Darren Hellwege | KBIA

Darren Hellwege


"The Voice Of Columbia," Darren Hellwege has hosted NPR's “Morning Edition” for over 30 years on KBIA, and serves as host/producer of the “Thinking Out Loud” programs. The series has won a Missouri Broadcasters Association award and gives Darren the chance to "sit and visit" with interesting people from throughout Mid-Missouri and beyond. He produces (and often performs on) the Maplewood Barn Radio Theatre. He also hosts the "Dvorak Diner" program on Classical 90.5 FM.

An avid Tiger sports fan, Darren serves as the P.A. announcer for Mizzou Wrestling. As former KBIA Sports Director, Darren reported on Tiger athletics for more than 10 years. His reports from the 2009 NCAA Women’s Final Four basketball tournament were heard nationwide on NPR, he appeared on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” and was a regular guest with Chris Gervino on KOMU-TV’s Sunday night sports program and on sports talk programs in Kansas City.

Darren's commitment to our community can be seen in his outreach activities for the station, including work with CanStruction, the Voluntary Action Center, Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, American Red Cross, Boone County Historical Society, Columbia Public Schools, Daniel Boone Regional Library and many other charitable organizations. Darren currently serves on the Board of Directors for ACT. In the past, he’s been a member of the Columbia/Boone County Board of Health and the Boone County Mental Health Board of Trustees, the University of Missouri Campus Safety Committee, and he was a board member for the Central Missouri Humane Society and Rock Bridge Christian Church. Darren coached youth sports for several years with Boys/Girls Club of Columbia, Columbia Diamond Council and Columbia Youth Basketball Association. He’s also been active in community theatre, performing with Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, Theatre NXS, and MoHip. A Columbia Tribune review of a Maplewood production of "Oklahoma!" included the line "Darren Hellwege is no Fred Astaire."

Darren was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma and grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma where he attended the University of Central Oklahoma. Darren and his wife Bonnie have two grown children. Their son Kristian lives in Columbia and daughter Janie Lavelock lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Jake, and she is a graduate of UMKC and works for the Tulsa Area YMCA.

Prior to coming to KBIA, Darren worked for public radio station KCSC (now KUCO) in Edmond and at Oklahoma City radio stations WKY and WWLS. He’s also worked for KFRU and KFMZ in Columbia and KWRT in Boonville.

Darren is an avid genealogist, and enjoys playing guitar, listening to all kinds of music, and - of course - sports. In spite of the team moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles, he remains a loyal Rams fan, and he is a 4th generation St. Louis Cardinals supporter.

Darren is on Twitter at @kbiamorning where he shares news stories, selfies, and dad jokes.

Ways to Connect

University of Missouri Police Dept.

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Brian Weimer, Assistant Chief of University of Missouri Police Department about how MUPD is getting ready for a new school year and this week's influx of students. Then, they're joined by Nick Joos of the MU Athletic Department about the addition of beer and wine sales to game day at Mizzou's Memorial Stadium for this year's Tiger football games. 

The Mizzou Store

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Dale Sanders, the Interim Director of UM Stores, which operates outlets at all four University of Missouri Campuses, including the Mizzou Store in the Student Center and the Tiger Team Store at Memorial Stadium. They discuss how the stores are getting ready for the start of a new school year. 

Missouri State Historical Society

KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks with Gary Kremer about the opening of the new Center For Missouri Studies, home of the Missouri Historical Society. 


KBIA's Lee Wilkins visits with Josh Chittum of the We Always Swing Jazz Series. The Series is selling tickets now for their 25th anniversary season. 

Logboat Brewing Company

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Sherry Wohlgemuth of the Missouri Craft Brewers Association, and with brewers Tyson Hunt of Logboat Brewing of Columbia and Brian Nolan of Friendship Brewing in Wentzville about Show-Me Craft Beer Month and the stories of the craft breweries in our state. 

Curtains Up Theater Company

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Dana Naylor of Curtains Up Columbia about the upcoming murder mystery dinner theatre production "Red, White and Homicide: A Peacelovin' Mystery Dinner Theatre." You can also hear a scene from the play with Dana, Chris Lynn, and Michael Miller. 

Columbia Public Schools

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Bonnie Conley of Columbia Public Schools about the summer school program coming soon from the district. 

Learn more and sign up here: Columbia Public Schools Summer School 

Columbia Area Career Center

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Brandon Russell of the Columbia Area Career Center about their summer learning opportunities for Columbia youngsters. 

