Central Standard

Monday - Friday at 10 a.m.

Central Standard is a daily radio show that explores what really matters to the people in the Kansas City area. We tell the stories of our city and region from the bottom up and through the perspective of individuals. We are an inclusive forum that explores art, ideas and how the news affects lives and communities.


  • Monday: Green Bean Casseroles / Kansas City Syrians / Shared Work Spaces
  • Tuesday: White Death Rate / Behavioral Health Gaps
  • Wednesday: Cul De Sacs / Third Graders On Community
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving Special
  • Friday: Central Standard Special: Planes, Trains And Automobiles
La Citta Vita/Google Images -- CC

The cul-de-sac has long been a symbol of the suburbs. But now, it's a polarizing feature of urban design. Is it an oasis where kids can play safely or an isolating feature that prevents us from meeting our neighbors?

We examine how cul-de-sacs came about and how they influence life in KC.


I wasn't introduced to green bean casserole until I was in my twenties. 

The dish won me over immediately, and I wanted to make it for my family one Thanksgiving. But dumping canned soup, canned green beans and a tin of crunchy fried onions into a casserole dish felt like cheating — as far as "cooking" goes. Particularly on a holiday that's about celebrating the season's bounty.

So I made a from-scratch version.

Green bean casserole is specifically a staple of the rural Midwest. What characterizes Midwestern cuisine, and how did it come about that a food-producing region celebrates the season's bounty with a recipe based entirely on canned foods?


  • Lucy Long, director, Center for Food and Culture
  • Judith Fertig, local cookbook author and "foodista"

Co-working is a new and growing trend nationwide, and Kansas City is home to eleven co-work studios. Does this model reflect the future of work?


  • Gerald Smith, founder and CEO, Plexpod
Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Finding a fossil in Kansas City can be as easy as going to the park or checking around your basement.

"Both Kansas and Missouri have great fossil deposits," Bruce Lieberman told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

"They represent, in some respects, different time periods, especially if you get further east into Missouri, east of the Kansas City metro," he said.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri-Columbia made national headlines over the past few weeks amidst rising racial tensions and resulting protests on campus.

As the conversation unfolded, a handful of terms have taken the spotlight online and in the media. Like safe space, systematic oppression and the First Amendment, to name a few.

The cars, the exotic locations, the action scenes, the gadgets, the women … even the most casual moviegoer is familiar with the world of James Bond. But what is Bond's place in the world today? We review Spectre, the latest in the franchise, with a movie critic, a tech inventor and a travel enthusiast.


Paul Sableman / Flickr

Demographic shifts in the Kansas City metropolitan area tell us the suburbs are becoming more diverse, while downtown has seen an influx of white people. But it doesn't necessarily feel more integrated.

Shambresha Roland, a native Texan who has lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, has found being an African American woman in those majority white communities awkward.

Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR

We talk with a KU paleontologist who co-created an app that helps identify fossils, then an amateur fossil hunter shares how — and where — to look.


  • Bruce Lieberman, Paleontologist in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at KU and co-creator of the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life
  • Brent Jackson, amateur fossil hunter

Meet a Fulbright graduate student at KU who will begin a fellowship at Fermilab — America's foremost institute for particle physics. He discusses his research on dark energy and dark matter, his journey from South Africa to Lawrence — and how the movie Honey, I Blew Up the Kid inspired his scientific career.


Pro-athletes. A huge, cheering crowd filling the stadium. No, it's not a Royals game — video games have become a spectator sport, one that attracts massive viewership numbers. Two locals gamers tell us about KC's electronic sports scene.


The Los Angeles Times / Creative Commons

There's a federal surveillance file from the early 20th century that refers to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas during World War I as a "University of Radicalism."

"That's not hyperbole," said researcher Christina Heatherton of Trinity College in Connecticut during a conversation on Central Standard

Heatherton was writing a book on the Mexican Revolution.

Tyler Adkisson / KBIA

The situation at Mizzou has brought a bunch of potentially unfamiliar terms together in one place. Systematic oppression and safe spaces: what they mean, and their relevance on college campuses today. Also, a little clarity on the first amendment. 


To outsiders, last week's protests at the University of Missouri in Columbia were eye-opening first encounters with race at the school. For others, they were reminders. A nuanced look at the history of race on MU's Columbia campus, including past protests.


