Ron Jones

Director of Community Engagement

Ron Jones returned to KCUR in September, 2013 as Director of Community Engagement.  He leads a team that will focus on the arts, entrepreneurship, neighborhoods and community diversity. Its goal is to coordinate community conversations about important issues on-air, online and in person.

Before returning to KCUR, Jones was Program Director at WDET in Detroit, where he oversaw all programming content.  Jones worked closely with news/talk and music programming to provide an administrative structure for programming, quality control and program development.  He also managed production, on-air fundraising, promotion and broadcast operations.  WDET has received national recognition for its work with community engagement, and crowdsourcing for both content and fundraising.

Prior to his position in Detroit, Jones served as Vice President of Programming at Chicago Public Radio, where he oversaw all station programming activities, including news, music, engineering and other initiatives for WBEZ, Chicago, WBEQ, Chesterton, Indiana and WBEW, Morris, Illinois.  Under his leadership Chicago Public radio received numerous national and regional awards for programming and journalistic excellence.  In addition he provided management oversight of WLUW, an independent community station licensed to Loyola University and managed by Chicago Public Radio. 

Prior to his work with Chicago Public Radio, Jones served as Program Director at WGBH-FM in Boston.  His responsibilities included oversight of on-air staff, promotion, audience research and fundraising activities.  In addition, he has served as General Manager of WERS-FM in Boston, and Program Director at KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri and KANU-FM in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Jones served on the board of the Public Radio Program Director’s Association and The World Vision Report.  He holds a B.S. degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kansas.

Ways To Connect

The Eternal Nina Simone

Aug 22, 2015

Described as a musical griot, singer Nina Simone has captured the imagination of many with her passion and amazing voice.  Nina Simone’s the featured artist on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Nina Simone - “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

Nina Simone - “Trouble In Mind”

Nina Simone - “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out”

Nina Simone - “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”

Nina Simone - “Mr Bojangles”

Nina Simone - “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl”

Nina Simone - “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”


Aug 15, 2015

Inspire Cyprus Avenue host Bill Shapiro and there's a long shot you could get an hour of radio focused on your music.  The legendary Prince certainly beat odds following a TV appearance on The Arcenio Hall Show.  So you will receive the reward as Prince takes to the Cyprus Avenue stage to perform some of his greatest hits, as well as some nuggets you may not have heard before.

Tracks List:

"Gotta Broken Heart Again”


“Little Red Corvette”

“Let’s Go Crazy”

“When Doves Cry”


“The Future”

Where can you hear the music Michael Franti, Greg Allman, Ashley Monroe and Tom Waits all in one place?  Maybe your smart phone…but most definitely right here on Cyprus Avenue…

Track List:

Michael Franti - “Once A Day”

Kasey Chambers - “Is God Real”

Greg Allman - “These Days”

Ashley Monroe - “Winning Streaks”

Leon Bridges - “Twistin’ & Groovin’”

Greg Allman - “Love Like Kerosene”

Chris Stapleton - “Might As Well Got Stoned”

Steeldrivers - “Six Feet Away”

Ashley Monroe – “Dixie”

Another Side Of Country

Aug 1, 2015

If you listen closely to today’s country you’re likely to conclude that it’s not your mom and dad’s country.  If you want to give it a try listen to this week’s Cyprus Avenue for another side of country, featuring two of the more progressive artists, Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson.

Track List:

Steeldrivers - “Blue Side Of The Mountain”

Chris Stapleton - “Tennessee Whiskey”

Sturgill Simpson - “Some Days”

Chris Stapleton - “Parachute”

Steeldrivers - “Heaven Sent”

Sturgill Simpson - “Life Of Sin”

Dylan: Disc By Disc

Jul 25, 2015

Dylan- Disc By Disc is a new book that takes a critical look at each of the iconic artist’s 36 albums through the eyes of some leading music experts, including our own Bill Shapiro.  Hear the music and more about the book, plus the album he reviewed on this week's show.

Track List:

Bob Dylan - “Thunder On The Mountain”

Bob Dylan - “Spirit On The Water”

Bob Dylan - “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”

Bob Dylan - “Beyond The Horizon”

Bob Dylan - “Nettie Moore”

Bob Dylan - “The Levee’s Gonna Break”

Bob Dylan - “Ain’t Talkin’”

You’re probably familiar with Jimi Hendrix’s iconic tunes like Foxy Lady, or Purple Haze…but check our this week’s Cyprus Avenue for some of his more obscure works.

