Rick Fredericksen


Rick Fredericksen is a Des Moines based correspondent for Iowa Public Radio.  He has been producing the Iowa Archives series since 2007. Rick joined Iowa Public Radio in 1995 after 13 years abroad. Prior to joining IPR, Rick worked in commercial radio and TV in Iowa and Hawaii. For 10 years, he was bureau chief for CBS News in Bangkok, Thailand, covering stories throughout Southeast Asia. He received a Peabody Award in 1989, for CBS radio coverage of the Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing. He has also won numerous state, regional and national awards for his reporting. As a young Marine broadcaster, he covered the Vietnam War for the American Forces Vietnam Network in Saigon.

Rick attended the Department of Defense Information School in Indianapolis, and Drake University.

Rick’s favorite public radio program is River to River.

Ways To Connect

Rick Fredericksen / Iowa Public Radio

Crops are not the only things wilting in the sweltering summer of 2012; cattle, the largest animals, on the farm are also under stress.

Some cattle producers are protecting their herds by putting them hoop barns, which are gaining acceptance across the Midwest. The simple structures are made from stretching fabric over strong metal arches, or hoops, providing vital shade and protection from rain, snow or sun.

Tanner Rowe, a cattle producer near Dallas Canter, Iowa, has found hoop barns can give cattle a much-needed break from sweltering heat.

34th Army Band

When Iowans gather in Des Moines tomorrow to thank veterans for their service, one of the National Guard's most decorated units will be among those leading the parade. Historic 1965 audio from the 34th Army Band in Burlington and the Val Air Ballroom in 1967.

For nine days, starting next week, Iowa will be railroad heaven for fans of old trains. Thousands of people will be climbing aboard, photographing, or just admiring the romance of an earlier time. An organization of railroad buffs is bringing its national meeting to Iowa for the first time.

National Court Reporters Association

Iowa’s premier school for training court reporters is phasing out the curriculum. AIB, a private business college based in Des Moines, says there is not enough interest to keep the program going.

The Iowa Cornets

May 18, 2012
Rick Fredericksen

The WNBA opens play this weekend and former University of Iowa player Tangela Smith will be in uniform for the San Antonio Silver Stars. It was here in Iowa, 34 years ago, where women's professional basketball was born. We look back at charter team and its biggest star. Historic audio from the Iowa Women's Archives.

Last fall, officials predicted that farmland along the Missouri River might be out of production for at least a year. The flood of 2011 piled up sand dunes, gouged out deep holes and killed off many of the microbes that help crops grow.

But now it’s spring, and farmers are back on the land trying to fix what nature broke.

There’s something not quite picture-perfect about this picturesque farmland, known as Blackbird Bend, along the Missouri River near Onawa.   A 24-row corn planter is brushing over the tops of an already stunning winter wheat crop, twelve inches high. 

A shipment of precious cargo will begin its journey from the east coast to Iowa tomorrow morning. Crouching on 2 pallets inside a box-truck, are a pair of panthers; they were sculpted by one of Iowa’s most famous artists. The lost-and-found story is told by Iowa Public Radio’s Rick Fredericksen.

Department of Natural Resources

Something remarkable is happening in the countryside of Iowa this spring; something that hasn’t been seen to this extent, in more than 120 years. Wildlife experts are cheering the rebound of North America’s largest water fowl.

Iowa State University

It has to be one of the most unusual golf teams in America. In-between tournament play, the coach and 8 women are on the prowl for Asian food. Why? Half the team is from Thailand.

As Iowa tries to retain its last jet fighter base in Des Moines, a non-profit group is hoping to save one of the last remnants of an air station that closed at the end of World War Two. Historic audio from Stearman training film and You Tube.


Mention the New Deal, and most Iowans would think of a bridge, state park or school gymnasium. But the arts also flourished during the Great Depression, thanks to federal programs that gave jobs to painters, sculptors, writers and performers. A museum director calls it, "the greatest art movement in Iowa in 100 years."

Seventy-five years ago, the federal government bankrolled countless infrastructure programs that put tens of thousands of Iowans to work; many of the projects are enjoying a revival, of sorts. Some are being renovated, others are endangered, and many are just as vital as they were in the 1930s.