Nina Elkadi

Talk Show Production Assistant

"Little House on the Prairie" was first published 85 years ago in 1935. It tells the story of the Ingalls family, white settlers traveling West to Kansas from their home in Wisconsin. "The Birchbark House," which was published in 1999, explores a similar time period and similarly revolves around family life, but from a completely different perspective. The book follows an Ojibwe family living on Madeline Island in Wisconsin as they seek to keep their way of life in the face of colonialsim. 

Courtesy of Kristin Kobes Du Mez

In 2016, more than 80 percent of white evangelical Christians voted for President Trump. Author Kristin Kobes Du Mez's new book, "Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation" attempts to understand why.

Quaid Lagan / Unsplash

Summer may be a little different this year, but it's still a wonderful time for learning and adventure. Every Tuesday, Talk of Iowa is hosting an episode meant for learners of all ages who are missing out on summer camp this year. On this epsiode of Talk of Iowa, we're taking a deep dive into the history and modern role of rock 'n' roll. 

CDC / Unsplash


COVID-19 rapidly displaced students from classrooms to their bedrooms this spring. Looking toward the fall, everyone is asking: how can students safely return to learn?

On today’s episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with educators, reporters and health experts about how Iowa students may return to the classroom. Later in the hour, we hear from an expert helping track COVID-19 and a statehouse reporter who explains Iowa laws that went into effect yesterday.

Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

During this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Megan Goldberg of Cornell College and Karen Kedrowski of Iowa State University. 

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Depending on where someone lives, it may seem like the COVID-19 lockdown is a long-forgotten moment from the past. In certain parts of Iowa, many residents can be found roaming the streets without masks and without physical distancing. In other areas, stores require patrons to mask-up before entering. As cases in Iowa continue to grow, host of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe speaks with guests about the disparate experiences with COVID-19 throughout the state.

Tom Hermans / Unsplash

With kids out of school for the summer, there is no better time for them to kick back with a good book. Especially at a time when there are no longer in-person birthday parties or days spent lounging at the pool, these summer reads are a perfect way to let a young person escape into another world.

Carter Parrish

With more than 800 million active users worldwide, TikTok is hugely popular and growing fast. This is particularly true among young people. Forty-one percent of all users are between the ages of 16 and 24. TikTok has taken over headlines in recent days as news broke of app users making and sharing videos encouraging others to claim tickets to President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma with no intention of showing up. 

Kevin Dietsch / Pool via AP

During this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political science professor Dennis Goldford of Drake University and political science professor Jonathan Hassid of Iowa State University. 

Here are some of the headlines discussed during the podcast. 

Courtesy of Richard Deming

On today's episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Dr. Richard Deming, an oncologist and medical director of Mercy One Cancer Center in Des Moines. Deming has made it his mission to go way beyond what is taught in medical school. His goal is to help his patients live each day to the fullest.

CDC / Unsplash

Students around the world experienced an abrupt, anticlimactic ending to their academic year. Although students are now officially on summer break, administrators and school leaders are actively creating plans for how to safely bring students back to the classroom in the fall. 

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

At a time of extreme politcal polarization, Colin Woodard's latest book seems more pertinent than ever. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks to Woodward about his book, "Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood." In it, he explores how the "myth" of national unity in the United States came to be.

Thomas Macintosh / Urban Hues Imagery

The impact of jazz music in America reaches far beyond the musical innovation of the genre. On today's episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Damani Phillips, director of jazz studies and associate professor of African-American studies at the University of Iowa, about the role jazz played during the fight for civil rights in the 1960s.

Melissa Porter

At Drake University, there is one top dog on campus: Griff the bulldog. Unfortunately, June 30 marks Griff's last day as Drake University's mascot. In the fall, "Griff II (aka, George)" will take his place during a change of harness ceremony. To honor Griff's tenure as mascot, author Gary Porter wrote a memoir about Griff entitled "Griff: My Life as Drake's Top Dog."

Courtesy of Fremont County Iowa Emergency Management

Globally and nationally, people are experiencing a multitude of crises. All at once, individuals are feeling the impact of a global pandemic, police brutality and the continuing effects of climate change. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by experts in environmental health and sustainability for a look at the intersection of these global crises.

Heath Thompson / Advocates for Social Justice


Protests over the recent killings of unarmed black Americans at the hands of white police officers have been occuring all around the nation. On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer brings together Cedar Rapids activists, elected officials and police to discuss the potential reforms that could come about as a result of the protests. 

Iowa Department of Public Health

Hispanic and Latino Iowans make up only 6.2 percent of the state's population, but are disproportinately impacted by COVID-19, accounting for 27 percent of all positive cases, according to state data.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks to Latinx Iowans about their experiences and concerns regarding the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on their community.

Godofredo A. Vásquez / Houston Chronicle via AP, Pool

For more than two weeks, people accross the nation have taken to the streets to protest the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other black Americans.