Witnessing the death of his brother, moving to Bleeding Kansas during the border war, losing his father and protecting his family. All of this happened in the life of Billy Cody before he ever turned into the legend known as "Buffalo Bill."


Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

If you’ve ever wondered what food tasted like 100 years ago, Dixon’s Famous Chili on Highway 40 is like a culinary time capsule.

With its red décor, bar stools and historic photos, it looks like a 1960s-style diner, and that’s when this particular restaurant opened near the stadiums on U.S. Highway 40.

In 1919, Vergne Dixon opened the original location at 15th and Olive streets just east of downtown, which makes it one of the oldest family-run establishments in the Kansas City metro; Dixon’s Chili eventually became a chain of 13 restaurants, including one in Minnesota. 

Jeffreyw/Flickr --CC

Cold weather and chili go hand-in-hand.

Hot and hearty, and eminently customizable, it’s an American classic and a perfect winter meal.

But what is chili? There are many recipes that vary by region, including a Kansas City loose-meat assemble-it-yourself style of chili.

“I think it’s chili if you think it’s chili,” Food Critic Jill Silva told guest host Sylvia Maria Gross Friday on KCUR's Central Standard.

We visit Dixon's Famous Chili, a KC institution since 1919; a hot sauce expert recommends the best way to add heat to chili; then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chili dishes in and around Kansas City.


What is the environmental impact of hunting? Two hunters share their views on hunting and conservation — and encourage people to interact with nature, even if it's just with a camera.


The Breakthrough Moment

Nov 12, 2015

Enrique Chi of the band Making Movies stopped by the studio to tell the story of his band's breakthrough moment. Which included a broken van, a crowded bus and a car engulfed in flames. This story kicks off a Generation Listen KC storytelling event at Knuckleheads with the theme Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

We explore how veterans are using art to reconnect with civilian life, and we'll also investigate how we thank veterans for their service.


Paul Sableman / Flickr

If white flight is making a u-turn and the suburbs are seeing an influx of black residents, are we becoming any more integrated, or are we just trading places?


Jen Chen/KCUR

For Dave Loewenstein, a Lawrence-based artist, there’s more to creating a mural than just painting the side of a building.

In his experience, making a piece of public art has encouraged conversations (and offers of help) from passers-by, resulting in what he calls an “improvised gathering space.”

“It’s sort of like a Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner for a while when the murals are going up,” he told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

During Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. last month, he praised the late Thomas Merton as one of four great Americans. Merton was one of the most influential Catholic writers of the 20th century. He spent the last twenty years of his life as a Trappist Monk in a monastery called the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.

After his death, his writings remained in the public sphere, but it seemed that little else was left from the man who inspired so many. But this summer, hundreds of his items reappeared in Missouri.

In the early 20th century, new laws inspired by World War I ensnared revolutionary thinkers all over the country, and sent them all to the same place to do time: Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. It turns out Leavenworth was a hotbed of radical training and thought. At the center of it all was Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon.


  • Christina Heatherton, professor of American Studies, Trinity College
Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Lee Meisel starts his days by slinging whole pig carcasses over his shoulder and carrying them on his back into the kitchen of his own small restaurant in Lawerence, Kansas. 

He's a slender guy and the pigs weigh about 200 pounds each. "The pigs might have a few pounds on me," he admits.

Perhaps it's not clear, but this is the picture of a man living his dream.

Flesh And Bone

Nov 6, 2015
Paul Andrews

Lee Meisel, the owner of Leeway Franks in Lawrence, discusses his approach to butchering — and how his time working at an old-school butcher shop and going to Haskell University helped him find his direction in life.

Jen Chen/KCUR

Murals are more than just decorative outdoor projects. Two local muralists and the co-director of Called to Walls, a new documentary about community-based art in the Midwest (screening tonight at KU) discuss the process of creating a piece of public art that can reflect the past, present and aspirational future of a community.


He predicted that the Royals would win the 2015 World Series ...  in 2011. We talk with Joe Posnanski about the team "that loves to be on the brink," his prognosticating skills and how he writes for his mother.


We've all heard it: Exercising is good for you; it's beneficial to your health, both physically and mentally. But what happens when you exercise for a long time — such as with marathon-running or other endurance sports?

A local cardiologist shares the results of his research: Prolonged stressful exercise isn't good for your heart.