Ben Stanton

Talk Show Producer

Ben Stanton started in radio doing public affairs programs in Phoenix.  He has worked as a reporter at commercial and public radio stations in Iowa and Alaska.  He first came to IPR in 2013 and he has been a talk show producer and substitute host. He lives in Washington, Iowa with his family.

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A few years ago, jazz vocalist Keri Johnsrud was talking with another musician about the role of music in children's television programs. 

"We started talking about Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and how the music in that program was so integral to the advancement of the stories and messages that he was telling on the program. And how jazz was especially was an important part of the show," she says.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe is joined by author Thisbe Nissen. Her latest book is Our Lady of the Prairie.  

Thisbe is originally from New York, and she lived in Iowa for eleven years. Although she changes most of the place names, Iowans will likely recognize several eastern Iowa places and communities. It also includes the story of a wedding day tornado.

Iowa Public Radio

This hour of River to River is a "Pints and Politics" edition and includes panelists Gazette reporter James Lynch, and Gazette columnists Todd Dorman, Lynda Waddington, and Adam Sullivan. The discussion covers legislation about water quality and the state budget shortfall.  

The panel is joined by University of Northern Iowa political scientist Chris Larimer to talk through state politics and how social media and political polling shapes our politics.

Hosts and moderators are Iowa Public Radio's Emily Woodbury and The Gazette's Erin Jordan.

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John Naughton has been covering sports at the Des Moines Register for over 30 years. He has been to football, basketball, track and field, wrestling, baseball, and many other events across the state. On this Talk of Iowa, Host Charity Nebbe talks with Naughton about what the job has meant to him and what changes he has seen.

He says that it is important for sports reporters to remember that they are writing about real people that deserve respect. He says that one aspect of the work that has kept him doing it is that there are triumphant stories and interesting people.

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A government shutdown looms at the end of this week, and continued debate over a word that President Trump said or did not say. On this politics day edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Dave Anderson, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University and Hans Hassell, assistant professor of political science at Cornell College.

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In this new year, President Donald Trump has urged protesters to overthrow the Iranian government, threatened to blow up North Korea, and called for cuts to aid to the Palestinians.  On this River to River program, political scientists Dennis Goldford of Drake University and Jim McCormick of Iowa State University discuss Trump’s radical departure from traditional U.S. diplomacy.

Also, Oprah for president? 

McCormick says, "I kind of doubt it."

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The Islamic State's territory in Syria and Iraq has been reduced to a small fraction of what it was when ISIS declared its Caliphate back in 2014. But is the Islamic State really defeated?

On this River to River program, join host Ben Kieffer as he spends the hour with with former Air Force intelligence analyst Evan Renfro, an assistant professor of political science at University of Northern Iowa. Renfro gives his perspective on the threat from ISIS and other violent extremist groups.

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Plants growing in space have no gravity to assist them, there is minimum light, and there is more radiation exposurethan the plants would receive on Earth. However, plant production is expected to be an important part of future deep space missions.

In this River to River conversation, host Ben Kieffer is joined by Iowa State University graduate student Therin Young, who is just starting a year-long fellowship with the Iowa Space Grant Consortium focusing on using "computer vision" to have computers measure, or phenotype, plants remotely. 

Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

This program originally aired on May 18, 2017.

In Iowa, the craft beer industry has been booming. New breweries have been opening everywhere from Clear Lake to Iowa City to Des Moines. J. Wilson is minister of beer at the Iowa Brewers Guild.  He says the growth is a return to what the beer industry looked like before prohibition.

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Domestic violence usually happens in private. It is unseen and underreported. Helping a loved one in an abusive relationship can be easier said than done. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with guests about this common type of abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced some kind of violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

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There are a lot of different tools designed to monitor fitness. From the low tech-scale and body mass index (BMI) calculations, to the high tech dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) body scan, which is designed to measure body fat and more.

In this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores an aspect of physical health that many people examine this time of year. With new goals for fitness or weight loss, she talks about fitness assessments new and old.

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Four more Iowans died of the flu this week. Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Patricia Quinlisk says this is a particularly bad strain of influenza, especially for the elderly.

"The particular strain we’re seeing right now can hit anybody of any age, but it hits older people particularly hard. We also know that older people are just more at risk of getting the flu and getting serious illness of the flu because their immune systems just don’t work as well.”

