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: Why it's so important that kids make it to class.

Between the years 2013 and 2016, Kansas City Public Schools staffers falsified attendance records, presumably to help the district regain full accreditation. Why is it so hard for kids to get to school in the first place, though? Also, what is really at stake for schools when they don't show up and what can we reasonably expect educators to do about it?

The life story of a Kansas City folk musician and civil rights icon.

From freedom songs to commercial jingles ("the grass pad's high on grass"), Danny Cox has been a reconigzable Kansas City voice for decades. But his introduction to the city was also an introduction to our history with segregation and racism. This show originally aired in 2015.

  • Danny Cox, musician

Enjoy this guide to the best books read by our Bibliofiles and KCUR staffers in 2019.

Segment 1: He came to Kansas City as the youngest concertmaster in the country in the 1950s; he died this year, leaving a poweful legacy behind.

How to impress this holiday season without driving yourself nuts.

Our expert Kansas City hosts include a restaurateur who feeds people like they're her personal dinner guests and a bartender who makes strangers feel like friends.

Segment 1: Morgan Orozco is a sixteen-year old who's playing an active part in local government. 

Sick of waiting for adults to do something about climate change, this high schooler is taking matters into her own hands.

  • Morgan Orozco, Sustainability Advisory Board member, City of Lawrence; vice chair, Kansas High School Democrats

Segment 2, beginning at 23:16: A tale of mice, friendship and what's really important.

Segment 1: Why attracting artists is a goal for a new affordable-housing complex.

Pendleton Arts Block is a new project unfolding in the historic Northeast, providing affordable housing with an eye toward attracting artists. Because of competitive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the effort to transform this block is happening on a national stage. This is a discussion about what affordable housing means for artists, and for the ecosystem of a city.

Segment 1: Kansas City does have something named for Martin Luther King, Junior.

A month after Martin Luther King's name was voted off of a major boulevard, a cleaning effort is underway at a long-neglected park named after the civil rights icon. The park's been dedicated to King since 1978.

Segment 1: What it's like to be the first woman in charge at the Kansas City Fire Department.

As Donna Maize takes over as Fire Chief, she makes Kansas City history and achieves a lifelong dream.

Segment 2, beginning at 18:30: How a paywall is changing everything for the Shawnee Mission Post.

Segment 1: A Kansas City native's take on being a Saturday Night Live cast member in 2019.

On a visit home, Heidi Gardner discusses her roots in Kansas City, her most popular characters and what it's like to respond to today's news with humor.

Segment 2, beginning at 25:30: Episode 4, Season 2, My Fellow Kansans.

Segment 1: What aspiring Foreign Service Officers from Kansas City are taking away from the impeachment hearings.

Recent congressional hearings have put Foreign Service Officers in the spotlight. How do their jobs now look to those hoping to one day be like them?

Segment 1: Thanksgiving's got us thinking about turkey (and duck and quail and pheasant).

Hunters and chefs are making plans for fall birds. From the key to a good brine to the effect of flooding on duck season, we get the inside story. Plus, the food critics help us find the best places to go in Kansas City for the fowl-less-eaten.

Segment 1: If Kansas City wants to go green, we have to drive less. Can we do it?

Transportation is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, with most of that coming from cars and trucks, but how realistic is it to expect people to break up with their cars in a city that was built for the automobile?

Segment 1: Why a group of Bolivians in Kansas City demonstrated in the streets.

In response to news that the president of Bolivia had stepped down, a group met outside Union Station in solidarity with friends and family involved in much riskier demonstrations back in Bolivia. Their message was not about one candidate versus another, but the democratic process itself.   

Segment 1: Families live in downtown Kansas City, but it wasn't necessarily built with them in mind.

The accepted wisdom in Kansas City has long been that families want houses in the suburbs and that the market for downtown is young professionals and empty nesters, but families have lived downtown for generations.

Segment 1: Missouri is home to choice wild edible fall mushrooms.

