Up To Date

Weekdays at 11 a.m.

Up to Date focuses on pressing issues, both local and national, including politics, economics, planning and design, history and entertainment - topics that have an impact on the lives of the Greater Kansas City region.


  • Monday: Doug Frost: Thanksgiving Wines and their Immigrant Roots
  • Tuesday: Opting Out of Black Friday / Statehouse Blend
  • Wednesday:  How Islamic is the Islamic State?/ Local Listen 
  • Thursday:  Happy Thanksgiving! Special Programming
  • Friday: Special Programming

They've been living and breathing Royals' baseball all season long. On this edition of Up To Date, a roundtable of sports journalists tell what it's been like to cover the boys in blue, and what they expect from them in the postseason.


  • Andy McCullough covers the Royals beat for the Kansas City Star.
  • Sam Mellenger is a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star.
  • Vahe Gregorian is a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star.
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Sen. Jim Denning from Overland Park provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss Medicaid expansion and the Kansas budget.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.


Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has spent a lifetime thinking about all manner of economic questions — including one of the toughest issues facing the U.S. these days, which is the growing income disparity between rich and poor. His latest book, Saving Capitalism, asks the central question: Is the free market really free?

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has captured the world's attention promoting scientific literacy and a secular world view. Steve Kraske speaks with him about his latest memoir, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science, a sequel to his An Appetite for Wonder.  


Fall is officially here, and along with the cooler weather — is a new array of independent, foreign and documentary films. So grab an autumnal coffee blend and head to a theater near you. KCUR's film critics share their reviews and recommendations of movies now in area cinemas.

Sleeping With Other People, R

This weekend, take a walk — on a wire thousands of feet up in the air. Or just go to a movie and experience it from your seat. KCUR's independent, foreign and documentary film critics give us the picks they deem worthy of your time. 

Cynthia Haines

Mississippi Grind, R

  • I think if they changed the title it might attract a larger audience, and it should — because Ben Mendelsohn's performance is just great. 

Learning To Drive, R

The U.S. is pledging to take in 85,000 refugees from around the world in 2016. The Ethics Professors discuss whether that's enough as the crisis in Syria continues. Also, is it ethical to let the free market decide prescription prices if that puts drugs outside the reach of many who need them, and should leaders remain in their positions if they, or their organization, are under investigation?


Mark Lowrey is best known as a jazz pianist but he frequently performs in rock, folk and hip-hop settings.

This week's Local Listen features “Milonga For YJ’s,” an Argentinian-inspired track from his album “Tangos For 18th Street.”

Lowrey appears at The Majestic on Thursday, October 1, and at Broadway Kansas City on Friday, October 2.

Daniel Handler and Brian Selznick are royalty when it comes to children's literature. Handler is the mastermind behind Lemony Snicket, and Selznick wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret​, which became a Martin Scorsese film. They talk with Steve Kraske about ideas, writing and imagination.

Last November, a University of Kansas student was expelled for posting derogatory tweets about his ex-girlfriend and fellow KU student. The case went to the Kansas Court of Appeals which last week handed down its ruling, finding for that student and ordering his reinstatement.


For hundreds of classic movies in danger of being forgotten, the Film Noir Foundation is here to save the day. The organization is dedicated to preserving and restoring 35 millimeter films for future generations, as well as maintaining noir culture. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Democrat Missouri Rep. Jeremy LaFaver from District 025 provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the future of Democrats in Missouri, Planned Parenthood, and Tobacco taxes.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.


  • Jeremy LaFaver, Rep. from District 025, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Meredith Adams, Citizen
  • Cody Newill, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

Why do reusable shopping bags make you want to buy more junk food? How do people get stuck in boring jobs? NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam regularly scours social science research to bring us these questions and their answers. 

The Royals won the division title, and are looking forward to the postseason, still riding high on last year's World Series appearance. Up to Date host Steve Kraske talks with KCUR's Greg Echlin about the team's performance so far and if the boys in blue are ready for another run to win it all.

After the mortgage meltdown and bank bailouts that kicked off the Great Recession, many were pointing fingers at those who were supposed to foresee these catastrophes, economists. Steve Kraske talks with one who defends his profession, saying economists' ideas have contributed $1 trillion to this country’s economy.


