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

Back To The Beginning

Jan 5, 2017

On this week's Cyprus Avenue we’re taking you back to the early days of rock & roll…a time when most of the great songs you heard were less than three minutes long…and you listened on your transistor radio.

Track List:

Richie Valens - "Come On Let’s Go”

Johnnie Taylor - “Who’s Makin’ Love”

The Turtles - “It Ain’t Me Babe”

Big Bopper - “Chantilly Lace”

Mickey & Sylvia - “Opportunity To Cry”

Dion - “Wanderer”

Beach Boys – “Surfin’ Safari”

Frankie Ford – “Sea Cruise”

The Best Of 2016

Dec 31, 2016

Cyprus Avenue host Bill Shapiro says this year was a very good year for music…and he serves up his list of the best of 2016 on this week's edition of Cyprus Avenue .


Sturgill Simpson -       “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth”

Melissa Etheridge -     “Respect Yourself”

Rolling Stones -          “Commit A Crime”

Van Morrison -            “Keep Me Singing”

Madeleine Peyroux -   “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”

Tony Joe White -         “Hootchie Woman”

Melissa Etheridge -     “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember”

Dear Jerry...

Dec 16, 2016

A group of all-star musicians gathered in Maryland back in May, 2015 to pay tribute to Jerome Garcia…you know him better as Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and that concert is the subject of this week's Cyprus Avenue.


David Grisman -            “Shady Grove”

Buddy Miller -                “Deal”

Jimmy Cliff -                  “The Harder They Come”

Los Lobos -                     “Bertha”

Bob Weir -                      “Ripple”

Trampled By Turtles - “Brown Eyed Woman”

Rude Cactus

This week on Cyprus Avenue, a look at the undeniable genius of Ray Charles, and the tracks that defined his early recording career at Atlantic Records.


“Losing Hand”

“Mess Around”

“I’ve Got A Woman”

“Hallelujah I Love Her So”

“Lonely Avenue”

“I Want To Know”

“Leave My Woman Alone”

“Ain’t Misbehavin”

“It’s Alright”

“Swanee River Rock”

“(Night Time Is) The Right Time”

“What’d I Say Pts. I & II”

“I Believe It To My Soul”

“I’m Movin’ On”

Their obsession with the blues started nearly 55 years ago, and now the Rolling Stones have revived their original passions with a fitting new release that’s featured on this edition Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

The Rolling Stones-    "Just Your Fool"                                                        

The Rolling Stones-    "Commit A Crime"                                                    

The Rolling Stones-    "Blue And Lonesome"                                       

We’ll hear some great newly released music from Alicia Keys and St. Paul and The Broken Bones…plus a tribute to the late great Leon Russell coming up on Cyprus Avenue...

Track List:

Alicia Keys -   "In The Beginning"                                                     1:03

Alicia Keys -   "Blended Family"                                                       3:31

Alicia Keys -   "Work On It"                                                              3:34

Leonard Lately

Nov 4, 2016

Singer Leonard Cohen’s formula for producing a great song is to obsess over every lyric…and guess what…it works for him. Check out his new release “You Want It Darker” on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Leonard Cohen - "You Want It Darker”

Leonard Cohen - “Amen”

Leonard Cohen - “On The Level”

Leonard Cohen - “Different Sides”

Leonard Cohen - “If I Didn’t”

Leonard Cohen - “Darkness”

Leonard Cohen – “Leaving The Table”

Leonard Cohen – “Banjo”

Leonard Cohen – “Traveling Light”

Consistency and risk-taking have defined Bonnie Raitt's remarkable music. We’ll highlight the artistry, spanning the 45 year career of the ultra-talented Bonnie Raitt on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track list:

Bonnie Raitt - "Give It Up”

Bonnie Raitt - “I Know”

Bonnie Raitt - “Love Has No Pride”

Bonnie Raitt - “Nick Of Time”

Bonnie Raitt - “Thing Called Love”

Bonnie Raitt - “Right Down The Line”

Bonnie Raitt – “Million Miles”

Bonnie Raitt – “Standing In The Doorway”

Bonnie Raitt – “I Knew”

News of Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature has sparked some controversy, but not with Bill Shapiro, who pays tribute to the iconic artist on this week's Cyprus Avenue.


Bob Dylan -    "She Belongs To Me"                        

"It’s All Over Now Baby Blue"                              

"Just Like A Woman"                        

"One Too Many


"Just Like Thom Thumb’s Blues"                          

You know Melissa Etheridge’s music…but did you know she’s from Leavenworth…and she can really sing soul music?  That’s right…soul music. 

