Des Moines Metro Opera

"An ideal introduction to the art form.... the most cogent [Manon] in memory" - that's what Opera News said about Des Moines Metro Opera's "meticulously crafted" Massenet. Hear it Saturday at 8PM or Sunday at 3PM on IPR's "Operas in October" series, hosted and produced by Jacqueline Halbloom.

Best Places to See Fall Colors in Iowa

Oct 7, 2016
TumblingRun / Flickr


Fall is here and beautiful colors are creeping across the landscape.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with DNR district forester Mark Vitosh about why and how leaves change color in the fall and the best places to see fall color in the state.


Vitosh says his top five favorite trees in the fall are:

Steve Evans/Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 1000 refugees have been resettled in Iowa this year.

Director of Admissions for the U.S. State Department Larry Bartlett says while these new Iowans come from all over the world, the one thing they have in common is that they were forced to leave their homes.

The Ethanol Effect

Oct 7, 2016
Clay Masters / IPR

A new PBS documentary focusing on the impact of ethanol production airs this weekend on Iowa Public Television. IPR's Clay Masters speaks with environmental and energy reporter David Biello about his new documentary "The Ethanol Effect". 

Flickr / Johnny_Spasm

A post office in Des Moines has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after two employees developed heat-related illnesses while delivering mail this summer.

In one incident a mail carrier ended up in the emergency room, and in another case, a carrier became so sick she was home from work, recovering for three days. OSHA says the supervisor of the latter employee had initially told the carrier to keep delivering mail on her 11-mile route in 93-degree heat, despite the fact she felt ill.  

No more putting it off! The 2016 election is less than a month away, so here is Iowa Public Radio's coverage of these last few moments before the big day. You’ll hear interviews, news stories, and analysis from IPR reporters and talk show guests. Studying last-minute has never been easier. 

Join us Mondays in October. 

Episode 1:


As the flood waters begin to recede, many people returning home find that the real work has just begun. During this hour on Talk of Iowa, home improvement expert Bill McAnally offers some advice for those affected by the recent floods. 

After being submerged in water for days, it can be an extremely daunting task getting a home back to livable conditions

Clay Masters/IPR

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaigned at Drake University in Des Moines today on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I’m here to say vote for Hillary Clinton on Election Day and the day after that we’re going to roll up our sleeves and make sure that we bring forth the most progressive agenda in the history of the United States of America,” Sanders said.

Sanders did well with young voters in last February’s Iowa caucuses, and narrowly lost to Clinton.  That group has been a crucial voting bloc for Democrats in past presidential elections. 

Tony Webster / Flickr

In his Condition of the State, then-Governor Tom Vilsack declared that 2004 would be "The Year of the Arts, Culture and Recreation in Iowa." 

He continued, "Studies show that creativity spurs economic growth; breakthroughs in understanding are essential to the task of building a world of opportunity. Creative thinking, the hallmark of Iowa's success, will lead us to a more dynamic future."

John Pemble

After nearly 50 years, Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen is hanging up his sound kit. After getting his start with the American Forces Vietnam Network in the late 1960s as a young marine, he’s won numerous awards and has reported on some of the biggest stories of the 20th century. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Fredericksen about the Peabody Award he won with CBS News reporting on the Tiananmen Square in 1989 to the time he met Robin Williams when Williams was in Vietnam researching his role for the movie “Good Morning Vietnam.” 

Pat Blank/IPR

It’s hard to ignore a blaring train whistle, flashing lights and bells.

But people do it all the time, both in cars and on foot.  Last year, two people in Iowa died in train accidents and another ten were injured.  Last weekend in Linn County, Iowa's second fatal accident this year between a train and a vehicle occurred near Alburnett.  That incident has sharpened the focus of a statewide rail safety campaign.

Ben Kieffer

Last night, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence squared off in the only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with analysts Steffen Schmidt of Iowa State University and Jeff Taylor of Dordt College in Sioux Center. They discuss their view of last night’s debate, the state of the presidential race, and why they think a large majority of Evangelicals support Trump, while polls show Catholics overwhelmingly favor Clinton.

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

The roaring 20s are oft-idealized in modern media, but a dark side persisted. To fuel the parties, the booze, and the fun, an elaborate system of bootlegging, grifting, prostitution and gambling was created by a few prominent mobsters.

In this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Jonathan Eig, author of Get Capone, and Markus Eckhart, curator of Ain't Misbehavin? The World of the Gangster at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

Clay Masters, Iowa Public Radio

The sixth annual Iowa Climate Statement is aimed directly at farmers.

It follows the lead of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack by calling for climate-smart agriculture.

The statement is signed by 187 scientists representing 39 colleges and universities in the state.

It urges farmers to take up efforts aimed at replacing carbon in the soil.

The director of the environmental science and policy program at Drake University, David Courard-Hauri, says climate-smart agriculture does more than reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

courtesy of Steve Gerberich /

What does it take to make it as an artist? When the line between success and failure is so thin, what factors contribute to an artist making it? For some, the old adage “Success is a third talent, a third perseverance, and a third talent” may not apply.

“I’d take ‘a third talent’ out of that, and I’d replace perseverance with attrition,” laughs Halt and Catch Fire actor Toby Huss.