  • Robert Litan, author of "Trillion Dollar Economists: How Economists and Their Ideas Have Transformed Business"
Chronicle Books

Up to Date host Steve Kraske makes no bones about it, he does not like cats. Find out if Francesco Marciuliano and KCUR staffers can change his mind as they explore Marciuliano's humorous book, You Need More Sleep: Advice From Cats.

They were not the best of friends but, as the two first female Supreme Court Justices, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were allies on key cases affecting the rights of women. Linda Hirshman, author of Sisters in Law, describes the lives and relationship of these two remarkable women.

Ernest James Zydeco combines the funky styles of the bandleader’s native Louisiana with the good-time blues and swing of Kansas City. Local Listen features “Tough Times Waltz,” a selection from the band’s new album “Automatic Harvester.”

Ernest James Zydeco performs Friday, September 25, at BB’s Lawnside BBQ and Saturday, September 26, at Llywelyn’s Pub.

Robert Huffstutter / Flickr--CC

From the street to the stage, creative folks are sharing their talents and wares this weekend.

And you know what that means: You get to be creative, too, because it takes a creative mind to fully appreciate one. That might explain why you and I get along so well. Glad to be on the same creative team!

Plaza Art Fair

His character, Jerry, was the butt of numerous jokes on NBC's Parks and Recreation which ran for seven years. Actor Jim O'Heir fills in Steve Kraske on what went on at last weekend's Emmy Awards, what it was like working on Parks & Rec and the reason he's in town.

Jim O'Heir appears in 'You Can't Take It With You' at the New Theatre Restaurant September 24 through November 29. For more information go to newtheatre.com

Byron Motley

Byron Motley was born in Kansas City, Mo. but the first time he stepped off the plane in Cuba he knew he was home. He talks with Steve Kraske about expressing his love for the country and its people in his book Embracing Cuba

Undocumented immigrants are a hot topic in the presidential race, but every year, thousands of people complete the process to come to America legally. On this edition of Up to Date, we look at the twists and turns in the process to become a permanent resident of the United States.


Getting a job can be tough--even impossible-- when you've been in prison. On this edition of Up to Date, we talk with a Lawrence man who started the non-profit Sun Cedar specifically to give these people a fresh start in the workplace.


  • Shine Adams, founder of Sun Cedar 
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Republican Kansas Rep. Stephanie Clayton from Overland Park, provides an insider perspective on the Kansas Legislature as we discuss education, sales tax, and government transparency. 

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.


  • Stephanie Clayton, Rep. for the 19th District, Kansas Legislature 
  • David Jordan, citizen from Lawrence, Kansas 
  • Steve Vockrodt, Staff Writer, The Pitch

The third annual conference of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (KSTEP) was held recently in Manhattan. Steve Kraske talks with KCUR's CJ Janovy who covered the conference and one of the event's presenters about the challenges and advances of transgender residents of the Sunflower State.


Methamphetamine production has declined significantly in Missouri, but users of the drug have not decreased  due to a cheaper version coming from Mexico. Steve Kraske talks with Jim Salter of the Associated Press about the new supply and why Kansas City has more access to it.

Get some vicarious adrenaline with a group of mountaineers and take a road trip with an unusual grandma in Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics' choices this weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Meru, R

  • It is visually stunning. It is incredibly intense, suspenseful— it’s got everything going for it. I would put Meru on the top of any list that has to do with mountaineering.

Phoenix, PG-13

wikimedia commons

Sports fans understand inertia; after all, it’s Red Thursday, Blue October is just around the corner, and we’re not moving from the couch. But what about the teams we’re watching? How much does momentum matter? Commentator Victor Wishna propels us through the theories in this month’s edition of A Fan’s Notes.

In 2014, in South Sudan, Ken Payumo faced an angry government official and soldiers demanding access to the 12,000 civilians taking refuge from the civil war in the United Nations compound behind him. He tells Steve Kraske of the incredible step he took to save their lives while endangering his own.


KCUR's Political Pundits join Steve Kraske to discuss the ascendant Donald Trump, and the second GOP presidential debate.


  • Dave Helling is the Kansas City Star's political reporter.
  • Burdett Loomis is a professor of political scientist at the University of Kansas.
  • Jessica Lee is an assistant professor at KU's School of Business.