys? KCUR's sports reporter tells us about the personal lives of Salvy, LoCain and more.


From the podcast the memory palace, by Nick DiMeo: The Ballad of Captain Dwight, an African-American astronaut who, during JFK's administration, almost made it to the moon.