Steve Kraske

Host of Up to Date

Steve Kraske is an associate teaching professor of journalism at UMKC, a political columnist for The Kansas City Star and has hosted "Up to Date" since 2002. He worked as the full-time political correspondent for The Star from 1994-2013 covering national, state and local campaigns. He also has covered the statehouses in Topeka and Jefferson City.

Before arriving in Kansas City, he worked at daily newspapers in Iowa and Illinois and at United Press International in Madison, Wis. Kraske is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a bachelor's degree in journalism. He was a 1992 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Kraske has won awards for both his print and radio work and has appeared on NPR, CNN and Fox. He's a big fan of "Prairie Home Companion" and Kansas City jazz. His father lives in Stillwater, Minn., not far from the St. Croix River.

“First crushes are enduring" but celebrity crushes bring “a whole new level of potency" says Dave Singleton, co-author of Crush: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush. Up to Date host Steve Kraske, along with KCUR staffers and listeners reveal their celebrity crushes and learn why they endure.

For years, political polling told us who was  likely to vote and how, but the cell phone complicated all that. With fewer people answering — or even owning — land-line numbers, polls became less reliable. A Chicago start-up is changing that tradition, and finding success.

Guest:

As presidential candidates vie for votes nationwide, we ask what one vote is really worth. And if you're voting Democrat in strongly Republican Kansas, does your ballot really matter?

Guests:

  • Burdett Loomis is a political scientist at the University of Kansas.
  • Cheyenne Davis is the field and political director for the Kansas Democratic Party
  • KCUR's Elle Moxley and Lisa Rodriguez have been reporting on elections in Kansas.

Slaughterhouses remain one of the most dangerous workplaces in this country. Harvest Public Media, a reporting collaborative based at KCUR, has been investigating the hazards meat processing workers still face. The result is a three-part series airing this week, Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat.

Guests:

A day after 49 people were killed in a  mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, LGBTQ and Islamic leaders reflect on how the tragedy affects their communities. 

Guests:

  • Dustin Cates is the artistic director of the Heartland Men's Chorus.
  • Moben Mirza is the secretary of the Islamic Center of Johnson County. 

David Greene has reported on everything from the White House to the Arab Spring to post-Soviet Russia. It all started with his high school newspaper and a lot of help along the way. Even his wife made sacrifices for his career, but Greene says it’s paid off. Now he's co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition.

David Greene is in town for KCUR’s benefit event 'RadioActive' on June 10. Tickets are no longer available.

Dumpster-diving for materials was done out of necessity when sculptor Tom Sachs first started, but now he does it by choice. It's just one way the bricolage specialist turns almost anything into art, avoiding perfection in the process. After all, "the only advantage an artist has over industry is her fingerprints," he says.

Some seniors in Kansas benefit from programs that allow them to stay in their homes. Now, with state budget cuts, waiting lists are cropping up for those services. This, despite the harsh reality that the state saves money, and lots of it, if seniors can remain in their own residences instead of a nursing home.

Guest:

Steve Kraske caught up with Béla Fleck, who's on tour with the original Flecktones, to talk inspirations and collaborations. When it comes to music Fleck says, "It's just more interesting to explore the edges of things than it is to just sit in the center and do what's already been done."

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones perform at 7:30 p.m., June 14, in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It may look like just another hefty tome, but Shakespeare's First Folio is a big deal. Up To Date hit the road for a live, first-hand look at one of the most valuable, and rare, literary documents in the English language.

Guests:

Lawmakers and the state Supreme Court face off over school funding, every single seat in the state legislature is up for grabs, and the budget is millions of dollars in the red. It may sound like the plot of a political thriller but the battle for control of the Kansas Statehouse is real, and things are heating up.

Guests:

It might seem cramped to you, but there are plenty of reasons people consider downsizing into a tiny home.  Young adults who've been priced out of living in the city, retirees who prefer a tiny home on wheels to a giant RV, even folks whose finances were upended by the recession, are all driving a trend toward smaller, more economical living spaces.

Guest:

Jad Abumrad, co-host and producer of RadioLab, says when he got his start, he didn't know what good radio was supposed to sound like. Maybe that explains how his program was able to transform the medium. Whatever your project, it's important to embrace the anxiety — Abumrad calls it "gut churn" — that comes along with the creative process.

