Janet Saidi | KBIA

Janet Saidi

Assistant News Director

Ways to Connect

Jay Hancock/Brook Gotberg

Around 100 people rallied outside the Missouri State Capitol on Tuesday in response to Senate Republicans attempting to block funding for Medicaid expansion. The expansion was approved by Missouri voters last year. People shared stories about how a lack of access to affordable health care and fear of going into medical debt has cost Missourians their jobs, their health, and even their lives.

So on today's program, we want to talk about the cost of healthcare — and the cost of not getting healthcare.

We are coming out of one of the most tumultuous elections in recent memory, so it's understandable that you might want to take a rest from keeping up with politics. But the reality of politics doesn't stop — whether in Washington D.C. or Jefferson City — and the decisions made in both places affect our lives throughout the year. 

So today, we're talking about the 2021 Missouri Legislative Session and some of the most important issues you need to know about. We're also talking civic engagement, and the ways that you can get involved. What issues do you care about? How do you stay engaged outside of voting?

The Check-In: Having Fun

Apr 8, 2021

As we've covered before on The Check-In, times have been hard over the past year. Many of us have suffered from financial hardship and social isolation in some form or another. We have also done our part to stay mentally healthy - and for that, it’s important to have fun.

So, that's the theme of our show today -- having fun. What have been some of your pandemic past-times? We’ve all had to find things to do that are inexpensive and also can be done in isolation. Let us know: What hobbies did you pick up, this time last year? Was it baking, crafting, getting outdoors? Where have you been finding your fun?

The Check-In: Student Debt

Mar 19, 2021

It’s time to check your checking accounts - you might have been among the first Americans to receive their cut of the 1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package. Many of us will use this money for necessities - food, rent, gas - all essentials we’ve been worried about paying for over the last year. But what about your student loan payments?

Senate Democrats say a provision in this relief package - one that makes student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025 - will pave the way for the Biden administration to approve a federal student loan forgiveness plan.

As stimulus checks begin to be deposited in the accounts of millions of Americans, one important aspect of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package sticks out:

Senate Democrats say a provision in this relief package - one that makes student loan forgiveness tax-free through 2025 - will pave the way for the Biden administration to approve a federal student loan forgiveness plan.

The Check-In: Reflecting And Looking Forward

Mar 17, 2021

For maybe the first time on The Check-In, we may be able to say it: things just might be looking up.

You probably heard that it's a good idea to keep at least three months of savings in case of an emergency. Well, almost a year ago, we all ran into a huge emergency - the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of us are beyond our three months of savings, and are trying to figure out ways of getting by. That's what we're talking about on today's episode of The Check-In. From food to shelter, it can be a struggle to meet our basic needs. What are you worried about right now? How are you getting by? Today we're speaking with two guests to give us a bit of insight into what people need and how you can help.

Here's a roundup of headlines from across the region, including:


Here's a roundup of headlines from across the region, including:

  • Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri Plays Key Role in Inauguration Ceremony
  • Number of Abortions Drops in Missouri Because of Regulations
  • Some Missourians Asked to Give Back Covid-related Payments

Here's a roundup of headlines from across the region, including:

  • Missouri Lawmakers React to Impeachment of President Trump
  • After Last Week's Attack on U.S. Capitol, Companies Suspend Contributions to Hawley
  • Missouri House Adds Rules to Allow Virtual Feedback on Bills
  • Kansas City Police Have Body Cameras, and More are Coming


Here's a roundup of stories from throughout the region, including:


We're nearing the end of 2020, and this week's episode of The Check-In is the last live show of the year. We’ll miss you, and we’ll miss this weekly connection, until we’re back in 2021, live on Thursdays. 

But before we go, we want to send off this year of 2020, as always here on The Check-In, by coming together. This show is a special edition that is all about our community. In fact, our community members are the guests of this episode.

What has the year 2020 meant for us Missourians, as Americans, as a community? What have we learned this past year? We're talking about how this year has affected us—our defining moments, ways we've persevered, how we've come together, and what we hope to bring with us into 2021.

