Courtesy Mudstomp Records

As a child prodigy on harmonica back in the 1990s, Brody Buster was once one of Kansas City’s most notable musical exports. He appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and on an episode of the sitcom “Full House.”

But Buster's fame was as fleeting as his youth. The disturbing 90-minute documentary "How Did This Happen" documents Buster’s decline from child star to relatively obscure bar band musician.

3 reasons we're listening to Brody Buster this week:

Zach Bauman

The Anniversary, a band from Lawrence, earned national recognition before it broke up in 2004, but the band has reunited for a national tour that concludes in their hometown on Saturday.

3 reasons we're listening to The Anniversary this week:

ivabalk / Pixabay / Public Domain

While some passengers may find the additional fees for carry-on bags to be an annoying part of traveling, a group of economists led by a University of Kansas professor found that these fees have actually had a positive impact on the flying experience as a whole.

Mazhar Arikan, who teaches at KU's School of Business, published the findings in this study

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

In major college football, there were only two teams in the country last season that failed to win a single game—Central Florida and Kansas. The Jayhawks play their first game of the season this Saturday.

The crimson and blue program is buoyed by a corps of fans even during their struggles last year.

In KU’s season opener last year against South Dakota State, the Jayhawks never got the chance to kick the potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds. As a result, South Dakota State won, 41-38.

McKinnon Motorsports

For anyone who knows Elyse McKinnon, it’s hard to imagine her not tearing down a race track on a motorcycle.

But life without racing is just what the 30-year-old had to consider after a tragic crash in the summer of 2015 left her with a broken back.  

McKinnon and her husband, Chris McKinnon, of Lawrence, Kansas, have been avid motorcyclists since moving to the Midwest from Florida shortly after Elyse graduated from college.

Elyse says her competitive drive prompted her transition from weekend rider to competitive drag racer.

Michael Byars / KCUR 89.3

Taryn Miller is a musician from Winfield, Kansas, who plays under the moniker Your Friend. She was signed to Domino Records, home of Animal Collective and Blood Orange, in 2014, and the label re-released Miller's first self-produced EP, Jekyl/Hyde. After graduating from the University of Kansas, she jumped straight into working on a full-length album and touring internationally. 

Ian Echlin / KCUR 89.3

One of the focal points in the Olympics this summer will be swimmer Michael Phelps. Another swimmer, whose first name is Michael and lives outside Lawrence, Kansas, narrowly missed out on the Olympics this year. He’s 17, and big things are predicted of him despite an unconventional training path.

So big that ESPN The Magazine claims that the family of Michael Andrew says he can become this generation’s Michael Phelps. Andrew’s parents don’t recall saying that.

Regardless, Andrew became one of the most talked about swimmers who failed to make the Olympics.

Last month, the Simons family sold the Lawrence Journal-World after 125 years of local ownership. Now, the other shoe has dropped. We talk with one of the 30 staffers who was laid off last week. What does it mean for Lawrence and for the future of journalism?


  • Karen Dillon, journalist
Rooftop Vigilantes' Bandcamp Page

The Lawrence garage-rock band Rooftop Vigilantes celebrates the release of its new album Let It Be this weekend.

Rooftop Vigilantes is a proudly sloppy band. Every song on Let It Be is shorter than three minutes. It’s possible this penchant for brevity may be rooted in an inability to maintain focus for more than a few minutes at a time.

3 reasons we’re listening to Rooftop Vigilantes this week

Hopper Stone - © 2016 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In 1984, Ghostbusters was the top-grossing comedy of all time ... and a cultural phenomenon. (Remember those "I've been slimed" T-shirts?)

We review the new version, along with the legacy of the original. Plus, we hear some of Kansas City's ghost stories.


Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Ghostly, metallic-hued faces stare out from century-old photographs. They neatly line the walls on narrow shelves in Nick Vaccaro’s home office in Lawrence, Kansas.

“Let me get this out of the way,” said Vaccaro, as he opened the door of a lighted display and reached in for a small leather case. Inside, there’s a tintype: an innovation from the 1860s that brought photography to the masses.

Paul Andrews/

Chuck Magerl grew up surrounded by family history.

During Prohibition, his grandfather was sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary for distributing alcohol.

One great-great grandfather was the sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri --  in 1869, the governor of Missouri sent a letter, authorizing him to capture Frank and Jesse James, dead or alive.

Another ancestor ran a saloon in Kansas City; a ledger book shows he paid $7 per barrel of beer in 1909.

He was a pioneer in the local craft beer and artisanal food movement before those were really a thing. Meet Chuck Magerl, the man who worked to change the liquor laws in Kansas to open the Free State Brewing Company — the first legal brewery in the state after Prohibition.


