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: Green Bean Casseroles / Kansas City Syrians / Shared Work Spaces
  • Tuesday: White Death Rate / Behavioral Health Gaps
  • Wednesday: Cul De Sacs / Third Graders On Community
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving Special
  • Friday: Central Standard Special: Planes, Trains And Automobiles

In an ideal world, what should teaching be like? Should teachers be philosophers, innovators or ...  computers? We'll hear from teachers, current and former, and an education thinker about the teacher of the future.


Korla Pandit was a musical prodigy who had his own TV show in the 1950s. He claimed to be from New Delhi, India and shaped Americans' ideas about Indian music, but he actually grew up in Columbia, Missouri, with black parents.

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll's classic character, turns 150 this year. The Kansas City Public Library is kicking off a two-month celebration of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland tonight with a lecture by Lewis Carroll scholar Mark Burstein.

We invite Burstein and a librarian to discuss the huge cultural influence of the book.


From research to relationships, from the laboratory to the living room, there's a lot going on in the world of Alzheimer's. We share the voices of Alzheimer's patients, stories from caregivers and a progress report from a leading scientist. 


Kansas City is a dress-casual town, for the most part — it's not uncommon to see people (especially guys) wearing baseball caps or Big 12 gear while out and about. However, there are signs that the men's fashion scene is branching out. We invite two local suit connoisseurs and a bow-tie entrepreneur to talk about style and what fashion means to them.


Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

If you're looking for Will Leathem, he can usually be found behind the counter of Prospero's Books, his irreverent corner shop with creaky wood floors, scattered rugs, and precariously stacked piles of reading material.

That's where he nudges young writers and artists to make work, recommends his favorite books and gets into every kind of conversation imaginable.

@greghall24 / Twitter

Apparently, blogging about bathrooms is a thing in Kansas City.

We spoke with two people who write about the Kansas City bathroom scene this week on Central Standard.

"A Bathroom Site" blogger Kayla Regan judges local water closets on privacy and cleanliness. For "Pee Party" blogger David Hudnall of The Pitch, he knows he's found a good bathroom when the room has some sort of odd flourish.

Shelf Life

Sep 11, 2015

Before Will Leathem opened Prospero's Books in Midtown, he was a Republican political consultant and a touring musician. On this Portrait Session show, Will talks about poetry, politics and the first book he published: 'Leavened 911, a compilation of stories and essays by Kansas Citians about the September 11 attacks.


For much of the 20th century, the clothes that Middle America wore came from Kansas City factories.

Scores of clothing manufacturers, many of them headquartered near Broadway in the northern part of downtown, produced work clothes for laborers and farmers, house dresses for homemakers and uniforms for industry and the military.

Walker Evans / Public Domain/Documentary Portraits of Mississippi: The Thirties, Selected and Edited by Patti Carr Black

Kansas City is known as the "Crossroads of America" for its major interstates and sizable rail network. What is it like to hitchhike here? Central Standard's producer gave it a try, then an experienced hitchhiker and a professor who has studied hitchhikng share their thoughts.


Kayla Regan / Bathroom Site

Restrooms are the great equalizer, according to David Hudnall, The Pitch's restroom reviewer. He and another local reviewer tell us about the best — and not-so-great — restrooms around town.


In the 1930s, the garment industry was huge in Kansas City, in both manufacturing and retail. It employed a lot of local women — particularly immigrant women. What was the KC garment industry like in its heyday, and what happened to it?


"My dad derbed, my sister derbed, my brother-in-law derbs, my cousin derbs" ... get up close and personal with the demolition derby lifestyle.


In April of 2014, an avowed Anti-Semite opened fire on Jewish sites in Overland Park, Kan., killing three people, believing they were Jewish. Now, a disturbing trial has just reached its conclusion. Rabbis respond with ethical, spiritual and historical perspectives.


Creative Commons

Whitney Terrell's novel, The King of Kings County, delves into the history of racial covenants and white flight in Kansas City; the author pulls no punches about that. But the characters who populate the novel and their personal dramas are purely fictional. Ten years after the novel was published, upheaval in Ferguson and a downtown renaissance in Kansas City may inspire us to see something new in the story.


