Ron Jones | KCUR

Ron Jones

Director of Community Engagement

Ron Jones returned to KCUR in September, 2013 as Director of Community Engagement.  He leads a team that will focus on the arts, entrepreneurship, neighborhoods and community diversity. Its goal is to coordinate community conversations about important issues on-air, online and in person.

Before returning to KCUR, Jones was Program Director at WDET in Detroit, where he oversaw all programming content.  Jones worked closely with news/talk and music programming to provide an administrative structure for programming, quality control and program development.  He also managed production, on-air fundraising, promotion and broadcast operations.  WDET has received national recognition for its work with community engagement, and crowdsourcing for both content and fundraising.

Prior to his position in Detroit, Jones served as Vice President of Programming at Chicago Public Radio, where he oversaw all station programming activities, including news, music, engineering and other initiatives for WBEZ, Chicago, WBEQ, Chesterton, Indiana and WBEW, Morris, Illinois.  Under his leadership Chicago Public radio received numerous national and regional awards for programming and journalistic excellence.  In addition he provided management oversight of WLUW, an independent community station licensed to Loyola University and managed by Chicago Public Radio. 

Prior to his work with Chicago Public Radio, Jones served as Program Director at WGBH-FM in Boston.  His responsibilities included oversight of on-air staff, promotion, audience research and fundraising activities.  In addition, he has served as General Manager of WERS-FM in Boston, and Program Director at KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri and KANU-FM in Lawrence, Kansas. 

Jones served on the board of the Public Radio Program Director’s Association and The World Vision Report.  He holds a B.S. degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kansas.

Ways to Connect

A tribute to the Kansas City tax attorney who spent 40 years hosting a music show devoted to rock and roll.

Bill Shapiro recently died at the age of 82. To remember him, we rebroadcasted his final episode of Cyprus Avenue, the "smart" rock and roll show he hosted on KCUR on Saturday nights. His abridged final broadcast includes snippets of some of his favorite tunes and reflections on his personal relationship with music.

A journey along Quindaro Boulevard in northeast Kansas City, Kansas, takes us through history, demographic shifts, religion, and plans for economic development. Visit a black-owned bookstore in the 1960s, an integrated church and hear about one of the country's first black police chiefs. Plus, teens grapple with whether they have to leave the area to succeed.

This show is a culmination of months of reporting along Quindaro Boulevard as part of KCUR's Here to Listen initiative

Ron Jones / KCUR 89.3

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Mike Parker and Ellen Carmody met for the first time as part of KCUR and StoryCorps' One Small Step project, but they tackled heavy topics. Parker, a veteran with five decades of military and government service, asked Carmody, an assistant school principal, what she thought about mass shootings at schools.

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Northeast News publisher Michael Bushnell has to wrestle with politics in his work all the time. 

"I write an opinion column every week, and 9 times out of 10 it falls on the conservative side," Bushnell says. "But it's more common sense than it is anything else, I think."

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Kristin Chow and Kurt Wheeler met for the first time as part of StoryCorps' One Small Step. To get a better sense of where Wheeler's ideology stands, Chow asked a big question.

"When you think about the future what are you most scared of?" Chow asked.

"I'm most scared of us losing sight of our core values as a country," Wheeler said. "I'm scared of people feeling entitled to things that are not a right."

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Kevin McEvoy, who describes himself as "very conservative," wants to make sure his children grow up without prejudice against people of color. But he's admittedly unsure about how best to guide them.

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Ph.D. candidate Erica Stone doesn't talk about politics with her family much anymore. And when she does, it usually turns south fast.

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Teacher Brittney Fiedler says being from Kansas carries some baggage when you talk to people in other states.

"They assume you're from a farm, they assume you see tornadoes all the time and they assume you're a pretty conservative person," Fiedler says. "For me, none of those things are true, really."

StoryCorps / KCUR 89.3

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Joanna Berkebile and Stacey Todd have lived very different lives. Berkebile intentionally set down roots in Kansas City, working as a realtor. She's also active in the city's arts scene and has found a strong sense of community there.

"I'm not super politically active, but I'm active in my community," Berkebile saidto Todd. "[But I'm] not afraid to speak my mind wherever I am. That has ripples and reverberations around me."

Courtesy of J. Anthony Snorgrass

A poet and playwright is working to preserve the legacy of an iconic leader in the black community of Liberty, Missouri.

The poet and playwright is Shelton Ponder, a lifelong Liberty resident who graduated from Liberty High School in 1961.

A visit to the town of Liberty, Missouri and its outlying areas to hear about a growing Mormon community, a legendary teacher in the city’s formerly segregated schools and William Jewell College’s evolving role in the town.