Track List:

The Staples Singers-               “Respect Yourself”

Melissa Etheridge-                 “Respect Yourself”

Johnnie Taylor-                      “Who’s Making Love”

Melissa Etheridge-                “Who’s Making Love”

Sam & Dave-                          “Hold On I’m Comin’”

Melissa Etheridge-                “Hold On I’m Comin’”

On this week's Cyprus Avenue we trace the musical history of “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen through his new release Chapter and Verse...

Track List:

Bruce Springsteen -     "Baby I"                                 

                          "Grown Up"                                                   

            "4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"                           

            "The River"                                        

            "Ballad Of Jessie James"                                            

Meet Dave Cobb

Sep 9, 2016

You may not know Dave Cobb, but you might be familiar with his product…He’s a red-hot producer out of Nashville who's collaborated with contemporary music stars like Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell…and his work is featured on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Sturgill Simpson-        "Welcome To Earth"                          

Chris Stapleton-          "Traveler"                                                       

Bonnie Bishop-           "Be With You"                                   

A Janis Revival

Sep 1, 2016

If the great Janis Joplin were alive today what would she be singing? We’ll never know the real answer to that question, but you can relive her glory days on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Janis Joplin-     "Ball and Chain"                                

Janis Joplin-     "Cry Baby"                                                  

Janis Joplin- "Get It While You Can"                        

Janis Joplin- "Piece Of My Heart"                                 

A reunion of the iconic rock group the Byrds is not in the cards, but you’ll get the next best thing when we hear the music of former lead singer Roger McGuinn on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List

Roger McGuinn-         "King Of The Hill"                                         

           "Your Love Is A Gold Mine"                                                

The Byrds-                   "Eight Miles High"                             

Roger McGuinn-         "If We Never Meet Again"                                        

Leonard Live

Aug 18, 2016

Singer Leonard Cohen has made a significant contribution to contemporary music and thought…He’s described as uncompromising and urgent, and he’ll be singing on this edition of Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Leonard Cohen -         "Dance With Me To The End Of Love"         

           "Light As The Breeze"                                      

           "Got A Little Secret"                                         


Still Alive at 75!

Aug 4, 2016

Singer Aaron Neville just turned 75 this week, and to celebrate he performed a concert in New York…and coming up, the celebration continues. He’ll be singing on Cyprus Avenue too.

Track List:

Aaron Neville -           "Be Your Man"                                               5:42

          "Hercules"                                                       4:10

          "I Know I’ve Been Changed"                        3:36

           "All Of The Above"                                        3:58

Bob Dylan has a frequent presence on Cyprus Avenue, but this week we’ll get a different take…it’s Dylan songs interpreted by gospel and soul singers…

Track List:

Dylan’s Gospel -               "Saturday Night"

O.V. Wright-                      "Blowin’ In The Wind"

Brook Benton-                  "Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright"

Solomon Burke-               "Maggie’s Farm"

Dylan’s Gospel-                 "All Along The Watchtower"   

The Neville Brothers-      "With God On Our Side"

Simply Frank

Jul 21, 2016

There’s a bit of surprise and delight coming up on this week’s Cyprus Avenue. We’ll spend an hour with “old blue eyes,” the iconic Frank Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra - "Saturday Night"                                            

"I’ve Got The World On A String"               

"Wee Small Hours"                                       

"Learnin’ The Blues"                                      

"I’ve Got You Under My Skin"                    

"Come Fly With Me"                                    

More New Summer Music

Jul 15, 2016

We're in the thick of the summer season, so you must be thirsty for some cool new music.  Right?  Well Bill Shapiro has some gems to get you through the dog days.

Track List:

The Avett Brothers                             Ain't No Man

Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle              Tell Moses

Jake Bugg                                           On My One

Nathanielle Ratcliff                            I Need Never Get Old

The Avett Brothers                             Satan Pulls The Strings

Expectations for singer Roseanne Cash have always been high.  After all, she is the daughter of music legend Johnny Cash.  Her talent and drive have helped her live up to the inherited hype...and you will have an opportunity to witness her gift, as she’s coming to Kansas City to perform for the tenth anniversary of Cyprus Avenue's Live at the Folly Theater series on June 17th. Cyprus Host Bill Shapiro helps get you in the Roseanne mood on this week's show.

Track List:

Rosanne Cash - "A Feather’s Not A Bird"

The Brazilian Connection

Jul 7, 2016

The Summer Olympics are less than a month away and Cyprus Avenue celebrates the Brazilian connection. It’s an hour of great music with a Brazilian flavor on Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Bill Withers - "Lovely Day”

Aretha Franklin - “Walk On By”

Marvin Gaye - “Sexual Healing”

Billie Holiday - “You’ve Changed”

Sly & The Family Stone - “Family Affair”

Mel Torme – “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”

Nina Simone - “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”

Johnny Nash – “I Can See Clearly Now”

Everybody seems to be talking about storytelling these days. That's music to our ears on Central Standard, where we're always looking for good, true tales about life in Kansas City. This past winter, KCUR sponsored a series of storytelling events at Pilgrim Chapel in Hyde Park, called FlameKC.

