Charity Nebbe

Talk of Iowa Host

Charity Nebbe grew up in rural Iowa just outside of Cedar Falls.  She began her career in public radio at WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa when she was a student at Iowa State University and has been working in public radio ever since.  Early in her career she created Chinwag Theater a nationally syndicated public radio show that she produced and co-hosted with well known author Daniel Pinkwater.  She spent ten years at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and in 2010 returned to Iowa. 

Charity is now the host of Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa, heard weekday mornings at 10.  She is also the host of Iowa Ingredient, soon to debut on Iowa Public Television and the author of the children's book “Our Walk in the Woods,” published in 2008. 

Charity's favorite public radio program is On The Media.

Ways to Connect

Markus Grossalber / Flickr

"Remember the reason for the season" is an oft-repeated platitude, intended to rebuke the commercialization of Christmas and bring to the forefront thoughts of Jesus in a manger. But Bruce Forbes, professor of Religious Studies at Morningside College in Sioux City and author of Christmas: A Candid History, says the reason for the season is more complicated, and far older than Jesus' birth.

Photo Courtesy of Angie Hansen

With our 24 hours news cycle, it’s easy to get caught up in the crisis of the day. While all that is going on, however, individuals everywhere are making a difference by performing acts of kindness that will never make it into a newscast. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with a handful of Iowans touched by remarkable acts of kindness in 2015.

Myleen Hollero / Flickr

Cheddar cheese was named after a small town in England, but it has become a very American cheese.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe learns about the history of cheddar, the birth of so-called American cheese, and the resurgence of great cheese in this country. She talks with Gordon Edgar, author of Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America's Most Iconic Cheese.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

In 1990, Steinway artist, pianist, and composer Dan Knight had organized an in-house choir at the University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Knight says one song struck them as special.

"Right in the middle of this particular song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, there was this most amazing moment. It was kind of like, all of a sudden, something just kind of took off and the choir and the piano became one and we all just kind of went somewhere else. It was transformative."

After the song, a chaplain from the hospital approached him.

Basher Eyre / Wikimedia Commons

So far this year, winter has been unusually warm. While it feels great to us, it's not the best thing for the flowers and plants around us. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist, and Aaron Steil, Assistant Director of Reiman Gardens, about this year's unusual winter, which has some daffodils flowering early at Iowa State. 

Courtesy of the Office of the State Archaeologist

It's long been taught that the origins of modern agriculture are in the fertile crescent in the Middle East, but recent archaeological finds point to the fact that cultures the world over were developing ways to domesticate plants and animals in the same time period.

"We used to think about the fertile crescent that way because that's where the most excavation had been done," explains Bruce Smith, curator of North American Archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution. "But it's more true that agriculture developed simultaneously all around the world than in just one place." 

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and scores of sold-out theaters for opening night, the release of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens is inspiring high hopes among life long fans of the franchise. Fans gathered last week at the Palek Studio and Gallery to show off "Star Wars"-themed art, on their canvases and their bodies.

"I actually got a Kylo Ren-Darth Vader tattoo done today. [...] It's a Lion King Pride Rock Darth Vader passing on the torch to Kylo Ren by holding him up and I thought that was adorable and I needed it so I did it," says Ryan Gillepsie.

courtesy of Alex Braidwood

Have you ever wondered what a healthy lake sounds like?

Iowa based sound artist Alex Braidwood has. While he was working as an artist-in-residence for the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory Regents Resource Center, a biological field station and nature preserve in Northwest Iowa, he devised a way to listen to the water.

He’s taken data being collected by a buoy floating in Lake Okoboji about water temperature and oxygen levels and has assigned each of the data points tones.

Courtesy of Michele Weldon

Michele Weldon is a survivor. She’s raised three kids as a single mother after ending an abusive marriage and has written about her story in her new memoir “Escape Points: A Memoir.”

“I was married, unfortunately, to a charming handsome attorney who was physically abusive about once a year. I kept that secret from my family and my friends, but not from my therapist," she explains. "I ended that marriage in 1995 and wanted to write about the truth and the myths that we have surrounding domestic violence – that it doesn’t happen to smart, educated women.”

Bruno Bollaert / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Karen Impola and Barney Sherman to look back at some of the best things to come out of the year in folk and classical music.

anjanettew / Flickr

The idea of giving someone a wonderful gift is joyful, but in reality gift giving can be tremendously stressful.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on the art and power of gift giving. She talks with gift expert Harry Liebersohn, author of The Return of the Gift: European History of a Global Idea, about the history of the gift exchanges and the place they hold in our culture. He refers to gifts as “the emotional language we used to bind ourselves together.”

Linda MacBride

Winter can be a wonderful time to see wildlife and for some of the best viewing you don't even need to risk getting cold.   On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Jim Pease, Emeritus Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University about attracting Iowa's winter birds to your yard with feeders and bird baths. Pease discusses the types of birds which become most prevalent in  during the season, where to place bird feeders, what kinds of feed to use, and even gives some statistics on just how much people love these birds.

Temple University Press

President Barack Obama's love for basketball is legendary, but what can we learn from it?   Celebrated sports writer Alexander Wolff attempts to answer that in a new, beautifully illustrated book, "The Audacity of Hoop," which examines our president through the game he loves so much. 

liz west / Flickr

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with DNR District Forester Mark Vitosh about the trees of the season. Vitosh describes the labor put into the growing of these trees as well as the interesting weather that has come this winter.

"Iced tea and a Christmas tree. What do you know?" Vitosh chuckles.