Guests: 

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Major cities have been the source for a lot of great popular music…but there are exceptions.  On this edition of Cyprus Avenue a listen to some amazing music from a small Alabama town…

TRACKS:

Arthur Alexander- "You Better Move On”

Joe Tex- "Hold On To What You’ve Got"

The Del Rays- "Fortune Teller"

Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces- "Searching For My Love"

James & Bobby Purify- "I’m Your Puppet"

Terry Woodford- "You’re Gonna Make You Say Yeah"

Wilson Pickett- "Land Of A Thousand Dances”

Sturgill Simpson Is Back

Jul 7, 2017
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In 2016 singer, Sturgill Simpson released a recording that wowed both the music world and Cyprus Avenue host Bill Shapiro.  We’ll revisit the 2016 Cyprus Avenue show that featured Sturgill Simpson.

Track List:

Sturgill Simpson - "Hero”

Sturgill Simpson - “Old King Coal”

Sturgill Simpson - “I’ll Have To Be Crazy”

Sturgill Simpson - “Living The Dream”

Sturgill Simpson - “Voices”

Sturgill Simpson - “Just Let Go”

Sturgill Simpson – “It Ain’t All Flowers”

Sturgill Simpson – “Welcome To Earth”

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The great Jimi Hendrix got his start by strumming a broom…and once he got his hands on a real guitar the rest was history.  Witness the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

“Somewhere”

“Earth Blues”

“Hear My Train A Comin’”

“Bleeding Heart”

“Crash Landing”

“Mojo Man”

“Easy Blues”

“Hey Gypsy Boy”

“Let Me Move You”

“Villanova Junction Blues”

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Reggae singer/activist Peter Tosh exploded onto the world stage because of his message and his music…it’s music that's so good it will make you say “yeah mon!” Check it out on this week's edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

“Whatcha Gonna Do?”

“Legalize It”

“Bush Doctor”

“Ketchy Shuby”

“Till Your Well Runs Dry”

“Pick Yourself Up”

“Stepping Razor”

“I’m The Toughest”

“Get Up Stand Up”

“Equal Rights”

Meet Ruthie Foster

Jun 5, 2017
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As a singer in the tight knit musical community of Austin, Texas, either you bring it, or you don’t. Ruthie Foster absolutely brings it…as you’ll hear on Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

“Singing The Blues”

“Working Woman”

“Let Mr Know”

“Joy Comes Back”

“Richland Woman Blues”

“Outlaw”

“Brand New Day”

“Abraham”

“It Might Not Feel Right”

“The Ghetto”

“Believe”

“Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”

Remembering John Lennon

May 27, 2017
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He was a musical genius who founded a band that shook the world like no other.  John Lennon was known as the “smart Beatle,” and his solo career is the subject of the next Cyprus Avenue .

Tracks:

“Instant Karma”

“Jealous Guy”

“Whatever Gets You Through The Night”

“Come Together”

“Mind Games”

“Starting Over”

“Stand By Me”

“Watching The Wheels”

“Hound Dog”

“Imagine”

“Happy X-Mas (War is Over)”

“Give Peace a Chance”

Monterey Pop

May 3, 2017
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By the time they got to Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who were superstars.  But two years prior to that they were relatively unknown when they took the stage at the Monterey Pop Festival.  That monumental event catapulted them to fame.  On this edition of Cyprus Avenue we'll revisit some of the best performances from Monterey.

Track List:

The Birds  -  “So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star”  

Jefferson Airplane – “Somebody To Love”

Jefferson Airplane – “Right Rabbit”

Ravi Shankar – “Duhm”

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Singer Marvin Gaye once wrote, “…if you like an artist well enough to buy their album, you don’t have to be told how great they are…"  Millions loved Marvin Gaye’s music and we’ll hear why on this week's edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

“What’s Going On”

“Can I Get A Witness”

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”

“Let’s Get It On”

“It Takes Two”

“How Sweet It Is”

“Sexual Healing”

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

“Mercy Mercy Me”

“Inner City Blues”

“All I Need To Get By”

Bob Dylan The Crooner

Apr 6, 2017
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Bob Dylan may not be your idea of a traditional crooner, but he has a special way of interpreting the classic lyrics from the American Song Book as you will hear on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

"I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plans”

“Stormy Weather”

“Once Upon A Time”

“That Old Feeling”

“My One And Only Love”

“Imagination”

“As Time Goes By” 

“How Deep Is The Ocean”

“The Best Is Yet To Come”

“P.S. I Love You”

“Day In, Day Out”

“Sentimental Journey”

In Memorial- Chuck Berry

Mar 21, 2017
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While Elvis Presley was rock & roll’s first pop star, Chuck Berry was its conceptual genius,.  Chuck Berry passed last week at age 90, and Cyprus Avenue pays tribute to the man who started it all.

