Gina Kaufmann | KCUR

Gina Kaufmann

Host, Central Standard

Gina’s background combines print and broadcast journalism, live event hosting and production, creative nonfiction writing and involvement in the arts. Early in her career, she followed a cultural beat for The Pitch, where she served as an editor and art writer in the early 2000s.

She also worked as a contributing editor of Heeb magazine out of New York, assisting with the Heeb Storytelling series and ultimately starting her own live storytelling event series in Kansas City. Gina got her public radio chops working first as an intern for KC Currents with Sylvia Maria Gross, then as a co-host of The Walt Bodine Show.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Ways to Connect

In a show inspired by the film Hidden Figures, we hear local stories, like the story of Ed Dwight, a KCK native, came close to being the black man on a multiracial mission to the moon dreamed up by John F. Kennedy. This show has been rebroadcast, in 2020, as a tribute to the memory of NASA mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson, whose huge role in historic space launches was not well-known until Hidden Figures came out. She died this week at the age of 101. Guests: 

Segment 1: Local musician AY has a new song out about his experience as a male victim of domestic abuse.

When he was going through the experience, he didn't know where to turn for help or how to talk about it. Now he's sharing his story to open up the conversation about who gets abused by who. Researchers and support organizations say that while intimate partner violence can happen to anyone, it's harder to get help and find the right resources if you're a man.

Segment 1: A Lawrence poet is coming out with the first book of fast food poetry.

Danny Caine's new book reviews chain restaurants with poetry, touching on parenting and how they shaped his identity as a Midwesterner along the way. We'll also hear Caine's feelings on Amazon. As a local bookstore owner, he has recently become a central voice in the movement against its influence.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In February 1920, the owners of eight independently owned black baseball teams met in Kansas City at the Paseo YMCA and the Negro National League was born. It was not the first all-black baseball league, but it's the one that modernized the negro leagues and it was the last before integration.

The Negro Leagues Baseball centennial is being celebrated this year all over the country. But if it weren't for a Kansas City man who grew up in the same neighborhood as a handful of former players for the Kansas City Monarchs, we might not even know this history.

Phil Dixon is more than an expert on the Negro Leagues. He's an ambassador for stories that might've been lost without him. 

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, we're taking some time to get to know one of the people who knows more about its history and players than anyone else. Before Phil Dixon was the author of nine books and a cross-country traveler, he was just a kid playing baseball in segregated Kansas City, Kansas obsessed with baseball cards.

Here's the deal with potholes in Kansas City and beyond.

It feels like potholes are everywhere in Kansas City, especially if you listened to Mayor Quinton Lucas' recent speech. That's why we're devoting a full hour to studying the pothole from different angles with people who are taking matters into their own hands. After all, potholes may be universally hated, but they don't impact everyone in the same way.

The comedy about moral philosophy just wrapped up its fourth and final season.

NBC's The Good Place captured the imaginations of people across all kinds of faiths because of the way it imagined what happens when we die. It also touched on existentialism and what it means to be human. After all, what does it mean to be a "good" person in our morally compromised world? What does it mean to be a "medium" person? (Listeners beware: spoilers will be aplenty).

Seg. 1: The famously dry comedian is coming to Kansas City and we're here for it.

You might remember her as the comedian who did a set about getting cancer, but there's a lot more to her awkward sense of humor, which she'll be bringing to the Uptown later this month.

Seg. 2, beginning at 14:49: The restaurant owner/chef is mixing things up in the Kansas City food scene.

Segment 1: What does it mean to be presidential?

Imagine a world in which campaigning for president was considered beneath the dignity of the office. That world used to be the United States! It's also one of the many takeaways from a recently published book from the University Press of Kansas that looks into how the office of the president has evolved in America's history. 

Segment 1: Remembering the charismatic restaurant critic who never romanticized food.

It's the first food show since we got news of longtime KCUR food critic Charles Ferruzza's death, so we're taking a moment to remember the special sauce that made Charles Charles one last time.

Segment 1: A KU professor's book explores the sense of place created by our technology.

Where do you live? What is your neighborhood? Is it a physical place — or a digital one? "The Digital City: Media and the Social Production of Place" argues that smartphones are replacing cities. It also looks into how smart cities, like Kansas City, privilege people who already have a lot of resources.

Segment 1: An article from The Atlantic sparked debate over the merits of gym class last year.

Gym class in school is supposed to be fun. But according to a study, it may have a negative impact on students. In today's conversation, we explore the merits of gym and how a new crop of physical education teachers is trying to make P.E. enjoyable for every kid.

Segment 1: Kansas lawmakers are debating a bill to end hair discrimination.

The idea behind the CROWN Act is to ban employers and schools from expecting people of color to adopt "white hair norms" in the workplace and the classroom. 

