Intersection | KBIA


Each week, our host Janet Saidi sits down with community members to discuss issues concerning mid-Missourians. From politics, to local art to social issues, anything that generates good conversations and affects our community is on the table.

To hear the conversations, simply tune in to KBIA 91.3 FM on Mondays between 6:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. You can hear the show on the radio or through the live stream on If you miss an episode, you can always catch up with the conversations here, or subscribe to our show through iTunes or any podcast app.

Don't forget to connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us what local issues matter to you. 

See the show archives on the Intersection website.

Since Louisa May Alcott's novel "Little Women" was published in 1868, it has never gone out of print,  it's been translated into about 50 languages and been released in about 100 editions, according to writer Anne Boyd Rioux, author of "Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why it Still Matters." 

On this edition of Intersection, we invited MU Professor Alex Socarides into the studio to talk about the legacy of this story and the themes brought out by Greta Gerwig's recent film adaptation.

Socarides is a scholar of 19th century American literature. She joined KBIA producers Rebecca Smith, producer Lee Wilkins, and host Janet Saidi who are all enthusiastic readers of Alcott and other 19th century works - to put the legacy of this story in context.

The discussion also explores the themes that are brought out in Gerwig's newest film adaptation. KBIA hosts a screening of the film at Ragtag Cinema on Saturday, Jan. 4.

Socarides compared Alcott's life and the "fantasy" of her classic novel to another classic series, "Little House on the Prairie," by Missouri author Laura Ingalls Wilder. To explore similar themes, check out this episode of KBIA's Show Me the State podcast.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

In this special, hear the voices of MU students tell their stories of finding the people, places and feelings that have helped them grow and change. They were challenged this spring in their advanced writing class to write essays about significant moments in their lives. With the help of their professor, Berkley Hudson, they recount their stories and experiences. 

Hear our radio special with selected commentaries here:

In a recent dialogue that took place at the State Historical Society of Missouri, 97-year-old long-time Columbia resident Sehon Williams was interviewed about his life, family and work in Columbia. The conversation was part of the Society's series of lectures on the African American Experience in Missouri. Long-time Columbia civic leader Bill Thompson hosted the talk. 

Sidney Steele / KBIA

On this edition of Intersection, we talk with state Reps. Martha Stevens and Kip Kendrick, both Democrats from mid-Missouri leveraging their local community involvement into their legislative work in the superminority party in Jefferson City.

Stevens has worked as a professional social worker and has focused on health care policy since being elected to the state legislature in November 2016. Kendrick has served in the legislature since November 2014, focusing on health care policy and serving on the House Ethics and Higher Education committees. 

Producer Sidney Steele talks with the two legislators about payday lending, Medicaid, health care access, and their plans for the upcoming state legislative session in January 2020. 

Janet Saidi / KBIA

What is the sound of mid-Missouri? 

For Columbia music writer Aarik Danielsen Columbia's location along the I-70 corridor, and in the middle of the country, brings lots of influences and some great acts that the Columbia kids grow up on.

But in spite of key music venues like the Blue Note and influential festivals like Roots N Blues N BBQ, our town also makes for a music scene with some volatility - being a college town, many acts tend to move on. 

Danielsen, an arts and entertainment editor at the Columbia Tribune, unpacked some of these ideas with us, and introduced us to some of the sounds currently in rotation for him, including: Columbia band Loose Loose, local musician Noah Earle, Brittany Howard, David Wax Museum, and, of course, Wilco.

Janet Saidi / KBIA

In a new report on the University of Missouri’s campus climate, the American Association of Universities says about a quarter of undergraduate women who responded to its survey have experienced sexual assault or harassment on campus. For trans, genderqueer and nonbinary students, that rate is more than 50 percent. 

The report also says more students know about on-campus resources for sexual assault and harassment, but that doesn’t necessarily stop sexual assault from happening. 

Janet Saidi / KBIA

As immigrants arrive and seek a new life in many Missouri counties and across the Midwest, researchers and community organizers have been getting together to share information and strengthen networks that make a more welcoming community for new arrivals.

A key convener on these conversations is the University of Missouri's Cambio Center. It's celebrating its 15th year - and the center has hosted an annual conference for organizers, activists, researchers and academics at its annual Cambio de Colores conference. 

Janet Saidi / KBIA

The word impeachment is on the news and on our minds in America, right now. And an MU professor has written a book on the history and legal context behind this political process known as impeachment.

Frank Bowman is the author of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump.” He teaches at MU’s School of Law and at Georgetown University Law. 

Bowman says impeachment should be less of a historical oddity and more of a real political tool. He recently sat down with Intersection and talked about impeachment in America and what it means to impeach a U.S. president.

