Deep Background

A news podcast by the Kansas City Star's political and news reporters, including in-depth commentary and analysis. It's a deeper look at news and issues in Kansas and Missouri.
RSS Feed
Deep Background




All Episodes
Now displaying: 2017
Dec 28, 2017

The Star's Jason Hancock and Dave Helling take a deep dive into Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' first year in office -- a year marked by secrecy and controversy.  What's next?  The podcast takes a look at that question too.

Dec 20, 2017

Dave Helling and Steve Vockrodt discuss the latest bizarre twist in the long fight over a new airport terminal. What's happened so far?  What's next? Go behind the headlines, on Deep Background.

Dec 13, 2017

What does the election of a Democrat in Alabama mean for races in Missouri and Kansas? The Star's Bryan Lowry chews that over with Dave Helling of the editorial board. Then Helling talks with reporters Mike Hendricks and Steve Vockrodt about their story involving former Jackson County executive Mike Sanders’ kickback scheme.

Dec 6, 2017
Independent Greg Orman is inching closer to a run for governor in Kansas. Bryan Lowry, the Star's lead political reporter, and columnist Dave Helling discuss the implications of an Orman candidacy — and what it means for Kansans, and the future of the state.
Nov 27, 2017

Kelsey Ryan and Bryan Lowry of the Star join Dave Helling of the editorial board to discuss the spate of sexual harassment cases involving state politicians, then Bryan and Dave discuss the political landscape in Kansas and Missouri in 2018.

Nov 15, 2017

Kansas may be the most secretive state in the country, a Kansas City Star investigation shows. Reporters Laura Bauer and Judy Thomas join Dave Helling to discuss the investigative series.

Nov 8, 2017

What have we learned from the KCI vote? Star reporters Bill Turque and Steve Vockrodt unwind the landslide victory of the terminal proposal for KCI — who won, who lost, and what it means for the future. Dave Helling of the Star's editorial board hosts.

Nov 1, 2017

Reporters Eric Adler, Steve Vockrodt and Bill Turque discuss the campaign for a new KCI terminal — and what other cities have done for air travelers.

Host: Dave Helling of the Star's editorial board.

Oct 26, 2017

Important races for mayor are unfolding in two of the area's biggest cities: Kansas City, Kan./Wyandotte County, and Overland Park. Join Dave Helling, Lynn Horsley and Steve Vockrodt of the Star as they discuss the campaign — and hear from the candidates, too.

Oct 18, 2017

For all the challenges facing Republicans in the age of Donald Trump, Democrats are still struggling to define their message and approach, particularly in red states like Kansas and Missouri. The Star discusses the Democrats' dilemma with Gov. Howard Dean, former head of the DNC, and with Star staff members covering politics in the two states.

Oct 11, 2017

Federal authorities recently charged several assistant college basketball coaches with bribery and other crimes, related to recruiting young athletes. It's the latest scandal facing big-time college sports and may change amateur competition forever. Blair Kerkhoff and Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star discuss those scandals, and college sports, on Deep Background.

Oct 4, 2017

Katy Bergen and Hunter Woodall of The Kansas City Star join Dave Helling to talk about how the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s new school finance system is unconstitutional. This week's episode also includes some discussion on the Kansas governor's race, including a clip with Tyler Ruzich, who is one of the teenage candidates in the running.

Sep 27, 2017

Aaron Randle of the Kansas City Star joins Dave Helling to talk about Aaron's recent front page story about social engagement among minorities in Kansas City.  It's a candid and fascinating conversation about the issues surrounding younger residents in the area, and a don't-miss podcast.

Sep 20, 2017

The Tonganoxie/Tyson Foods dispute, and luring Amazon to the KC region:  Two important stories, with host Dave Helling and Kansas City Star reporters discussing the details.

Sep 7, 2017

The Kansas City Star's Steve Vockrodt and Dave Helling of the Editorial Board discuss the recommendation of Edgemoor Infrastructure to design and build a new airport terminal.  A look back, and a look ahead.

Aug 30, 2017

Lindsay Wise of the McClatchy DC Bureau, Brian Lowry of the Kansas City Star, and Dave Helling of the Star's editorial board discuss the many issues Congress must confront in September -- with little time to do it.  A lively discussion.

Aug 23, 2017

Kansas City Star reporters Mara Rose Williams and Katy Bergen talk to editorial board member Dave Helling about the start of the new school year, and the challenges facing school districts and students on both sides of the state line.

Aug 16, 2017

Those g0#d@*! passwords, the ones with so many special characters that the IT guys make you change every six weeks. The guy who came up with them now says we need not bother.

Another expert, Rice University computer science professor Dan Wallach, suggests maybe rethinking about how you handle passwords, period. Think about signing in to more sites from Google and Facebook so you have fewer to remember and you’re trusting larger companies with cybersecurity resources to protect you. Or buy a $15 USB dongle to store them for you.

Aug 9, 2017

Kansas City Star reporters Lynn Horsley and Steve Vockrodt join the Star's Dave Helling of the editorial board to discuss the results of Tuesday's election, and what they mean for the city -- and its plans for a new airport terminal.  

Aug 2, 2017

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback steps onto a previously obscure part of the international stage, leaving a notable legacy of political wins and losses in his state.

In the latest “Deep Background” podcast, the Star’s Bryan Lowry and Dave Helling mull Brownback’s time in the Statehouse, where he oversaw sweeping tax cuts and the budget troubles that followed. His economic policies were essentially reversed this year by a legislature that changed dramatically with the fall of Brownback’s political fortunes.


Jul 26, 2017

Kansas City now has two finalists for chief of police -- Maj. Rick Smith, and Chief Keith Humphrey of Norman, Okla.  The Star's Glenn Rice and Dave Helling of the editorial board discuss the two candidates, and what the community is looking for in a new chief of police.

Jul 19, 2017

Commercial renewal driven partly by a new breed of center city-ish residents could remake Kansas City’s West Bottoms area.

Reporter Diane Stafford joined the latest episode of The Star’s “Deep Background” podcast to discuss residential development trends.

The podcast also looked at the lives of two men who changed the face of the Kansas City area, James B. Nutter Sr. and Neal Patterson.

The podcast is free to download and comes ad-free. Consider subscribing and reviewing the show.


Jul 13, 2017

The Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger talks about Kansas City's airport, and Dave Helling talks about Kansas City's baseball team in this Deep Background episode, "Trading Places."

Jul 5, 2017

A baby boomer, a Generation X-er and a Millennial walk into a podcast — and kick around whether everything in their lives really demands a new app or dongle.

This week’s edition of “Deep Background” tackles the notion when digital age innovations are worth the trouble. A smartphone, sure. A smart refrigerator, not so much. A learning thermostat? Maybe.

Star digital editors Leah Becerra and Jay Pilgreen sat in to share their thoughts on this week’s episode.

Give it a download and a listen, free and free of ads, and think about subscribing.


Jun 28, 2017

The Kansas City Star's Scott Canon, Kelsey Ryan, and Dave Helling discuss a recent database-drive story about salaries at Kansas City's City Hall. Why it matters to them -- and to you.

1 2 Next »