Segment 1: A key player in Kansas City's hip hop community died unexpectedly.

In addition to being a producer for Ces Cru, Justin "Info Gates" Gillespie started the Beat Academy of Kansas City at the Plaza Academy, touching a lot of teens. Now the hip hop community is banding together to carry on his legacy and make sure those teens will continue to be supported.

Segment 1: Who gets to tell what stories? 

Controversy over a novel called “American Dirt” led to a canceled book tour—a week before author Jeanine Cummins was set to come to Kansas City. Critics have a problem with the fact that Cummins is white, yet wrote a book about a Mexican family trying to make it across the US-Mexico border.

Segment 1: MU and other universities are tracking attendance through a cellphone app.

Developed by a former Mizzou basketball coach, SpotterEDU has been used by MU to track attendance for student athletes for years and now they're expanding its use. MU says students can opt out if they're uncomfortable, but people across the country are concerned by the trend.

Segment 1: A young Kansas City poet reads Dear White Police Officer.

Veronica Clay was one of the featured performers at the Kansas City Jazz Museum for last year's Martin Luther King Day celebration (2019). This is a rebroadcast of a conversation about the poem she read, and her experience of race in Kansas City.

  • Veronica Clay, poet and spoken word artist

Segment 2: What premature birth can teach us about being human.

An ode to a witty and charming food critic that we'll dearly miss.

Segment 1: Meet Kansas City's Veggie Burger Artist

Zaid Consuegra at Pirate's Bone is known for the colorful veggie burgers he's painstakingly developed to be both pretty and tasty. He was recently profiled in Bon Appetit with his photo next to a headline that identified him as "The Undocumented Chef." He shares the story of his life and his burgers.

Segment 1: Research shows white-sounding names curry favor in academic settings.

Xian Zhao's name means something to him. It means something to his parents. That's why he won't adopt what he calls an "anglo name." But his own research suggests he might be missing opportunities because of that.

  • Xian Zhao, researcher, University of Toronto

Segment 2, beginning at 14:47: A recent Calvin Arsenia album is a milestone in his professional and personal growth.

Segment 1: A Kansas native moderated the last Democratic debate in Iowa.

Brianne Pfannenstiel grew up in Lawrence and got her first job in journalism at the Kansas City Star. Now that she's in a state with a huge voice in this year's election, we wanted to know: How does she feel the Midwest is represented in national discourse today? What does she think of Iowa's role specifically? And, what is it like to moderate a national debate?

Segment 1: Where do efforts towards improving pre-K access and quality in Kansas City stand?

In early 2019, a big controversy was Mayor Sly James' push for universal pre-K through a sales tax. Kansas City voters didn't go for the plan on the ballot, but a year later, many people still want something to fill in the gap.

Segment 1: Meet the bar owner who doesn't think the customer is always right.

Caitlin Corcoran has been a force in the Kansas City food scene for a while now, most recently as the woman behind Ça Va. Her outspoken views on how to create a safe restaurant for both customers and staff have also made a name for her nationally. Does it mean that sometimes certain customers don't like her? Yes, but she's not losing sleep over it.

Segment 1: A new kind of Women's March in Kansas City aims to include more diverse voices.

Segment 1: Why do some people say Missou-ree and some say Missou-rah? And what are the political ramifications of saying one or the other?

It turns out we've been having this debate for basically forever, and which way you say it has a lot to do with parts of your identity. Some people feel really strongly there's a right way to say it, while others have never thought much about it. The people that pay the most attention to it are politicians.

Segment 1: Health insurance can be hard to get in Kansas City, especially if you're Latino or an immigrant.

A recent study found that immigrants and U.S. born Latinos account for more than a third of uninsured people in Kansas City, based on the three largest counties in the metro.

Segment 1: What are the big housing and development stories in Kansas City right now?

The guiding question for KCUR's reporters headed into 2020 is: Where will we see cranes? This discussion provides context for an installment of our newsroom's State of Kansas City 2020 series.

Segment 1: The cure to January might be going to a coffee shop inside of a greenhouse. 

We're starting off the first food show of the year at Cafe Equinox at Family Tree Nursery. It's a place where Kansas Citians can experience lush greenery and beautiful sunshine—even if it's 20 degrees outside.

Segment 2, beginning at 2:33: What's going on in the restaurant scene in Kansas City right now?

Segment 1: What's the deal with this Bike Plan that advocates are trying to push through?

There is a plan for increasing bicycle safety in Kansas City that's been languishing in City Hall for almost a year. The death of a cyclist has ignited a groundswell of urgency for the city to take some kind of action. 

Segment 1: Will young voters hold their momentum in 2020?

The youth vote made a difference in the 2018 midterms in Kansas, as well as nationwide. Turnout was way up from 2014. As 2020 elections get closer, what are experts predicting now?

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