Bowman says each generation has to re-learn the processes, history and legal contexts of impeachment - and he considers his role to be part of that education.

Janet Saidi / KBIA

This weekend in Columbia about 30 musical acts, from Country and Roots to Soul and Blues, are descending on Stephens Lake Park for the 13th annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. It all starts tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 27, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 29.

This year’s lineup features some musical legends like John Prine, Del McCoury, Alejandro Escovedo, Nick Lowe, Patty Griffin … And then there are up-and-comers like headliner Maren Morris and The Black Pumas, plus locals like the Kay Brothers, the Burney Sisters, and Violet and the Undercurrents, all taking the stage this weekend.

Festival co-owner Tracy Lane has spent the past two decades working in Columbia's music and arts scene, and recently took the helm as a co-owner of the festival. She joined us in studio recently to discuss, and hear, the highlights. We also talked about the history of the festival and how the music scene has changed and evolved in Columbia over the past decade.

Dr. John Dane, left, wears a light blue polo and glasses. Gary Harbison, right, wears a dark blue button up and glasses.
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

This week on Intersection we bring you a special on oral health from Missouri Health Talks. KBIA’s Rebecca Smith spoke with Dr. John Dane, the State Dental Director, and Gary Harbison, the Executive Director for the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health.

They followed up on their conversation with Smith in August 2017. They spoke about the current status of oral health care in Missouri, advances that have been made in oral health policy and struggles Missourians still face when it comes to accessing quality, affordable dental care.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones was named to the city's top law enforcement position in August, and he is set to be sworn in at a Columbia City Council ceremony this evening.

On this edition of Intersection, Jones talks with host Janet Saidi about the goals and challenges he sees on the horizon for policing in Columbia. And he discusses what motivated him to become a police officer. 

Intersection - UM's Outgoing Diversity Chief Says There's Still Work To Do

Jul 22, 2019
Amanda Lee / Columbia Missourian

On this edition of Intersection, KBIA and the Columbia Missourian sit down with Kevin McDonald, the chief diversity officer for the University of Missouri and MU, who is in his last week of service at MU before taking on the role of vice president at the University of Virginia. 

In the summer of 2016, just months after the 2015 protests that brought national attention to the difficulties faced by diverse students on the University of Missouri’s flagship campus, the UM System hired McDonald to serve both the statewide campus system and to serve as a vice chancellor at MU heading up the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity. 

Now – three years later – McDonald is beginning his last week at MU, before heading to his new post, in a similar diversity and engagement role as a vice president at the University of Virginia.

The Columbia Missourian's Sarah Haselhorst sat down with McDonald recently to get his thoughts on how far we've come with inclusivity and equity on campus and in the community, and how far we've yet to go. 

You can see the full reporting and a lot more information from Sarah Haselhorst, in her Columbia Missourian story, here.  

Janet Saidi / KBIA

Nearly 29 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, citizens, organizations, companies and campuses are still working on providing access and accommodations for those who need it to engage with and experience the world - its streets, its buildings, its concerts, classrooms, and even its radio programs.

Janet Saidi / KBIA

This week, Intersection sits down with Alex George, a Columbia author, owner of Skylark Bookshop and founder of the Unbound Book Festival, which comes to Columbia this weekend.

Now in its fourth year, the festival has brought literary celebrities - like Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith and this year's keynote speaker George Sanders - as well as up-and-coming literary voices to mid-Missouri. 

Travis McMillen | Janet Saidi / RJI | KBIA

Tuesday is election day and voters across mid-Missouri are deciding on school board, mayoral and city council races. One of the most important races on the Boone County ballot is the Columbia mayoral race, with two experienced politicans vying for the job.

Mayor Brian Treece  is seeking a second term and has served as Columbia's mayor since 2016. Before his election as mayor Treece worked on historic preservation efforts in the city and chaired the Downtown Leadership Council.

Seth Bodine, Sidney Steele, Kassidy Arena / KBIA

This week on Intersection: Three candidates in Columbia are running for two seats open on the Columbia Public School’s Board of Education ... and voters will decide between the three candidates in the municipal election April 2nd.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In this excerpt from KBIA’s Intersection, Melanie Hickcox and Monica Palmer with Feeding Missouri, a coalition of Missouri food banks, discuss the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding food insecurity.

They spoke to KBIA for Missouri Health Talks.

Molly Dove / KBIA

Hunger affects about 900,000 people in Missouri, according to Feeding America. And it can be found in rural areas or in urban areas, and even on college campuses, throughout the state. 

Though some organizations and food banks, like the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, are using creative ways to combat the issue of food insecurity, researchers are still trying to find a way to reduce hunger. 

On this episode of Intersection, we talk about what it means to be food insecure, how where you live can affect it and the stigmas that come with hunger. 

File photo / True False Film Festival

This week on Intersection, we'll look back on the weekend in Columbia that was the annual inspiration overload known as the True False Film Festival.

In this 16th year of the fest, the streets were taken over by art, film, conversation, confrontation, and inspiration. And KBIA was there, capturing some of the sights, sounds and conversations.

In this edition:

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

The 2019 True False Film Fest is here. And this week on Intersection, we're tossing the mic to the True False podcast team.

Podcast host Allison Coffelt sat down with three programmers behind the festival to get the highlights and themes emerging from this year's lineup. 

Featured guests: True False Programmers Abby Sun, Amir George and Chris Boeckmann, with True False Podcast host Allison Coffelt

Check out the True False podcast from the True False team and KBIA.

Janet Saidi / KBIA

In her book "Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis," MU Professor Keona Ervin delves into the stories and the frontline activism of working-class black women in her native city of St. Louis. 

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media and KBIA

Drought, storms, extreme weather conditions, the rise of sea levels, the loss of ecosystems, and dire predictions: If you follow the news, you know that when it comes to the state of the planet, it's not a pretty picture. And President Trump's 2017 decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement has added to the concerns.

But what does all this mean for Columbia, Missouri? 

Janet Saidi / KBIA

This week Intersection features a chat with Columbia Mayor Brian Treece about the future of Columbia.

Mayor Treece was elected in 2016, and is currently seeking a second term. He's facing a challenge from long-time Missouri politician Chris Kelly. Voters get to decide on that in April, and we’ll have future conversations focused on that race. 

Meiying Wu / KBIA

Community Policing has been an important issue in Columbia recently, driving discussions around fair and equitable policing and sparking controversy over its handling by Columbia's former city manager and police chief.

On Intersection, a roundtable of stakeholders came together to discuss the philosophy of community policing, how it influenced the tenure - and departure - of former Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton, and how the city of Columbia can move forward with fair and effective policing strategies.

Guests on this episode of Intersection include:

Meiying Wu / KBIA

On this edition of Intersection, three local analysts discuss recent dramatic changes in Columbia, including the departures of the city's police chief, its city manager, and the elimination of the position of deputy city manager.

We explore the factors influencing these changes, and what it all means for the community as we move forward in a new year and in the runup to April's municipal elections.

Today on Intersection, we’re sharing interviews with local authors coming to the Unbound Book Festival this weekend, and also exploring concerns about diversity and expression at the festival. Unbound is a three-day event that brings authors from all over the world to Columbia to talk and share insight on their work. The event runs from April 19 to the 21, and will be held in venues across Columbia, including The Missouri Theatre and Stephens College. This year's headline speaker is author Zadie Smith.

As we put together this show, we learned of people voicing concerns over diversity and inclusion at the Unbound Book Festival, particularly on several panels with all white participants. 

Ibtisam Barakat, a Palestinian-American author, posted a statement to Facebook about a week ago saying she was encouraged by these discussions to reveal racism experienced while participating in an Unbound panel last year. Barakat talked with producer Abby Ivory-Ganja about her experience. Sara Shahriari spoke with festival organizer Alex George about what will change for the festival going forward.  

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

This week on Intersection, we bring you a special from Missouri Health Talks. Health reporter Rebecca Smith spoke with Jennifer Carter Dochler, the Public Policy Director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) and one of the facilitators of the MO-SART, or Missouri Sexual Assault Response Team.

Creative Commons

The classic concept of bullying is a boy on the playground scaring other kids into giving up their lunch money. But that's far from how much bullying unfolds. Today on Intersection we explore what bullying, and efforts to stop it, look like in Missouri. We hear about revenge porn, online bullying and harassment, and prevention programs at local schools.

Editor’s note: On this episode, we discuss topics including suicide. This may not be suitable for all listeners.   

True False logo
File Photo / KBIA

Today, we're looking back at a few popular films from the True/False film festival. We spoke with six filmmakers about the process behind their films and what they hope audiences gain from their work. 

The films cover a range of topics, from the father-son relationship within a radical jihadist group, the nature-nurture debate and the loss of Singapore's first independent film. 

Our producers talked with the directors of Primas, Shirkers, Black Mother, Antonio e Catrina, Three Identical Strangers and Of Fathers and Sons. 


Last week Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was indicted by a grand jury and charged with felony invasion of privacy. His trial is scheduled to begin May 14.

But what is a grand jury, an indictment or a felony? And for that matter, what is invasion of privacy?