Emily Woodbury

Talk Show Producer

Emily Woodbury has worked for Iowa Public Radio since 2011. She became a talk show producer in 2012. Her duties include researching show topics, booking guests, preparing news copy, editing audio, and directing live programming for IPR’s national-award winning shows River to River and Talk of Iowa.

She is a member of Student Broadcasters Incorporated, which serves as an advisory board to the students who work at KRUI FM in Iowa City. She is also the PR director for Iowa City's roller derby league, Old Capitol City Roller Derby.

Prior to joining Iowa Public Radio, Emily worked as a news director for KRUI and as an intern for Chicago Public Media. She has won awards for her reporting and a couple of her news reports have been featured statewide on Iowa Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Emily has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in political science.

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.

Christine / Flickr


A bill that would raise the cost of owning solar panels has divided Iowa legislators.

In this episode of River to River, co-hosts Ben Kieffer and Katarina Sostaric talk with lawmakers about possible additional fees for solar customers.

Later, they discuss the debate over stricter laws governing drivers who want to use cell phones behind the wheel.

First half guests:

Harvard School of Public Health

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, guest host Jason Burns talks to horticulturalists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes about when to plant potatoes and how to care for them as they grow.

Then, Jauron and Haynes answer listener questions along with DNR Forester Mark Vitosh.

Charlie Neibergall

After more than a dozen years in Congress, Rep. Dave Loebsack has announced his retirement.

Sarah Johnson

The U.S. Surgeon General says electronic cigarette use among young people is increasing at “epidemic proportions.” In Iowa, 2018 data shows that nine percent of high school students in the state used e-cigarettes. Nationally, there was a 78 percent rise in vaping among high school students from 2017 to 2018.

Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco.

President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants to get even tougher on immigration.

In this Politics Day edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts, Jonathan Hassid of Iowa State University and Rene Rocha of the University of Iowa, about the politics of dealing with the surge of migrant families and children on the U.S. southern border. 

Jo Christian Oterhals

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with award-winning author Paul Greenberg about his new book, The Omega Principle, in which he explores the history, science, and business behind omega-3 fatty acids.

Greenberg is the James Beard Award-winning bestseller of Four Fish and American Catch, a regular contributor to The New York Times and is a Pew Fellow in marine conservation. 

John Pemble

A measure strengthening Iowa's animal cruelty laws, a proposal allowing over the counter birth control, and a bill to change the limit on the potency of medical marijuana have all made it through the second funnel week at the Iowa legislature, allowing the bills to be considered and possibly passed before the end of the session.

In this hour of River to River, Ben Kieffer and co-host Katarina Sostaric talk with several Iowa statehouse reporters about the bills that have made it through the latest legislative funnel, and which did not.

Panelists include:

Many of us don't give a second thought to the software that runs aspects of our everyday lives, from morning alarms or fitness apps on our phones, to the code directing a red eye flight out of Chicago O'hare. Behind the software are computer programmers who work line-by-line to make these things possible.

On this segment of River to River host Ben Kieffer examines the world of programmers with journalist Clive Thompson, author of "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World."

Jonathan Dresner / Licensed under CC BY 2.0 - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/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:

Charlie Neibergall

During an extended stay in the intensive care unit of a hospital, it’s common for patients to experience delirium. They may begin to see or hear things that aren’t there, experience delusions, or suffer from extreme confusion.

“It can be very distressing to family members and loved ones because it’s an acute and drastic change from someone’s normal cognitive baseline,” says Dr. Nick Butler, a geriatrician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

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.


When we're feeling down, what's the best way to cheer ourselves up? A new study from Iowa State University suggests that the key to happiness might lie in wishing others well.

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with Douglas Gentile, professor of psychology at Iowa State University, to learn more about his recent study that put techniques to reduce anxiety and increase happiness to the test.

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". 

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.

J. Scott Applewhite

The women’s vote and the gender gap in voting have been the subject of intense analysis for decades.

In this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with Kelly Winfrey of Iowa State University about her new book, “Understanding How Women Vote: Gender Identity and Political Choices.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Under a bill being considered at the Iowa Statehouse, businesses could face the suspension or loss of their licenses if they knowingly employ workers who are in the country illegally.

In this “legislative day” edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer and Katarina Sostaric host a discussion on the bill that proposes requirements to participate in the federal government’s E-Verify program.

They also host discussion on a bill that would limit private groups' use of the State Revolving Fund to purchase land.

Guests this hour include:

Abi Skipp

Spring is officially here, but this winter’s bitter cold and heavy snow may have caused damage to trees and shrubs. Desperate for food, deer, rabbits, and voles may have eaten plants they usually leave alone.

In this "horticulture day" edition of Talk of Iowa, guest host Amy Mayer talks with horticulture experts about types of damage from animals, the impact of deep snow and ice on your garden and lawn, and what to monitor as spring unfolds.

Clay Masters / IPR

Former Texas Congressman and latest 2020 presidential contender Beto O'Rourke spent his first days on the campaign trail driving himself in a rented minivan across 13 Iowa counties.

In this “politics day” edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts, Rachel Caufield of Drake University and Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College, about O’Rourke’s appeal.


More than 70 thousand students would be unable to vote early on their college campuses under a wide-ranging election bill making its way through the Iowa Senate. 

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, host Emily Woodbury speaks with University of Iowa College Republicans Chair Kyle Apple and Iowa State College Democrats President Taylor Blair to learn about student reactions to the proposed bill. 

Also on this episode:

George Hodan

This program originally aired on July 26, 2018.

Human trafficking - illegally transporting people for forced labor or commercial sex - is one of the world’s largest criminal industries found in every state, including Iowa.

Jonah Siegel

Karen Bender’s latest collection of short stories, "The New Order," was released just ten days after the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The first story in the collection is called, “Where to Hide in a Synagogue”.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Bender about the collection and her characters, who deal with everything from junior high angst, workplace harassment, gun violence, and more. 

Library of Congress

This program originally aired on June 28, 2018.

Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Nick Dybek’s latest book tells a mysterious story set in the aftermath of one of World War I’s most horrific encounters, the Battle of Verdun.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dybek about his new book, The Verdun Affair: A Novel, about the battle and its aftermath.

John Pemble/IPR

The Iowa Legislature is in it's ninth week at the Statehouse, with last Friday marking the first deadline of the session. During this River to River episode, Clay Masters talks with reporters about what bills are still being considered and what bills didn't make the cut after last week's "funnel." 

Guests include: 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley says the long-anticipated findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation could drop within the next two weeks.

In conversation with River to River host Ben Kieffer, Grassley says it’s vital for such reports to be made public. He also supports a bipartisan bill to ensure this and all future special counsel reports are released publicly. 

Courtesy of Luis Argueta

It's been more than ten years since a 2008 raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rocked the small community of Postville, Iowa. The story of this community, and the undocumented workers swept up in the chaos, is told in a documentary series by director Luis Argueta.

Argueta says he decided to come to Iowa after reading about the raid in a New York Times article.

Alexa McDowell

Only 11 sites in Iowa are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as having played an important role in African American history. The State Historic Preservation Office is hoping Iowans participate in a new project that will put more spots on the map – the 20th Century Civil Rights Survey Project.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with those involved: Paula Mohr, architectural historian at the State Historical Society of Iowa, and Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP.