Matthew Alvarez

Talk Show Producer
Lindsey Moon / IPR

Did you make a New Year's resolution to read more? We're here to inspire you! Talk of Iowa is launching a book club.

We hosted the first meeting at 10:00 a.m. during the live broadcast of Talk of Iowa on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Author Ayana Mathis talked about her novel "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," and a few Iowans who read the book along with us also joined the conversation. 

Simon Fitall / Unsplash

At History Camp Iowa 2020, history buffs from all over the state will come together to share their expertise. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a preview of the fourth annual conference that's organized entirely by volunteers. 

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

"Black Sunday" tells the story of a family living in Lagos, Nigeria. Told over 20 years, the book tells of their attempts to cling to their middle-class lifestyle and subsequent plunge into poverty. In this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Tola Rotimi Abraham about her debut novel.

Coast Guard News / Flickr

 

From wildfires in California and Australia to category five hurricanes destroying small islands, Jerry Schnoor describes how climate change has manifested itself around the world. Iowa has experienced the effect of climate change through severe flooding and intense precipitations. 

John Pemble / IPR File

River to River host Ben Kieffer talks with Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. 

With the Iowa caucuses just days away, Kieffer and Klobuchar discussed campaigning, impeachment, her polling numbers among black voters, climate change, foreign policy, and immigration. 

John Pemble / IPR File

River to River host Ben Kieffer talks with Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg less than one week away from the Iowa caucuses. 

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

A lost millennial, an Instagram celebrity, an overgrown man-child, and a precocious toddler run headlong into issues of race, class and human folly are all themes in the new novel “Such a Fun Age.”

On this this edition of Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe speaks with author Kiley Reid about her debut novel. 

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me / WBEZ

The caucuses are a less than two weeks away, and that means Iowa is getting some pretty special visitors. This isn’t a reference to all the presidential candidates; Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is in Des Moines to record show in front of a sold out audience.

Carole Anne Oikawa / Flickr

In September of 2019 we learned the number of birds in North America had fallen by 29 percent since 1970.

There are 2.9 billion fewer birds today than there were 50 years ago. Some bird species, however, have increased dramatically in the past 20 years, including two species beloved in Iowa. 

As a method for processing the end of a nine-year marriage with a gay man, Kellie Kramer has channeled her energy and emotions into a one-woman cabaret show, "All the Good Men Are Gay."  Kramer, an actor and singer who hosts Iowa Outdoors on Iowa PBS, pieces together the story of love and loss through songs that range from Judy Garland to "Weird Al" Yankovic. 

Jesper Aggergaard / Unsplash

Weightlifting didn't appear on Cynthia Martin's radar until age 64, when she picked up barbells for the first time through a Cross Fit program. Just a few years later, the Marion native won the 2018 National Weightlifting Championship in Buffalo, New York. 

Rebecca Blackwell / AP Photo

On this edition of River to River host Ben Kieffer speaks with Reynaldo Leanos Jr., a border and immigration reporter with Texas Public Radio, about the crisis at the border.

Also joining the conversation are Sue Otto, Sally Hartman and Deb Schoelerman. The three Iowa women describe their visit to a tent city in Matamoros, Mexico. The city is located just over border from Brownsville, Texas. Together they detailed the harsh living conditions many refugees have had to endure.

Drake University / Flickr

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with IPR's Clay Masters, UNI's Donna Hoffman and ISU's Jonathan Hassid to recap last night's CNN Des Moines Register Democratic Presidential Debate hosted at Drake University. 

Courtesy of "Adore Us! Line" Production Team

From the creator of "Caucus: The Musical," a new song-by song parody of "A Chorus Line" showcases the 2020 Democratic candidates auditioning for Iowa voters. 

Composer, Playwright, and Producer Robert John Ford joins this edition of Talk of Iowa to discuss the opening of his musical, "Adore Us! Line." 

Element 5 Digital / Unsplash

Iowa has been hosting first-in-the-nation caucuses since 1972, but the proceedings have shifted with the years. Since the last caucuses in 2016, the DNC has mandated a new set of changes. IPR Reporter Kate Payne joins this 'News Buzz' edition of River to River to summarize how the upcoming Democratic caucuses on Feb. 3 will differ. 