Track List:

Jimi Hendrix - “Somewhere”

Jimi Hendrix - “Earth Blues”

Jimi Hendrix - “Here My Train A Comin’”

Jimi Hendrix - “Bleeding Heart”

Jimi Hendrix - “Crash Landing”

Jimi Hendrix - “Mojo Man”

Jimi Hendrix - “Easy Blues”

Jimi Hendrix - “Hey Gypsy Boy”

Jimi Hendrix – “Let Me Move You”

Jimi Hendrix – “Villanova Junction Blues”

Looking for some new music? Could your summer playlist use a lift? Bill Shapiro has an app for that…well not really, but check out some great new sounds on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Richard Thompson - “Beatnik Walking”

Eilen Jewell - “Down The Road”

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams - “Bad Luck Charm”

Willie & Merle - “It’s All Going To Pot”

Richard Thompson - “She Never Could Resist A Winding Road”

Eilen Jewell - “Ro Grande”

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams - “Did You Love Me At All”

The "King" Bounces Back

Jul 4, 2015

In late 1968 Elvis Presley’s career was in decline after years of corny movies and a departure from his rock and roll roots.  But a brilliantly-conceived TV special hit the airwaves and put the iconic singer back on the map.  Experience the music from that special event on this week's edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Trouble/Guitar Man

That’s Alright

Heartbreak Hotel

Hound Dog

All Shook Up

Can’t Help Falling In Love with You

Let Yourself Go

Baby What You Want Me to Do

Real Country Today

Jun 27, 2015

Remember when country music was more authentic, and not so pop-infused?  Coming up on Cyprus Avenue, Bill Shapiro takes you back to that old school country feel with some new music. 

Track List:

Chris Stapleton - “Parachute”

Kacey Musgraves - “High Time”

Chris Stapleton - “Traveler”

Kacey Musgraves - “This Town”

Chris Stapleton - “Tennessee Whiskey”

Kacey Musgraves - “Love In Vain”

Chris Stapleton - “Was It 26”

Kacey Musgraves - “Cup Of Tea”

Chris Stapleton – “More Of You”

Sticky Fingers Is Back!

Jun 20, 2015

The Rolling Stones, arguably the greatest rock ‘n roll band of all time, will rock Kansas City next week…but this week Cyprus Avenue rocks a redux of The Stones’ 1971 release Stick Fingers...

Track List:

Rolling Stones - “Brown Sugar”

Rolling Stones - “Wild Horses”

Rolling Stones - “Bitch”

Rolling Stones - “Dead Flowers”

Rolling Stones - “Stray Cat Blues”

Rolling Stones - “Love In Vain”

Rolling Stones - “Midnight Rambler”

Rolling Stones - “Honky Tonk Woman”

Leonard Cohen- 2015

Jun 14, 2015

At 80 years old, singer Leonard Cohen isn’t slowing down…he just released a second live album in the past year…it’s titled, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, and you can hear it on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Leonard Cohen - “I Can’t Forget”

Leonard Cohen - “Almost Like The Blues”

Leonard Cohen - “La Manic”

Leonard Cohen - “Joan of Arc”

Leonard Cohen - “My Oh My”

Leonard Cohen - “Light As The Breeze”

Leonard Cohen - “Slow”

Leonard Cohen - “Never Gave Nobody Trouble”

Easy Shanking In Boston

Jun 6, 2015

Reggae icon Bob Marley turned 70 earlier this year, prompting huge tributes in Jamaica and elsewhere.  Now it’s your turn to celebrate the great Bob Marley with his legendary performance in Boston.

Track List:

Marley - “Slave Driver”

Marley - “Burnin’ & Lootin’”

Marley - “The Heathen”

Marley - “I Shot The Sheriff”

Marley - “No Woman No Cry”

Marley - “Jamming”

Marley - “War/No More Trouble”

Marley - “Get Up Stand Up”

Marley - “Exodus”

Did you miss last weekend’s Dylan concert…or just couldn’t get enough?  Well you’re in luck…Bob Dylan’s bringing it all back home on this week on Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Dylan - “Subterranean Blues”

Dylan - “She Belongs To Me”

Dylan - “Maggie’s Farm”

Dylan - “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”

Dylan - “Outlaw Blues”

Dylan - “On The Road Again”

Dylan - “Bob Dylan’s 115 Dream”

Dylan - “Mr. Tambourine Man”

Dylan - “Coates Of England”

Dylan – “It’s All Right Ma”

Did you miss the recent Dylan concert here in KC…or just couldn’t get enough?  Well you’re in luck…Bob Dylan’s bringing it all back home on this week's Cyprus Avenue...

