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.

  • Lennon and McCartney. Jobs and Wozniak. Writer Joshua Wolf Shenk sits down with native Kansan and author Robert Day to discuss Shenk’s new book about the rewards of one-to-one collaboration, Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.
    Powers of Two - Joshua Wolf Shenk, Robert Day
    Wednesday, April 29, 2015
    Central Library

    Granted, there are creative lone wolves out there. But history and social psychology tell us that success stems far more often from one-to-one collaboration. Think John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

    Writer Joshua Wolf Shenk sits down with native Kansan and former colleague Robert Day to discuss the elements and impact of creative chemistry and Shenk’s new, science-backed book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.

  • There is a resurgence of interest among today’s home buyers and sellers in the classic, 20th-century ranch house. Mary van Balgooy, the biographer of influential architect and ranch house pioneer Cliff May, discusses this modernistic, uniquely American architectural creation.
    The Postwar Dream Home: The Ranch House
    Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    The ranch house became an integral part of the vocabulary of the U.S. housing market after World War II, when the demand for a single-family home reached record levels.

    Today, there is a resurgence of interest in this modernistic, uniquely American architectural creation and a new generation of homebuyers is discovering its allure. Mary van Balgooy, a leading authority on the ranch house and biographer of influential architect and ranch house pioneer Cliff May, discusses the legendary builder, the ranch home’s influences and features, and the race to preserve it.

  • German-Nigerian author Jennifer Teege joins the Library’s Kaite Stover for a public conversation about Teege’s awful discovery – that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.
    My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me - Jennifer Teege
    Thursday, April 16, 2015
    Central Library

    Sifting through the stacks of her local library in Hamburg, Germany, Jennifer Teege happened upon a book that first fascinated and then staggered her. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother, she made the horrifying discovery that her grandfather was Amon Goeth – the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List.

    The more Teege read, the more certain she became: If Goeth had met her, a German-Nigerian black woman, he would have killed her.

    Teege, who was given up by her mother when very young, sits down with the Library’s Kaite Stover during National Library Week for a public conversation about the revelation and Teege’s subsequent quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family’s haunted history. She chronicles the story in her book with award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair.

  • Nearing the end of the 10th anniversary year of the opening of Kansas City’s downtown Central Library, educator and technology expert John Palfrey discusses his new book and the assertion that libraries – while still essential – must embrace a digital future to survive.
    BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google
    Wednesday, April 8, 2015
    Central Library

    The importance of libraries continues to grow. More than book repositories, they can serve as bulwarks against some of the most critical challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information.

    Yet educator and technology expert John Palfrey maintains they’re imperiled and must evolve. The world is rapidly modernizing. Government funding is dwindling.

    Nearing the end of the 10th anniversary year of the opening of Kansas City’s elegant downtown Central Library, the head of Massachusetts’ esteemed Phillips Academy discusses his soon-to-be released book, BiblioTech, and suggests changes he says are vital to libraries’ survival. He urges them to move toward a digital future as quickly as possible—converting print material and ensuring that born-digital items are publicly available online—while continuing to fill their vital, longtime role as public spaces.

  • Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular on the public radio program Marketplace and producer and host of the popular podcast The Broad Experience, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.
    Being Boss-y: A Conversation About Women and Men in the Workplace - Ashley Milne-Tyte
    Tuesday, April 7, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Women comprise about half of the U.S. labor force, including half of all professional and management positions. But they account for fewer than 15 percent of the executive officers of Fortune 500 companies.

    How are both women and men perceived in the workplace? How does that affect the way they feel about themselves? Ashley Milne-Tyte, a regular contributor to Public Radio International’s Marketplace and producer and host of the podcast The Broad Experience: A Conversation About Women, the Workplace, and Success, examines the ways in which gender affects people’s working lives.

  • KCUR’s Gina Kaufmann moderates a conversation among young stakeholders about the revival of Kansas City’s West Bottoms and what the future may hold for an area that has emerged as a destination for restaurants, art studios, vintage shops, and other businesses.
    The Future of the West Bottoms
    Thursday, March 19, 2015
    Central Library

    As underscored by The Huffington Post six months ago, when it named Kansas City one of America’s “coolest” cities, things are looking bright for the onetime cowtown. While much of the buzz is about downtown’s revitalization, the historic West Bottoms has slowly and quietly undergone its own transformation over the past decade, emerging as a destination for restaurants, art studios, vintage shops, and other businesses.

