Charity Nebbe

Talk of Iowa Host

Charity Nebbe grew up in rural Iowa just outside of Cedar Falls.  She began her career in public radio at WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa when she was a student at Iowa State University and has been working in public radio ever since.  Early in her career she created Chinwag Theater a nationally syndicated public radio show that she produced and co-hosted with well known author Daniel Pinkwater.  She spent ten years at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and in 2010 returned to Iowa. 

Charity is now the host of Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa, heard weekday mornings at 10.  She is also the host of Iowa Ingredient on Iowa Public Television and the author of the children's book “Our Walk in the Woods,” published in 2008. Charity is the chair of the advisory board for Let Me Run Eastern Iowa Corridor, a character development and running program for boys. 

F_A seelensturm / Flickr

This segment originally aired on May 3, 2017.

Spraying herbicide to achieve what many consider to be the ideal lawn became a common practice in the mid-20th century. Many people stopped that practice after studies showing the health impact of human contact with common pesticides and weed killers.

Lunch Lady Land

10 hours ago
Sandy Dyas Photography

This program originally aired on August 8, 2017.

Susan Becker was having a tough time.  Her mother had recently died.  She started feeling like she had made wrong decisions. She wasn't motivated.  She decided there needed to be a change.

She got a job as a lunch lady in Bellevue in northeast Iowa, and she was managing a staff that was many years older than her.  It was challenging, and ultimately it was enjoyable, meaningful, and sparked a renewed outlook on her life.  

Helaina Thompson / Iowa Public Radio

This conversation originally aired on June 29, 2017.

Iowa’s lakes play a huge role in the communities that have grown up around them. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe takes a tour of Lake Delhi, open for the first full summer boating season this year after the dam burst due to heavy rainfall in 2010. We’ll hear from Steve Leonard, President of the Lake Delhi Recreation Association, and the engineer who is spending part of his retirement maintaining the dam.

Thomas Rydberg

This conversation originally aired on June 28, 2017.

Author Terry McDermott grew up in Cascade, Iowa with a passion for baseball instilled by his father. Inspired by Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez’s perfectly pitched game in 2012, McDermott wrote his latest book Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching and the Art of Deception. 

Sarvinder Naberhaus and Kadir Nelson / Kirkus Reviews

This conversation originally aired on June 28, 2017.

Children's author Sarvinder Naberhaus' family emigrated from India to Ames in 1965. In her new book, Blue Sky White Stars, Naberhaus juxtaposes the design of the American flag with what the country represents to her and many others chasing the American Dream.


The summer travel season is right around the corner, and whether it's a family road trip in the region or a jetsetting destination halfway around the world, we all gather experiences and stories from our travels.

Craig A Rodway / flickr

This program originally aired on August 2, 2017, and makes mention to an upcoming Bix 7 race. The next annual date for this event is July 27, 2019. 

Bix Beiderbecke was a self-taught cornet player from Davenport, a white kid from the corn belt born in 1903.  He only lived to be 28 years old, but against all odds his musical influence has lasted for generations. 

Courtesy of Elizabeth Moen

Elizabeth Moen is a favorite in Iowa. She's played venues like Racoon Motel in Davenport, the Englert Theater in Iowa City, stopped by Daytrotter last year, and even made her way onto the Hinterland lineup for this summer.

But following the release of her second EP and a tour that took her from coast to coast and over seas,  it's becoming clear that Moen's fan base streaches far beyond statelines

Omar Al Farooq Pn

Recent films like Marvel's "Black Panther" and Jordan Peele's "Us" have been praised as a huge step forward for black representation in Hollywood and pop culture. But black actors and directors have been making art in Hollywood far before these films came to the big screen. 

Courtesy of Thomas Dean


There was a time when tallgrass prairie once covered about 85 percent of Iowa. Today, tallgrass prairie is one of the most altered and threatened ecosystems on the planet, though more Iowans are turning back to native prairie plans in their yards and landscapes.

Kevin Collins/KQED

A house centipede is almost never a welcome house guest, but these creepy crawlies are actually beneficial creatures.

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with entomologist Donald Lewis about why centipedes and millipedes don’t deserve their bad reputation. Later in the hour, horticulturist Richard Jauron joins to answer listener questions.

State Historical Society of Iowa

Buxton, Iowa was a company town, but it wasn't like any other company town. It was founded by Consolidation Coal Company in 1900 and when the company recruited miners they did not discriminate on the basis of race. Buxton became Iowa's first fully integrated town and the community thrived until the coal ran out. On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sat down with author Rachelle Chase to talk about her new book, "Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton Iowa".

Emily Woodbury/Iowa Public Radio

Everybody can get behind daily pictures of cute dogs, and 10-year-old Gideon Kidd of Cedar Falls has gone viral sharing pictures of dogs he's met on his twitter account @IvePetThatDog

Almost exactly one year ago, Gideon and his mother Rachel Braunigan launched the account, and since then Gideon has amassed more than 214,000 followers from his daily dog posting.


It’s been a spring to remember for the feathered residents of the North and Fish Hatchery eagle nests in Decorah.

Four eaglets have hatched in total, with only three surviving. The death of one eaglet at Decorah North follows a tumultuous year at the nests, leaden with heartbreak, missing mates, new courtships and even a couple housing renovations.

