Katherine Perkins

Executive Producer for Talk Shows

Katherine Perkins has done various jobs at IPR member stations since 1999.  She is now Executive Producer for Talk Shows.  As part of her job she is responsible for long-term planning and oversight for Talk of Iowa and River to River.  She continues to produce the weekly political discussion and legislative shows hosted from the Iowa Statehouse.  But, mostly she tries to stay out of the way of the hosts and producers, so they can continue to produce great programs. Before she assumed Executive Producer duties, Katherine was a talk show producer, researching topics, developing content and booking guests for Talk of Iowa and River to River, a role she has performed since 2007. Katherine’s reporting and producing have won statewide and national recognition.  She’s spent her entire career (almost 20 years) in public media, starting as a student reporter and weekend anchor for WSIU in Carbondale, IL

Katherine has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from University of Illinois – Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio-television from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

Katherine’s favorite public radio program is This American Life.

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Politics Day
4:16 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

2014 Iowa Caucuses and Renewable Fuel Standard

A caucus at Washington Elementary in Davenport, Iowa 2008
Ann Althouse flickr

Iowans gathered for caucuses Tuesday night, not to determine who will win nominations for President, but to determine who will control the parties.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Tim Hagle, and Drake University Professor of Politics, Dennis Goldford about how the midterm caucus results may impact the higher profile Presidential caucuses in two years.  They also discuss Iowa's political leverage to reverse an EPA decision reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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Politics Day
3:54 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Political Leadership in the Spotlight

U.S. Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner
Creative Commons

"When we talk about leadership, we often think that it's entirely under control of the individual," says Hans Hassell, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Cornell College.  But in reality, "It's not necessarily Boehner's leadership style that's causing the problems, it's the political environment."  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Hassell, David Andersen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and Steffen Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University.  Recent stories about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as well as revelations

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Statehouse and Politics
2:41 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Condition of the State 2014

Governor Terry Branstad delivering his Condition of the State address in the Iowa House chamber
John Pemble IPR

Governor Terry Branstad outlined legislative and spending priorities in his annual Condition of the State address in the House chamber at the Iowa State Capitol.  He is proposing measures to attract veterans, prevent bullying and expand broadband access in the state.  Host Charity Nebbe talked with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, IPR's Clay Masters and listeners about what was and was not included in the speech.

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Statehouse and Politics
4:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase and Income Tax Cuts hoped for in 2014 Session

The Iowa State Capitol
John Pemble IPR

Host Clay Masters sits down with legislative leaders on opening day of the 2014 session, to discuss priorities.  Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, leads the only democratically-controlled chamber in Iowa's divided state government.  Representative Linda Upmeyer is Majority Leader in the republican-controlled House.  Each said lawmakers are not likely to tackle major issues this session, but also left open the possibility of taking up some big ideas.  We've listed those ideas below.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs

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Politics Day
3:32 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Counter-Terrorism, Agreement with Iran, and a Basketball Birthday with Kim Jong-Un

J. Gabás Esteban

Iran, Syria, Japan, and China are just a few of the places where an evolving political situation will likely have implications beyond their borders.  Join Ben Kieffer as he talks with political experts about where in the world we should be watching for changes in U.S. foreign policy as we move through 2014. 

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Obits 2013
10:24 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Many Newsmaking Iowans Die in 2013

Pauline Phillips, aka "Dear Abby" died January 16, 2013 at the age of 94
public domain

We lost many Iowa newsmakers in 2013.  Host Ben Kieffer remembers them in our annual obituary show.

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IPR Insight Series
1:42 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Politics and a Pint with Don Gonyea

Don Gonyea and Ben Kieffer at "Politics and a Pint" in downtown Des Moines
John Pemble

Taped on Tuesday 12/17/13 as part of the IPR Insight Series, this is a special edition of River to River with NPR’s Don Gonyea, recorded before a live audience in Des Moines. Host Ben Kieffer asks Gonyea about the 2013 political year, his career, and his connection to Iowa. IPR also tests Gonyea’s Iowa knowledge with a bit of trivia.

Top five moments and quotes from the night:

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Best Music of 2013
12:04 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Studio One Picks the Best of 2013

Arcade Fire

Host Charity Nebbe sits down with "Studio One" host Mark Simmet and "Blue Avenue" and "Backtracks" host Bob Dorr of Iowa Public Radio's Studio One to talk about the best music of 2013.  Their picks are listed below, and you can hear excerpts throughout the show.

Mark Simmet - Best alternative/independent albums of 2013

10.  Sky Ferreira- Night Time, My Time   
She’s very young and she’s a tabloid celebrity, but her debut full-length album is catchy and creative.  It’s not disposable pop music, it’s good pop music.