Katelyn Harrop / IPR

Dear Experienced Iowans, 

What gives with the balmy weather? I’m writing to you from Iowa City, and there is no snow to be found.

I guess you can say I am fortunate. So far this winter has greeted me with unexpected sunny days, unseasonably warm temperatures and a Christmas so mild it truly reminded me of Texas.

Pete Souza / The Obama White House

In 2007, Iowa native Chris Liddell-Westefeld became a field organizer for the Obama campaign. His early start eventually led to career in White House where he spent five years working for the Obama Administration.

Right before Liddell-Westefeld's departure, he started a project to document President Obama’s historic path to the White House. Twelve years and 200 interviews later, Liddell-Westefeld has now released his book “They Said This Day Would Never Come: Chasing The Dream On Obama’s Improbable Campaign.”

Benjamin Combs / Upsplash

Have you ever been falling asleep, or waking up, and then become suddenly aware you're unable to move or speak?  

Neurologist and Director of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorders Program, Mark Dyken joins host Ben Kieffer on this edition of River to River to explain the science of sleep paralysis.  Later on, he answers questions from callers across Iowa about a wide range of sleep problems. 

IPR/Matthew Alvarez

Nearly a dozen people sat in a small room painted black and lit only by two theatre lamps, drawing attention to a DJ booth with its chrome and silver equipment glimmering.

DJ Patrick Blin stepped up to the booth, and the silence was broken by the sounds of record scratches as those watching pulled out their phones to begin filming. Smiles broke out across their faces.

This episode origionally aired on  11-7-19

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was once believed to be the wealthiest man in Russia.  In the 1990’s, Khodorkovsky rocketed to prosperity and celebrity, but his fortunes drastically changed. He ended up serving a decade in prison, and became an unlikely martyr for the movement against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Andre Wright

News fatigue is real. As the year closes out with rising awareness of climate change, international tension, multiple refugee crises, constant political wrangling, and so many important but difficult stories, Talk of Iowa pauses to focus on acts of kindness and positive connections.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The last week in national politics has been marked by the third impeachment of a U.S. president in history and the latest debate between Democratic presidential candidates. During this episode of River to River, Drake University Political Science Professor Dennis Goldford weighs in on both of those topics. 

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

After more than a year of partisan gridlock in Washinton, a replacement of the NAFTA agreement is now expected to win approval from Congress and alter the state of trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. 

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

Nate Staniforth is a professional magician. While he’s built a career by performing magic tricks in front of audiences, he also believes in real magic – the kind that keeps wonder alive in the world.

Matthew Alvarez / IPR

Claire Lombardo released her debut novel "The Most Fun We Ever Had" over the summer. The novel follows a large family's complex dynamics and relationships over four decades through a Midwesterner's lens.

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

At a marathoner's pace, Pete Buttigieg has pulled ahead in the race for the Democratic nomination, and he's now a top contender. Being at the top has certainly caught the attention of many Iowans planning to caucus, both in gaining new supporters and drawing harsh criticisms about his past at the same time.

iweatherman / Flickr

In 2005, Richard Louv came out with his book “Last Child in the Woods,” a story that managed to put into words something a lot of people were worrying about - a disconnect between children and nature. In his book, he introduced the term nature-deficit disorder and globalized a movement.

Fourteen years later, Louv is still focusing on that connection with nature in his latest book, “Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives and Save Theirs.” 

Matt Alvarez / IPR

Just about every four years the rest of the country turns its attention toward Iowa. Everybody wants to figure out what makes us tick and who we'll vote for.

Robert Leonard is a keen observer of his fellow humans. He studies us from the perspective of a trained anthropologist and a seasoned journalist. He also, it turns out, has the heart of a poet. All of these facets come together in his latest book "Deep Midwest: Midwestern Explorations," published by Ice Cube Press.

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. 

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

During this segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and political analyst Jim McCormick discuss last week’s impeachment hearings and the rherotic coming from both Republicans and Democrats about the Ukraine affair. 

They take also take a look at where the 2020 presidential candidates stand weeks before the Iowa Caucuses and Hong Kong unrest and the implications it may have on trade between the U.S. and China.

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