Track List:

Dylan - “Subterranean Blues”

Dylan - “She Belongs To Me”

Dylan - “Maggie’s Farm”

Dylan - “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”

Dylan - “Outlaw Blues”

Dylan - “On The Road Again”

Dylan - “Bob Dylan’s 115 Dream”

Dylan - “Mr. Tambourine Man”

Dylan - “Coates Of England”

Dylan – “It’s All Right Ma”

To A Pair Of Kings

May 23, 2015

Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember loved ones who’ve passed on.  Coming up on Cyprus Avenue, a tribute to two musical icons who left us recently…BB King and Ben E. King.

Track List:

B,B, King - “Everyday I Have The Blues”

B,B, King - “Sweet Little Angel”

Ben E. King – “Stand By Me”

Ben E. King - “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”

Ben E. King - “Spanish Harlem”

Ben E. King - “Young Boy Blues”

B,B, King - “Why I Sing The Blues”

Ben E. King - “Save The Last Dance For Me”

Shelby's Return

May 4, 2015

Shelby Lynne’s a great singer who’s coming to Kansas City later this month when KCUR presents Cyprus Avenue Live at the Folly Theater…and we get a preview of her talent on this week’s Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Shelby Lynne - “Where I’m From”

Shelby Lynne - “Just A Little Lovin’”

Shelby Lynne - “Breakfast In Bed”

Shelby Lynne - “Willie and Laura Mae Jones”

Shelby Lynne - “Revelation Road”

Shelby Lynne - “I’ll Hold Your Hand”

Shelby Lynne - “Call Me Up”

Shelby Lynne - “I Can’t Imagine”

If you think Van Morrison's new release Van Morrison Duets is some veiled attempt to make some quick cash off of previously released hits...think again.  Van's much too talented to settle for that.  So he enlisted the help of super producers Don Was and Bob Rock. Together they mined Morrison's repetoire from mostly overlooked albums to resurrect some gems, performed by some amazing singers, both old and relatively new.  What they did together with Van Morrison is worth spending your Saturday listening to this week's Cyprus Avenue.


"Pops" Last Stand

Apr 21, 2015

The iconic Robuck “Pops” Staples was responsible for some of the most essential music of the last 50 years.  He and his family carved out distinct spaces in both the gospel and R&B genres, while creating a soundtrack for the Civil Rights Movement with songs like “I’ll Take You There,” and “Respect Yourself.”  Just days short of his 86th birthday, as he laid on his dying bed, Pops handed daughter Mavis Staples a recording of some of his final tracks, with the instruction, “Mavis, don’t lose this here.” Ten years later “this here” has been released, and it’s the subject of this edition of

The “art of the song” can never be perfected, but singer/songwriter Dave Alvin has a good sense of what it takes to get there, as you’ll hear on this week’s Cyprus Avenue…

Track List:

Dave Alvin - “Help You Dream”

Dave Alvin - “Boss Of The Blues”

Dave Alvin - “Downey Girl”

Dave Alvin - “These Times We’re Living In”

Dave Alvin - “Don’t Make Promises”

Dave Alvin  - “Haley’s Comet”

Dave Alvin - “Shenandoah”

Dave Alvin - “East Virginia Blues”

Dave Alvin - “Fourth Of July”

2006 Redux

Mar 28, 2015

2006 was a very good year for music…Next up on Cyprus Avenue, host Bill Shapiro brings back some great music from the year that was 2006. 

Track List:

Bob Dylan - “Thunder On The Mountain”

M. Ward - “Eyes On The Prize / Magic Trick”

Jerry Lee Lewis - “Before the Night Is Over”

Bruce Springsteen - “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep”

Dayna Kurtz - “Venezuela”

Teddy Thompson - “The Future”

Dave Alvin - “Here In California”

Maria Muldair - “Buckets Of Rain”

Leonard Cohen - “Tower Of Song”

2006 Redux

Mar 28, 2015

2006 was a very good year for music…Next up on Cyprus Avenue, host Bill Shapiro brings back some great music from the year that was 2006. 

Track List:

Bob Dylan - “Thunder On The Mountain”

M. Ward - “Eyes On The Prize / Magic Trick”

Jerry Lee Lewis - “Before the Night Is Over”

Bruce Springsteen - “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep”

Dayna Kurtz - “Venezuela”

Teddy Thompson - “The Future”

Dave Alvin - “Here In California”

Maria Muldair - “Buckets Of Rain”

Leonard Cohen - “Tower Of Song”

The gospel music that came out of the little known Memphis-based label Designer Records has been described as “soul without the sex…and if you listen to this week’s Cyprus Avenue, you’ll swear you’ve heard the tunes before, just with different lyrics.

