Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

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

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

Mike Foster
Julie Denesha / / KCUR

Some innovators develop something completely new. Others take something that everyone thought was working fine and make it better.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Lauren Arthur from District 018 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss ethics reform, right to work, and the upcoming veto session.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Lauren Arthur, Rep. for District 018, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Mark Conarroe, Citizen Voice
  • Laura Ziegler, Special Correspondent, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Lauren Arthur from District 018 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss ethics reform, right to work, and the upcoming veto session.

Guests:

  • Lauren Arthur, Rep. for District 018, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Mark Conarroe, Citizen Voice
  • Laura Ziegler, Special Correspondent, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander joins Statehouse Blend to discuss elections, Medicaid, and Ferguson.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on itunes.

Guests:

  • Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State
  • Nik Schuetz, Citizen Voice
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander joins Statehouse Blend to discuss elections, Medicaid, and Ferguson.

Guests:

  • Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State
  • Nik Schuetz, Citizen Voice
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR

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.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In 2009, Mary Kay O'Connor was preparing to restart her consulting business. Her specialty was collecting customers' stories to provide meaningful feedback to her clients. The Affordable Care Act was in the news, and she became interested in the data collected by the federal government — data that showed hospitals performing poorly but without much information on how they could improve.

She may not have been the typical startup entrepreneur – but an idea took hold.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Joe Don McGaugh from District 039 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss agriculture, education, and Medicaid expansion.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on itunes.

Guests:

  • Joe Don McGaugh, Rep. for District 039, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Arley Hoskin, Citizen Voice
  • Mike McGraw, Special Projects Reporter, Flatland KC

Not everyone can find joy in office supplies, but author James Ward has. In this edition of Up to Date, we talk about his book, The Perfection of the Paperclip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession.

Guest:

  • James Ward, author of The Perfection of the Paperclip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession
Julie Denesha / KCUR

EyeVerify, a Kansas City company building a customer and investor base around the globe, was founded by Toby Rush, its CEO, who went looking for a new place to invest his time and resources in early 2011.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Joe Don McGaugh from District 039 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss agriculture, education, and Medicaid expansion.

Guests:

  • Joe Don McGaugh, Rep. for District 039, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Arley Hoskin, Citizen Voice
  • Mike McGraw, Special Projects Reporter, Flatland KC

A book is often evaluated by the words it contains, but what value does a book with no words have? It turns out that wordless books can bolster creativity for both children and adults.

Guests:

If there's a sandwich of deli meat and processed cheese in your lunchbox, you might have the military to thank for it. On this edition of Up to Date, we talk about how convenience foods leaped from combat zones to your kitchen.

Guest:

  • Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, author of Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the Military Shapes the Way You Eat
Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Back in the 19th century, Missouri winemakers were experiencing success while today's domestic wine behemoths, like California, were struggling. After prohibition however, the state was slow to recover. 

As the wine landscape changes and Missouri begins to again come into its own, we compare how the Show-Me State compares to the rest of the world. 

Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost brought some selections to taste. Each of these is available locally, though you may have to search :

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan from District 024 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss infrastructure, education, and the culture of Jefferson City.

This is only an excerpt of this week's episode, but you can listen to the full show here for even more Missouri capital conversation.

Guests:

Today, it's hard to imagine baseball without Hispanic players. But for a long time, Latinos, like their African-American peers, had a color barrier to overcome in major-league baseball.

Guests:

The exodus of teachers from Kansas has caught the nation's eye. As KCUR launches a series highlighting the numerous challenges Kansas and Missouri teachers face, we ask three educators what a day in their lives looks like.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan from District 024 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss infrastructure, education, and the culture of Jefferson City.

Guests:

  • Judy Morgan, Rep. for the District 024, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Eric Bunch, Citizen Voice
  • Gina Kaufmann, Host of Central Standard, KCUR

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?

Guests: 

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. 

Guests: 

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. 

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. 

Guests:

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

Guests:

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