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

It's this season's most compelling made-for-TV drama: The 2016 election. From costumes to stage sets to the use of music and more, we explore the role of political theater. How do candidates present themselves on stage and screen for drama ... or comedy?

Guests:

KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast is dividing into two separate podcasts — Statehouse Blend Kansas and Statehouse Blend Missouri — in order to better serve our audiences on both sides of the state line.

Recently, Google Maps started showing "areas of interest" in an orange color on the app. KC's areas of interested included the Plaza and Crown Center. Not included: 18th and Vine or the ruins of Quindaro in KCK.

We explore the ways that computer algorithms could reflect someone's prejudice or assumptions — or perhaps just reinforce our own.

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It's a familiar sight in airplanes today: hordes of people, trying to avoid the checked baggage fee, struggling to shove their wheelie suitcases in an overhead compartment.

But a KU professor says that checked baggage fees not only are improving an airline's bottom line — they also make the flying experience better.

Guest:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Bishop James Johnston came to town to lead KC's Catholics at a challenging time — and he started with an apology on behalf of the church. We check in on what's being done to address the sexual abuse scandal that engulfed his predecessor, and we'll hear his journey from electrical engineering to shepherding a flock of some 130,000 Catholic faithful here.

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Peretz Partensky / Flickr -- CC

Hardly a day goes by when guns aren't in the news. Even in the face of violence, American gun owners continue to be passionate about both constitutional rights and the importance of guns in their lives. 

We set aside the gun policy debate and invite local gun owners of various backgrounds to share why guns are important to them.

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From sushi to paella, rice is a staple in many different cultures. Closer to home, we'll hear about growing rice in Missouri, plus how one local chef buys and prepares it. Then, our Food Critics uncover the best rice dishes in and around Kansas City.

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A talk with a local visual and performing artist who has just released his first collection of poetry.

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Chico Sierra has a reading on September 15 at the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence.

 

You may not know his name, but you might know his work: the giant, colorful animals lurking on walls around the Crossroads and Westport, and in the halls of Children's Mercy Hospital. Meet Scribe, who has a new children's book and an album of music inspired by his art coming out this month.

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Alissa Walker / Flickr -- CC

Before LaCroix Sparkling Water became a trendy drink, it was a favorite of Midwestern moms, according to reporter Libby Nelson in a recent article.

How did the drink that Nelson remembers from her KC childhood as "the pastel cases of tasteless soda that my Girl Scout leader packed into her minivan" go from a Midwestern staple to a status symbol?

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The DLC / Flickr -- CC

How do you tell a city's history? We talk with the head of one of the city's largest and most important historical collections on his last day on the job.

Guest:

Stefani Fontana / KCUR 89.3

Former KCUR intern Stefani Fontana, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, spent the summer of 2015 doing clinical rotation in western Kansas. Fontana joins us to share some of her experiences.

Read the KCUR series "Reflections Of A Med Student: How Rural Medicine Taught Me To Be A Better Doctor."

Guest:

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

It's been a good century in Missouri — if you're a river otter or an elk. But for red wolves and the white-tailed jackrabbit? Not so much.

With the recent release of The Wild Mammals of Missouri: Third Revised Edition, we invite a local natural history biologist to explore how our local animal populations have changed over time. 

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On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Sheila Solon (R-Blue Springs) talks about losing her primary, campaign contribution limits, and concealed carry legislation.

Guests:

  • Sheila Solon, (R-Blue Springs), Missouri House of Representatives
  • Eric Bunch, Policy Director and Co-Founder, BikeWalkKC

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com/

He was homeless in the ninth grade. And today, he's in charge of the Kansas City Public Schools. Meet the new superintendent.

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Going To The End Of Himself

Aug 25, 2016

An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local singer/songwriter Calvin Arsenia.

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Why are so many teachers running for political office? We talk with local educators who want to be local legislators.

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Why get married? Once, there was a time where that might have seemed like a silly question. But now, many people can tell you exactly why not. We examine how marriage has been changing over the last few decades ... and what it might look like in the future.

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A lot of people think social media is cutting into how well we interact with each other in real life. A local researcher says that may not be the case.

Guest:

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

From empanadas to samosas and dumplings (and dessert versions), our Food Critics search out the best dough-wrapped dishes in and around KC.

Plus, an interview about Nepalese dumplings live from the Ethnic Enrichment Festival, a primer on kolaches and how love led one restaurant owner to KC, where she serves up Jamaican patties.

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Bass Note

Aug 18, 2016

An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local bassist and composer Jeff Harshbarger.

Guest:

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

We explore why the world of science fiction is a battleground for issues of race, gender and identity — and why that field of battle is here in KC over the next few days at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Guests:

Courtesy Liana Marti Perez

KC's Brazilian community has been watching the Olympics in Rio with the rest of us, but through a particular lens of pride ... and concern.

We talk to some local Brazilian expats to hear what they think of the Olympics — and how Brazil is being portrayed.

Guests:

  • Carolina Shank, KC resident from Rio
  • Otavio Silva, local resident from Brazil
  • Liana Marti Perez, local resident who is at the Olympics

 

How are Kansas City's athletes doing at the Rio Olympics? KCUR's sports reporter gives us an update.

Guest:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) talks about transportation funding, Right To Work legislation, and this year's gubernatorial election.

Guests:

Kyle Smith / KCUR 89.3

A former contestant on Project Runway: Junior discusses how his upbringing in Minneapolis, Kansas influences his creations — and how his design aesthetic is geared towards "BA women who want to look glamorous."

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we revisit our conversation with teenage fashion designer Jaxson Metzler.

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Courtesy of Amina Hood / Amina Marie Millinery

Hats may not seem like the cutting edge of fashion, but one Brookside milliner is drawing international attention nevertheless. We invite Kansas City's own Amina Hood to share the personal story of her craft.

Guest: 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of Statehouse Blend, Missouri Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) talks about transportation funding, Right To Work legislation, and this year's gubernatorial election.

Guests:

  • Rep. Judy Morgan, (D-Kansas City), Missouri House of Representatives
  • Maria Carter, News Director, KCUR

It's the new Netflix series that's winning audiences by invoking the 1980s ... and by freaking us out. We talk about the appeal of Stranger Things, along with our nostalgia for the music and films of three decades ago.

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The Buzz On The Buhs

Aug 11, 2016

An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local group The Buhs.

Guests:

  • Herman Mehari and Julia Haile, The Buhs

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