We will be airing some of those stories over the next couple of weeks, starting with the first. Within the theme "Letting Go," Pilgrim Chapel director Andrew Johnson shared his story about parenting and time.

The virtuosity of two great American music icons is on display this week. Paul Simon and Allen Toussaint have made tremendous contributions to the world of American popular music and beyond.  You don’t want to miss edition of Cyprus Avenue.


Bob Dylan - "Young At Heart”

Willie Nelson - “Love Is Here To Stay”

Bob Dylan - “Maybe You’ll Be There”

Willie Nelson - “But Not For Me”

Bob Dylan - “It Had To Be You”

Willie Nelson - “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”

Bob Dylan - “Skylark”

If you’re a Jackson Browne fan you won’t want to miss this edition of Cyprus Avenue, as host Bill Shapiro and some very talented musical artists pay tribute to this talented singer.

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”

Looking for some new music to add to your summer playlist? Cyprus Avenue has some great suggestions to help you make your summer tunes pop.

Track List:

Peter Wolfe - "Some Other Time”

Yarn - “Carolina Heart”

William Bell - “Born Under A Bad Sign”

Wild Ponies - “Tower and The Wheel”

Peter Wolfe - “Rolling On”

Ziggy Marley - “Heaven Can’t Take It”

William Bell – “All Your Stories”

Wild Ponies – “Mom And Pop”

Peter Wolfe – “Peace Of Mind”

Buddy Miller & Friends – “Wild Horses”

Prince- In Memorium

Apr 23, 2016

When you heard about Prince's untimely death, it's likely to become one of those occasions where you will always remember exactly what you were doing at the moment you heard the shockingly sad news.  On this week's edition of Cyprus Avenue host Bill Shapiro pays tribute to an icon.

Track List:

Prince - "Controversy”

Prince - “Do Me Baby”

Prince - “Little Red Corvette”

Prince - “Kiss”

Prince - “Let’s Go Crazy”

Prince - “When You Were Mine”

Prince – “Take Me With You”

Prince – “When Doves Cry”

Boz Skaggs been called one of the greatest blue-eyed soul singers, with a discography that spans 50 years.  His remarkable career dates back to the late '60s with the Steve Miller Band, followed by a lengthy run of his own.  Twenty albums later Skaggs shows no signs of slowing down. 

Track List:

Boz Skaggs - "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl”

Boz Skaggs - “Rainy Night In Georgia”

Boz Skaggs - “Lido’s Shuffle”

Boz Skaggs - “Can I Change My Mind”

Boz Skaggs - “Dry Spell”

Boz Skaggs - “Corrina, Corrina”

Boz Skaggs – “Low Down”

The Fifth Beatle

Apr 2, 2016

You know them as John, Paul, George and Ringo...the legendary foursome  also known as the Beatles. But did you know there was a fifth Beatle, who never appeared on stage or on an album cover, yet had a major impact on popular music?  Find out who that was on this week's edition of Cyrus Avenue.

Track List:

The Beatles - "In My Life”

The Beatles - “Love Me Do”

The Beatles - “Yesterday”

The Beatles - “Good Day Sunshine”

The Beatles - “I Am The Walrus”

The Beatles - “Eleanor Rigby"

The Beatles – “Second Coming”

The Southern Troubadours…three musicians with different approaches to music, but when they take the stage together they create magic. They’re coming to Kansas City in April…and they’re featured on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Paul Thorn - "I Have A Good Day”

Ruthie Foster - “Singing The Blues”

Joe Ely - “I Had My Hopes Up High”

Ruthie Foster - “Brand New Day”

Paul Thorn - “Mission Temple Fireworks Stand”

Joe Ely - “She Leaves You Where You Are”

Ruthie Foster – “Second Coming”

Consistency and risk-taking have defined Bonnie Raitt's remarkable music. We’ll highlight the artistry, spanning the 45 year career of the ultra-talented Bonnie Raitt, on this week's Cyprus Avenue.

Track List:

Bonnie Raitt - "Give It Up”

Bonnie Raitt - “I Know”

Bonnie Raitt - “Love Has No Pride”

Bonnie Raitt - “Nick Of Time”

Bonnie Raitt - “Thing Called Love”

Bonnie Raitt - “Right Down The Line”

Bonnie Raitt – “Million Miles”

Bonnie Raitt – “Standing In The Doorway”

Bonnie Raitt – “I Knew”