Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is host of the podcast Statehouse Blend Missouri and regular substitute host of Central Standard and Up to Date. He also contributes to KCUR news coverage, including political reporting, anchoring election night broadcasts and conducting interviews for the "Innovation KC" series. He has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008, including as a producer of Up To Date and The Walt Bodine Show.

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.

Ways to Connect

Uncertainty surrounds the Affordable Care Act, as some Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace it. Today, a former Obama administration official discusses possible changes to the law. Then, Brian McTavish presents a Thanksgiving version of his Weekend To-Do List.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After being mugged by two teenagers, one educator sought understanding instead of revenge, and founded The Learning Club of KCK, which tutors at-risk children in the neighborhoods where they live. Then, the 2016 elections were kind to marijuana, just not in Missouri. Advocate groups NORML KC and New Approach Missouri are looking to change that.

With so many things competing for our attention these days, building an arts audience can be a challenge. Today, we learn how organizations like ArtsKC work to get people off the couch and into the concert hall. Then, find out what it was about a life on stage that brought award-winning guitarist Peter Himmelman to develop his own methods for more fully engaging creative potential.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Missouri, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) talks about the House Democratic platform and where she hopes to find common ground with the Republican majority during the upcoming session.

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Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Having returned in March from 340 consecutive days aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly reflects on the mission, the science, and the unconventional life he carried out there. Then, Victor Wishna contemplates uncertainty and sports fandom in times of turmoil.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas and Statehouse Blend Missouri, hosts Brian Ellison and Sam Zeff talk with KCUR's Peggy Lowe and Amy Jeffries about the future of the Kansas and Missouri Statehouses going forward after the 2016 elections.

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YouTube

On a night when Democrats and moderate Republicans in Kansas had some significant wins, the case can be made that Missouri took several steps to the right of its neighboring state.

1. Republicans rule the top of the ticket.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this special elections episode of Statehouse Blend Kansas and Statehouse Blend Missouri, hosts Sam Zeff and Brian Ellison discuss results and us give an idea of where things stand in Kansas and Missouri.

American Public Square

On October 13, American Public Square and KCUR co-hosted a conversation at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum for the public about an increasingly hostile political environment, and whether civility can help correct the course. An edited version of this discussion aired on KCUR's Up To Date on Monday, November 7.

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Wikimedia Commons

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, we get a local and national perspective on the tight race for the U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt and Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, his Democratic challenger.

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Bill Weld in Kansas City
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, the Libertarian party vice presidential nominee, told a rally of 200 people in midtown Kansas City Thursday that only he and his running-mate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, could change Washington.

Calling political paralysis “the elephant and the donkey in the room,” Weld said something needs to be done to reign in the major parties’ hold on power.

Hawley/Hensley
Courtesy of Hawley campaign; Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Every Missouri attorney general since 1969 has sought higher office at the conclusion of their term, just as gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster is doing this year. Even so, the race to be the next attorney general hasn’t received much attention. Perhaps it should; this year’s two major candidates have completely different ideas about what the job even is.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the 17th District Senate seat discuss the issues, a lawsuit one filed against the other and their campaigns as we approach the final weeks of the 2016 election season.

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Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the 17th District Senate seat discuss the issues, a lawsuit one filed against the other and their campaigns as we approach the final weeks of the 2016 election season.

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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.

It happens every year — in fact, maybe more often than not: people run for office with almost no shot at winning. With the 2016 Election fast approaching, we reign in a few local candidates running with "no chance in hell." Why are they still in the race? 

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Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the House and Senate discuss running for office, elections, and policy.

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When you imagine a library, you probably envision a calm space designed for quiet reflection, study and debate. Well, two incidents at Metro area libraries, in which two libraries found themselves at odds with police over freedom of expression, may have you thinking otherwise. What role do libraries play in social change and intellectual freedom?

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Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, candidates for the House and Senate discuss running for office, elections, and policy.

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Are conversations about race actually changing things? Many people of color say that talking with white people about race and racism isn't getting anywhere.

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Courtesy of Netflix

A Netflix documentary that debuted on Sept. 25 has reopened attention to a 2013 alleged rape case in Maryville that left one young woman's life changed and a community divided.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Students in the Hickman Mills School District face a lot of challenges, including poverty and a provisionally accredited district, as well as a high rate of mobility: 75 percent of students typically change classrooms, schools or districts within the course of one year.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

They're a Northland brother and sister who have traveled the world — he as a food writer and photographer, she in a career that's included time as an Olympic figure skater and a local TV news anchor. We chat with Bonjwing and Bonyen Lee in a family Portrait Session show.

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What goes into making a beat? Usually, producers toil in the background, but a local promoter is bringing beatmaking to center stage.

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An interview with the outgoing managing editor of The Pitch, who's leaving town to write about the craft beer industry at Brewbound. We hear his take on KC's beer scene, which he covered for The Pitch, plus his assessment of the state of journalism here.

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  • Justin Kendall
Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) talks about the 2016 veto session and the upcoming election.

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Campaign season's in full swing. But in many districts across Missouri and Kansas this year, there are no vicious ads, no hot controversies — because there's only one candidate. What's it like to run unopposed, and what effect does that have on our communities?

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Courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

In a new unique three-venue exhibition, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art brings photography of the late, Cuban-born Jesse A. Fernández to Kansas City. The curator of the exhibition joins us to talk about the work and the life of the artist.

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Courtesy of LaBudde Special Collections / UMKC

UMKC alumna Jeanne Drewes spent years traveling to Cuba, partnering with Ediciones Vigía, an independent publishing company and collective of book artists in Matanzas, Cuba. Over that time, she amassed a sizeable collection of Cuban books, some of which she recently donated to the LaBudde Special Collections.

In a dimly lit room in Madrid in the late 1700s, a theologian reads aloud to his friend the priest. It's not such a surprising scene, except that just outside, peasants and artisans have pressed their ears up against the door, enraptured by what turned out to be the 18th Century version of . . . pornography.

One KU history professor joins us to share how she discovered this literature, and what it tells us about what ordinary people read during the time.

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