Central Standard | KCUR

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 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.

Coming up the week of March 19, 2018:

  • Monday: Special: The Argument
  • Tuesday: Tipping
  • Wednesday: Learning To Read / Young Adult Novels
  • Thursday: Future of Work / KC Hispanic News
  • Friday: Food: Burritos & Wraps
Lorie Shaull / Flickr -- CC

In the mid-1800s, a young woman and her husband moved to the Kansas Territory to help runaway slaves. The husband died during Quantrill's raid, leaving her alone. Hear Nell Johnson Doerr's story, as told through diary entries, letters and various documents found in the rafters of a Lawrence barn. But just one thing: this is a work of fiction. A chat with the author of this new novel.

Max Braun / Google Images -- CC

In 1907, Pablo Picasso stumbled into an art gallery in Paris. It was filled with masks and small sculptures from Africa and Oceania. Inspired, his own style began to change. That raises some interesting questions about who gets credit ... and where to draw the line between admiration, inspiration and theft.

Then: a KU researcher says that a lot of anti-abortion legislation is based on anecdotal evidence.


Drag Queen Storytime; Why Birds Matter

Feb 6, 2018
Mary Nemecek / Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City

According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, this is the year of the dog. But National Geographic says otherwise, naming 2018 as 'year of the bird' in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Today, we speak with a photographer who captured moments of bird migration across the world and with local bird watchers right here in Kansas City.

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

Perfectionism, bullying, depression and social media are a few of the stressors teens constantly face in today's society. As the number of teen suicides in Kansas City reach record levels, we speak with school councilors and health experts to learn why rates are climbing in the metro and how to help prevent suicides.

But first, a discussion on undeveloped land in suburban areas. What happens when the desire to turn unused land into roads and schools collides with the desire to keep things natural?


On our First Friday arts show: a local artist has been keeping a dream journal for over 40 years. In his new exhibit, he's brought recurring objects from his dreams to life through sculpture. Then, we talk to the star of a one-woman show about fashion icon Diana Vreeland, and a band conductor on how his group keeps the Kansas City sound alive ... and how they're taking a step to address the gender imbalance in jazz.


Phillip Taylor / Flickr -- CC

A Kansas Citian just returned from his first trip back to Puerto Rico since it was devastated by two hurricanes. We hear how recovery is going from his on-the-ground perspective.

Then: when you think of Antarctica, you may picture a vast land covered with snow. But did you know that plants used to grow there? A scientist is back from an Arctic expedition with plant fossils that she collected — fossils that may tell us something about how life withstands climate change.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Lonnie and Ronnie McFadden, of Kansas City's McFadden Brothers, grew up at 19th and Euclid, on Kansas City's east side. They've been a tap-dancing duo for as long as they can remember. But it wasn't until long after the art form went out of style that they made it their own — and made it cool

"We grew up in a household that was probably about as close to Norman Rockwell as I've seen to this day," says Lonnie, remembering the elaborate hot meals his mom used to make before working evenings at a country club.

Courtesy of Shang Tea

On the first floor of Crown Center in Kansas City sits Shang Tea, a tea shop where teabags are frowned upon and traditional dried leaves applauded.

Loz Pycock / Flickr -- CC

Wendell Castle revolutionized the art world. The Holton, Kansas, native was known as the father of the studio furniture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He mostly made chairs that looked like sculptures ... and the only shop class he ever had was in seventh grade. He died last week at age 85; hear his story and what he meant to the art world.

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

Alternative newspapers offer a unique perspective on the news, events and culture of a city. But how are they handling an era where print media struggles? Today, we look at the role alt-weeklies/monthlies play both here in Kansas City and across the nation. 

Then, we learn how small adjustments to neighborhood parks in Wyandotte have made a big impact on the community surrounding it.


Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

In recognition of Kansas Day, today's show is all about the Sunflower State. We start things out with a poem about the town of El Dorado (and the way we pronounce it.) Then, learn about the person Johnson County was named after, Reverend Thomas Johnson.

Also, the story of Tenskwatawa, a Shawnee prophet who dreamed of uniting the Native American tribes into a single government.


public domain / Flickr -- Google Images

Hear the story behind Springfield-style cashew chicken: we talk to the chef whose father, inspired by the food of the Ozarks, invented the dish. Then, meet a local tea house owner who travels to China to select his tea leaves from a friend's farm.

Plus: our Food Critics search out the best Chinese food in and around Kansas City.


David DeHetre / Flickr -- CC

After the 2016 presidential election, many people were surprised by Donald Trump's win. National news organizations sent reporters out to so-called "Trump country," trying to figure out what they missed. We take a look at how stories that unfold nationally play out in Midwestern states.

Then: A look back at the fight for gay rights in Kansas. KCUR's C.J. Janovy shares stories of activists who both struggled and found solidarity in an inhospitable state.


The DLC / Flickr -- CC

We start a new monthly series in which we take a close look at the news and events that are shaping the unique communities around the metro. First up: KC's Northeast neighborhood.

