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

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.
Ballots
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

When Missouri voters go to the polls in next Tuesday’s presidential preference primary, they might be surprised by their choices — mainly how many there are.

Not happy with the big-name candidates? You have alternatives.

How about a convicted felon from Texas? He will be on the Democratic ballot. Or maybe a grandfather from Illinois who announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in a video shot in his kitchen? A Libertarian from Texas who ran for Missouri Secretary of State in 2004 under a different name?

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Sen. Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast after leading a 39-hour filibuster in the Missouri Senate.

"It was the longest filibuster in Missouri state history, and we were about five hours away from the longest filibuster recorded in U.S. history," said Holsman.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Rep. Randy Dunn (D-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the so-called "paycheck protection" bill, criminal justice reform, and cuts to the University of Missouri system's budget.

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

Guests:

Callie England
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Callie England felt sick all the time. She went to doctors. She got her blood tested. By the time she was 21, she had taken more than 3,000 prescription pills and was at her wit’s end.

And then she changed what she ate.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Rep. Randy Dunn (D-Kansas City) joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast this weekend to discuss proposed cuts to the University of Missouri system budget.

Rep. Dunn was one of five representatives who voted no this week on an amendment to a House budget bill that would cut the University of Missouri system's funding by $7.6 million. The House Select Committee on Budget voted 20-5 in favor of the cuts.

Dan Hesse on Up To Date
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Dan Hesse retired after seven years as CEO of Sprint in August 2014, he vowed to take at least a year "completely off."

The year has come and gone — and Hesse is busy again ... but it's a different kind of busy.

"I'd been accused by many people of being a serial workaholic," Hesse says. "I tried to have a balanced life, but I really focused on being the best leader and mentor I could be. I wanted to take some time to be the best father, husband, son and friend that I could be."

Sam Green and Nick Ward-Bopp
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Drivers speeding by on 31st Street near Cherry in Midtown, Kansas City, probably rarely noticed the building — its windows boarded up like so many others. That is, until last week.

Behind those boards — and now, a gleaming new glass façade — Maker Village KC is taking shape. Co-owners and founders Sam Green and Nick Ward-Bopp are inside most nights and weekends demolishing, renovating and building. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. David Pearce  (R-Warrensburg) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss campaign contribution limits, the University of Missouri Columbia, and the earnings tax.

Guests:

  • David Pearce, Senator from Warrensburg, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Pat Kelly, Teacher, KCPS
  • Jason Rosenbaum, Political Reporter, St. Louis Public Radio

Roots

Feb 12, 2016

We talk with urban farmer Brooke Salvaggio, who is closing her Badseed Farmers Market around the end of the month. She discusses her transition from a suburbia to living off the land, and the rise — and decline — of the "eating local" movement in Kansas City.

Guest:

All That Jazz

Feb 11, 2016

As the city looks to invest $18 million in the 18th and Vine district, we pay a visit to see what's there, who goes and explore the potential for development in the area. We kick off a reporting project about the historic area. 

Guest:

  • Laura Spencer, KCUR arts reporter

In sports, everyone is equal: Train hard and the strongest will win. But are sports really played on an equal playing field? A local thinker says they aren't — and you can see it from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl.

We explore the intersection of race, sports and business.

Guest:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide and transportation.

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

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt StaubBlogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

Freedom, Inc.

Feb 9, 2016

We explore the history and influence of the Kansas City political organization Freedom, Inc., one of the oldest African American political organizations in the country, and take a look at the relevance of the group in elections today.

Guests:

  • Micah Kubic, author, Freedom, Inc. and Black Political Empowerment
  • Emiel Cleaver, producer, Freedom Is Now
  • Shalonn "Kiki" Curls, Missouri State Senator

Kansas City needs an effective public transportation system to build density, but maybe we need density to build said transportation system. As the streetcars prepare to debut next month, we discuss where this system is headed.

Guests:

  • Daniel Serda, InSite Planning, LLC
  • DuRon Netsell, Hyde Park resident
  • Bryan Stalder, Historic Northeast resident
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide, campaign contribution limits, REAL ID, and transportation.

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt Staub, Blogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

Ah, love. Many musicians have been inspired by it — whether or not their stories had a happy ending. As we gear up for the most romantic day of the year, we listen to classical music from the Romantic Era.

Guest:

  • Dr. Amity Bryson is the Chair of the Music Department at Avila University.

Selections:

Valentine's Day is approaching and many Americans will gift flowers to their partners as a romantic gesture. But when did roses become a symbol of romance, and what kind of sex lives have the flowers led before they wind up in a bouquet?

Guest:

Super Bowl 50 is this weekend, and everyone can watch it on network TV. But how will we be watching the Super Bowl ten or twenty years from now? 

Guest:

  • Mike Pandzik spent 21 years as the founding president and CEO of the National Cable Television Cooperative.
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Kevin Corlew from District 014 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss arbitrationREAL ID, and campaign contribution limits.

Guests:

  • Kevin Corlew, Representative from District 014, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Janelle Sjue, Citizen
  • Donna Vestal, Director of Content Strategy, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. Kevin Corlew from District 014 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss arbitration, REAL ID, and campaign contribution limits.

Guests:

  • Kevin Corlew, Representative from District 014, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Janelle Sjue, Citizen
  • Donna Vestal, Director of Content Strategy, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas legislative session is already underway in Topeka. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 legislature, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking KDOT, elections, and the budget.

Guests:

Liliana and Max Younger
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The basic technology of the crutch, Max and Liliana Younger knew, hadn’t changed since the Civil War.

But when Max’s father became a permanent crutch user after a partial leg amputation in 2008, the married couple — both industrial designers by training — committed themselves to rethinking an age-old technology.

“We knew it was something we needed to change,” Max says.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Kansas legislative session is already underway in Topeka. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 legislature, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking KDOT, elections, and the budget.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation. This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation.

Guests:

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