The 2020 holiday season has arrived, whether we're ready or not. And with it comes not only lights and traditions of the season, but also for many of us a lot of pressure, and a sense of loss.

A big challenge this year has been divisions in our culture—and faith communities are all about coming together. So today on The Check-In, we’re checking in with each other, and with three interfaith leaders to talk about connecting with the people and the traditions we love during the holidays.

Our guests today:

Rabbi Phillip Cohen from Congregation Beth Shalom in Columbia

Here's a roundup of headlines from across the region this afternoon, including:


We have some holidays to get through, and we are now a week out from Thanksgiving. Our holiday traditions are likely changing, and compounded with regular holiday stress, this could be a difficult time.

So, what is Thanksgiving going to look like for you? And what do any of us have to be thankful for?

That’s a tough one. So we're talking to a couple of experts to to get some advice on how to stay grateful in these times, and the role gratitude can play in our lives.

Our guests:
AJ Jacobs, author of "Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey"

Reverend Dr. Cassandra Gould, executive director of Missouri Faith Voices

Today in our country, you may be feeling a cautious optimism about a way forward following four years that will be known as The Trump Era.

So now is a good time to look at what we are—and who we are—as a country, and as Americans. Was the last four years one big aberration? With 71 million voters supporting President Trump, the force behind the President is real, it’s part of us, and it’s not going away. What does that say about who we are as a country and what it’s like to live here?

Today three international scholars are joining us to examine America and who we are. What does the idea of America mean for you? How does it feel to be an American in the US today? 

Our guests today:

Corinne Valdivia, an MU professor of agricultural economics who specializes in immigration, integration, and rural development

Jay Sexton, MU professor and Kinder Institute Chair 

Adam Smith, professor at Oxford University and director of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute

Here we are—we’ve made it to November, and we’ve made it through Election Day … sort of. We’re heading toward the wind-down of this remarkable year. And we’re waiting in limbo for election results, trying to stay safe and healthy amid rising Coronavirus numbers, and reflecting on the state of our democracy, our justice, and our health. It’s just a lot. 

The Check-In is about connecting, and sharing solutions. So today, let’s decompress. We’re coming together to talk about how we’re doing. How can we stay mentally healthy amid the uncertainty, the stress and the loss that has defined the time we’re in?

Our guests today:

Laura Schopp, clinical psychologist and chair of MU's Wellness Program.

Tashel Bordere, an MU professor who researches trauma, loss, grief, and adolescent mental health. 

We're all well aware that there’s an election coming up—in just five days, you are being called upon to make decisions as an American citizen: Decisions about the next President of the United States. Also, decisions about your state Governor, Leiutenant Governor, and lots of state representatives and state senators, as well as some issues, including Clean Missouri. Today we’re breaking down your ballot—what’s on it, how to decide, and how to make sure your vote gets counted. 

Our guests today:

Brianna Lennon, Boone County Clerk

Scott Swafford, senior City Editor at the Columbia Missourian, and long-time political reporter

Mark Horvit, director of the Missouri School of Journalism's State Government Reporting program, and specialist in investigative reporting

How do we get information about an event if we aren’t there to witness it? How do we know what the President of the United States said yesterday or what happened at a protest downtown if we weren’t there?

We know because others—usually journalists, but increasingly, fellow citizens—witness the events, and record them. This mediated filter is how we know about the world we’re in. We can’t use our plain old common sense to figure out what’s happening, or how we should vote, though we’d like to.

How we’re all getting our information—our media consumption habits—has become a critical factor in our democracy. Understanding the sources we get our news from and being able to analyze and judge the media we consume is so important in this time we’re living in. 

