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

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography

As she was dying, Sonya Willis's mother gave her daughter a warning. 

"She watched me sit back and put my head in my hand and she said, 'Don't you cry.' ... It's like, 'Don't you cry. You get the job done.'"

Willis believes her mother, and other black women who had experienced Jim Crow segregation, lived by a "Code of Silence” that allowed them to rise above their own suffering to accomplish difficult things on behalf of others. By adhering to that code, Sonya’s mother accomplished great things in Kansas City, Kansas – but never told her own story.

Portrait Session With Sonya Willis

16 hours ago

A middle school in Kansas City has been named after Gloria Willis, who grew up in Texas under Jim Crow Law. She joined Kansas City Kansas Public Schools in 1953, and went on to lead the charge to desegregate the schools there.

Her daughter, Dr. Sonya Willis, followed in her mother’s footsteps and became an educator as well. Though they shared similar values, it was not until Sonya became her mother's caretaker that they truly connected. This is their story.

Segment 1: Celeste Ng

Best-selling author Celeste Ng's most recent book is about a lot of things: idealism gone awry, the dark-side of suburbia, and just how complicated family relationships are.

Seg. 1: What We Keep | Seg. 2: Kansas City Tacos

May 15, 2019

Segment 1: What We Keep

If you were to pick one object in your possession to keep that brings you meaning and joy, what would it be? An author shares intimate stories behind memories of knick-knacks, baubles, and even scraps of paper.

Segment 2, beginning at 34:21: Kansas City Tacos

Segment 1: Reporting on floods

Flooding has been catastrophic outside of Kansas City and covering the damage isn't an easy task. KCUR reporters share perspective on what it's like to wade into these stories.

Segment 1: A preview of Making Movies' latest album

Making Movies, a Kansas City band, has a new album that's catching a lot of attention for reviving a Lou Reed song that never was. We listen to some tunes from it and visit with the band's frontman to hear about his project to teach teenagers the ins and outs of music production.

Segment 2, beginning at 27:40: Taliban Safari

Segment 1: Rhubarb and mint in the Springtime.

For many chefs and farmers, the growing season and subsequent abundance of seasonal ingredients marks the beginning of spring in Kansas City. We hear about different uses for two of those ingredients that go beyond cocktails and pies.

Segment 2, beginning at 12:56 : Campo Lindo and farm-to-table cuisine.

Segment 1: Education & Online Curriculum

A digital education platform introduced to a couple of Kansas school districts has received criticism from some parents. At the forefront of the debate is the question: is education reform tapping into the potential of technology? Or are we disrupting a tried-and-true method of teaching?

Segment 1: Debate KC

Two high schoolers from Kansas City, Kansas, made waves in the 2019 Urban Debate National Championships. We hear more about their experiences and find out how our town has traditionally used debate as a tool for social justice.

Segment 1: Local lawyer finds a niche in space law

Space is an exciting new frontier, challenging humanity to advance in math, science, and engineering. But what about law? We hear from a Kansas City lawyer who has made a name for himself in dealing with the ownership of objects originating from space.

  • Chris McHugh, lawyer

Segment 2, beginning at 15:35: Mark Twain's love letter to American cuisine

Seg. 1: Sydney Pursel | Seg. 2: Grant Babbitt

May 6, 2019

Segment 1: Sydney Pursel

A Kansas City-born artist uses all kinds of projects to reconnect with her indigenous roots, and to educate others both in and outside her community. We hear about her art, including a mural she worked on as a part of the new Indigenous Artists Initiative.

  • Sydney Pursel, artist and member of the Iowa tribe of Kansas and Nebraska

Segment 2, beginning at 31:02: Grant Babbitt

Segment 1: Mapping Stigma

A community development specialist and an art curator have witnessed the social stigma surrounding HIV around the nation and world. They unite here in Kansas City with an exhibit that explores these issues and what can be done about them.

Segment 1: Unionization of Graduate Workers

At universities across the country, graduate workers are calling for better wages and benefits. In this conversation, we find out how this movement has permeated through Missouri.

Seg. 1: Daycare Deserts | Seg. 2: Allison Gliesman

May 1, 2019

Segment 1: Daycare Deserts

Pre-kindergarten has been on the mind of Kansas City-area parents, but the conversation is also extending to care from birth onward. In this conversation, we hear about the struggles parents face in finding and affording childcare, as well as what's being done about it both locally and nationwide.

Segment 1: The Sundry Is Closing

Four years ago, an innovative market and restaurant opened in Kansas City with the goal of supporting local, sustainable food. But now it's closing, and we visit with the entrepreneur who started it to find what he's learned about the viability of the local food system.

