como explained

Jack Howard / KBIA

We've all been there. Driving downtown during a high traffic time. Maybe on 9th Street. Listening to KBIA. 

And then--stopped. There's a semi truck stopped in the lane up ahead. 

Jack Howard / KBIA

One way CoMO Explained chooses topics for our episodes is from listener questions. Way back in our first iteration of the show a listener posted on Reddit and asked us why KBIA, an NPR station, plays so much classical music.

This episode is for that Reddit listener.

cogdogblog / Flickr

If you’re a student at Mizzou, you were probably hooked to this story just by mentioning MizzouWireless. But if you’re not, then what you may need a little filling in.

Note: We received several requests for a more technical explanation of what may be causing the issues users experience. Please see the bottom of this story for an update.

Columbia Daily Tribune

Sales tax. Not a great opening line for journalists trying to educate people about how a city functions. The moment sales tax is mentioned eyes glaze over, something else suddenly becomes important, and we all casually scroll through twitter on our phones.

But sales tax is actually a really fascinating topic, especially right now in our city and country’s history. To learn why, we have to go back…way back, to 1970.

Photo courtesy of Doug Gouzie

We put out some questions on social media to see what you wanted to know about sinkholes. First, here’s a clip of CoMo Explained where I explain everything we learned before talking to Missouri State University Associate Professor of Geology and sinkhole expert Doug Gouzie. You can also read about our previous sinkhole reporting here.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

What exactly is a sinkhole?

A sinkhole forms when the surface layer of ground collapses into a cavity underneath. Associate Professor of Geology at MU Martin Appold explains these features in more detail:

“They’re holes in the ground that form as a result of caves developing below the ground’s surface that come close enough to the ground’s surface that at some point the rock can’t support its own weight.”

“Ultimately the cause is from ground water that is percolating through the fractures, usually in limestone bedrock,” Appold said. 

MU Archives

Peace Park is that grassy little knoll along the north edge of MU’s campus. It’s at the corner of 8th and Elm, a stone’s throw away from the columns. There’s a creek (or drainage ditch) that saunters through it, creating a calm and tranquil vibe for the meditators and hammock dwellers.    


What happens in CoMo when the twisters come

Nov 22, 2013

 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?

ferguson ruling
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.

mr bag it
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: 

The spookiest spots in Missouri

Oct 23, 2013
Clyde Bentley / Flickr

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

Why are there so many billboards in Missouri?

Oct 11, 2013
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?"

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

Atelier Teee / Flickr

  This week we answer all your burning questions about roadkill.

Moyan Brenn / Flickr

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

caution tape
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:

Why there are so many roundabouts in Columbia

Aug 28, 2013
herrolm / Flickr

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

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.

How do local taxes work?

Aug 14, 2013
tax scrabble
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.

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.

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

Why does the water taste so funny in Columbia?

Jul 17, 2013
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:

Will Missouri ever play nice with Obamacare?

Jul 10, 2013
seriouslysilly / Flickr

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

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

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.

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.

opensourceway / Flickr

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

What's wrong with bridges in Missouri?

May 29, 2013
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.


  Missouri's 2013 legislative session came to a close Friday evening after deliberation of state Medicaid expansion, tax credit reform and gun control.

How does a veto-proof super majority work?

May 22, 2013
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.

What does immigration look like in mid-Missouri?

May 1, 2013
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.