The Tools Worth Your Time

Dec 3, 2015
Mark Hunter / Wikimedia Commons

If you have a tinkerer in your life, you might find yourself tool shopping this holiday season. The main question is -  which tools are worth your time? Home improvement expert  Bill McAnally says that you can get some amazing work done with power tools like the circular saw, but you need to be prepared when using them.

"One issue though, is you really want to read the directions," he laughs.  

McAnally also suggests that you should try too keep your tools and shop clean to ensure you don't end up wasting money.

There’s been a lot of great music released this year, and on this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Iowa Public Radio Studio One Tracks hosts Mark Simmet and Tony Dehner about the best new independent and alternative albums of 2015. Then, we get an update about the best in new blues from Bob Dorr, who hosts Blue Avenue, Backtracks and Beatles Medley and is leader of The Blue Band.  

Mark Simmet’s list of best new tracks in 2015

courtesy of the Iowa Fashion Project

The Midwest is not traditionally regarded as a style hub, but a few young designers based in Iowa are trying to change that. They’ve launched the Iowa Fashion Project, which will hold its first full fashion show in just a few weeks.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

‘Tis the season for sitting inside, which means it’s a perfect time to pick up a new book. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Kate Rattenborg from Dragonfly Books in Decorah and Barb Stein of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City about the best new books for young readers.

Barb’s List:

Board books:

Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks

“The illustrations are irresistible. They are just wonderful. “

The Napping House Board Book by Audrey Wood

Courtesy of the Museum of Danish America

When Danish immigrants settled in Western Iowa in the 19th century, they created two very different towns three miles apart: Kimballton and Elk Horn. Kimballton was composed of 'Happy Danes' and Elk Horn of 'Holy Danes.'

"One camp are the followers of a Danish theologian, N.F.S. Grundtvig" says Tova Brandt, curator of the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn. "He embraced a holistic approach to Danish faith and culture and community and he argued that those things couldn't be and shouldn't be separated." 

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City and Nancy Simpson-Brice,  associated with Book Vault in Oskaloosa about their favorite books of the year and recommendations for gifts this holiday season.

Paul’s Picks

Finials: A View of Downtown IC by Marybeth Slonneger

Taysaev / Wikimedia Commons

The terrorist attacks on Paris sparked an outpouring of support for people affected. The attacks in Beirut that day before did not. Why?

Daryl Cameron, assistant professor of social psychology and director at the Iowa Morality Lab at the University of Iowa, says it’s because we don’t respond to the people living in those places in the same way.

“We can imagine what its like to be someone in Paris going through this. It’s harder to think about what it’s like to be someone in Beirut,” he explains.

Kelly Cookson / Flickr

On this Horticulture Day edition of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe speaks with Richard Jauron, Iowa State University Extension Horticulturist, and Cindy Haynes, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University about caring for plants indoors during the winter months.  They discuss holiday plants, traditional house plants and outdoor plants that can be over wintered in the home.  Bringing plants in from outdoors can pose some challenges.  

Wikimedia Commons

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, many have been quick to condemn the group calling itself ISIS, and many have also been quick to condemn Islam.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world, with more than one billion believers worldwide. Imam Hassan Selim of the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids  says it’s unfair to characterize all Muslims as terrorists.  

Steve Snodgrass / Flickr

Daniel Finney has struggled with depression for nearly two decades. In that time, his doctors prescribed the two stalwarts in the depression treatment stable: talk therapy and prescription drugs. When he went through a major depressive episode earlier this year, however, his doctor suggested transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Jazz is American music. It was born in New Orleans around the turn of the 20th century, and it continues to evolve. During this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion about Iowa's jazz scene in the past, present, and future. 

Wikimedia Commons

Time changes everything, and in Iowa, that’s glaringly apparent in many of the state’s communities with populations of less than 5,000 people. So the story goes, small towns are dying. But according to Iowa State Professor Terry Besser, that’s not exactly true. She has been monitoring Iowa’s rural communities  for more than two decades, trying to put her finger on what it is that keeps towns alive… and what contributes to the rural blight.

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Tuesday night during the GOP debate, Marco Rubio was quoted saying that our country doesn’t need more philosophers, we need more welders. Kirkwood Community College Professor Scott Samuelson says that while that’s true, those welders can benefit from studying philosophy.

“Our country was built by farmers reading Cicero,” he laughs.

During this hour on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Samuelson, author of the book “The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone.

Courtesy of Rapid Creek Ranch

There are more than 600 certified organic farms in Iowa, and many others using organic and sustainable practices. Doug Darrow produces beef and chicken near Oxford at Rapid Creek Ranch. He started to make the transition from conventional farming to more sustainable practices after a woman approached him at a farmer’s market.

I had a lady come up to me at a market and asked if we sold grass-fed beef, and I said no. She said that if we did, she’d buy all her beef from us. That really struck a chord,” he explains.

Len Matthews / Flickr

In high school, Nick Seymour never saw himself doing stand-up, but once when he got the opportunity to take a class in comedy at Iowa State, he figured it'd be a fun way to spend a semester.

"At the beginning, I didn’t know there’d be a performance associated with it. The teacher shocked us all the first day with that information. Everyone freaked out for awhile."

Roger Higgins, World Telegram staff photographer

For 65 years Charlie Brown has been getting kites stuck in trees, missing footballs, and getting hit by baseballs.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Karen Johnson, director of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, about why Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang still resonate with audiences, as well as the enduring legacy of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, 15 years after his death.

"He was always authentic," says Johnson about Schulz. "He said to many people, 'To know me is to read the strip; everything I am goes into that strip.'"

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