Talk of Iowa

Weekdays at 10 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 9 p.m. on IPR News

Talk of Iowa brings a mix of regular guests and a range of experts to the microphone to discuss what’s happening in Iowa and what makes this a special place to live. Guests include wildlife expert Jim Pease and the Hort Gang on Fridays.

Talk of Iowa is hosted by @CharityNebbe. It’s produced by Dennis Reese@KatelynHarrop and @RickBrewerIPR. Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins. Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Courtesy of Michigan Historical Collection

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.  

Our series continues with a look at the history of the good roads movement and the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. The guides for this hour of history will be Tom Morain of Graceland University and former director of the State Historical Society of Iowa and Drake Hokanson, author of The Lincoln Highway: Main Street Across America.

Courtesy of Siobhan Spain

As the coronavirus spreads every one of us will know someone who is infected, if we don’t already. But right now it can still be difficult to wrap our minds around what is going on and many people are, understandably, reluctant to share that they are infected with COVID-19. On this segment of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Siobhan Spain, director of Mainframe Studios in Des Moines to share her story. She and her husband have both tested positive for COVID-19.

Carl Kurtz


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.  

CoWomen / Unsplash

During this dark and scary time there are some points of light. We’ve seen neighborhoods come together virtually. People have been decorating in themes for families to enjoy when they go out for walks, coordinating support for elderly neighbors, organizing socially distant birthday surprises for people who are stuck at home, and swapping home schooling or entertainment ideas.

Markus Spiske / Unsplash

The new crisis the world is facing is reviving an old idea: The Victory Garden.

Victory gardens first emerged during World War I, and in World War II Americans were once again urged to plant gardens to provide food for their families and neighbors.

Hannon Family

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.  

Our series continues with a difficult time in Iowa history. With COVID-19 spreading world-wide, you’ve probably heard people talking about the flu pandemic of 1918 – also referred to as the Spanish Flu. 

Iowa PBS

Dean Borg passed away this week at the age of 81. Borg was a broadcasting legend in the state of Iowa. He is best known for his work on the Iowa PBS program Iowa Press, a position he held for more than 40 years. During that period he interviewed every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. Borg also spent 20 years as a correspondent with Iowa Public Radio.

Craig Meyers

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.  

Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash

With classes canceled or moving online, college students are moving back home. They’ll be joined by their parents, siblings and anyone one else who is working from home as the country practices social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

NeONBRAND / Unsplash

It’s too early to get planting in the garden, but it’s the perfect time to think about giving your shrubs and trees a trim. On this 'Horticulture Day' edition of Talk of Iowa, guest host Katelyn Harrop speaks with Richard Jauron of Iowa State University and Aaron Steil of Reiman Gardens about the best practices to prune and trim shrubs and trees.   

Emily Woodbury / IPR

It's a very simple idea. A boy, a dog and a short story.

Migrate this simple idea to Twitter, and it becomes a phenomenon. As of this writing, @IvePetThatDog has more than 90-thousand followers. Gideon Kidd is the star of "I've Pet That Dog." He's a normal nine-year-old boy from Cedar Falls, who is anything but typical.

Constancia Huff Roling

*This program originally aired on June 14, 2018

An extended voyage down the Mississippi River in a kayak hasn't always been high on Barb Geiger's list of things she wanted to do. But one Sunday morning in 2013, after weeks of preparation, Barb and her husband set off in a self-built kayak for an epic five month journey of paddling and service work. 

Mikhail Vasilyev / Unsplash

On this 'Horticulture Day' edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Donald Lewis and Richard Jauron of Iowa State University extension and Mark Vitosh of the Iowa DNR to answer listener questions about the bugs, plants, trees and prairies in their lives.

Matt Alvarez / IPR

Dr. Francois Abboud describes his coming to the United States as serendipitous.

In 1955, as a young up and coming doctor in Egypt, he had little knowledge of the United States' medical offerings. But after a family friend filled out an application for a fellowship at the University of Milwaukee, without his knowledge, he received an acceptance letter. He soon got married and within a few short months was on his way to America. This was the beginning of a medical career that has spanned more than six decades in the midwest

Courtesy of Rachel Cox

Rachel Cox’s grandmother was a woman with a big personality and a keen sense of fashion. When Cox, a photographer and assistant professor of photography at the University of Iowa, first started taking pictures of her grandmother, she didn’t have any particular projects in mind. But as her grandmother declined over the course of a decade, suffering from a degenerative brain disease, she felt compelled to photograph her life and death. The result is the book Shiny Ghost.

