Frank Morris

National Correspondent and Senior Editor

Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.

Morris grew up in rural Kansas listening to KHCC, spun records at KJHK throughout college at the University of Kansas, and cut his teeth in journalism as an intern for Kansas Public Radio, in the Kansas statehouse.

Ways to Connect

Kansas City, Mo. – The president is coming to Osawatomie because Teddy Roosevelt delivered an important speech there 101 years ago. That one called for a "New Nationalism", and defended the government's role in regulating the economy, defending human welfare and property rights. Whitehouse deputy press secretary Josh Earnest says Obama will channel Teddy Roosevelt in Osawatomie tomorrow.

Frank Morris/KCUR

JOPLIN, Mo. – When the tornado ripped through Joplin six months ago, Carry Cook and her two young sons, with their dark hair, full cheeks and soft features, were in the way. They escaped their apartment just before the twister obliterated it and most everything inside.

Cook stood recently on a construction site, recalling her losses -- heirlooms, kid art, a ring Cook's parents gave her as a girl.

What's Shakin'?

Nov 8, 2011

Zoo Tax Wins

Nov 8, 2011

Kansas City, Mo. – The budget for the Kansas City Zoo is about to get a whole lot bigger. Voters in both Jackson and Clay Counties have approved a one-eighth-cent sales tax to support the Zoo. The tax will generate about $14 million a year. With their new millions, Zoo officials plan to expand, offer new exhibits (penguins maybe) and attract almost twice as many visitors, about a million a year.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – Freight traffic is up smartly, from three years ago. The recession then triggered a horrible bloodletting in the trucking industry. Now it's struggling to bounce back to meet resurgent demand. Noel Perry, an analyst with FTR Consulting, says trucking companies are short about 125,000 drivers, workers they could, in theory, draw from the ranks of the hard-core unemployed.

Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – Thomas Hoenig has always been candid. A couple of years ago he wrote a paper called, "Too Big Has Failed," a critique of propping up big banks. He's also bucked the Fed's easy money, low interest rate policy for years. Speaking to the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, he said that keeping interest rates artificially low has actually enabled the real problem.


photo: Frank Morris/KCUR

Kansas City, MO – The Joplin tornado killed 160 people and sent thousands to area hospitals. Now most of the victim's physical injuries are healed, but the mental wounds are, in some cases, as fresh as they were the day after the storm. Children will likely suffer the most long-term repercussions, which traumatized many of them directly, and also laid a foundation for future trouble.

KC Copes With Heat

Jul 21, 2011

Kansas City, MO – The heat wave gripping Kansas City can be deadly for the elderly, and people who overextend themselves in it. Health officials suspect that as many as 14 people have died here, at least in part because of the heat. But, you couldn't really call it "oppressive," since most people are carrying on, or even enjoying the weather. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

Kansas City – Corps Battles Levy Leaks North of St. Joe.
Death Toll in Joplin rises to 141.
Disasters Worsen Missouri Budget Shortfall.
Hundreds Protest Confinement of Alleged WikiLeaks Collaborator.
KC's First Ozone Day Arrives.
Horse Herpes Threatens Pony Express Ride.

Kansas City, Mo. – Enormous amounts of water are pouring into reservoirs up stream on the Missouri River basin, in Montana and the Dakotas.

"Second highest monthly total from 1898 to 2011," says Col. "Bob" Ruch, Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District. "Exceeded only in 1952.", he says.

Kansas City, Mo. – Sly James Raises More Than Mike Burke in Kansas City's Mayoral Race Both Candidates Make the Other Sick, Literally.

Kansas House Puts off Voting on Yet Another Round of Spending Cuts

Missouri Senate Takes Up Right to Work Bill

Missouri State Representatives Propose Legislation to Stop the Spread of Sharia Law in the Show Me State

Frank Morris

Kansas City, Mo. – America entered the war with a promise: As the famous WWI song said, "We won't be back till it's over, over there." Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired General Richard Myers said that was remarkably optimistic. "They went over thinking they could change the world, change the course of that war, and in fact they did!", said Myers speaking at the Liberty Memorial.

