Rick Brewer

Talk Show Producer

Rick came to Iowa Public Radio as a producer for Talk of Iowa and River to River in June 2019. He has worked at WFIU, community radio WFHB, WIUX's American Student Radio and created a couple of podcasts. His work has also been heard on PRX Remix, WAMC, and WFYI. Before his life in audio he worked at archives and libraries.

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. 

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.

Tim Rawle / Flickr

On this podcast episode of River to River, some of our favorite stories from our archives. Our first is from October 25, 2019 when private military historian Brent Westemeyer uncovered an error in an iconic image from World War II. He discovered that one of the six Marines who helped raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi at the battle of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific was mis-identified. The soldier turned out to be a man from Brooklyn, Iowa. His name was Harold "Pie" Keller.

Courtesy of Troy Stolp

This program originally aired on February 25, 2020.  

The relationship between Council Bluffs and Omaha goes back thousands of years. Evidence shows inhabitants of the region date as far back as 900 A.D. With such a long history of being joined across the Missouri River, Council Bluffs and Omaha have developed a complicated relationship.

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.

Katie Smith / Unsplash

Cooking and sharing meals brings people together. Learning to cook and prepare food might sound tedious and time consuming. But, with a few basic skills and recipes, you can become self-sufficent in your own kitchen. During this episode of Talk of Iowa, learn how to make new recipes and get your children interested in cooking at home with Kumar Wickramasingha and Katy Meyer.

Courtesy of Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos

Iowa City student journalist Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos took a class on social justice. That inspired her to investigate the racial breakdown of detention and suspension rates at her high school. Her investigation uncovered a significant disaparity and earned her national recognition. 

Courtesy of Langston Thomas

The day law enforcement fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the way for President Trump’s notorious photo-op at St. John’s church, Grinnell College graduate Langston Thomas was there.

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.

John Pemble/IPR

It was a sprint to the finish when lawmakers returned to the statehouse June 3rd. Back in March, after the first Iowa cases of the coronavirus were confirmed, the Legislature started what turned out to be a two-and-a-half month break. Yesterday, June 14th, Iowa lawmakers adjourned the 2020 session.

John Pemble / IPR

This week, the Iowa Legislature unanimously approved a bill to ban most police chokeholds. The legislation also addressed police officer misconduct, and was unanimously approved in each chamber. The Iowa House and Senate moved each of the bills very quickly through the legislative process, and after the final votes, applause erupted.

Javier Matheu / Unsplash

The coronavirus pandemic could cost Iowa hospitals well over a billion dollars. On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer checks in with hospitals, big and small, urban and rural, around the state to see how they've adjusted and to look into the future of health care in Iowa.

Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

According to U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, so far this year 54 journalists have been attacked, 19 arrested. On this edition of River to River, is press freedom in crisis? 

Ben Kieffer speaks with a variety of guests, including the executive editor of the Des Moines Register about incidents between two of her reporters and police during protests. Later on, Kieffer is joined by the managing editor of the Northwest Iowa Review, Ty Rushing, about his experience covering protests as a black journalist.


Courtesy of Andre Wright

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white, Minneapolis police officer has sparked protests against police brutality and racial injustice worldwide. These protests are not just about George Floyd’s death, or even the deaths of Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery.

This kind of violence is not new. Activists and individuals have been working for a long time to raise awareness and effect change. The visibility of this moment has led many people who haven't been involved in the past to ask: What can I do to help?

Francesca Tosolini / Unsplash

With many summer plans canceled or modified, it just might be a good time to cross a big project off your home improvement 'to do' list and build that deck. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe is joined by home improvement expert Bill McAnally. He guides us through the process of planning and building a deck and answers listener questions about the projects they're working on.

fotografierende / Unsplash

We are living through strange and difficult times. This is a period in history that will not be forgotten and you can contribute to the historical record by keeping a diary.

Darron Cummings / AP Photo

As a basketball player from Carroll, he helped the 1985 Kuemper Catholic High School team win the state high school basketball championship. Last year, as head coach, Nick Nurse led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship.

NemesisIII / Wikimedia Commons

During times of crisis, people gravitate to history for context. This pandemic is no exception. Over the past several months, there is new found interest in the history of hospitals, caregiving and global pandemics. On this episode of River to River, guest host Rick Brewer is joined by historian Adam Davis to unpack the history of hospitals in medieval Europe and help us see the modern parallels of these systems and institutions.

Jude Beck / Unsplash

COVID-19 has touched all of our lives in some way. With nearly 18,000 confirmed cases in Iowa (as of May 27, 2020) more and more of us have had the disease, know someone who has had it or even lost someone to the disease. But for a variety of reasons many people feel uncomfortable sharing their personal experiences with COVID-19. They may fear they’ll be blamed for not taking enough precautions or that the loss of a loved one might be politicized. 

Richard Balog / Unsplash

Businesses including movie theaters and museums may reopen today under a new proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds, further loosening COVID-19 restrictions on businesses. We hear from IPR state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about these efforts to reopen the state's economy during the pandemic.

Courtesy of Cornell College

Higher education has had to adapt quickly during the pandemic. Many colleges and universities around the world have already made plans to not have in-person classes this coming fall. 

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.

Will Suddreth / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed two important parts of life for almost every adult in the United States -- our relationships with work and leisure time.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with two men who study how we work and how we play. 

Dan Gold / Unsplash

We’ve been enjoying super low gas prices due to a number of reasons. People have been driving less, and there’s a worldwide oil glut. Here in Iowa we’re paying on average $1.75 per gallon. The national average is about ten cents higher $1.86 per gallon.

So gas prices have plummeted, no secret there, but did you know the number of speeding tickets in the state has jumped? On this segment of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks to Sergeant Alex Dinkla of the Iowa State Patrol to explain the jump in speeding tickets.

Courtesy of Grinnell College

After a decade as the president of Grinnell College, Raynard Kington is leaving for a position in Massachusetts. Kington will become the new "head of school" of Phillips Academy. The academy is better known as Andover, the prestigious university-preparatory boarding school.

Rosa Virginia / Unsplash

While schools are closed, we're creating a series of "Talk of Iowa" episodes that will be fun and educational for learners of all ages. Every Tuesday, we'll learn about Iowa wildlife, and every Thursday, we'll learn about Iowa history.  

Alice Dietrich / Unsplash

Creative people often work in isolation, which means a shelter-in-place mentality is not unfamiliar. However, so many creative fields such as publishing and live music have affected people's livelihoods. With returning to normal off in the distance, we wanted to know how creative people have been handling this new world and how they've found comfort in the arts.

Aaron Burden / Unsplash

For Democrats, flipping the Senate seat held by Republican Joni Ernst is likely to be an uphill battle. On this Newsbuzz edition of River to River, we take a look at the democratic challengers and the week's coronavirus news.