CoMo Explained

Wednesday mornings

CoMo Explained is a podcast that breaks down the big news and explains how Columbia works.  Scott Pham and Ryan Famuliner host the show each week.  Download it right here every Wednesday.  And find our home on the iTunes store.



2:05 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

The crucial zoning law that determine's downtown Columbia's future [rebroadcast]

Credit KBIA

This week CoMo Explained shows how something called the C-2 zoning ordinance determines how Columbia is built. 

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CoMo Explained
11:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

What happens in CoMo when the twisters come

This scene is totally from the movie Twister please don't think this is real I'll feel bad

 In this week's CoMo Explained we breakdown tornado prediction, the siren system and explain how 'Tornado Alley' works.

They're quiet unobtrusive until they're not:tornado sirens. About 80 of them dot Boone County with the majority of them in a few mile radius of downtown. This week we wondered--how do those sirens get turned on?

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CoMo Explained
4:18 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Propofol explained: Why Missouri is in hot water for its execution protocols

Propofol, an anesthetic the state of Missouri planned to use as its sole lethal injection drug
Credit Nottingham Vet School / Flickr

This week on CoMo Explained we explain what all the fuss about Propofol is and how it's got Missouri in the national eye again.

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CoMo Explained
11:50 am
Fri November 8, 2013

7 things you might have wrong about the Ryan Ferguson ruling

Just a little mid-week pleasure reading. Like you do.
Credit Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

This week: what's next for Ryan Ferguson and what exactly is in that appeals court ruling?

Update: This article was written the week before Ryan Ferguson's release. The 30-day timeline we outline below is based on state prosecutors taking no action at all, allowing legal deadlines to stretch out and pass. For coverage of Ryan Ferguson's release, read our latest story.

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10:57 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Where your recycling goes when it leaves the curb

Next year I'm going as Mr. Bag-it for Halloween
Credit City of Columbia

This week, it's a story you might have heard before, but with the answers you never got: Where, exactly, does your recycling go when it leaves the curb? 

A plucky listener asked us to figure out what exactly happens to our recycling here in Columbia and if we could break it down resource by resource.

We are nothing, if not helpful, so without further ado, here’s how it works: 

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CoMo Explained
11:22 am
Wed October 23, 2013

The spookiest spots in Missouri

The entrance to Ravenswood, a haunted mansion in Boonville.
Credit Clyde Bentley / Flickr

This week, CoMo Explained tells you where the most haunted places in Missouri are.

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CoMo Explained
5:00 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Why are there so many roundabouts in Missouri?[Rebroadcast]

A roundabout in Washington State
Credit WSDOT / Flickr

  This week the CoMo Explained team tries to answer why there are so many roundabouts in Columbia compared to other cities:

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CoMo Explained
12:50 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Why are there so many billboards in Missouri?

At least you can still see the trees.
Credit plainsart / Flickr

This week CoMo Explained tries to answer that question all your out-of-state friends keep asking you: "What's with all the billboards around here?"

Ryan Famuliner knows the experience well: a friend drives into town to hang out for the weekend and the first thing he says is "hey, what's with the billboards advertising sex shops and strip clubs?"

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CoMo Explained
2:49 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Who should you blame for the glitches in Missouri's health care exchange?

A lot of users saw this instead of the sign-up page for

  This week on CoMo Explained we look at how Missouri is implementing Obamacare and ask whether it'll be successful or not.

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CoMo Explained
1:28 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Everything you wanted to know about roadkill

Too bad it's closed.
Credit Atelier Teee / Flickr

  This week we answer all your burning questions about roadkill.

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CoMo Explained
12:30 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

How the employers of the future get their start in Columbia

Macbooks are the unofficial required equipment of Startup Weekend
Credit Scott Pham / KBIA

  This week the Como Explained team goes to Startup Weekend, the premier event for Columbia's booming (really!) tech scene:

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CoMo Explained
2:38 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Why can't Missouri pronounce its towns right?

Versailles. But which one is it?!?! Scientifically, there's no way to know for sure.
Credit Moyan Brenn / Flickr

  This week CoMo Explained explores some of the more "alternative" pronunciations in Missouri place names.

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CoMo Explained
2:02 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

This is why crime was the number one story this summer

Where does all that all that caution tape go? That's just one of many questions we will not address on this week's show.
Credit Derek Bridges / Flickr

  This week we take a quick look back to explain how crime quickly rose to become the number one story in Columbia:

Click to listen to the 20th episode of CoMo Explained. Or subscribe via the links below

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CoMo Explained
10:18 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Why there are so many roundabouts in Columbia

Around you go!
Credit herrolm / Flickr

  This week we answer a pretty common CoMo question: what's with all the roundabouts in Columbia? 

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CoMo Explained
11:17 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Why are there so many hot air balloons in Columbia?

We're trying out some ideas for the official CoMo Explained hot air balloon
Credit matias Garbedian / Flickr

  Columbia was once a hot-spot of  hot air ballooning.  But you can still see a lot of balloonists flying over downtown on a clear afternoon.

On the CoMo Explained podcast we explain why there are so many hot air balloons in CoMo.

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CoMo Explained
12:37 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

How do local taxes work?

I think if you play this right you can get 30 points with it.
Credit 401(K) 201 / Flickr

On this week's podcast, we break down your local tax dollar with guest-host Lora Wegman from the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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CoMo Explained
8:00 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Why are there two farmers markets on the same day?

Get it? There's two. Two farmers markets.
Credit adapted from NatalieMaynor / Flickr

  Not only are there two farmers' markets on the same day, but they're less than a mile away from each other.

