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. 

Matt Alvarez / NPR

George Bernard Shaw said, "make it a rule to never give a child a book you would not read yourself."

With that in mind, we asked some knowledgeable bookworms to create a recommendations list for the best new books for this winter. 

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

Got a bookworm on your list to shop for this holiday season? We've got recommendations.

Each year Talk of Iowa generates lists for the best new books to give during the holiday season. This year, we're creating curated lists for adult fiction, young readers, and non-fiction for both the adults and the kiddos in your life.

Alejandro Carrasco


It's game time. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, we hear stories of sportsmanship and athleticism. From playing basketball on the Nigerian national team, to running and losing the race of a lifetime, Iowans share their best sports stories.

This show was recorded at a recent event sponsored by Iowa Watch: The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism and Iowa Public Radio at Merge in downtown Iowa City. 


Associated Press / Gene J. Puskar

After starting out on WQED in Pittsburgh in 1966, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its national public television debut on February 19, 1968.  The final new episode was taped December 1st 2000, but the show lived on through re-runs even after Fred Rogers passed away in 2003.

Three generations have now grown up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or watching children’s programming heavily influenced by his philosophy.

Rich Herrmann / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with local historian Larry Grill of Schleswig and amateur naturalist Glenn Pollock of Omaha, Nebrasksa about their research of an 1820 expedition through Iowa. 

Rollins College / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa with host Charity Nebbe, guests and callers reflect on how the public television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood affected their lives. The co-hosts of Iowa Public Television's Kid's Clubhouse Adventures, Dan Wardell and Abby Brown, share how Fred Rogers' philosophy has influenced their own children's show. Des Moines Register Storyteller Daniel Finney remembers how returning to Rogers' material changed his outlook on life and helped him through difficult times. 

IPR File

We’ve all been to that holiday gathering where there are a lot of humans in a room who have no idea what to say to each other but desperately want to connect.

Now, let’s be clear, I don’t recommend approaching your next family gathering or office holiday party as if you’re hosting a talk show. But as the host of Talk of Iowa it’s my job to ask people questions, and I do have some useful tips to share.

Fyn Kynd / Flickr

ISU Extension Wildlife Specialist Adam Janke joins this weekly 'Horticulture Day' edition of Talk of Iowa with host Charity Nebbe.  He explains how to transform a landscape into a wildlife-friendly space. He says diversifying your yard with a water source, dead logs and branches, rocks, and native plant species will help entice a range of wildlife from birds to salamanders to deer.

From ice skating to ultimate frisbee, the new children's book "Amazing Iowa Athletes" highlights both prominent and little-known Iowa athletes who have accomplished extraordinary feats. 

IPR File

In 1949 when Evelyn Birkby began writing a weekly column for the Shenandoah Evening Sentinel, her publisher told her to include a recipe every week. She did, even though she couldn’t cook. 

The newspaper column “Up a Country Lane” has had a 70-year run. Birkby, now 100, has decided it is time for her to say goodbye to her readers. 

Justin Brice Guariglia gave up photojournalism to pursue environmental activism a few years ago. Today, he is most well known for his large scale photographic, sculptural and installation-based works inspired by the relationship between the earth and humans. He uses art to try and get his point across that humans are having a negative impact on the planet. 

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

In a new collection of essays, “Some Of Us Are Very Hungry Now,” Andre Perry writes about his journey from Washington D.C. to Iowa City to Hong Kong exploring questions about race, racism, homophobia, self-discovery and identity. 

The Power Of Organic Farming In Iowa

Nov 8, 2019
Liz West / Flickr

Organic farming is on the rise in Iowa according to ISU Extension Organic Specialist Kathleen Delate.

"Unique advantages associated with organic practices are pushing the industry forward," she says. 

Delate joins Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to talk about organic farming and how crop diversity can optimize profits during this episode of the show. By cultivating many different types of organic plants, she says farmers avoid the risk of growing just one or two failing crops.

Matt Alvarez / IPR

When cellist Hannah Holman began her YouTube series exploring the lives of female cellists throughout history, she did not anticipate getting many views or subscribers. Austin McConnell, a YouTuber with nearly one million subscribers, recently promoted Holman's channel in one of his videos, helping Holman develop a larger audience. 

Arnab Chakladar / Graywolf Press

"Suicide Woods" is author Benjamin Percy's latest collection of short stories. The book delivers a combination of horror, crime and weird happenings in the woods. This book is a dark, inventive collection full of eerie and provocative tales.


An estimated 400 deaths per year in Iowa are caused by radon-induced lung cancer. That is approximately the number of Iowans who die in traffic accidents each year. All of Iowa's 99 counties have the highest potential for radon levels and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.   