  • Whitney Terrell, author, The King of Kings County

From high-end restaurants to drive-through eateries, fried chicken is a staple on local menus. And some places are putting a spin on that nostalgic comfort dish. We invite the chef from Blvd Tavern to talk about his Korean fried chicken, then the Food Critics uncover the best fried chicken dishes in and around KC.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

What’s not to love about fried chicken? There’s the crispy, crackling exterior and a juicy interior. It’s portable and best eaten with your hands, making it the perfect picnic fare — especially for this holiday weekend.

It can be served hot or cold, and don’t forget the sides: Mashed potatoes, green beans, pasta salad, fresh corn and tomatoes, biscuits and so much more (cinnamon rolls, anyone?).

“It’s the ultimate comfort food,” Food Critic Charles Ferruzza told Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

And don’t worry the health factor, despite what Ferruzza says —“It’s a guilty pleasure because you should feel guilty eating it!”

On Friday’s Central Standard, chef Derek Nacey from Blvd Tavern told us about his Korean fried chicken dish, then the Food Critics searched out the best fried chicken in and around Kansas City — here's what they came up with.

How important is it for kids to have teachers who look like them, or share their culture? And if they don't, can teachers be taught to teach across culture? 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

This past weekend, the KC Zine Collective hosted the first-ever KC Zine Conference at the Uptown Theater. It was lively and well-attended — a colorful scene, adorned with twinkle lights, banners and, of course, the vibrant zines themselves, exhibited by up to 90 local and regional artists.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

The counties and the towns across the Missouri River from what we know as Kansas City-proper have had an identity of their own for a long time. And you don't have to live here long to figure that out.

Scratch the surface of an old-timer up here and you might find some of the Old West.

Why do we mark significant moments with rituals? On Central Standard's one-year anniversary, a UMKC professor explains why these rites of passage are important to us.

What does civic engagement mean to millennials in Kansas City? Two local college students, along with the director of a national organization on civic learning and engagement, share their perspectives. We also report on a group that's working on uncovering the grand staircase at Quality Hill's West Terrace Park.

Kristofer Husted / Harvest Public Media

As the agriculture industry changes, what it means to grow up on a farm is changing, too. Our panel talks chores, the cycle of life, the dangers of farming and the lessons in business and character that farm kids learn. Plus, leaving the farm for the "concrete jungle," and city kids pursuing agriculture as adults.


  • Mary Hendrickson, rural sociologist, University of Missouri
  • Adam Kirby, Future Farmers of America
  • Alex Haun, young farmer, Trenton, Missouri

Paper Trail

Aug 31, 2015
Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Zines are like small magazines, except that they're drawn, written, photocopied, bound and distributed entirely by hand. These scrappy missives were crucial to the 1970s punk scene, and they enthralled pre-Internet youngsters with the allure of getting their ideas out into the world. Hear the KC counterculture history zines tell, as well as their significance today.


Bill Brownlee / Plastic Sax

For decades, Kansas City's jazz community has celebrated Charlie Parker's birthday with a musical tribute at his grave site in Lincoln Cemetery.  In recent years that's taken the form of a "21 Sax Salute" — only with a lot of instruments besides saxophones, and a lot more than 21.

A tale of betrayal, brother vs. brother and rags-to-riches ...  the spirit of Shakespeare lives on in Straight Outta Compton. We invite a film critic, a local rapper and a Shakespearean scholar to share their thoughts on the rap biopic.

badjonni / Flickr--CC

Summer breezes may make you feel fine, but for many, summertime is all about the music.

We wanted to build a summer 2015 playlist, so we asked, “What’s your song of the summer?” on the air and on social media.  

Recently, a local author wrote a blog post, "Onward, Christian Gentry," which questioned how Christians — mainly white, evangelical Christians — approach living in the urban core. What role does faith play in developing urban communities in Kansas City? 

We meet a proponent from the Tiny House Collective, a local group that's all about downsizing and living in much smaller homes — and we discuss what it means for affordability, efficiency and a different way to live.

You've seen it on the field of every football game in the United States — that black-and-orange marker that measures down and distance. It was actually invented in Kansas City. Now, another local guy has created a new version that uses lasers to measure the placement of the ball.