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.

  • The Brookings Institution’s  Bruce Katz joins a panel of experts for a conversation about how cities - not the federal government - are creating more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports and sustainability.
    The Metropolitan Revolution
    Wednesday, January 15, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    In the face of federal gridlock, economic stagnation, and fiscal turmoil, power in the United States is shifting away from Washington and toward our major metropolitan areas.

    In a discussion of his new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, Brookings Institution Vice President Bruce Katz describes how the emerging metropolitan-led "next economy" will produce more and better jobs driven by innovation, exports, and sustainability.

  • Military historian Richard Barbuto commemorates the 199th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in which the vaunted British Army suffered defeat at the hands of makeshift American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson.
    Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans
    Wednesday, January 8, 2014
    Central Library

    On January 8, 1815 — 199 years ago — the vaunted British Army suffered an epic defeat by makeshift American forces under the command of Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in what became the closing act of the War of 1812. Jackson’s remarkably improbable victory, which took place two weeks after the peace treaty ending the war had been signed, brought him national acclaim and led directly to his election to the presidency in 1828.

    Richard Barbuto, deputy director of the department of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, delves into this triumph of American arms, the last time U.S. and British forces ever fought against each other.

  • Enjoy a presentation by local author/illustrator Shane Evans, who discusses his collaboration with actor Taye Diggs on the children’s book Chocolate Me!. Then view a screening of his “chocolatementary.” Appropriate for all ages.
    Chocolate Me!
    Saturday, December 7, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Kansas City’s Shane W. Evans, who has earned national acclaim as the illustrator of more than two dozen children’s books, will discuss his latest work, Chocolate Me!, at the Kansas City Public Library’s Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 2 p.m.

  • Drawing from his book Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy, historian Phillip G. Payne examines what is widely regarded as the most corrupt presidency in American history.
    Warren G. Harding - Phillip Payne
    Thursday, November 21, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    If George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the saints in America’s civil religion, then the 29th president, Warren G. Harding, is our sinner, consistently judged a failure and ranked dead last among his peers.

  • Biographer Terry Teachout discusses his new book about Duke Ellington, the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century — and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand.
    Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington
    Wednesday, November 20, 2013
    Central Library

    Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century – and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. Biographer Terry Teachout sheds new light on this creative genius in a discussion of his new book about the grandson of a slave who wrote such classics as “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

    Teachout, a Kansas City resident from 1975 to 1983, is the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and the play Satchmo at the Waldorf. For The Wall Street Journal, he is drama critic and the author of “Sightings,” a column about the arts in America. He is the critic-at-large at Commentary, and writes the blog About Last Night.

  • Journalist and historian Max Holland looks at the Zapruder film, the famous home movie of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, discussing how it was made, its status as the dominant record of a national tragedy, and how it has helped and hindered our understanding of that traumatic day in Dallas.
    Images from an Assassination
    Wednesday, November 13, 2013
    Central Library

    Several hundred spectators in Dealey Plaza witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Everyone else experienced it through the eyes of Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder, whose home movie of the shooting is among the most famous – and closely examined – films in history.

    Journalist and historian Max Holland looks at the Zapruder film, delving into how it came to be, its exalted status as the dominant document of a national tragedy, and how it has helped – or hindered - our understanding of precisely what happened 50 years ago this month.

  • Writer Deborah Shouse discusses her book about caring for her aging mother. She is joined by storyteller Ron Zoglin and Alzheimer’s expert  Michelle Niedens.
    Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey
    Sunday, November 10, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    During her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, Deborah Shouse explored ways to connect with her and developed new rituals to anchor holidays and other celebrations. She is joined by Ron Zoglin, a professional storyteller, and Michelle Niedens, education director of the Heart of America Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, for a discussion of her book, which offers humor and hope to family members, friends, and caregivers.

  • Author and funeral reform advocate Joshua Slocum examines the new movement to allow survivors a greater hand in final rites, from home burials and green burials to direct arrangements with a crematory.
    Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death
    Friday, November 1, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Abuse of consumers by the funeral industry has only worsened in the decades since Jessica Mitford’s landmark expose The American Way of Death. But a funeral consumer movement is awakening, as Joshua Slocum explains in a discussion of his book Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.

    As with natural childbirth and hospice care, Americans are asserting their right to take charge of this major event in their lives. Many still want the help of a funeral director – but to assist, not direct. And many are handling it themselves with home burials, green burials, or direct arrangements with a crematory.

  • New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam holds a public conversation with prize-winning writer Charles Baxter about his work and his new collection of short stories, Gryphon: New and Selected Stories.
    Gryphon: New and Selected Stories - Charles Baxter
    Monday, October 21, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In Gryphon, his career-spanning collection of short stories, author Charles Baxter offers yarns in which our acutely observed reality is rocked by the exotic, the surreal, and by Baxter’s comic-melancholic world view.

    Now Baxter—whose novel The Feast of Love was a National Book Award finalist and became a feature film starring Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear—holds a discussion about his work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

  • Former Royals great Willie Wilson discusses his 19 seasons as a Major League Baseball player, his record-setting career, and the drug conviction that might have ruined his life at the official launch of his new memoir, Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life.
    Inside the Park: Running the Base Path of Life
    Wednesday, October 9, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Former Kansas City Royal Willie Wilson retired from Major League Baseball with 668 stolen bases (ranking 12th all-time) and 13 inside-the-park home runs (the most of any major leaguer playing after 1950). He was also among the first active major league players to serve jail time, having pled guilty to misdemeanor drug charges in 1983.

    Now Wilson and his co-author, former Kansas City Star sportswriter Kent Pulliam, discuss his life and career as chronicled in a new memoir.

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