Ed Robertson / Unsplash


Since 2003, The Iowa Center for the Book has been picking an All Iowa Reads book. The goal is to foster a sense of unity in our state through reading. Starting in 2018, the All Iowa Reads Committee expanded the program to include three books, one for adults, one for teens and one for children.

Emily Woodbury

This program originally aired on 4-24-18

When Leigh Ann Erickson taught in Chicago and New York, she witnessed the effects of social injustice every day.

But the view from small town Iowa can be very different. That’s why Erickson founded a social justice course, an African American literature course, and the CARE Conference at Mount Vernon High School. Through this curriculum, Erickson hopes to broaden her students' perspectives about income inequality, race, and the criminal justice system. 

Photo Courtesy of Rosenna Bakari

This program originally aired on 4-18-18.

Imagine the scene at drop-off at an elementary school, all those children smiling laughing. Statistics tell us that one in every 10 of those children in the United States will be sexually abused before they turn 18. 

Preparing Plants For Winter

Nov 1, 2019
Stanley Zimney / Flickr

In order to thrive in spring, plants have to successfully transition through the long winter months, so prepping many types of plants and gardens ahead of time is a key step. 

On this edition of 'Horticulture Day,' Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens Aaron Steil and ISU Extension Horticulture Specialist Richard Jauron join Charity Nebbe to lay out the do's and don'ts of getting ready for winter. 

Kon Karampelas / Unsplash

Our growing reliance on social media over the past decade has raised a lot of questions about privacy, civility, safety and addiction. In the past few years we’ve added the questions about the integrity of our democracy to this list.   

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores the ethical questions surrounding social media and how those questions are, or are not, influencing our behavior. 

Matthew Alvarez / Iowa Public Radio

Barbara Ehrenreich is best known for exposing what it's like to try to get by when you are earning minimum wage in America in her best selling book "Nickled and Dimed."

In her newest book, she turns her unflinching gaze on health care, the fitness industry, the human drive for immortality,  and she describes how people relentlessly worry about what is, in the end, inevitable.

G. Morel

This program originally aired on 4-16-18

Who does the dishes in your household? The answer to that question may reveal quite a lot about your relationships and level of happiness. 

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe chats with Dan Carlson, assistant professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah. A report he co-authored for the Council on Contemporary Families was recently featured in The Atlantic

James St. John / Flickr

A new podcast, "Mid-Americana: Stories from a Changing Midwest" is harnessing the power of oral storytelling to explore the history and identity of the Midwest. 

Tiffany Adrain / University of Iowa Paleontology Repository

Robert Wolf, a self-taught geologist, has devoted the last 55 years to scouring for fossils across the Midwest. He accumulated 18,000 specimens, which he recently donated to the University of Iowa after years of collecting and cataloging them in a garage. 

Weather's Effect On Struggling Trees

Oct 25, 2019
Abi Skipp / Flickr

Iowa's rapidly changing range of weather conditions can pose a challenge for many types of trees. 

On this weekly 'Horticulture Day' edition of Talk of Iowa, ISU Horticulture Professor Jeff Iles and ISU Horticulture Extension Specialist Richard Jauron describe the toll last winter and spring has had on many trees across the state. 

Since wet conditions promote a variety of tree diseases, Iles recommends planting trees that are known to withstand adverse conditions, such as choosing a bald cyprus tree for a flood plain. 

Kyle Head / Unsplash

Theater has a problem. Only 30% of all plays performed nationwide last year were written by women, and that number is even lower in parts of the Midwest. Iowa State wants to change that.

Ted S. Warren/AP

When the #MeToo movement took off in the United States, it sent ripple effects around the world.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by two writers from very different parts of the world for a look at how violence against women and other vulnerable individuals manifests across the globe, and how it is countered and called out by women who write.

Megan Bannister

With fall colors at their peak in Iowa, and Halloween around the corner, it's a great time for some spooky adventures and fall foliage visits.  

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores both beautiful and spooky fall excursions with travel writer Megan Banister as she shares her favorite must-see fall destinations. But first, a look at the newly reopeneed Cedar Bridge – one of the six famous covered bridges in Madison County. 

Spooky Iowa Destinations

S. Benjamin Farrar

Megan Gogerty made a name for herself in Iowa's theater scene with her witty and comedic writing and delivery. Her latest work "FEAST." is a departure from this style, and takes the audience into a visceral, immersive theater experience where those seated in the theater are just as much a part of the story as Gogerty.

On this segment of Talk of Iowa, Gogerty joins host Charity Nebbe for a look at her new one-woman show set at a dinner party where political discontent and patriarchal critique are on the menu.