Courtesy High Dive Records

Psychic Heat
Sunshower (High Dive)

The first impression Psychic Heat makes is volume, no matter how high you have the dial turned up. That’s volume in the auditory and spatial senses of the word: loudness, fullness and energy. Psychic Heat is a garage band, a rock ‘n’ roll machine, an uncaged beast.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons--CC

Four former governors have banded together to “Save Kansas” from Gov. Sam Brownback and his supporters.

In a letter circulated Friday, former Govs. Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Graves, Mike Hayden and John Carlin urged Kansas Democrats, Republicans and Independents to band together “to regain our fiscal health and stop the calculated destruction of our revenue stream and our educational, healthcare, and transportation systems.

At one point, the Lawrence Journal-World was known for its innovative cable and web ventures, long before other newspapers. But after 125 years, the Simons family is selling the paper to a company that's based in West Virginia.

We explore the impact that this particular family business has had in Lawrence ... as well as what it means for coverage of local and state issues.


Paul Andrews /

In 1975, Paul Stephen Lim, a KU student, was struggling to write a short story.

One night, at a party, he was chatting with a theater professor about his writing problem.

“Maybe it doesn’t want to be a short story,” the professor suggested. “Maybe it wants to be a play.”

And, with that advice, Lim forged a new path.

A Scripted Life

Jun 3, 2016

The first play he ever wrote, as a KU student, won a national college playwriting award from the Kennedy Center. Meet Paul Stephen Lim, a retired KU professor and acclaimed playwright.



Taking a page from entrepreneur’s books, the University of Kansas is turning to social media to help fund new projects.

Launch KU is a crowdfunding platform that will help fund smaller university projects. It started in November 2015, with the goal of allowing people to contribute smaller amounts to help fund university projects.

David Decker is the senior director of annual giving, which oversees Launch KU. He says budget issues nationwide have led some universities take innovative approaches to raise money.

We chat with the creators of Red Bird, a new web series out of Lawrence. It tells the story of Kitty Mae, who is seeking revenge after Quantrill's Raid.


  • Jeremy Osbern and Misti Boland, co-creators of Red Bird

Working For The Weekend

May 2, 2016
James Carr / Wikipedia

The weekend is a beloved institution. It allows us time "for what we will." It also has a storied past in America. That history, plus an examination of the work week in transition. Are we losing the 40-hour work week and with it the weekend? Or are we gaining flexibility?


Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As far as university presidents go, Venida Chenault is anything but ordinary. When she says she understands the circumstances some underserved college students are faced with, she really means it.

As one of five siblings raised in Topeka by a single mother, her family sometimes relied on government assistance to make ends meet. Chenault is now the seventh president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, but she used to pay the bills by cleaning hotel rooms and working as a secretary.

rolandojones / Flickr-CC

This story was updated at 1:58 p.m. to include the comments of a KU spokeswoman.

A second University of Kansas student has sued the university after she says she was sexually assaulted by the same football player who allegedly raped a former student who sued KU last month.

Calah D. Johnson, 35, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of a woman shot while driving her family home from Starlight Theatre on July 17, 2009.

For years, police weren’t sure who murdered 45-year-old Deanna Lieber, the top attorney for the Kansas Department of Education. Lieber’s daughter, then 13, and mother-in-law were also in the car, which was traveling south on U.S. 71 near 59th Street when a stray bullet struck Lieber. The family was headed home to Lawrence.

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.

Julia Szabo / KCUR


Name: Chris Orlando
Number of years teaching: 4
Grade: 8th
School: Southwest Middle School (Lawrence)

"You taught me the skill of empathy really early on."

For 7th grade Social Studies teacher Chris Orlando, teaching isn’t about facts; it’s about building relationships with students and teaching life skills. This drive, Orlando says, comes from the relationship with his mom, Pat Lorenz, who has been an educator for more than 30 years. 

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and upended the lives of people who called the city home.

Mike and Katie West lived in the Lower Ninth Ward, and in the time since the hurricane, they have relocated to Lawrence, Kansas.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Artists for the East Ninth Street Project in Lawrence were announced Tuesday – and all have ties to Kansas or Missouri. The project calls for streetscape improvements and art along 9th Street from downtown to the city’s east side, to help make the corridor more walkable and bike-friendly.  

Porter Arneill, public art administrator for Kansas City, Missouri, and director of the Municipal Art Commission since 2002, is leaving for a new position in Lawrence, Kansas, where he'll be director of arts and culture. His last day on the job in Kansas City is April 22. 

"The past 13 years with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, have been tremendously rewarding for me and it's clear the city is moving in a good direction, particularly through the realms of art, craft, design and culture!" Arneill wrote in an email.

A native of St. Louis, Arneill trained as a sculptor and earned his master's degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art. But in the 1990s, he turned to arts administration.