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

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:

Danny O’Neill has come a long way from his basement—where he first began filling orders for freshly roasted coffee in the early 1990s.

“The walls were covered with corrugated tin, because I have this old house—built in 1920 or ’22, limestone foundation—so to pass agricultural regulations, everything had to be cleanable, washable,” O’Neill says.

KCUR

Republican Missouri Sen. Will Kraus from District 08 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss prefiled bills about conceal carry, voter IDs, and infrastructure. 

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

Guests:

  • Will Kraus, Senator from District 08, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Nic Zweifel, Citizen
  • C.J. Janovy, Arts Reporter, KCUR
KCUR

Republican Missouri Sen. Will Kraus from District 08 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss prefiled bills about conceal carry, voter IDs, and infrastructure. 

Guests:

  • Will Kraus, Senator from District 08, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Nic Zweifel, Citizen
  • C.J. Janovy, Arts Reporter, KCUR

Sometimes innovation is best left to the dogs. At least, that was the case for Doug Danforth.

Danforth had been CEO of Midland Loan Services, a subsidiary of PNC Bank in Overland Park. He was running the show. In 2009, the industry had seen better days, and he might have been ready to retire and spend a little more time with the family and with his dogs—Atticus, a yellow lab, and beagles Marley and Molly. Instead, those dogs were Danforth’s inspiration for a new product and company.

There isn’t a day that goes by without hearing news coverage about the group that calls itself the Islamic State. Many Muslim leaders would say the actions and ideology of the group aren’t Islamic.  We explore how close the terrorist group is to the religion from which it takes its name. 

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Brandon Ellington from District 022 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss race relations at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Guests:

  • Brandon Ellington, Rep. from District 022, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Dan Curry, Citizen
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Brandon Ellington from District 022 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss race relations at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Guests:

  • Brandon Ellington, Rep. from District 022, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Dan Curry, Citizen
  • Dan Margolies, Heartland Health Monitor Editor, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, columnists and bloggers speculate about spooky legislation we might see in 2016 and discuss the legislative ghosts that might carry over from 2015. It's a Statehouse Blend Halloween Special.

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

Guests:

Innovation, it is sometimes said, is finding a new way to solve a problem.

In 2003, would-be entrepreneurs in Kansas City had a problem, according to Maria Meyers. There were plenty of resources available to help with starting up a business—but nobody could find them. There was no central hub linking those resources together so that one could find idea incubators, funding sources, lending programs, patent attorneys, small business development centers in any sort of accessible and efficient way.

And so an innovation was born.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, columnists and bloggers speculate about spooky legislation we might see in 2016 and discuss the legislative ghosts that might carry over from 2015. It's a Statehouse Blend Halloween Special.

Guests:

Ah, fairy tales. Magical stories from our childhoods where the worst thing that could happen was getting your thumbs chopped off, or being grabbed by your ankle and pulled underwater, or pushed out a window into briars full of thorns that poke out your eyes. Yikes! This edition of Up To Date features the original and sometimes gruesome versions of popular children's stories. 

Guests:

These days, we've become accustomed to booking our own travel and pumping our own gas, but there was a time when tasks like bagging groceries was a job someone was paid to do. We discuss the social and financial implications of filling our day with additional unpaid tasks.

Guest:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Joe Runions from District 037 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss local control, Ferguson, and gridlock in Jefferson City.

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

Guests:

  • Joe Runions, Rep. from District 037, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Tricia Bushnell, Citizen
  • Dave Hudnall, Staff Writer, The Pitch
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Joe Runions from District 037 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss local control, Ferguson, and gridlock in Jefferson City.

Guests:

  • Joe Runions, Rep. from District 037, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Tricia Bushnell, Citizen
  • Dave Hudnall, Staff Writer, The Pitch

Benny Lee grew up in Taiwan. His first visit to Kansas City was in 1975, one of many business trips he would make here on various ventures — from distributing ginsu knives to developing and selling handheld steamers. Lee eventually moved his family to Kansas City in 1995, when he became an investor in DuraComm, which makes power supply and lighting equipment. By 2008, he was the sole owner. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins, Republican from District 054provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss education, the Speaker's position, and Missouri's most famous dog, Old Drum.

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

Guests:

  • Denny Hoskins, Rep. from District 054, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Bess Hayles, Teacher from Lee's Summit
  • Kyle Palmer, Newscaster, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins, Republican from District 054, provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss education, the Speaker's position, and Missouri's most famous dog, Old Drum.

Guests:

  • Denny Hoskins, Rep. from District 054, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Bess Hayles, Teacher from Lee's Summit
  • Kyle Palmer, Newscaster, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Jeremy LaFaver from District 025 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the future of Democrats in Missouri, Planned Parenthood, and Tobacco taxes.

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

Guests:

  • Jeremy LaFaver, Rep. from District 025, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Meredith Adams, Citizen
  • Cody Newill, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Jeremy LaFaver from District 025 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss legislative term limits, Planned Parenthood, and Medicaid.

Guests:

  • Jeremy LaFaver, Rep. from District 025, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Meredith Adams, Citizen
  • Cody Newill, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

Natasha Kirsch was volunteering at an alcoholic and addict recovery home when the idea—and a well-timed phone call — came to her.

Sitting in the business office, Kirsch said, it would not be unusual for eight to 10 women to be sitting on the couch outside, asking for help finding and getting a job. They needed the income and the stability — many had several kids and few resources.

But there was a problem: Most were high school dropouts with low reading levels, many had felonies on their records. What job skills could they market? And who would hire them? 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this podcast exclusive episode of Statehouse Blend, reporters break down the Missouri General Assembly veto override session, discussing right-to-work, minimum wage and other legislative issues.

Guests:

  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR
  • Barbara Shelly, Columnist, The Kansas City Star
  • Jason Hancock, Jefferson City Correspondent, The Kansas City Star
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. T. J. Berry from District 038 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss alternative energy, right-to-work legislation, and the death penalty.

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

Guests:

  • T.J. Berry, Rep. for District 038, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Harvey Oxman, Citizen Voice
  • Matthew Long-Middleton, Central Standard Producer, KCUR
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Missouri Rep. T. J. Berry from District 038 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss alternative energy, right-to-work legislation, and the death penalty.

Guests:

  • T.J. Berry, Rep. for District 038, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Harvey Oxman, Citizen Voice
  • Matthew Long-Middleton, Central Standard Producer, 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? 

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