Then: It's been just over a year since President Trump's inauguration. Since then, there's been an expectation that women across the nation would run for office. We talk with women from Kansas and Missouri who are doing just that.


Across America, gentrification is pricing people out of the communities they grew up in. Today, we look at alternatives to avoid raising the cost of living in existing neighborhoods.

Then, we learn how Jamie Sanders, the lead actor in the KC Rep's latest play about a young boy with autism, forged a connection with his character through his own experience with Tourette syndrome. 


Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

Travel bans and the promise to build a wall are among burgeoning changes in the United State's stance on immigrants. Now, a year after President Trump's inauguration, we sit down with refugees and immigrants in Kansas City to hear their current experiences and feelings in their new home.

But first, we meet the resident artist of Oak Park Mall who creates colorful sculptures out of cardboard.


Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

Sheri "Purpose" Hall is a spoken word poet, an author, an ordained minister and an activist. She's represented Kansas City in national poetry slams and recently, a video of her performing one of her poems, "Irregular Rape Poem," has gone viral. Hear her story.


Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

In this encore presentation: meet artist Hung Liu. At age 16, she was sent to work in the Chinese countryside as part of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution, where intellectuals (and young people) were sent to be "re-educated."

During her time there, she created art that was considered illegal: paintings of things she found pretty, candid photographs of peasants working in the fields. Hear how she — and her art — found a "second home" in Kansas City.


fdecomite / Flickr -- CC

Can marbles come back? Inspired by an exhibit at the National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, we take a look at the history and appeal of the game.

Then: a conversation about I, Tonya, the movie that shines more of a light on Tonya Harding's story. We discuss class, gender, abuse and fame on the ice rink.


Courtesy of Martin Mendoza

Bailey Miller, an engineering graduate student at the University of Kansas, has a compelling goal: to be among the first astronauts to land on Mars.

He's off to a good start.

Miller was the leader of a seven-member team that won an international competition hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Their prompt was to design a spacecraft capable of reaching Mars, sustaining orbit and returning to Earth.

Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons

Today, we speak with a University of Kansas student who won an international competition focused on designing a spacecraft capable of reaching Mars and returning to Earth.

Then: James Baldwin's legacy still resonates with today's thinkers on race in Kansas City. We discuss how his ideas still relate with the current social climate.


Ivette Degollado / Flickr -- CC

A chef tells us about the "secret" off-menu cornbread at his restaurant, and we visit a local Ethiopian/Caribbean place to find out more about its braised oxtail dish. Then, the Food Critics search out the best soups and stews in and around Kansas City.


InAweofGod'sCreation / Flickr -- CC

Coco, the latest movie from Disney's Pixar Studios, has been praised for its portrayal of Mexican folklore. Meet the local children's book author who has been tapped to turn the screenplay into a book.

Plus: From the frigid temps over the holidays to today's sleet, you're probably tempted to stay in and hunker down until spring. But some people are choosing to go and do things outside. We find out why.


A new play, Trench Warfare, is about two infantry soldiers in World War I. We talk with the local musician who composed the score for the play; he shares how he evoked the feelings of WWI with a seven-piece orchestra and a computer.

Then: Sexual misconduct has been an issue in the Kansas and Missouri statehouses. Two women in politics from both sides of the state line compare notes from their experiences on the job.


Mike Mozart / Flickr-CC

Today, we meet two high school students from Kansas City's Central Academy of Excellence who are using art to tell stories about gun violence. 

Plus, find out how communities, both rural and urban, are affected by the expansion of dollar stores such as Dollar General.


Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

The Missouri Board of Education is currently in the middle of a political kerfuffle — so, how will area students and teachers be affected? Today, we break down the responsibilities of the Missouri Board of Education and explain their relationship with the schooling system. 

Then, we learn about the formation of the foster care system in America and its history throughout the past century.

In our January arts show: we hear more about a new exhibition at The Nelson that features artifacts from the tombs of kings of ancient China — including a burial suit that's made from over 4000 pieces of jade.

Anna Weber worked on the set of the Steven Spielberg's movie, The Post. She shares how recreating the newsroom made her think about history and the role of journalism ... and about her dad, a longtime editor at The Kansas City Star.

Then: a look at the ongoing challenges for families who are trying to find a great school for their kids with special needs.


naturalflow / Flickr -- CC

What makes a song a Kansas City song? We revisit the classic "standards" that once defined the KC sound. Plus: a local writer takes us on a tour of the nearby breweries, distilleries and vineyards on both sides of the state line.


Bibliofiles: Romance

Jan 2, 2018
Stewart Butterfield / Flickr-CC

Love is hard to define — so how do you analyze a whole literary genre with rules built around the concept? Today, KCUR's 'Bibliofiles' explain the themes, constructs and plot devices behind the romance genre. They also recommend their favorite books featuring romantic elements and wade through controversy stirred up by a condescending article on romance novels featured in the New York Times.