"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.