Segment 2, beginning at 10:25: Making Friends (R)

Seg. 1: UMKC Enactus | Seg. 2: Dan Wayne & Big Fur

Apr 30, 2019

Segment 1: Hacking Hunger

A group of UMKC students is working to redirect food waste so it can feed hungry Kansas Citians. Their approach has earned them global recognition as entrepreneurs. 

  • Andrea Savage, Enactus member & project member of FeedKC
  • Ben Williams, business professor and faculty advisor

Segment 2, beginning at 19:03: Taxidermy On Film

Seg. 1: Switchel | Seg. 2: Best Barbecue

Apr 26, 2019

Segment 1: A fresh look at a traditional drink.

Switchel has been around for a long time as a refreshing reprieve from the labors of farming. We’ll hear more about the drink as well as the secrets to the recipe.

Segment 2, beginning at 10:22: The unexpected finds in a barbecue city.

As a fairly quiet Kansas City suburb, Belton often flies under the radar. But, with a growing Latino population and a vibrant commercial center, Belton residents are defining their community on their terms. In this hourlong segment, we collaborate with KCUR's community engagement project Here to Listen to talk about Belton's military history, its burgeoning local economy, and its changing demographics.

Seg. 1: Logan Black | Seg. 2: Oregon Trail

Apr 24, 2019

Segment 1: Logan Black.

We visit with a veteran, actor, and playwright about his latest play, Bond, a story about his service in Iraq with Diego, his bomb-sniffing dog. 

Segment 1: Hamilton Mania.

Hamilton is one of Broadway's biggest productions in decades — and it's coming to Kansas City this summer. In this conversation, we tap into the mania surrounding a musical about one of America's lesser-known founding fathers.

Segment 1: Weird Weather Words.

Bomb Cyclone. Polar Vortex. Snowmageddon. If you've listened to weather forecasts as of late, there have been some really strange words. Why is that, and what do they mean?

  • Al Pietrycha, science and operations officer, National Weather Service

Segment 2, beginning at 15:23: KC's Culinary DNA

Google asked the question: where has Kansas City's food scene been and where is it headed? In this conversation, we find out how a local food critic answered.

Terry Evans / terryevansphotography.com

Kansas City native Terry Evans has seen things firsthand that most of us never will: a melting glacier crumbling into the waters of Greenland, the breakage of land at fracking sites in North Dakota

But Evans keeps returning to her pioneering work documenting the Kansas prairie, even though she never intended to become a landscape photographer at all.

Portrait Session With Terry Evans

Apr 19, 2019

Terry Evans has photographed the heart of industrial America, where she revealed the effects of pollutants on communities, as well as the glacial peaks of Greenland, observing the effects of climate change in an otherwise untouched part of the world.

Her adventures began when a camera gave her the chance to photograph Bobby Kennedy when he passed through Lawrence, Kansas on his presidential campaign in 1968.

Segment 1: Problems with Pain.

Questions surrounding the treatment of pain are bigger than 'pill or no pill.' In this conversation, we explore cultural and philisophical ideas about pain and hear how those perceptions factor into treatment.

Segment 1: New initiative on domestic violence.

Jackson County has a new intiative to protect victims of domestic violence and to stop homicides by monitoring people identified as likely to do so. In this conversation, we speak with the Jackson County prosecutor about the initiative and what she hopes the outcome will be.

  • Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Prosecutor

Segment 2, beginning at 23:46: Your inner fish.

Segment 1: Cycling, Class, and Race

Bike-friendly cities shouldn't be designed for one particular demographic or social class in mind. On this episode, we explore the question: how can Kansas City provide a bike-able city for everyone?

Segment 1: We take a trip to Monarch Bar.

We take you to a butterfly-themed bar near the Plaza, with a monarch butterfly expert. Will the menu live up to the hype?

Segment 2, beginning at 7:44: The best cocktails and happy hours in town.

Segment 1: Moderatism and social media.

It seems everywhere on the news there's talk about a political divide in America. But is it possible that claim is over exaggerated by social media? In this conversation, we find out why a recent study from the University of Missouri says this might be the case.

Local Heroes

Apr 10, 2019

You could argue that our town is full of superheroes. In this episode, we look back at some of our favorite conversations with "ordinary" Kansas Citians who have done extraordinary things.

Segment 1: KC's Running Superman, Michael Wheeler retires.

Journalism: Past And Future

Apr 9, 2019

The Kansas City Star is the "paper of record" in town, but its staff has recently faced tough layoffs. And they're not alone — the entire journalism industry is changing, too. In this conversation, we discuss the history and future of journalism.

  • Scott Reinardy, journalism professor, University of Kansas
  • Dan Margolies, senior reporter and editor, KCUR 89.3
  • Hannah Wise, audience development editor, Dallas Morning News

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