KPR NEWS DIRECTOR
J. Schafer is the News Director of Kansas Public Radio and the Managing Editor of the KPR Network, which provides news and information to other public radio stations in Kansas and Missouri.
Before joining KPR in 1995, he spent ten years as a commercial radio and TV newsman. During his career, he's filed news stories for nearly every major radio network in the nation - including ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, UPI, the Mutual Broadcasting System, NPR and the BBC.
Schafer has worked for the U.S. State Department, traveling to central Asia to teach broadcast journalism at newly independent radio stations in the former Soviet Union. Currently, he produces feature stories, interviews and newscast items for KPR. He also helps edit the work of other news staffers and occasionally fills in as the local host for NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
A native of Great Bend, Kan., he studied journalism and mass communications at Barton County Community College and at the University of Kansas. Schafer is also a former exchange student to Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany.
Incidentally, the letter "J.” in J. Schafer stands for Jeremy, but he doesn’t really care for that name. Besides, he enjoys the overwhelming pretentiousness of just using an initial for a first name!
STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF
Stephen Koranda joined KPR after two years at Mississippi Public Broadcasting, covering the Statehouse, political and general interest stories. Before that, Koranda worked at KSUI in Iowa City, part of the Iowa Public Radio system, where he was the local news host on NPR’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as producing local talk shows.
At MPB, he was part of the team that won a 2009 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of Hurricane Gustav, served as occasional host for statewide broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition, MPB’s public affairs program Mississippi Edition and hosted the statewide TV and radio legislative talk show Quorum.
As KPR’s Statehouse Bureau Chief, Koranda is responsible for covering state government. Statehouse reports are carried on Kansas Public Radio but are also carried by other public radio stations serving the state, including stations in Wichita, Pittsburg, Hutchinson and Kansas City.
Koranda is a native of Ames, Iowa, and a graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in journalism and political science.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED HOST
Laura Lorson is KPR’s local All Things Considered host. She is a native of Louisville, Ky., but came to Kansas in 1983. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas. After graduation, she left the area for more than a decade, attending graduate school and working for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. When an opportunity opened at KPR, she happily returned to Lawrence.
Laura says that she wanted to return to this area and this community as a sort of payback for the education she received here. Laura is married to a native Kansan. The two of them don’t really understand why people seem to think this part of the country is flat and boring. She and her husband like driving around the state, when they can afford it...they like secondhand stores, antique shops, family-owned restaurants, and looking at old courthouses. They stop to talk with pretty much anyone who says hello, so they feel like they’ve met about half the state. Laura and her husband live in Perry, with Finnegan and Beatrice, their Great Pyrenees dogs.
Veteran reporter Bryan Thompson’s assignment brings him face-to-face every week with a subject that matters to all of us: health.
Bryan crisscrossed the state for more than three years covering stories related to the health and well-being of children, like obesity, the lack of affordable dental care, health care on Indian reservations and how teens cope and recover from drug and alcohol problems. Now his assignment has been broadened to include health issues for Kansans of all ages.
After graduating from Wichita State University, Bryan started his journalism career as News Director at a small AM/FM combo in El Dorado. From there, he took a brief stint in Liberal before signing on at KINA in Salina. He stayed 16 years in that capacity before being lured away to crosstown rival KSAL, where he was in charge of news programming for five radio stations, and the innovative KSAL.com website. Bryan joined Kansas Public Radio in 2000 as its Children’s Health Reporter.
KPR PRESENTS HOST
Kaye McIntyre wears two hats at KPR: as most people are winding down their week, she's just starting hers. Kaye has been Kansas Public Radio's local host for Saturday mornings since 2001, with a line-up that includes Weekend Edition Saturday, Car Talk, Whad'Ya Know and This American Life. In 2006, Kaye began producing and hosting KPR Presents, Kansas Public Radio's public affairs program that airs at 8 Sunday evenings.
"There are so many fascinating people that come to this area, everyone from Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor to syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts. KPR Presents is a great way to share some of those lectures with our listeners. We've also been able to expand the program to cover a broad range of topics, including the Kansas Sesquicentennial, the National Day of Listening, and the 'Kansas Reads' program sponsored by the State Library of Kansas, just to name a few."
She started her radio career in her home state of Iowa, and has also worked as a news reporter and announcer for the Mississippi Radio Network. Kaye also teaches political science at a Kansas City-area community college. She holds a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree from the University of Iowa in political science.
MORNING EDITION HOST
Tom Parkinson takes over the air chair as local host for NPR's morning newsmagazine, Morning Edition. He brings 20 years of public radio newsroom experience to KPR.
"I love the energy of early mornings and the privilege of greeting listeners at sunrise and informing them about what happened while they were sleeping," he said. "Whether my listeners tune in for 20 minutes during the morning commute or listen to the entire broadcast, I want them to walk away with a better understanding of our world and a good story to share around the coffee maker or the lunch table."
Parkinson has worked as the host and producer of Morning Edition at WUSF in Tampa, Florida; WMFE in Orlando, Florida; and WKSU in Kent, Ohio. Most recently, he was a newscast producer at KPCC in Los Angeles. He began his radio carrer as the host of a late-night jazz show in Tampa.
When not in the newsroom or on air, Parkinson's interests include playing jazz, blues, folk, rock and country music on guitar and bass or reading history and crime novels.
As for his early workday, Parkinson says waking up is the easy part.
"Getting up at 3 a.m. is not that hard," he said," but going to bed at 7:30 p.m. is more difficult especially if there's something interesting and fun going on."