You can see the whole list of classes here: Columbia Area Career Center Youth Camps

Columbia Art League

KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks with Louise Sarver, Operations Manager of the Columbia Art League, to preview this summer's Art In The Park. 

Click here to learn more about Art In The Park


Lee Wilkins visits with David Berkman and Tim Armacost of the New York Standards Quartet, recent visitors to Columbia with the We Always Swing Jazz Series.


KBIA's Lee Wilkins speaks with Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers. The novel delves into the AIDS crisis and the lives of those affected by it, from the early days of awareness of AIDS to the present. Rebecca will be a guest at the upcoming Unbound Book Festival in Columbia. 


KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks with Shane Bauer, author of American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey Into The Business Of Punishment. They discuss the history of punishment and the profit motive, and the present day American justice and punishment system. Bauer is one of the guests coming to Columbia with the Unbound Book Festival. 


KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks to Jim Mustich, author of "1000 Books To Read: A Life-Changing List." He'll be a guest at the upcoming Unbound Book Festival. 

Columbia Center For Urban Agriculture

KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks to Adam Saunders of Columbia Urban Agriculture Center about the new Columbia Agriculture Park. They discuss the events for the official opening, the purpose of the Agriculture Park including being the home of the Columbia Farmer's Market, and future plans for the site. 

Rep. Chris Kelly
Travis McMillen / KBIA

KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks to mayoral candidate Chris Kelly ahead of Columbia's municipal election April 2nd. 

Janet Saidi / KBIA

KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks with Columbia mayor, Brian Treece, who is running for re-election in the April 2nd elections. 

Curtains Up Theater

KBIA's Darren Hellwege talks with Dana Naylor of Curtain's Up Theater in about the upcoming production of "Murder At Dodston Manor," a murder mystery dinner theater coming soon to Columbia's Stoney Creek Inn. They also give a preview with a scene from the play. 

University of Missouri School of Music

KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks with choir director Emily Edgington Andrews about choral music and its place in the idea of community music, it's role in musical education for children, and the Unity concert. 


KBIA's Lee Wilkins visits with Angela Speck, Chair of Physics Department at University of Missouri, about news in the world of space exploration. They talk about the New Horizons program, and a recent space landing by China. 

Missouri School of Journalism

Lee Wilkins leads a panel conversation about how the climate for reporters in the world and U.S. is affecting how we get our news in Mid-Missouri. Guests include Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily Tribune, Randy Reeves of KOMU-FM, and Ruby Bailey of the Columbia Missourian. 


KBIA's Lee Wilkins talks with Kelly Stockton of the Human Performance Institute. They discuss Kelly's program that teaches boxing for patients with Parkinson's Disease, and the benefits of the program. 


Thinking Out Loud co-host Lee Wilkins visits with Ben Kreitner, Coordinator of Waste Management for the City of Columbia. They discuss recycling and how it works in Columbia, changes to what can and cannot be recycled, and where the system can improve in the future. 

Missouri River Relief

Darren Hellwege talks with Steve Schnarr of Missouri River Relief about this weekend's Wild and Scenic Film Festival. 

Curtains-Up Columbia via Facebook

Darren Hellwege talks with Dana Naylor and Molly Dodge of Curtains-Up Columbia about their holiday show, a comedy murder mystery called "Deck The Halls For Murder." 

You can find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2150605875204343/

Kinder Institute, University of Missouri

Darren Hellwege visits with Ethics & Public Policy Center analyst Henry Olsen and Georgetown University historian andDissent editor Michael Kazin on the topic of political and historical populism. The two spoke on the University of Missouri campus in an event sponsored by the Kinder Institute. 

The #Black panel discusses the conviction and sentencing of Bill Cosby, the issue of a white woman curating a museum exhibition on hip-hop music at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and the Cardi B and Nicki Minaj fued. 


Darren Hellwege visits with Paula Poundstone. The comedian, a frequent panelist on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!" is appearing next week in Columbia. 

Daniel Boone Regional Library

Darren Hellwege talks with Lauren Williams of the Daniel Boone Regional Library about this year's One Read program, and the book at the center of it, "Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth of The FBI" by David Grann. 

University of Missouri School of Law

Darren Hellwege talks with Ben Tracthtenberg, a professor in the MU Law School who chaired the university's faculty council during the protests in 2015 at Mizzou. His new paper on the subject was summarized in an article in the Washington Post recently:


ACT Service website

Darren Hellwege talks with Christopher and Susan Vasileff about some of the challenges that come with finding assistance for their son, Val, an adult with autism. The Vasileffs live in rural Boone County, near Sturgeon.