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

Segment 1: Artists are reviving the shopping mall experience.

There's a new trend in malls. Whereas the spaces artists were transforming a couple decades back tended to be abandoned warehouses in industrial parts of town, now the suburban shopping mall's providing that canvas. 

  • Dave Claflin, marketing consultant for area shopping malls

Segment 2: Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski is in town with a cookbook.

Segment 1: Derrick Rieke is an unlikely but powerful LGBTQ rights advocate in his community.

When Derrick Rieke spoke out, at a Shawnee City Council meeting, he told his personal story wrestling with being gay from fourth grade well into adulthood. He was addressing a room full of people he knew, many of whom were there to oppose the ordinance he was fighting for.

Changing Your Mind (R)

Sep 10, 2019

As the 2020 presidential primaries heat up, and issues like gun control and climate change continue to polarize us, we revive a timely-as-ever conversation about the obstacles that prevent us from changing our minds, even when faced with evidence that contradicts our position.

  • David McRaney, journalist, host of the podcast You Are Not So Smart
  • Randy Nudo, director, Institute for Neurological Discoveries

Seg. 1: A KU professor is raising the bar for the standard of evidence in psychology.

A recent study reveals that a high percentage of treatments long believed to be supported by evidence don't measure up to today's standards for repeatability. What that means for the field of psychology, and why a KU professor is obsessed with learning more.

Segment 1: Muralists descend on Kansas City to make art.

In its third year, Sprayseemo has become a big international festival for creating outdoor public art in Kansas City. 

  • Amy Harrington and Jason Harrington (AKA Riff Raff Giraffe), artists and festival organizers

Segment 2: A world-renowned opera singer performs in his native Kansas City, alongside his mom.

Segment 1: Making greeting cards more diverse.

Cards are about relationships. So if none of the greeting cards on the shelf represent the person you're reaching out to, or the occasion you're celebrating, it won't feel quite right. Hallmark's trying to make more communities feel "seen" in the greeting card aisle.

  • Monic Houpe, product director, Hallmark
  • Christy Moreno, editorial director, Hallmark

Segment 2: Why Kansas and Missouri astronomers are fighting to save dark skies.

Segment 1: The Gay Softball World Series comes to Kansas City.

As the Gay Softball World Series gets under way here in town, the Kansas City Royals host their first ever official Pide Night at the K. 

  • Scott Switzer, Executive Director, Gay Softball World Series 2019
  • Rick Leavitt, founder of a gay softball team and league in Florida 25 years ago, now a Kansas Citian

Segment 2: First Friday has lost its festival license. Now what?

Bibliofiles: Back-To-School

Sep 3, 2019

Segment 1: Books in school, according to a librarian.

A retired Shawnee Mission school librarian reflects on the change she's witnessed in school libraries over the decades, particularly given the role of online searches in student research. 

  • Jan Bombeck, retired librarian, Shawnee Mission School District and Johnson County Public Library

Segment 2: Books about school, according to the Bibliofiles.

Segment 1: A Waldo coffee shop looks back on 10 years.

As One More Cup approaches its announced closing date, one of the owners joins us to talk about what neighborhood hangouts mean to their communities.

  • Stacy Neff, One More Cup

Segment 2: Kansas City prepares for its first-ever Black Restaurant Week.

What's the idea behind Black Restaurant Week, and how does it fit into the big picture of race in restaurant culture, in Kansas City and beyond?

Segment 1: The way we remember Emmett Till is still rooted in race and geography.

A KU professor who thought he knew the Emmett Till story was shocked by what he learned when he traveled to the Mississippi Delta for himself. That sent him on a journey to try to sort through the tangled threads of this haunting history. 

Segment 2: Men and boys in ballet speak out.

Segment 1: Mahatma Gandhi's grandson reflects on his family legacy.

As the world begins celebrating Gandhi's 150th birthday, Park University brings the iconic leader's grandson and biographer to town for celebrations and talks. The elder Gandhi sought to attain purity as a way of leading entire nations to peace; his grandson believes that we can contribute to that greater good, even while falling short of perfection in our lives.

Shanley Cox / Facebook

It's still summer, which means it's hot dog season. But for all the democratic appeal they can rightly claim, hot dogs — also known as weiners — don't get much respect. 

"They're cheap. They have notoriously been cheap. They're just a filling, inexpensive way to get something in your tummy," says Jenny Vergara of Feast Magazine.

But The Pitch's Liz Cook thinks we need to reconsider the hot dog. 

As Labor Day approaches, the food critics recommend great hot dogs in Kansas City, and an expert offers advice on how to grill unexpected foods, such as pound cakes and apricots.

  • Mike McGonigle, McGonigles Market
  • Jenny Vergara, contributing editor, Feast Magazine
  • Carlton Logan, KCFoodGuys.com and the Kansas City Eats Facebook group
  • Liz Cook, food critic, The Pitch

Segment 1: What's up in northeast Johnson County?

As part of our continuing conversations with community newspaper editors, here's some inside perspective on the news in the Shawnee Mission Post. This episode's focus: contested municipal elections in Overland Park and Shawnee, and non-discrimination ordinances in several cities countywide.

Segment 2: The story of a new play inspired by the 30 Americans exhibit.