    What is behind the revival, and what does the future hold for the West Bottoms? Gina Kaufmann, host of KCUR’s Central Standard, moderates a timely conversation with local stakeholders.

  • Strategic adviser Amy Wilkinson interviewed 200 leading entrepreneurs – including the founders of eBay, Under Armour, LinkedIn, and Dropbox – and distilled six fundamental strategies that helped them rise to the top. She shares her findings in a discussion of her new book.
    The Creator's Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs
    Tuesday, March 3, 2015
    Plaza Branch

    Each of us has the capacity to spot opportunities, invent products, and build businesses – even $100 million businesses. We just have to know how to crack the code.

    Strategic adviser Amy Wilkinson presents the keys to turning ideas into enduring enterprises in a discussion of her new book. From interviews with 200 of today’s leading entrepreneurs, including the founders of eBay, Under Armour, Chipotle, LinkedIn, Tesla Motors, JetBlue Airways, and Dropbox, she has distilled six fundamental strategies that helped them rise to the top. Creators, she finds, are not born but made. They work at it, sharing skills that can be learned, practiced, and passed on. Wilkinson passes them along to you.

    Co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Former Kansas City Mayor Richard L. Berkley, an avid photographer, has snapped thousands of photos of the political leaders, entertainers, and other celebrities he has met. He offers an illustrated retrospective coinciding with an exhibit at the Central Library.
    A Mayor, a Camera, a Life in Pictures - Dick Berkley
    Sunday, February 8, 2015
    Central Library

    Richard L. Berkley once said, “I like meeting people.” Before, during, and after his record three-term tenure as Kansas City’s mayor — from 1979 to 1991 — he met hundreds of political leaders, entertainers, sports stars, and other celebrities. Most times, he asked to take their pictures. Berkley’s personal collection ranges from images of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to shots of Bo Jackson, George Brett, Annie Liebovitz, and Joanne Woodward.

  • Kenneth Armitage, an emeritus professor of behavioral ecology at the University of Kansas, knows more about the furry star of Groundhog Day than perhaps anyone. On its eve, he discusses the cultural influences of this unique celebration and offers insight into the marmot’s real life.
    Marmots on My Mind - Kenneth Armitage
    Sunday, February 1, 2015
    Central Library

    Nobody knows more about the four-legged star of Groundhog Day than Kenneth Armitage.

    An emeritus professor of behavioral ecology at the University of Kansas, Armitage has studied marmots — whose family tree includes the groundhog — for some 50 years. So great is his reputation that Sony turned to him when it released a 15th-anniversary edition of the movie Groundhog Day in 2008, enlisting the master of the marmot to talk on camera about the mammal’s “real life” for a DVD extra.

    Armitage visits the Library on the eve of the nation’s observance of Groundhog Day to discuss the cultural influences of this unique celebration and offer insight into the marmot itself. His presentation coincides with the publication of a new book based upon Armitage’s decades of research, Marmot Biology: Sociality, Individual Fitness, and Population Dynamics.

  • Nancy Peterson Hill discusses her book about the lawyer, activist, advisor – and largely anonymous but important American – who championed academic freedom, successfully challenged good friend Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court, and worked to promote civil rights in the 1950s and ’60s.
    A Very Private Public Citizen: The Life of Grenville Clark - Nancy Peterson Hill
    Thursday, January 22, 2015
    Central Library

    Behind Batman stood Alfred. Behind James Bond stood Q. And behind some of the most influential figures of the past century, from presidents to diplomats to Supreme Court justices, stood Grenville Clark.

    The New York-born lawyer, activist, and advisor championed academic freedom, fought a successful public battle with good friend Franklin Roosevelt over FDR’s attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court, and worked closely with the NAACP to uphold civil rights during the tumultuous 1950s and ’60s. He devoted his last decades to a quest for world peace through limited but enforceable world law.

    Writer Nancy Peterson Hill, administrator of the Diastole Scholars’ Center affiliated with UMKC, discusses her new book on this largely anonymous, but immensely important, American.