Track List:

The Melody Kings - “I Know It’s Jesus”

George Shields & His Gospel Singers-  “God ‘s Word Will Never Pass Away”

The Mighty Blitheville Aires- “It May Be Your Last”

O’Neil and the Dean Brothers-  “The ABCs”

Sister Carrie Daniels- “This Joy I Have”

McMurtry And Earle

Mar 14, 2015

Singer-songwriters James McMurtry and Steve Earle are known for songs with strong narratives that blend country and blues.  Both have new albums that are featured on this week’s Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

James McMurtry - “She Loves Me”

Steve Earl - “Baby, Baby, Baby, (Baby)”

James McMurtry - “Painting By Numbers”

Steve Earl  - “Guitar Town”

Steve Earl - “Tennessee Kid”

James McMurtry - “How’n I Gonna Find You Now”

Steve Earl - “Copperhead Road”

James McMurtry - “Out Here In The Middle”

Marty Stuart Returns

Mar 7, 2015

Singer-songwriter Marty Stuart’s coming to Kansas City on Friday, March 20th, as part of the KCUR presents Cyprus Avenue Live at The Folly Theater series. Coming up on this edition of Cyprus Avenue…the music of Marty Stuart.

Track List:

"Crying, Waiting, Hoping” (with Steve Earle)

“Doin’ My Time” (with Johnny Cash)

“Here I Am”

“The Gospel Story of Noah’s Ark”

“No Hard Times Blues”

“The Weight” (with The Staple Singers)

“It’s Time to Go Home”

“Farmer’s Blues” (with Merle Haggard)

New Singers New Songs

Feb 28, 2015

How’s your winter music stash holding up?  Is it getting stale?  Need some freshening?  Bill Shapiro’s got some great new music for you to check out on this week’s Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Rhiannon Giddens - “Last Kind Word”

F.J. Misty - “Love You Honeybear”

Diana Krall - “California Dreamin’”

St. Paul & The Broken Bones - “Don’t Mean A Thing”

Rhiannon Giddens - “Water Boy”

F.J. Misty - “Strange Encounter”

St. Paul & The Broken Bones - “I’M Torn Up”

Diana Krall - “Yeh Yeh”

Zooey Deschanel and "M" Ward

Have you noticed the growing trend of your favorite artists covering classic songs?  Bill Shapiro has and he presents "something new and something old" as a Valentine’s Day gift to you, on this week’s Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie - “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”

Bette Midler - “Baby It’s You”

She & Him - “It’s Not For Me To Say”

Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie  - “What’ll I Do”

She & Him - “Stay A While”

Willie Nelson & Sister Bobbie - “Sad Songs And Waltzed”

MattysFlicks / Flickr--CC

It’s the season for romance.  If you are lucky, finding your soul mate can be simple, but more often than not it can be awkward, and downright tedious. 

Stop and think for a minute … how many hoops have you jumped through in an attempt to land your special Valentine?  In the digital age online dating and matchmaking sites have encouraged us to scrutinize profiles and backgrounds to find our ideal match. They are designed to make finding romance easier, but can algorithms really lead to finding meaningful relationships or nightmarish breakups?

If you missed Kelley Hunt last month on Cyprus Avenue you’ve got a couple more chances to hear the talented Kansas City singer…one on this week’s edition of the show… followed by next week's Cyprus Avenue Live at the Folly Theater...

Track list:

Kelley Hunt - “Talk To Me”

Kelley Hunt - “Crawl Through Kansas”

Kelley Hunt - “Emerald City”

Kelley Hunt  - “Music Was The Thread”

Kelley Hunt - “The Land Of Milk And Honey”

Kelley Hunt - “In The End”

Kelley Hunt - “When Love Is At The Wheel”

If you were a fan of Woodstock you probably remember the riveting performance by Joe Cocker.  That appearance catapulted him into the consciousness of mainstream rock & roll fans in America and abroad. On  this edition of Cyprus Avenue, a tribute to the iconic singer who passed away last December...

Track List:

Joe Cocker - "With A Little Help From My Friends”

Joe Cocker - “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”

Joe Cocker - “Honky Tonk Woman”

Joe Cocker - “Feelin’ Alright”

Joe Cocker - “Girl From The North Country”

They called him “Mr. Pitiful,” but singer Otis Redding’s moniker doesn’t fit the impact he had on popular music in the 60’s and beyond.  It’s the music of Otis Redding on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Otis Redding- "These Arms of Mine”

Otis Redding- “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”

Otis Redding- “My Girl”

Etta James- “I Got The Will”

Otis Redding- “Try A Little Tenderness”

Percy Sledge- “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember”

Otis Redding- “Mr. Pitiful”