Michael Weber / Shadow Fox Photography

For more than two decades, multidisciplinary artist Jason Snell has been challenging the relationship between music, maker, and technology to create richly engineered performances and complex soundscapes. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

It’s too early for planting, but some farm fields in Iowa are already greening up thanks to cover crops. 

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, a look at cover crop use from row cropping to small scale vegetable farming with two Iowa farmers. 


  • Doug Adams, Humboldt-based soybean and corn farmer 
  • Carmen Black, owner of Sundog Farm and Local Harvest CSA in Solon

Qfamily / Flickr

The grass is starting to turn green and pretty soon it will be time to mow. How great would it be if a robot could do it for you?

On today's Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Adam Thoms and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University Extension about robotic lawn mowers and spring lawn chores.

Jonathan Dresner / Licensed under CC BY 2.0 -

The work of Grant Wood has inspired countless imitators, parodies, books, a symphony, and now - an opera.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a preview of “Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius," which will be performed at Theatre Cedar Rapids on April 12, 13, and 14. The performance will feature three one-act operas, each one written and composed by a different Iowa composer and inspired by a different Grant Wood Paintings.

Guests this hour include:

Iowa produces about 50 million hogs per year, and at any one time, there are approximately 20 million pigs being raised in Iowa. Yet, driving across the state, it’s rare to see any pigs outside, as most of the state’s pigs are raised in hoop houses or concentrated animal feeding operations.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe chats with two Iowa farmers who raise their pigs in the pasture.

NPR listeners know Paula Poundstone as a regular panelist on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and from 30 years of being hilarious on stage.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Poundstone.

In addition to being a comedian, Poundstone is a podcaster, author, cat lady and many other things. Her podcast, which she co-hosts with Adam Felber is called Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone and her latest book, now out in paperback is “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.”

NH53 / Flickr

The video of a 59-year-old chimpanzee on her death bed, embracing a researcher she has known for 40 years, brought viewers around the world to tears.

“It was a very touching moment," says primatologist Frans de Waal, who knew Mama for years as a researcher himself.

Des Moines hip-hop artist, Asphate, is releasing a new album this spring. The Main Dude’s debut album, “A Bloodied Up Conclusion,” is produced by Batsauce and will be out this summer under the longtime underground rap powerhouse indie label, Galapagos4, based in Chicago.

In this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Asphate about the inspiration for the album.

After being released from treatment at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines for chronic migranes, Grace McCunn of Ames says she couldn't stop thinking about the other children still stuck in the hospital for treatment.

"I wanted to do something to try and make their stay just a little bit better," McCunn says.

She decided to fundraise for the hospital with a lemonade stand, raising about $100 on her first day. Since then, she's organized two 5ks for the hospital, raising more than $50,000, and she is now the subject of a new documentary, "Amazing Grace Lemonade Race". 

Morgan County News

It’s too early to get to work in the garden, but it is time to think about your trees and shrubs. On this Horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by horticulturists Richard Jauron and Jeff Iles along with DNR Forester Mark Vitosh. They guide us through spring pruning and answer listener questions.

For more information on the art and science of pruning, check out Pruning Trees: Shade, Flowering, and Conifer by Jeff Iles at Iowa State University Extension.

guizmo_68 / Wikimedia Commons

This time of year nature lovers and ornithophiles alike can go out and witness the wild and wonderful mating displays of a strange looking little bird, the American Woodcock.  

"It's nothing I can define, it's nothing tangible, but boy, you spend a few evenings in the woods or on the edge of the woods watching these guys, and they just get into your heart like few other species can," says naturalist Greg Hoch.

Eighty years ago, a small dedicated group of Quakers opened a hostel to provide shelter and a pathway to a new life for refugees who fled Nazi violence and aggression in Europe. Thus began the history of the Scattergood Friends Hostel in West Branch.   

During this segment of Talk of Iowa, we hear Edith Morgan Froehlig's memories. She was 11-year-old Edith Lichtenstein when she arrived with her family at the hostel, which provided shelter to 185 refugees between 1939 and 1943.

Meskwaki poet Ray Young Bear has been writing poetry for more than half a century, and recently had his poems and prose accepted for publication in The Iowa Review and Native Voices: Indigenous American Poetry, Craft and Conversations.

Young Bear joins this episode of Talk of Iowa to share some of his recent work, and to perform a word song written in Meskwaki. 

U.S. Geological Survey/flickr

56 Iowa counties have received a major emergency declaration due to significant flooding across the Midwest, with flood damage in the state estimated at $1.6 billion according to Governor Reynolds. How you can minimize the impact of flooding on your own home? 


  • Bill McAnally, home improvement specialist

George Hodan/public domain pictures

We all participate in our food system and here in Iowa none of us live very far from a field of corn or soybeans. But for those of us who don’t farm, there's a lot we don't understand about the business and lifestyle associated with agricultural work. 

Charity Nebbe

This conversation originally aired on July 13, 2017.

The Civil War is the deadliest war in American history, with hundreds of thousands of casualties suffered by both the Union and Confederate sides.

In Some of Our Yesterdays, a memoir posthumously unearthed by the family of Charles Seton Lindsay, the Civil War experience is vividly told by Lindsay, who fought for the Union as a teenager after enlisting against his family's wishes. He recalls the horrors of battle he witnessed in Williamsburg, Virginia.