Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is acting host of Central Standard and co-host of the podcast Statehouse Blend. He has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008, including regular substitute host, 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

A Scripted Life

Jun 3, 2016

The first play he ever wrote, as a KU student, won a national college playwriting award from the Kennedy Center. Meet Paul Stephen Lim, a retired KU professor and acclaimed playwright.

Guest:

When a child fell into the gorilla habitat of the Cincinnati Zoo last week, the event ended in the death of the gorilla. What are the ethics at the intersection of human and animal life?

Plus, the story of a KC resident who, as a toddler, escaped from his mom and entered the seal exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo.

Guests:

Members of KC's transgender community are finding their voice ... literally, their singing voice. We explore how transitioning isn't all about looks — it's also about sound.'

The Heartland Trans Chorus will perform for the first time this Sunday, June 5 at Kansas City Pride Fest.

Guests:

Is autism a culture, a disability ... or maybe both? We explore the community around autism, and if that “disability” is truly disabling.

Guests:

 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Ribs. In KC, we think barbecue when we hear the word, but there are so many other ways of fixing them. We visit a Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant that serves a short-rib sandwich, then a primer from a butcher on different cuts of meat (spare ribs vs. short ribs and more).

Then, our food critics search out the best ribs in and around KC.

Guests:

Briana O'Higgins / KCUR 89.3

KCUR 89.3's Statehouse Blend podcast returns to the Westport Flea Market for another live special. Host Brian Ellison leads the audience in a discussion with Senators Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, and Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, about the central issues from the 2016 session of the Missouri General Assembly. 

Guests:

  • Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City
  • Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph
Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

As the Missouri and Kansas 2016 legislative sessions come to an end, Statehouse Blend hosts, Sam Zeff and Brian Ellison, discuss the most impactful and surprising events on both sides of the state line with the assistance of guest host, Kyle Palmer.

We hear a lot about the challenges and benefits of the internet for musicians trying to make a buck off their music?  What's the dynamic for local bands? Is a digital presence -- songs, promotion, social media -- a bane or boon?

Guests:

mrhayata / Flickr

A harrowing story of human trafficking involving a Kansas college student on a military base. Plus, a discussion of the prevalence of this crime in our region.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

As the Missouri and Kansas 2016 legislative sessions come to an end, Statehouse Blend hosts, Sam Zeff and Brian Ellison, discuss the most impactful and surprising events on both sides of the state line with the assistance of guest host, Kyle Palmer.

Jim Hansen
Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

Since Wednesday, when Missouri Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Frankford, cast one of the deciding votes against the “religious shield” proposal, he’s been called a hero by some and a traitor by others.

On the whole, though, he said reaction has been positive.

“I had a lot of colleagues come up and congratulate me and say it took real courage,” Hansen told host Brian Ellison Friday on the Statehouse Blend podcast. “Different people have come up, and one told me it’s the most courage he’s seen in the building in the last 20 years. So I felt real good about it.”

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

A leader of the Missouri House Democrats says a controversial constitutional amendment to protect "religious freedom" may not have the votes to get out of committee.

Last week, the House Emerging Issues Committee delayed a vote on the "religious shield" measure, SJR 39. Supporters say the proposal, if approved by the General Assembly and the voters, would protect business owners and clergy from penalties if they decline to participate in same-sex weddings on religious grounds. 

Rex Archer and Alex Garza
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The greatest threat to public health in the face of bioterrorism, viral pandemics and natural disasters may actually be less of a headline-grabber: An insufficient budget.

Speaking on KCUR’s Up to Date on Friday, the former chief medical officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that while various programs are in place to protect against biological weapons and disease outbreaks, the system could still break down at the state and local level.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast to discuss how the legislature could reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets. 

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

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

A Democratic leader in the Missouri House is praising the version of the state budget approved by the Senate last week, especially its restoration of most of the $8.7 million cut from the University of Missouri system in the House version.

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR's Statehosue Blend podcast and told host Brian Ellison that she thinks the Senate's version of the $27.2 billion budget is more fair than the one passed by her House colleagues weeks before

What better time than April Fools' Day to host a roundtable of pun pundits? On this edition, our witty committee give their best (and worst) puns a swing. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Guests:

  • C.J. Janovy is an arts reporter for KCUR.
  • Dan Margolies is editor of Heartland Health Monitor.
  • David M. Fulk is director of philanthropic giving at KCUR.
  • Greg Hack is a former editor and reporter for The Kansas City Star.

When Google announced in 2011 that it would bring super-fast internet to Kansas City, Kan., many metro residents were eager to sign up. On today’s program, a panel discusses how gigabit download speeds have changed the region in the five years since.

Guests:

Autism is often talked about as a checklist of different challenges and deficits, but how can we approach autism in a more balanced way? Author Barry Prizant explains how to see these so-called deficits as normal human behaviors. 

Guest:

  • Barry Prizant, Ph.D. is the and author of Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism.

Michel Martin is the host of NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered. Next week, she’ll come to the Gem Theater at 18th and Vine for a conversation about food and how we eat. 

Michelle Martin will host an evening of conversation on Tuesday, April 5 at the Gem Theater. For tickets and information visit nprpresents.org.

Shawnee Mission School District

Being in high-school can feel like a full-time job — eight hours a day in the classroom, plus schoolwork to do at home.

Throw in an after school job and a few extra curricular activities and you’ve got a very busy teen.

Kansas City-area high-schoolers Dawson Borcherding and Daniel Serres have taken that already busy schedule one step further.

Both started their own companies before they turned 17.

Young Leaf Landscaping

Re-Inventing Classic Playground Games

Mar 30, 2016
Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Do you remember playing hopscotch, red rover and four square at recess? On this edition of Up to Date, we discuss classic games with a twist for today's players.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Rep. John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR 89.3's Statehouse Blend podcast to discuss what to expect as the legislature returns from spring break this week.

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

Guests:

Native Americans from across the continent will congregate in Lawrence this weekend to sing, dance and honor First Nations culture. We learn about the functions and features of a powwow, and what to expect at this year's cultural and competitive event.

Guests:

Much of the business development success in the metro today is due, in part, to TIF — tax increment financing — that has attracted investment and built big projects. But TIF also comes with a cost and increasingly, some say that cost is too high.

Guest:

  • Kevin Collison is a KCUR contributor who covers development in Kansas City. 

Political and economic unrest has many wondering about the power and limitations of democratic values and diplomacy. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk  about the idea of a "democracy recession" and how to best battle human trafficking and rights violations.

Guest:

J.C. Nichols gave Kansas City the Country Club Plaza. Some say he also gave us racial segregation, mid-century white flight and the so-called Troost wall between white and black. We examine his influence, both in Kansas City and across the rest of the country.

Guest:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Rep. John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) said the General Assembly may have a difficult time making progress on significant legislation this session.

Bob Bennett, Chief Innovation Office for Kansas City, Mo, explains some of the proposed ideas that made the city one of seven finalists in the U.S. Department of Transportation's  Smart City Challenge.

Martin Shkreli made headlines when his company raised the price of a decades-old drug more than 5000%.  That's an extreme example of the rising cost of prescription drugs.  We look at others and the reasons that many patients are unable to afford the medicines they need.

Guests:

Social media can be a place where middle schoolers feel like they can develop relationships. But the dangers of sharing information on the Internet can be frightening. We talk about navigating a complicated online world. 

Guest:

  • Dr. Wes Crenshaw is board certified in couples and family psychology. He writes the Double Take column for the Lawrence Journal World.

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