Listen to the latest CoMo Explained podcast

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CoMo Explained
11:28 am
Wed July 31, 2013

This guy made a farce out of the Lt. Governor's office

He's not running for anything now, but look for him near the bottom of a municipal ballot somewhere soon

We cover a lot of elections at KBIA but Mike Carter's 2012 run for Lt. Governor was bizarre, hilarious, wonderful. We'll explain:

This week's podcast of CoMo Explained is about Mike Carter, the man who made a farce out of the Lt. Governor's race.

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CoMo Explained
11:55 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Why does the water taste so funny in Columbia?

When it rains upstream, Fred Olmer of the Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission, knows that he's got to start testing even more to see what got washed into the water supply.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Actually we think it's pretty ok. But some people can't stand it! CoMo Explained investigates with guest host Abbie Fentress Swanson:

This week's CoMo Explained is about drinking water....and why it tastes so bad

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CoMo Explained
12:19 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Will Missouri ever play nice with Obamacare?

Just don't read and drive.
Credit seriouslysilly / Flickr

  This week guest host Harum Helmy explains all the ways Missouri is mucking up the implementation of "Obamacare."

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CoMo Explained
7:20 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Why are Mo. politicians so riled up about the tax cut bill?

H.B. 253 does not contain any actual threats to Abraham Lincoln's face. But to tax rates, yeah, definitely.

This week Como Explained dives into the tax cut bill the Governor vetoed. It's not dead yet.

Como Explained: Episode 11

We’ve talked about the Republican veto-proof majority on this show before. Well, that’s one of the main causes behind a situation playing out in Jefferson City (and across the state) right now.

Republicans pushed a bill through the legislature this year that would reduce the personal income tax rate by half a percentage point and the corporate rate by three points.  Both would be phased in over the next 10 years. Many Republicans touted the bill as one of their key accomplishments in the 2013 session, and if it becomes law, it will likely be the most noticeable change in the state that comes out of this past session.

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CoMo Explained
8:15 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Are there really tunnels underneath downtown Columbia?

Subtera is an underground warehouse with 1 million square feet of space.
Credit Courtesy of MU Libraries

  This week CoMo Explained investigates the legend of Columbia's underground tunnels.

CoMo Explained: Episode 10

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CoMo Explained
8:00 am
Wed June 12, 2013

How the Providence Rd improvement project became such a huge deal

A bulldozer. It never came to this with the Providence Rd improvement project, but early plans included the demolition of eight possibly historic homes
Credit Flickr / Zachi Evenor

  This week we explain exactly what went down with the Providence Road improvement project and how it became such a huge mess.

The busiest intersection in Columbia is at Providence Rd and Stadium Boulevard. When the city started to look into ways to improve traffic flow about eight years ago, nobody knew it would turn into the big mess that it did.  Before it was over, the meetings multiplied, emotions went high and the city government was accused of arranging backdoor deals.

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CoMo Explained
8:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Why government transparency matters--and not just to journalists!

Credit opensourceway / Flickr

This week on the CoMo Explained podcast we talk about why government transparency matters.

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CoMo Explained
9:00 am
Wed May 29, 2013

What's wrong with bridges in Missouri?

This bridge in southeast Missouri collapsed when a derailed train knocked out its supports
Credit bodkin / Flickr

The collapse of a county highway bridge in southeast Missouri on Saturday was almost certainly not due to structural defects. And the fact that this collapse came on the heels of a similar disaster in Washington state is unfortunate but not necessarily related. Yet it's just a plain fact that bridges in Missouri are aging rapidly and are in serious need of repair.

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CoMo Explained
10:01 am
Wed May 22, 2013

How does a veto-proof super majority work?

Superman is probably veto-proof as well, but he's never admitted it.
Credit out of ideas / Flickr

This is the first year in modern history that we've seen a Republican veto-proof super majority: that's a two-thirds majority that allows Republicans to not only push through most any legislation they want, but also nullify a possible veto from their Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon.

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CoMo Explained
3:20 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

How Columbia Regional Airport lost all its airlines but one

This is a metaphor, probably.
Credit Hey Paul Studios / Flickr

This week we note the last departure of Frontier Airlines from Columbia Regional Airport and try to figure out how we ended up with just one airline.

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CoMo Explained
5:25 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Why the Missouri legislature is at war with the DMV

Credit chuybenitez / Flickr

This one's a fun one. The Missouri State Senate grilled the Department of Revenue over whether the state agency (which oversees the DMV) made copies of Concealed Carry Licenses and sent them to the federal government. What started as a kind of weird, bureaucratic witch hunt became a lot more interesting--turns out they actually did it!  But why would the DMV send these documents to the higher ups.  And is it as illegal as it sounds?

CoMo Explained breaks it down in the podcast:  

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CoMo Explained
1:23 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

What does immigration look like in mid-Missouri?

A permanent resident card, or "green card"
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, a “Gang of Eight” bipartisan senators introduced an immigration bill that would grant low-skilled immigrant workers the opportunity to stay in the United States legally without a green card, among other reforms. Called “W-visas,” these visas would allow immigrants to fill positions that don’t require bachelor’s degrees for three years.

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CoMo Explained
2:12 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

How C-2 zoning could make or break Columbia

Downtown Columbia
Credit Chris Yunker / Flickr

Most of downtown Columbia is zoned for "central business."  But the same zone that lets developers build small boutiques with loft apartments lets in huge, disruptive housing complexes like the Brookside Apartments.

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