Segment 1: Why the cost of bras that fit is an issue for teens.

Talking to grownups about wearing a bra is hard for pre-teens and teens in any income bracket, but getting bras that fit is that much harder when the social barrier is compounded by a financial one. How a lack of access to bras affects girls in school, and what one local activist is doing about it.

Seg. 1: Simon Tam | Seg. 2: Chiefs' Name

Aug 20, 2019

Segment 1: On taking a bandname all the way to the Supreme Court.

Is it possible to be offensive to oneself? That's a question Simon Tam, frontman for a band called The Slants, brought before the U.S. justice system. He's using his story to encourage Asian American professionals in leadership positions to "lean into" their values. 

Seg. 1: Technology In Prison | Seg. 2: Unidentified

Aug 19, 2019

Segment 1: A KU research team got a grant to bring technology training to women's prisons.

The population of women in U.S. prisons has risen 834 percent over the past 40 years. More than half of the women now in prison are mothers of children under 18. After interruptions in their educations and resumes, technology training could help them begin planning for re-entry.

Transit isn't about vehicles; it's about people. When Robbie Makinen lost his vision in 2013 and suddenly had to get around town without his sight, he came to understand that more clearly than ever. Here's his story.

  • Robbie Makinen, CEO, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

Seg. 1: Elderhood | Seg. 2: 816 Day

Aug 15, 2019

Segment 1: A new book on aging proposes a third stage in life.

First comes childhood, then adulthood and finally, elderhood, which begins roughly in your 70s and can last for decades. It comes with a unique set of challenges, joys and needs, and our cultural reluctance to acknowledge that comes at a cost.

Segment 1: A thirteen year old with limb difference writes a book with her mom.

Jordan Reeves was born without the bottom half of one arm, and she's spent the thirteen years since then proving that she can do anything, "except monkey bars." She invented a prosthetic limb that shoots glitter and looks like a unicorn's horn and she's founded a nonprofit. Now she and her mom are out with a new book.

Segment 1: New distilleries revive the past, with a twist.

Why was 9th street, in the West Bottoms, once known as the "wettest block"? Why did a spirits industry thrive here in the 19th century and then fade even before Prohibition? And what's it like to ride the slide at the new East Bottoms facility for J. Rieger & Co.?

Segment 1: Could opportunity zones change the landscape of investment in Kansas City?

As part of the bipartisan 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, opportunity zones encouraging private investment in distressed areas have been identified in every state. We get an explainer on how it works, along with on-the-ground insights into how the five opportunity zones in Kansas City, Missouri might stand to benefit. 

Segment 1: How mass shootings in the news affect people.

Wall-to-wall coverage of mass shootings has become the norm. An expert joins callers to discuss the repercussions, and to consider what type of coverage news consumers really want. 

  • Katherine Reed, professor of practice, Missouri School of Journalism

Segment 2: The Kansas Citian writing the next generation of role playing games.

Segment 1: A hopeful billboard has a story behind it.

When artist Nicole Leth lost her father to suicide, she told herself she would focus all her energy on spreading positivity. Now a billboard in Kansas City stands testament to that promise.

  • Nicole Leth, artist

Segment 2: A Kansas City musician rocks the violin in her new EP.

Seg. 1: Llamas | Seg. 2: Food Train | Seg. 3: Crossroads Shooting

Aug 5, 2019

Segment 1: A llama show gains popularity.

What is it about llamas? They're everywhere. And that includes the Douglas County Fair. 

  • Mason Kelso, interim llama superintendent, Douglas County Fair
  • Amber Fraley, freelance writer, Lawrence Magazine

Segment 2: An Austin-based chef travels the country tasting regional cuisine.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Growing up in Kansas City, Harvey Williams lived near 12th Street and Vine in what used to be called the Wayne Minor Projects.

"It was the heart of the city, the heat of the city, especially for black people," he says.

But it was in the United States Army, as the Vietnam War was winding down, that he learned about diversity.

Portrait Session: Harvey Williams

Jul 19, 2019

Harvey Williams is the founder of a black-owned theater in Kansas City; he sees that as an important addition to the arts ecosystem here in town. In this intimate conversation, Williams tells his own story, which begins at 12th and Vine, and explains why despite all the major iconic roles he's played on Kansas City stages, it matters enough to him carve out a space for diverse voices that he's doing it in his retirement years, when he could be "sitting on the porch, watching the mailman run up and down the street."

Seg. 1: Immigrant Anxiety | Seg. 2: Volcano Gear

Jul 18, 2019

Segment 1: How Kansas City immigrants are dealing with threats of raids.

"Just in case" is the phrase Celia Calderon Ruiz uses to sum up how people in her community are dealing with the possibility of a raid in Kansas City. Our guests offer clarification on the constitutional rights of migrants, regardless of status.   

The Jackson County Detention Center has been a contentious topic in city and county politics, with a lot of the public debate focused on questions of funding and space. But conditions for inmates, most of whom are awaiting trial, continue to be concerning for those who know the facility.

Segment 1: A Fringe-famous performer tells his story.

Brother John is a pastor and storyteller who researches characters from African-American history then creates performances that bring history to life. He's become a regular contributor to Kansas City's Fringe Festival. This year, he's focusing on Smoky Robinson.

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