Gina Kaufmann

Host, Central Standard

Gina’s background combines print and broadcast journalism, live event hosting and production, creative nonfiction writing and involvement in the arts. Early in her career, she followed a cultural beat for The Pitch, where she served as an editor and art writer in the early 2000s.

She also worked as a contributing editor of Heeb magazine out of New York, assisting with the Heeb Storytelling series and ultimately starting her own live storytelling event series in Kansas City. Gina got her public radio chops working first as an intern for KC Currents with Sylvia Maria Gross, then as a co-host of The Walt Bodine Show.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Ways to Connect

Garden Bounty

Aug 21, 2015

Summer is winding down, and the garden is flourishing. We learn how to make a sponge corn cake in the microwave at Affäre (and we got the recipe, too), a plant sciences professor talks about the agricultural side of corn, then our Food Critics search out the best corn and seasonal vegetable dishes in Kansas City.

Charlie Parker's birthday is coming up, and Kansas City is all a-twitter. Hear a visiting jazz scholar's take on the history of Bebop, and Kansas City-born Charlie Parker's place in it. Bonus: a recording of a jam session where you can hear the Bird talking.


Two sisters, both Blues singers, talk about being creative siblings, and what drives them to make music.


  • Samantha Fish, musician, new album: Wild Heart
  • Amanda Fish, musician, new album: Down in the Dirt

Culture Club

Aug 19, 2015
Courtesy of Jim Wilson

This weekend, the Ethnic Enrichment Festival sets up shop in Swope Park. How do we think about ethnicity in America today? We invite a professor who focuses on ethnic and cultural studies, the co-founder of the Latino Writer's Collective and a local resident who runs the Indonesia booth to share their thoughts.

With the recent passing of Jesse Hope, the founder and curator of the Old Quindaro Museum and one of the historic township's most dedicated champions, questions arise about the future of the site and its legacy. 


  • Laura Ziegler, community engagement reporter, KCUR

Humans and squirrels live side by side in urban and suburban neighborhoods. When humans observe and document these smaller animals in their yards and on their blocks, that isn't just a weird hobby; it informs science. 


Recent calls for police body cameras raise questions about documenting truth. An art curator, a war historian and a police major discuss. 


Courtesy photo

The only time I've come close to getting at a brawl was at Yankee Stadium.

It was 1999. I was living in New York, and I went to a game with my baseball-obsessed college boyfriend.

We sat in the bleachers where the tickets were cheap, the beer flowed and fights were plentiful. The Royals were a joke and the Yankees were World Series champions.

I was a Kansas Citian living in New York, accustomed to a certain amount of abuse. I loved the Royals on principle, but I’m not a sports person. If I can pay attention past the 7th inning stretch, it’s a personal victory. Because let’s face it, there are only so many possibilities in baseball. Guy hits the ball, or he doesn’t. Makes it to first base, or not. And so on.

But that night, something caught my attention: The Royals started looking like they might win. At first it felt like a fluke, but soon, the Yanks around me started noticing.

Where do you go to interact with your neighbors? Whether it's a soccer field, outdoor movie screening or a gathering of food trucks in a public park — or even a created space that a local artist filled with hammocks — we explore what makes for a good gathering spot.

Open Book

Aug 14, 2015
Paul Andrews

What is the role of the library in the 21st century? The Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library discusses her efforts to bridge the digital divide and to archive information — as well as her dream of being a jewelry designer.


  • Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library.


Aug 12, 2015

Two local music venues, recordBar and Take 5 Coffee + Bar, recently announced that they looking for new homes. In light of this news, we explore what makes for a good music venue — location or something else? A music blogger/musician and two local music venue owners share their thoughts.

Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

A Johnson County journalism professor is obsessed with cacti. And a Los Angeles-based artist is obsessed with the journalism professor's obsession with cacti. How did this happen?


  • Amir H. Fallah, artist, The Caretaker exhibit at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Mark Raduziner, professor of journalism, Johnson County Community College

Kansas Representative Gene Suellentrop is a supporter of the Kansas budget experiment known as the "march to zero" for income taxes. In his nephew's social circles, on the east coast, that position is hard to understand. So the nephew decided to immerse himself in his uncle's world, just as a legislative session turned upside-down by budget debates got underway.


Sam Zeff / KCUR

Teaching has changed a lot in the past few decades. From standardized testing to ADD diagnosis, technology to policy. But it's not just the classroom that's different. Teachers are going into the profession for different reasons and with different motivations as well. This discussion kicks off KCUR's Teaching It Forward series.


Long and leisurely and sometimes boozy, brunch is a delicious mid-morning ritual. A food historian talks about how the egg became an American breakfast staple, and our Food Critics search out the best brunch dishes in Kansas City.

Our resident historian and an attorney/engineer who is involved in KC's levee systems management discuss how floods have shaped and changed the city.

Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR

Get into the world of KC garage sales, estate sales, yard sales and more. A local resident who runs an estate sale business and an author who has studied American garage sales share their thoughts on the thrill of the thrift.

When researchers stumbled upon a buttery substance under a lake, they thought maybe they'd also stumbled upon the answer to an age old mystery: why a pre-Columbian civilization near St. Louis abandoned the complex city they'd built. But with multiple research teams exploring the Cahokia Mounds site, not everyone agrees on what the new discovery means. 


  • Sissel Schroeder, University of Wisconsin
  • Melissa Balthus Zych, University of Toledo
Courtesy of Gary Staab

You know those gigantic dinosaur models you see in natural history museums, frozen in mid-roar? There's a good chance they were made in Kearney, Missouri by a guy named Gary Staab. From his encounter with Lucy (the famous skeleton of our human ancestor) to a mummified human known as the Ice Man, Gary Staab takes us face to face with prehistoric life. 

Praeger publishing

The escalating problem of student debt isn't just about the pain of writing large checks. So say two University of Kansas professors who have co-written a book on the crisis, using their own personal stories to make a case that differences in access to higher ed begin long before loans, and influence life and career paths far beyond graduation.


In Inside Out, emotions are personified into characters — just like in Greek mythology. A critic, a local mom and a scholar of Greek myths discuss the drama of human emotions.

Photographer Lara Shipley discusses Devil's Promenade, her photo series that depicts life in the Ozarks, where she grew up.

A Kansas Citian with ties to Greece shares his perspective on the financial crisis there, and a UMKC professor who predicted trouble in the Eurozone in 1998 discusses how it all came about — and how UMKC approaches economics in a radical way.

Responding to our query about garage sales, two of our listeners explain their favorite finds.


  • Brad Lieffring
  • Lynette Fisk

A KU professor discusses the history of Japanese desserts, and how they contain less sugar than their Western counterparts.

A food historian discusses why we prefer bold, dry wines like Cabernet and Chardonnay — and how Missouri grapes saved the French wine industry.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Research into income mobility across US counties inspires Central Standard to take a roadtrip, talk to an economist and hear from locals with their own research and experience to share. Is the "land of opportunity" created by individuals or their environments?


Class issues can be all over the headlines, even when the word 'class' never appears. So says Kansas writer Sarah Smarsh. A quick breakdown of recent headlines through the lens of class in Kansas.


On the face of it, the 1983 Royals-Yankees insanity known as the Pine Tar Game is all about a technicality and a tantrum. But scratch beneath the surface and it's a Shakespearean-caliber drama with complex characters and a generations-long feud.



Jul 24, 2015
Katie Knight/KCUR

We explore the landmark case of pie vs. cake. Two baking experts — one pro-pie, the other pro-cake — defend their desserts in a lively debate, then our Food Critics search for the best pies and cakes in Kansas City.