As NPR's first African-American female host, Michele Norris is no stranger to having tough, meaningful conversations. As curator of The Race Card Project, Norris asks people to express their thoughts about race and identity in six words, which turn out to be more powerful than she expected.

You know the story; with a good education, hard work, and a little stick-to-itiveness, you can make a better life for yourself and your kids. It's quite literally the American dream. Political scientist and author Robert D. Putnam wonders, though, if that narrative is becoming less attainable.

For children with a parent in prison, maintaining a connection can be difficult.  Steve Kraske talks with the founder of a service organization dedicated to these kids and the artist who will paint portraits of 100 prominent Kansas Citians to be auctioned off to benefit that effort.

Guests:

While Whitney Terrell was writing The King of Kings County, a novel based in 1950s Kansas, America was invading Iraq. His strong feelings about the war drove him to embed with reporters in Iraq, and the result is his latest novel about war, companionship and the folly of combat. 

The cost of a premature birth was the beginning of a controversy involving the price of health care, AOL’s CEO and the baby's mother. The dispute sparked a national debate about the value of a human life.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Within ten minutes of his first day of school Juan Felipe Herrera was spanked, scolded, and left crying, all for speaking Spanish, the only language he knew. You wouldn't have guessed it then, but Herrera would grow up to be named the United States Poet Laureate. Twice.

His journey may never have happened if it weren't for his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Sampson.

"She said something that stayed with me for the rest of my life, and that I tell everyone I meet," Herrera said in an interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "you have a beautiful voice."

Most of us get that the U.S. government failed to fix the banking system after the Great Recession. The irony is that the world of high finance and wealth creation is still ruling the country, while the financial system is as vulnerable as ever.

Guest:

  • Rana Foroohar is an assistant managing editor at TIME and the magazine's economics columnist. She is the author of Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business.

This week, President Obama makes the first presidential visit to Hiroshima, Japan, since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb there in 1945. In this encore broadcast, Steve Kraske talks with former Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and Clayton Truman Daniel, grandson of President Harry S. Truman, about nuclear disarmament and reconciliation.

We might be breaking kayfabe in saying so, but it's well-known that most professional wrestling is three parts theater, one part combat. While the moves in the ring might be choreographed, the injuries sustained by performers and the emotion from the crowd is anything but a farce.

Guest:

Since becoming a Kansas City, Missouri police officer in the 1950s, Alvin Brooks has spent a lifetime working to reduce crime and injustice in his city. Even as we look back at all he’s already done, we ask the equal rights activist what Kansas City still needs to do.

On Tuesday, Alvin Brooks was awarded at lifetime achievement award from the South Kansas City Alliance. He is also this year's recipient of the Truman Public Service Award.

Picher, Oklahoma rode the wave of lead and zinc mining in the region that began in the late 19th Century. By 1980 it was an EPA Superfund site and by the 2010 Census, fewer than 20 persons were counted as residents. We look at how Picher is remembered through former residents and through the lens of a local artist.

Guests:

Literature lovers owe a debt of gratitude to industrialist Henry Folger, who assembled the largest collection of William Shakespeare's folios, including the famed First Folio. Without that anthology, "half of his plays would have ended up on the ash heap of history," says author Andrea Mays.

The top policy-making body of the United Methodist Church this week narrowly approved a full review of all church law on sexuality. Up to Date host Steve Kraske speaks with two area ministers about this latest move by the Church.

Guests:

  • Rev. Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
  • Rev. Mark Holland is also the mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.
Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Any errant Star Trek commander you see this weekend strolling downtown was not beamed down from the Starship Enterprise. Chances are better that they're taking part in Planet Comicon Kansas City. KCUR's resident sci-fi aficionados, Cody Newill and Mike Russo, went down to Bartle Hall to soak up the scene and talk to attendees.

Managing the country's more than 400 national parks, trails, sites, memorials, and more, takes the help of more than 20,000 men and women employed by the National Park Service, which is celebrating it's centennial birthday in August. For some, preserving all that history and heritage is more than just a job, it's a passion!

Through the centuries, technological advancements, from the tractor to developments in crop chemicals, have revolutionized the way we farm. Now, something new is disrupting the farming industry — and that’s big data. We take a look the new normal in one of America's oldest industries.

Guests:

Doing online research is almost required in school these days, but how can you do that without a reliable way to connect to the internet? Michael Liimatta, who manages the ConnectHome initiative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says that with more than half of public school kids living in poverty, plenty of people who should have web access still just can't afford it.

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