Track List:

"Maybellene”

“Wee Wee Hours”

“No Money Down”

“Brown Eyed Handsome Man”

“Roll Over Beethoven”

“Too Much Monkey Business”

“School Day”

“Sweet Little 16”

“Night Beat”

“Don’t You Lie To Me”

“You Came A Long Way From St Louis”

“Jamaica Moon”

“St Louis Blues”

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40 years ago, The Band gave a farewell concert that, to this day, is arguably the greatest concert ever.  Re-live the legendary “Last Waltz” on this week's  Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

"Theme From The Last Waltz”

“It Makes No Difference”

“Such A Night”

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

“Mystery Train”

“Mannish Boy”

“Further On”

“Forever Young”

“The Weight”

The Jefferson Airplane

Mar 9, 2017
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The music of the Jefferson Airplane has been described as, "...a hallucinatory distillation of folk-blues vocals, garage-rock guitar and crisp pop songwriting."  Would you agree?  If your memory of this great band is a bit foggy, check out this week's edition of Cyprus Avenue.

TRACK LIST:

Jefferson Airplane – “Bringing Me Down”                              

          “Chauffer Blues”

          “Somebody To Love     

         “Today”

         “White Rabbit”  

         “She Has Funny Cars”

Springtime Listening

Mar 3, 2017
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Looking for some new music to add to your spring listening? Cyprus Avenue has some great suggestions to help you make your spring playlist pop…check it out!

Track List:

Bob Weir - "Only A River”

Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen - “To Live Is To Fly”

Bonnie Raitt - “What You’re Doin’ To Me”

Sean McConnell - “Holy Days”

Bob Weir - “Whatever Happened To Rose”

Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen – “Bird On A Wire”

Sean McConnell - “Beautiful Rose”

Alejandro Escovedo – “Farewell To The Good Times”

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Thirteen years ago, singer-songwriter Sam Baker survived a terrorist bombing in Peru.  Since his miraculous recovery he’s been evolving as an artist…and the evolution continues on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

"Summer Wind”

“Same Kind Of Blue”

“The Slivered Moon”

“Margaret”

“Love Is Patient”

“Leave”

“Pasture Fit For Thoroughbreds”

“Song Of Sunrise Birds”

“The Feast Of St. Valentine

“Moses In The Reeds”

“The Right Words”

“The Sunken City Rises”

“Peace Out”

Let Freedom Sing

Feb 16, 2017
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Cyprus Avenue celebrates Black history month by taking you on an excursion through Black history via music.  It’s Let Freedom Sing coming up on Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

The Southern Sons – “Go Down Moses”

Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit”

Josh White – “Uncle Sam Says”

Pete Seeger – “If I Had A Hammer”  

The Staples Singers – “Why Am I Treated So Bad”

Brother Will Hairston – “The Alabama Bus”

Bob Dylan – “Blowin’ In The Wind”

Sam Cooke – “A Change Is Gonna Come”

Aretha Franklin – “Respect”

Country Gentlemen

Feb 10, 2017
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Country music, once relegated to memories, roars back to life this weekend on Cyprus Avenue. It’s great music from George Jones, the Earls of Leicester (Lester) and more...

Track List:

Earls Of Leicester - "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town”

Bobby Bare - “Rosalie’s Good Eats Cafe”

Earls Of Leicester - “Flint Hill Special”

George Jones - “Detroit City”

Waylon Jennings - “Waymore’s Blues”

Earls Of Leicester - “Steel Guitar Blues”

Gary Stewart – “Drinking Thing”

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If you’re a Jackson Browne fan you won’t want to miss this week’s tribute to the talented singer/songwriter on Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Don Henley -              "These Days”

Paul Thorn -                “Doctor My Eyes”

Indigo Girls -              “Fountain Of Sorrow”

Jackson Browne -       “Red Neck Friend”

Sara & Sean Watkins  “Your Bright Baby Blues”

Bob Schneider -          “Running On Empty”

Lucinda Williams -     “The Pretender”

Jackson Browne -       “The Load Out/Stay”

Van Alive

Jan 27, 2017
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According to Singer Van Morrison, he does music from an introverted space…in an extrovert business. Coming up on Cyprus Avenue we take you back to 1973 to hear the extroverted side of Van Morrison, recorded live in concert.

Track List:

“I Come Running”

“I Just Wanna Make Love To You”

“Purple Heather”

“Hard Nose The Highway”

“Brown-Eyed Girl”

“Domino”

“Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”

“Wild Night”

“Into The Mystic”

“Gloria”

“Cyprus Avenue”

Dance To The Music

Jan 20, 2017
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In the early 60s and 70s, the music of Sly and the Family Stone inspired youthful rebellion and independence.  Nearly five decades later, their music is still vital. It’s Sly and the Family Stone on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

"I Just Learned How To Swim"

"Let Me Hear It From You"

“What Would I Do”

“Dance To The Music"

“Into My Own Thing”

“Life”

“M’Lady”

“Everyday People”

“I Want To Take You Higher”

“Hot Fun In The Summertime”

“Everybody Is A Star”

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