A hunt for wild mushrooms at Burr Oak Woods launches a conversation about foraging Missouri mushrooms. Then, a James Beard Award-winning chef offers mushroom-cooking expertise for the home cook.

Segment 1: Climate change affects people unequally. 

We talk about what this inequality looks like when it comes to housing, the needs of low-income residents, and more.

Segment 1: Kansas City voters revert Martin Luther King Boulevard back to its previous name, Paseo.

The morning after  Martin Luther King's name was voted off of a major boulevard, we analyze what the controversy and its outcome mean for Kansas City communities. Plus, how this all looks through a national lens.

Segment 1: A genealogist tells us how she finds the stories behind our ancestry. 

You might think researching your ancestry is just about building your family tree. Ahead of a presentation this Friday, a researcher for PBS' "Finding Your Roots" and NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" says you can find out a lot more if you keep digging.

Segment 1: The financial stress of college causes some students to struggle.

For college students who don't come from financial means, it can be difficult to survive on a college campus. We hear about how they try to stay afloat while also staying on top of classes.

Segment 1: New paintings by a Kansas City artist examine the 'brash volume' of public discourse.

Rodeo clowns, talkshow hosts, preachers. To Michael Schliefke, they're symbols for what public discourse has become. 

Segment 2: A Kansas-born author creates literary buzz with 'halal fiction.'

Halloween Special

Oct 31, 2019

Segment 1: Kansas City storytellers try to scare us.

Scary stories take many forms. We got some of the best storytellers in town to share their favorite haunting tales. 

  • Nathan Louis Jackson, playwright
  • Kaite Stover, librarian
  • Jose Faus, poet

Segment 2: Why are there so many ghost towns, and why are they so haunting?

Segment 1: What the latest StoryCorps project can teach us about talking politics.

It's become an accepted truth that Americans are deeply divided on the issues that matter to us most. Why is that, and can taking the time to listen make a difference? That's what One Small Step, a StoryCorps collaboration, tried to find out. The local facilitators of the program share their takeaways.

Segment 1: The woman who coined 'white fragility' unpacks the meaning of the term.

Robin DiAngelo first started noticing what she now calls 'white fragility' about twenty years ago, when she worked alongside people of color as a diversity trainer. The resulting research culminated in a book that's been a New York Times Bestseller for more than a year. It's also elicited death threats.

courtesy of Natasha Ria El-Scari

When it comes to talking about sex, the accepted wisdom is that parents and kids alike would just rather not. But Kansas City poet Natasha Ria El-Scari doesn't think that's healthy.

Neither does her college-age son, who says he's benefited from his mother's openness and candor in a way his peers are missing out on.

"You need to write a book and call it the 'Mama Sutra'," he once told her. "You can thank me later."

Natasha El-Scari is out with a new book, Mama Sutra: Love and Lovemaking Advice to My Son.  She wrote it for anyone who needs understanding going into intimate relationships that they did not receive, with a focus on respect for oneself and others. In this conversation, El-Scari shares the experiences with intellect, womanhood, motherhood and community that led her to this project, and others to come.

Segment 1: The host of The Splendid Table stops by on a Kansas City visit.

Francis Lam is the son of immigrants, the father of a toddler, and a rising star in the food world. Hear his take on how something as simple as food ties into complex, multi-layered personal stories, in his life and in our culture.

  • Francis Lam, host, The Splendid Table

Segment 2: Bob Dylan may not be forever young, but a lot of his fans are.

Segment 1: A Kansas City restaurant teams up with a New Orleans chef on a popup event.

Ryan Prewitt is a James Beard Award winning chef at Peche in New Orleans, known for its focus on sustainability in seafood. When he comes to Kansas City to collaborate with Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar, he'll be spreading a message of consuming ocean species responsibly. 

Segment 1: A famous crossword puzzle creator makes Kansas City his home.

David Steinberg has been making crossword puzzles since he was 12, and getting them published in the New York Times since he was 14. He's just moved to Kansas City. In this conversation, he talks about sleeping on Will Shortz's couch, and other career milestones.

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. This show originally aired in July, 2019. 

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