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: 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?

Segment 1: A new book from an MU professor says hidden fees are chipping away at the middle class.

A professor of History, Black Studies, and Public Affairs at Mizzou says banking fees, mortgage fees, student loan fees, and payday loan fees disproportionately affect people, with the wealthy being able to largely avoid them. 

Segment 1: An exhibit at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art explores the theme of British colonialism.

The artist behind the exhibit grew up in Guyana and experienced reverberations of British colonialism in his life firsthand. Today he lives in London and wrestles with Britain's history and the version of itself that it exports through his art.

They're both from Kansas City's East Side, but the couple met at a conference in Cincinnati. Ever since they've been dreaming of making things happen for their community. Their plans for a new neighborhood on a vacant lot are so ambitious that just getting a shovel in the ground to start building would be an achievement of national significance.

  • Ebony Edwards, CEO, Movement KC
  • Daniel Edwards, architect, Movement KC

Segment 1: A Kansas City musician rocks the violin in her new EP.

Tina Bilberry, known to fans as K'Tina, is a KCK-native who fuses international sounds in Crossed Conversations. Here's her story.

Segment 2, beginning at 21:24: Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski is in town with a cookbook.

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

Segment 1: Why we keep the objects that we keep.

If you were to pick one object in your possession 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 33:45: When was the last time you had a Kansas City taco?

Segment 1: How Making Movies' latest album gave a nod to Lou Reed.

Making Movies, a Kansas City band, released an album this year that got 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 27:52: A book explaining one day in the Surkhagan Valley.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In 1991, when Reverend Eric Williams was new to his ministry, he was asked to perform a funeral for a young man who'd died of AIDS. The parents wanted to honor their son with a church service. Their own pastor had refused. 

An unspoken rule exists among clergy that pastors don't agree to things their colleagues have refused to do, but Williams couldn't stop thinking about the young man's family. The reckoning Williams experienced on the night of that phone call is still shaping Kansas City's approach to AIDS intervention, not to mention his work as a pastor.

Segment 1: How to make 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. Though recent decisions by Hallmark caused controversy, a few months ago they were making moves to make more communities feel "seen" in the greeting card aisle.

Segment 1: What we understand the kids' meal to be and what it could be.

A lot of kids' meals are overpriced hot dogs or grilled cheese, but some restaurants do actually serve kids' menus that emphasize the strengths of the cuisine they serve. Plus, tips for introducing kids to new foods from a self-proclaimed lunch lady.

Segment 1: What "the teens" in Kansas City look like in the rearview mirror. 

From the Royals winning the World Series to new arts developments, the end of the decade is a natural time to take stock. What's new in Kansas City? Where has progress been made? Where hasn't it?

What motivates a Baptist pastor to provide AIDS education, a fitness center and other unconventional services.

Reverend Eric Williams has been at the forefront of AIDS outreach since 1991, when he held a funeral for an openly gay man after a colleague refused to do it. Today, he continues to focus his ministry on health as a way of helping his congregant achieve the "abundant life" he preaches about. Hear his story, beginning with a childhood in zipcode 64130.

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