John Pemble/IPR file

Last week, U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, stood up in front of the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. to share her painful story of living with endometriosis, a disease she was diagnosed with more than ten years ago.

campuspartymexico / Flickr

Violent video games are wildly popular and have been for decades. Games such as Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Doom and so many more are played by children across the country. 


Keith Johnston / Unsplash

Many of us sign our children up for their first teams when they’re only three years old. By the time kids reach middle school and high school they have the opportunity to be a part of athletic programs at school. The message is that all kids are welcome to join in and give it a try, but the reality is that there are many obstacles that prevent kids from participating.

Neslihan Gunaydin / Unsplash

The growing season hasn’t begun, but with beautiful weather ahead this weekend a lot of gardeners are itching to get their hands dirty.

Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, ISU Extension horticulture specialist, and Cindy Haynes, associate professor of horticulture, about early spring garden chores, and what you can do right now to prepare for the growing season.

Courtesy of Jonathan Govias / Iowa State University

The Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra is performing a Symphony of Diversity on March 6 at Stephens Auditorium in Ames. This program brings artists and composers to the concert hall to highlight some of the many cultures and peoples that make up America.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater / HANCHER

Set to spirituals, gospel songs and blues, Alvin Ailey’s modern dance masterpiece "Revelations" was first performed in 1960. It was unlike anything audiences had seen before, and since then it’s been performed continuously around the globe.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Iowa native Ronnie Favors of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater about her journey through modern dance and the troupe’s upcoming Iowa performance.

Universal Productions France

Jean Seberg grew up in Marshalltown. She became an international movie star and lived most of her adult life in Paris. Seberg starred in 37 films and is possibly best remembered for her role in the movie “Breathless,” the forefront of the French New Wave movement. 

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with the filmmaking team behind the documentary “Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg,” to give us their thoughts of the new film “Seberg.” 

Matt Alvarez / IPR

Brandon Taylor's new novel "Real Life" is attracting a great deal of attention. The critically acclaimed book tells the story of a group of friends studying biochemistry at a large midwestern University — easily recognized as the University of Wisconsin. 

Michal Galezewski / Unsplash


After centuries of large-scale destruction, humans need to recreate and reconnect habitat for the health of the natural and human worlds. 


Ecologist Nick Haddad has been working to create habitats and researching the power of connecting them into corridors.

Eric Gutschmidt / Gutschmidt Properties



There is a house on 8th Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids that's been turning heads. It’s a property that had been in bad shape, known as a local drug house and blight on the neighborhood.

Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Since the 1970s, spaying and neutering pets has become commonplace and expected for the majority of pet owners.

Bob Barker, the host of “The Price is Right,” started signing off by reminding viewers to help control the pet population -- a message he echoed for decades and changed how we care for our pets.

Marcelo Leal / Unsplash

An 11-year-old boy playing baseball stops running, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. He cannot be resuscitated. One of his brothers survives a similar attack and no one can figure out why, until a medical team at the University of Iowa discovered an unknown genetic disorder.

Melissa Porter

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Gary Porter to discuss his memoir, Town Kid: Reflections of a Midwestern Boyhood. The book is a collection of essays capturing moments from Porter's childhood, and slices of life in small-town Iowa.

Pennsylvania on the picket line-- 1917.
Harris & Ewing / Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

The fight for women’s suffrage, and the right to vote, was long and hard in the United States. Many of the early leaders of the movement did not live to see their victory.

On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Iowa PBS producer and director Laurel Bower about her new documentary "Carrie Chapman Catt: Warrior for Women." The documentary tells the story of Catt, who lived in Iowa, graduated from Iowa State – now Iowa State University – and the battle for the 19th Amendment.     

Tanya Rosen-Jones Photography

Simply by his resume, poet and documentarian David James Savarese is exceptional. His poems and prose have been published in journals and magazines across the country, including the Iowa Review, and his 2017 documentary Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery, which he co-produced, earned a 2018 Peabody Award and Emmy nomination.

Savarese is also autistic and nonspeaking. He describes poetry as his native language.