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Politics Day
2:26 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Politics Day

Bipartisan congressional negotiators have unveiled a long-awaited budget framework to fund the government past mid-January and stabilize the government's finances into the near future. But does it have enough support to pass?

Host Ben Kieffer asks our analysts, Bruce Nesmith of Coe College and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa, what they think of it. Also, the world salutes the passing of Nelson Mandela, and takes note of a handshake between President Obama and the Cuban President.

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Horticulture Day
11:37 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Get your Holidays Blooming

Christmas Cactus is an easy to care for holiday plant that can live for decades

Christmas cactus, Norfolk Island pine, amaryllis bulbs and of course, poinsettia... plants make popular gifts.  But caring for those plants and getting them to bloom can be challenging.  Host Emily Woodbury talks with horticulturists Richard Jauron and Cindy Haynes of Iowa State University Extension about how to get these seasonal plants blooming for the season.  They also offer some gift ideas for gardeners.

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Politics Day
4:08 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

China's New Air Defense Zone and the U.S. Political Divide

A Coast Guard patrol vessel passes by Uotsuri, the largest island in the Senkaku/Diaoyu chain.
Al Jazeera English

The US and Japan have refused to recognize an air defense zone above tiny islands that China and Japan both claim. Today on River to River, we find out what is behind the dispute and what escalation would mean. Also, a look at how politics abroad are affecting politics at home, and whether our country's deeply divided political system could drive some areas of the U.S. to seek more independence. Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa State University political scientists, Jim McCormick and Steffen Schmidt.

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Politics Day
1:46 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Iowans Comment on Nuclear Deal with Iran

After western powers reached a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, what’s next? Today on River to River, guest host Ben Stanton sits down with political science experts Tim Hagle, of the University of Iowa, and Wayne Moyer, of Grinnell College. They talk about the deal and why it’s being met with skepticism by Israel, and some in Congress. They also discuss what happens after one party in the U.S. Senate uses a so-called nuclear option.

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Talk of Iowa
3:34 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

2013 Holiday Kids' Book List

"A wordless book that has a serenity and dreaminess to it that I think would be lovely to share." - Sue Davis
Candlewick Press

George Bernard Shaw said, “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter in Knoxville, Sue Davis of River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque and Jerri Heid of the Ames Public Library about the year's best books to be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.  You can find the full list below.

Picture Books

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, Illustrated by David Slonim - "Lots of cute poems and great pictures." - Annie Leonard

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Talk of Iowa
4:00 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

2013 Book Gift List

Casey Fleser Flickr

Garrison Keillor once said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.”  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, and Mollie Loughlin of The Book Vine in Cherokee about the best books to give as gifts this year.  We've compiled the list below, along with what our reviewers had to say about each book.

Paul Ingram - Fiction

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Politics Day
3:28 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Presidential Ebb and Flow

President Herbert Hoover saw his popularity plummet after the stock market crash, and has ranked as one of the least popular presidents in history.
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Every presidency ebbs and flows.  President Obama seems to be going through an ebb, as his job approval rating drops to the lowest of his presidency.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with presidential historian Tim Walch, former Director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and Donna Hoffman, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa, about the ebb and flow of presidencies through history, and what they can tell us about presidential popularity today.

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America's Obesity Crisis
11:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

You Can be Fit, but Fat

The number on the scale doesn't tell the whole story, when it comes to fitness vs. fatness
CDC

"For virtually any health outcome...

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Politics Day
4:09 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Local Elections Send Mixed Messages

Vaguely Artistic

In this off, off-year election local issues and races were the only things on ballots across Iowa. But, a few of those local races drew a lot of outside money and attention.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Chris Larimer, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa about whether outside interest groups influenced local races. We also look beyond Iowa’s borders at what gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey may tell us about the current state of our politics and parties.

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River to River
4:15 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Skull in the Ashes

The charred ruins of Frank Novak's general store in Walford, Iowa
University of Iowa Press

On a cold February night in 1897, the general store in Walford, Iowa burned to the ground.  The next morning townspeople found charred remains believed to be those of proprietor Frank Novak.  That was, until a local laborer turned up missing.  That discovery launched an investigation and cross-country manhunt.  Host Ben Kieffer gets the gruesome story from author Peter Kaufman.  It's the basis of his book Skull in the Ashes published by University of Iowa Press.

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River to River
3:57 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Politics Day: Phone Tapping OurFriends and ACA

Credit sparktography

Amid allegations that the U.S.