Community connection has never been more important than right now, as we are in one of the most important times that we all come together in this great American democracy: Election Day. But in this 2020 election, as for so many things in 2020, we have anxiety. You may well have just this morning turned on your NPR to hear discussion about concerns about violence in November. Or you’ve thought that we have to take a moment to breathe and sort out what this means for our community. How are you feeling about voting this momentous election? Today we’ll talk about all things voting, and we’ll take some time to sort out the questions, and to remember that there is still much in this democracy that we agree on. We just have to find it. 

Our guests: Mary Stegmaier, MU political science professor and expert on elections and voting

Sheryl Oring and Lisa Bielawa, creators of “Voters’ Broadcast,” a musical work that seeks to raise the voices of voters in our democracy

Columbia Missourian Symonne Sparks has always been involved in a variety of mid-Missouri musical projects. She plays with Columbia soul-fusion band Loose Loose, performs classical music, and she has two NFL performances of the National Anthem under her belt to boot.

The WE Project

Valérie Berta's photography presents an unfiltered look at the marginalized communities across mid-Missouri, and the subjects provide information about their lives to accompany the intimate photos. Now, in collaboration with The WE Project, two exhibitions of portraits by Berta, founder of The WE Project, are open to the public.

Berta believes it is important to use her art in conjunction with the lives and experiences of her subjects. 

Since we last checked in, we've had the COVID-19 pandemic reach the very top of our American political establishment and the White House. And nevertheless, we are in election season. So the debates go on, and we're trying to talk to each other, debate each other and address the issue. 

So how is that going? It appears we need some help. So today we're checking in with an expert on political communication, discourse and debate. He's a Missourian and an MU professor. He'll break down some debate highlights from this election cycle and through the ages with us, and try to make sense of it all.

Later, we’ll hear from a local musician about her experiences the past few months and how music moves us forward. 

Our guests: Mitchell McKinney, MU professor and political communications expert

Symonne Sparks, Columbia musician

Fifty years or 100 years from now, when we read about this time we're in, what will be the lessons? What are we learning? 

Today, we're checking in with two historians to get some historical context to the times we're in. What are you hoping for when it comes to how this current era and this election season fit into the landscape of time in history?

At the end of the show we’ll hear about the intersection of art and activism and how they come together in the WE Project.

Our guests today: Devin Fergus, the Arvarh E. Strickland Distinguished Professor of History and Black Studies

Jay Sexton, the Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy, and a Professor of History

Valerie Berta, photojournalist and activist, creator of the WE project

When Raven Leilani wrote her debut novel Luster, she never imagined its themes of contemporary sexuality and race relations would feel so pressing on its release. But with race on the forefront of the nation’s collective conscience, the book feels like a reflection of our current landscape.

David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

When student-led protests erupted at the University of Missouri in 2015, first-year student Lauren Brown didn’t feel like the causes of the demonstrators were accurately reflected in the media.

Now, Brown is a Missouri School of Journalism graduate and a St. Louis Public Radio producer whose new audio documentary for American Public Media's "APM Reports" explores the setting and the context behind the 2015 protests. The documentary, called “Black At Mizzou: Confronting Race on Campus," is narrated and produced by Brown, who also worked as a student producer at KBIA. 

KBIA

You’ve heard this since your grade-school civics classes. That Voting is one of the most important part of a democracy - it’s how you exercise your right,as a citizen.

 

And this election season, the sacred American act of voting has become embroiled in our nation’s politics - we have accusations of voter fraud, and others highlighting

disenfranchisement of some citizens who might have less access to ballots and voting booths.

 

KBIA

So there’s a phrase we’ve heard a lot from politicians recently, especially at last week’s Republican National Convention: Law and Order. The concept is shaping up to be a key focus in the election season we’ve now officially entered.

 

On the Check-In today we’re talking with Missourians about Law and Order that works for us all. 

 

KBIA

In Columbia, Missouri and across the nation, campus is open - classes have started, school is reopening. But what is this semester going to look like? 

University and college leaders have been forced into a landscape where no decision is a good decision. Closing colleges puts already-struggling colleges that have weathered years of defunding into even more risk. But opening your college doors opens up an entire community to higher case numbers. 

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