Kansas City, Mo. – Tuesday's primary elections in Kansas City yielded some serious surprises: a pink-haired Libertarian is still in the running for a seat on the City Council; a Kansas City mayor has been denied a second term for the first time in almost a century; and the woman who, until recently, was the highest-ranking politician in Johnson County, Kansas showed up at the victory party of one of the winning mayoral candidates.

Wheeler Backs Burke

Feb 16, 2011
Frank Morris

Kansas City, Mo. – Former Mayor Charles Wheeler says he decided to back Mike Burke for mayor after two other former mayors, Kay Barnes and Richard Berkley, got behind Burke.

"I think the other two mayors are more important than I am in breaking Burke out, but with the three of us behind him, he has much to be proud of," said Wheeler.

All three former mayors praised Burke as someone who can work with a wide variety of people, without ever tripping over his own ego.

Frank Morris

KANSAS CITY, MO – Seven candidates are vying to be the next mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. The primary on February 22, 2011 will narrow the field down to two. As part of KCUR's municipal election coverage, we're sitting down with each of the seven candidates in a place of their choosing.

Councilwoman Deb Hermann met up with KCUR's Frank Morris at a local Italian restaurant, a place she says is an example of a great, small business.

photo: Frank Morris/KCUR

Kansas City, Mo. – The enormous winter storm continued pummeling the Midwest, closing roads and forcing thousands of flight cancellations as it lumbered eastward. By evening most of Kansas City was shut down. But a number of businesses, like this little hardware store in Midtown, welcomed a steady stream of customers staggering in out of the blizzard.

Frank Morris, KCUR

Kansas City, MO –


During the past decade, the U.S. Army has faced what it regards as a serious internal threat: young recruits entering in terrible shape.

In a radical shift, the Army is overhauling the way it trains, cares for and feeds new soldiers.

So, as fad workouts increasingly borrow Army terms like "boot camp," actual basic training is starting to look a bit like a new-age fitness camp but with harsh words, severe haircuts and fire arms.

Kansas City, MO –


The number of women serving in the military has mushroomed in recent decades to more than 200,000 active duty, not counting National Guard and reservists. This growing population faces many of the same problems as men but also health and mental issues that are unique to female veterans.

Kansas City, MO – One of the few bright spots for Democrats last night was the Jackson County Executive race, where Mike Sanders handily beat Republican challenger Robert Stringfield.

Sanders says he's not worried about what the congressional sea change may mean for county government.

Kansas City, MO – Council and mayoral elections are in March, and a vote on maintain the earnings tax will follow about 2 weeks after. That means the newly elected mayor and council will be campaigning for the tax right away While it's not clear who will be taking the message to the voters, Councilman Ed Ford says it is pretty clear what they'll be saying.

Kansas City, MO – It will soon be easier for smaller Missouri businesses to get low-interest loans. The state Treasurer has struck a deal with Commerce Bank that will generate up to $100 million of credit. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

It's part of the state's Linked Deposit Program. Missouri deposits money into a bank; the bank, Commerce Bank in this case, pays the state less than the going rate for interest, and then loans the money to businesses at a discounted rate.

Fed Funds Target Rural Rebirth

Sep 23, 2010

Truckers are more likely than average Americans to be overweight, which can lead to health problems including sleep apnea, which disrupts sleep and causes fatigue, contributing to thousands of crashes a year. No one knows for sure because the government has never required that drivers be tested.

'I've Gained 100 Pounds'

Outside the Iron Skillet restaurant on I-70 east of Kansas City where you can get a salad but the chicken-fried steak and eggs with gravy sure look more appealing it appears few truckers are going hungry.

Science Stands Up

Jul 27, 2010

In the Republican primary for Kansas Board of Education, an advocate of teaching creationism in science classes, John Bacon, faces a challenger Dennis George, in the district that includes southern Johnson County, and points south. No Democrats have filed for the general election, so the primary will determine the winner.