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River to River
2:40 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

2013 World Food Prize

The 2013 World Food Prize laureates (from the right) Robert T. Fraley, Marc Van Montagu and Mary-Dell Chilton in Iowa Public Radio's Des Moines studio.
John Pemble IPR

The 2013 World Food Prize is honoring Marc Van Montagu, Mary-Dell Chilton, and Robert T. Fraley, three scientists whose individual discoveries led to the creation of genetically modified crops. 

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River to River
3:34 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Politics Day: Shutdown and Debt Ceiling

The Lincoln Memorial, like many other federal sites, is closed due to the partial government shutdown.
Credit John Sonderman

Representative Steve King of Iowa’s 4th Congressional district has come to the fore in the current debate over the Affordable Care Act and the partial government shutdown.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University,  Steffen Schmidt, and the Joan and Abbott Lipsky Professor of Political Science at Coe College, Bruce Nesmith about Congressman King and how far he and other Republican representatives are willing to go in pursuit of the end of Obamacare.

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River to River
3:28 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Politics Day: The Partial Shutdown

Early Tuesday morning, without a Congressional agreement on spending, part of the federal government shut down. Today on River to River, we talk about the political implications. Who do you blame? How does a partial government shutdown impact the faith you have in the U.S. government's ability to do its work?

Host Ben Kieffer sits down with political analysts Tim Hagle (University of Iowa) and Wayne Moyer (Grinnell College), and they answer your questions and concerns.

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River to River
2:29 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

ISU President Steven Leath

President Leath giving his annual address
Iowa State University

Iowa State University's President Steven Leath joins the program to talk about how the possible federal government shutdown could affect public universities, and Leath answers your questions.  In the second half of the show: the Republican Party is conflicted over who should be their next presidential nominee.  Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin takes us back to another fight over the nomination that happened 100 years ago. 

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River to River
3:07 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Iowa Experiments

Jane Elliott taught school in Riceville for 20 years. The day after Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered she divided her third-grade class into blue and brown-eyed groups and gave them a lesson in discrimination.

One day in 1968, the day after the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, Jane Elliott, a teacher in the small town of Riceville, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups…and gave them a lesson in discrimination. 

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River to River
3:44 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Politics Day

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers delivering a Canada 2020 lecture in Ottawa, CA on Nov. 6, 2012. Summers withdrew his name for consideration as chair of the Federal Reserve on Sept. 16, 2013.
Canada 2010 Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer discusses the possible fiscal showdown on the debt ceiling with Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern University and Dennis Goldford of Drake University.

Also, a worrying new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and what to make of Larry Summers withdrawing from consideration to chair the Federal Reserve.

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River to River
2:05 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Transparency at the Iowa Supreme Court and Post-9/11 Muslim America

Since three justices lost their seats in the 2010 retention election, the Iowa Supreme Court has worked to increase transparency and public outreach.
Phil Roeder Flickr

In 2010 three Iowa Supreme Court Justices lost their election for retention.  The defeat sparked major changes which increased transparency and public outreach at the state’s highest court.  Today Sarah Boden fills in for Ben Kieffer and discusses this new era of transparency with Todd Pettys of the University of Iowa's College of Law.

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River to River
3:29 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Politics Day

A building destroyed by bombing in the Aleppo, Syria on September 11, 2012.
Agencia de Noticias Inter Press Service Flickr

President Obama took his case for military action in Syria to a skeptical American public last night and asserted the need to keep pressure on the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

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Talk of Iowa
2:32 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

The Future of Football

Stuart Seeger / StuSeeger Flickr

It’s football season and as Iowans stream into bleachers to cheer on high school football teams concerns about head trauma at the highest level of the game is filtering down to youth levels.

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River to River
2:52 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Olympic Wrestling Restored

U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program SGT Spenser Mango lifts Russia's Mingiyan Semenov before losing 2-0, 1-0 in the 2012 London Olympics
Tim Hipps / IMCOM Public Affairs

Wrestling is back in the Olympics after being removed earlier this year.  Hear from University of Iowa Head Coach Kevin Jackson, University of Iowa Associate Coach of Wrestling Terry Brands, and the Manager of Communication at USA Wresting Craig Sesker.  Hear their reactions and hear what will change about wrestling in the future.

Also in this program, Iowa's First District Congressman Bruce Braley talks about whether he would support a resolution authorizing limited action in Syria, and other issues looming as Congress resumes its work.  

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Talk of Iowa
4:27 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Storing Your Harvest

If things went well in your vegetable garden this year you may find yourself elbow deep in home grown tomatoes.  Or maybe you have a tree that is loaded with apples or plums.  Host Charity Nebbe, talks with Horticulturists Linda Naeve and Richard Jauron about harvesting and storing your garden bounty.

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