Radio Interviews

KCUR, Kansas City's local NPR station, hosts on its programs many of the authors and speakers that visit the Library. This page lists these interviews and provides links for you to listen to the programs.

  • Local historian Joelouis Mattox leads a discussion of fun places in Kansas City that have a less than stellar reputation. One such place is the Green Duck Tavern on Prospect Avenue.
    Great Places with Bad Reputations - Joelouis Mattox
    Sunday, October 11, 2015
    Lucile H. Bluford Branch

    Kansas City’s Green Duck Tavern, at 26th Street and Prospect Avenue, was once an unassuming seat of power, owned by politician and civil rights activist Leon Jordan and a place for him and other leaders of the political organization Freedom, Inc., to map out strategy. A recent addition to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places, it also is where Jordan was gunned down gangland-style one early morning in 1970.

    Joelouis Mattox, who serves as historian for the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, discusses the Green Duck and other notable places in KC with … um, checkered reputations. Also among them: the Castle Theater at 12th and Paseo; the Rhythm Lanes Skating Rink, Ray’s Golden Lounge, and Inferno Lounge on Troost; the Carver Theater and the Linwood Theater, both on Prospect; and Party House and the Log Cabin Lounge, both on 31st.

  • Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich worries that the economic recovery is bypassing most Americans. Reich examines how the economic system that helped make our country strong is now failing us. And he lays out what’s needed to fix it.
    Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few - Robert B. Reich
    Monday, October 5, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich worries that America’s economic recovery is bypassing most Americans. Adjusted for inflation, median hourly and weekly pay has dropped over the past year. Since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009, median household income has fallen nearly 4.5 percent. Well-funded special interests have been allowed to tilt the market to their benefit, shrinking the middle class and creating the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in 80 years.

    In a discussion of his new book, Reich examines how the economic system that helped make our country strong is now failing us. And he lays out what’s needed to fix it. Many of today’s workers aren’t paid what they’re worth. A higher minimum wage doesn’t equal fewer jobs. And corporations needn’t serve shareholders before employees.

  • Two of youth literature’s best-known authors discuss their new books – Daniel Handler’s Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? and Brian Selznick’s highly anticipated The Marvels – and their overall works.
    Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Brian Selznick
    Saturday, September 26, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Two of youth literature’s best-known authors discuss their new books—Daniel Handler’s Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? and Brian Selznick’s highly anticipated The Marvels—and their overall works.

    Co-presented by Reading Reptile and co-sponsored by The Rabbit Hole.

  • Kicking off a two-month, citywide celebration of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Mark Burstein – former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America – discusses the impact that Carroll’s story and characters have had on literary and popular culture.
    What Is It About Alice? - Mark Burstein
    Wednesday, September 16, 2015
    Central Library

    Few literary works are more quoted, translated, and adapted than Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the 1865 publication of the tale of a young girl who falls through a rabbit hole into a world full of curious characters.

    Kicking off a two-month, citywide celebration of the book, Mark Burstein—former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America—discusses the impact that Carroll’s story and characters have had on literary and popular culture.

  • On the 10th anniversary of the publication of his seminal, Kansas City-based novel, UMKC’s Whitney Terrell joins a discussion of its themes of prejudice, greed, and segregation. How much has the city’s racial climate changed in the past decade?
    The King of Kings County
    Wednesday, September 9, 2015
    Central Library

    Whitney Terrell’s novel, The King of Kings County, remains a landmark examination of white flight and the manipulative, prejudice-laced real estate practices that helped to segregate Kansas City. Selected as a best book of 2005 by the Christian Science Monitor, its inquiry into the economic roots of racial inequality feels even more current today.

    On the 10th anniversary of its publication, Terrell—assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City—revisits the issues he explored in the book. Has the city’s racial climate changed in the past decade? If so, how? If not, why? Joining the discussion are Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Kansas City and new Black Archives of Mid-America Manager Emiel Cleaver. Gina Kaufmann, the host of KCUR-FM’s Central Standard, moderates.

  • Irish-born comedian David Nihill looks at how stand-up comedy principles can be applied to public speaking in a discussion of his book Do You Talk Funny? 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (And Funnier) Public Speaker.
    Do You Talk Funny? - David Nihill
    Thursday, September 3, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    You’re scheduled to give a business presentation, pitch investors, or deliver a wedding toast. And you’re petrified. You’re simply not cut out for public speaking.

    David Nihill has walked—and talked—in your shoes. The Irish-born comedian and public speaker went from being deathly afraid of standing in front of an audience to regularly performing stand-up routines and winning storytelling competitions in front of packed houses. He did it by learning from some of the world’s best public speakers: stand-up comics.

  • In conjunction with Women’s Equality Week in Kansas City, Jessica Neuwirth – founder of the women’s rights organization Equality Now – discusses her new book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment Is Now.
    Equal Means Equal - Jessica Neuwirth
    Wednesday, August 26, 2015
    Central Library

    Jessica Neuwirth, founder of the women’s rights organization Equality Now, discusses her new book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for an Equal Rights Amendment Is Now.

    In a series of short, accessible chapters looking at several key areas of sex discrimination recognized by the Supreme Court, Equal Means Equal tells the story of the legal cases that inform the need for an Equal Rights Amendment, along with contemporary cases in which women’s rights are compromised without the protection of an ERA.

    Neuwirth has worked with Amnesty International, the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She has lectured for Harvard Law School on women's rights and holds degrees from Harvard Law School and Yale University.

  • Bobbi Baker, president and CEO of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, discusses efforts to re-brand Independence Avenue and its array of ethnic restaurants and grocery, jewelry, and apparel stores as Kansas City’s International Market Place.
    International Market Place - Bobbi Baker
    Wednesday, August 12, 2015
    Central Library

    Travel the world without leaving Kansas City.

    Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Bobbi Baker discusses efforts to re-brand Independence Avenue as Kansas City’s International Market Place.

    Independence Avenue is home to a number of ethnic grocers, jewelry and apparel stores, and some of the best restaurants in Kansas City; but many outside of the Northeast have never heard of them, let alone visited.

  • Historian Adrian Burgos Jr. and Raymond Doswell of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum discuss the early struggles and now-growing impact of Latinos on big-league baseball – including their prominent role in the Kansas City Royals’ success
    They, Too, Played America's Game - Adrian Burgos Jr., Raymond Doswell
    Thursday, August 6, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    The influence of Latinos on America's pastime has increased significantly in the past two decades—they now account for more than a quarter of all players in baseball’s major leagues—and their early struggles and emergence parallel the integration of American society as a whole. The Kansas City Royals, whose current roster features 11 players from Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, epitomize their current prominence.

    Adrian Burgos Jr., professor of history, African American studies, and Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois and author of Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line, and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Vice President Raymond Doswell discuss this growing Latino imprint as part of the Latinos in America: 500 Years of History series in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council, under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

  • Drawing from seven years of work on his documentary, The Story of the Ozark Music Festival: 3 Days of Sodom & Gomorrah in Sedalia, Missouri, filmmaker Jefferson Lujin discusses a Woodstock-esque weekend of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in July 1974.
    Sodom and Gomorrah in Sedalia: The 1974 Ozark Music Festival
    Sunday, July 19, 2015
    Central Library

    In July 1974, an estimated 100,000 members—and probably more—of the Woodstock generation descended on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia for a weekend of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Amid the sweltering heat and the sounds of such popular bands as the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and REO Speedwagon, they effectively overwhelmed the beleaguered town.

    While considered the era’s “forgotten festival,” the episode still stirs both hard feelings among locals and fonder memories for its (then) youthful concertgoers.

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