Andrea Mahoney / Briarwood Healthcare Center

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America says music, when used appropriately, can shift a patient's mood, help with managing stress and agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and help with motor movements. Now, researchers at the University of Iowa are studying the extent of that effect. Alaine Reschke-Hernandez, a music therapist, and Dr.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

The Polk County Board of Supervisors gave approval to a second reading of a proposed hike in the minimum wage.

It is drawing resistance because of certain provisions.

The Board is attempting to raise the minimum wage in Polk County to $8.75 an hour by April of next year, which would climb to $10.75 at the start of 2019.

Teenage workers younger than 18, however, would receive 85 percent of the minimum wage.

Sixteen-year old Alexa Rodriguez says the lower wage for young people is not fair because she does the same work her older colleagues do.

File: Courtesy Stephen Carmody/Michigan Radio

The next Congress may take up the farm bill a year ahead of schedule.

An Interview with the Next Charles Dickens?

Oct 4, 2016

Expectations are high for Iowa native Nathan Hill’s debut novel. He’s been compared to the novelist John Irving, and John Irving is comparing him to Charles Dickens. The novel is called The Nix, and its Dickensian scope makes it hard to say what it’s about: love, loss, secrets, a mother and a son, a father and a daughter, politics, video game addiction, academia, and of course, Norwegian folklore.


A conference call with reporters was unable to clear up why Sen. Chuck Grassley withdrew from a debate on Iowa Public Television.

The Republican incumbent was slated to go head-to-head with Democratic challenger Patty Judge on October 20th. But last week his campaign cited unspecified complaints about the IPTV format as the reason for canceling.

When asked what specifically was wrong with the format Grassley directed reporters to contact his campaign staff.

Back in August, we previewed several albums that would be headed our way in the coming months that we were especially looking forward to. Of course, it's impossible to list everything, and something always comes along that wasn't on our radar immediately, but catches our ears in a big way. This happened several times last month, and nothing makes us happier! Here's a few of our favorite albums from September.

Angel Olsen - My Woman

Visions Photography

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast on Monday, October 10 at 7 p.m. presents Orchestra Iowa’s “Stirring Fantasies” concert. It features music composed by Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky, and Bizet.

(c) Marco Borggreve / Juilliard School

I’m looking forward to this afternoon, when from 1-3 I’ll be on the air with Suzanne Bona, whose Sunday Baroque really should be part of your weekend routine, and who sounds just as great on Tuesday. We’ve done “live pitching” together before and it’s always fun. And this time around, we’re offering a pair of “thank you” gifts that I myself would like to own - something a long-time classical host rarely says!

Photo of Tim Kaine: Amy Mayer, Photo of Mike Pence: Gage Skidmore

Tonight, Indiana Governor Mike Pence debates U.S. Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia in this election’s only vice-presidential debate. Tim Walch, presidential historian and retired director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, points out that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the inception of vice-presidential debates, and he explains how those past events have likely affected what to expect this evening.

“First of all, don’t screw up,” Walch says.

Courtesy of Charles Aldrich

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Charles Aldrich. Aldrich would like to see an end to foreign aid, a complete withdraw of U.S. troops overseas, and an end to the contract with the Federal Reserve. In this interview, he also discusses his views on federal drug policy and NSA surveillance.

Decca/Timothy White

With the arrival of October comes many exciting Iowa arts events. This month’s Iowa Arts Showcase features:

·         Executive Director of Ballet Quad Cities, Joedy Cook revealing the rundown on their 20th season

·         Alison Farris, Senior Curator of the Des Moines Art Center delving into the Vivian Maier exhibit currently at the center

·         Musicians Carol Hester, Heather Armstrong, Craig Hultgren, and Ben Hippen outlining details about their upcoming Iowa Composers Forum showcase concerts

Flickr / Alpha

Gov. Terry Branstad is slated for a trade mission Japan and China next month to promote Iowa beef and pork products. Representatives of both industries, who will travel with the governor, say the two Asian countries present significant economic opportunities.

Michael Leland/IPR

Warmer and drier weather during the past week is allowing grain harvesting equipment back in Iowa’s corn and soybean fields. But today’s USDA progress update says many farmers are encountering muddy fields and some standing water.

Ten percent of Iowa’s corn acreage has been harvested.  That’s about the same as last year, but nine days behind the five-year average for the first week in October.

In Linn County, Brad Stoner is among those just beginning today at his farm near Marion.

Photo by Bob Peterson/Flickr

Unlike bees who collect pollen and make honey, it's sometimes hard to see how wasps help us; but there are benefits to having them around.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Linda Naeve, of Iowa State University Extension Agriculture Specialist. Donald Lewis, an Iowa State University Extension Entomologist and Mark Vitosh, the Department of Natural Resources District Forester, also join the conversation to talk about the benefits of wasps and what to do if they become pests. 

Dean Borg, Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross closed the last of its emergency shelters in Cedar Rapids Monday.

A spokeswoman for the relief agency says that doesn’t mean its work is done in helping flood victims. Regional communications officer Kara Kelly says the tasks ahead mostly involve cleanup.

She says the Red Cross also helps people fill out the forms they need to draw state and federal assistance.