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There are so many ways for kids and their parents to experience and learn about nature. Splashing in a puddle, examining a spiderweb, listening to night sounds, and following animal tracks are all examples. But what to do in the winter? 

Nathan Timmel

Nathan Timmel is a stand-up comedian, which means he can often be away from home on weekends traveling.  Years ago, he decided that time away could include writing letters to reflect on family events and moments.  

After Timmel first became a dad, he wrote letters to his daughter which were published in It's OK to Talk to Animals: (and Other Letters from Dad). Now he is a a father of two kids, and he has been writing advice for a son.  Those letters are published in Hey Buddy: Dubious Advice From Dad.

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Today, both houses of Congress passed a tax overhaul, and the Republicans' first major legislative victory is expected to be signed by President Trump. On this River to River, political analysts Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa walk through the political implications of the bill.

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The winter solstice happens this Thursday morning, which means that each day this week has the least amount of sunshine per day. In Iowa, that means anywhere from just under nine hours of daylight to about nine hours 15 minutes depending on where you are located.

On this River to River, Ben Kieffer is joined by neurologist Dr. Eric Dyken of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorders Center to discuss the latest in sleep news and research. There is a new study finding that our personal sleep requirements may be affected by our genes.

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As you ponder what to give as gifts for the music-lovers in your life, consider the expertise of some Iowa Public Radio music hosts. In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hears about the notable releases and recordings of 2017 from the host of IPR's The Folk Tree Karen Impola, as well as classical music host Barney Sherman.

Karen Impola's top folk music picks for 2017

1. Catfish Keith – "Shake Sugaree" – Mississippi River Blues

2. Al Murphy – "Steamboat Quickstep" – Hogs in the Cornfield

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Iowans have been reporting snowy owl sightings across the state this year. In this wildlife day edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe is joined by wildlife biologist Jim Pease to talk through the unique characteristics of the snowy owl, and why they are in Iowa.

"It's a common thing that happens with northern critters. It includes everything from snowshoes hares in the boreal forest to snowy owls in the arctic. They go through regular cycles of boom and bust in response to the available food supply."

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Holiday season is about giving, but it also involves getting more things.  Some people already feel overwhelmed with too many possessions.  During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with guests about decluttering, and about how to navigate the process of handing down heirlooms and other collections.  

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President Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary. On this River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with guests about how Republicans are systematically filling vacancies in the federal court system with young, conservative judges.

Joining the conversation is former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Kevin Techau and Todd Pettys of the University of Iowa College of Law. 

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Should taxpayer-funded settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against members of Congress be made public? On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by political scientists Rachel Caulfield of Drake University and Tracy Osborn of the University of Iowa.

Osborn says what's happening now is an indication of new attitudes.

"It shows a cultural change," Osborn says.

An Evening with Tom Ashbrook

Nov 28, 2017
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Iowa Public Radio welcomed Tom Ashbrook of On Point with Tom Ashbrook to Ames, Iowa on Thursday, November 9. In a public Q & A with Iowa Public Radio's Morning Edition host Clay Masters, Ashbrook discussed growing up on a small farm in Illinois, working as a foreign correspondent, and joining NPR following the attacks of September 11. 

Ashbrook, known for his hard-hitting questions and a deep understanding of what's going on in the world, hosts two hour-long live radio shows five days a week. 

Autonomous Future

Nov 27, 2017
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Imagine a world in the not too distant future where human car and truck drivers are the exception rather than the rule. In this segment of River to River: life after driving. Host Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa computer scientist Dan Reed to look at ways our society would change when we leave the driving to machines and become mere passengers.

Reed is generally optimistic about the future use of this technology, but says it will change economic models and allow companies to collect more data.

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For many, listening to StoryCorps on Friday mornings has become routine—a few minutes to listen, learn, reflect, and often shed a few tears.

When StoryCorps debuted in 2003, it sounded unlike anything else on public radio.  They were stories not driven by news or cultural events, and they were stories that didn’t feature news-makers. These were stories of normal people sharing their memories. We quickly learned that those normal people were extraordinary, and that we all have stories to share.

Earlier this month, six Iowa veterans told their stories at a live event in Iowa City.  The event was "Roll Call: Veterans Share Their True Stories" presented by Iowa Watch and hosted by Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe.  It took place on November 9th at Old Brick in Iowa City.  In the link above, hear these veterans' stories:

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It was one of the defining moments of the 20th century with repercussions up to the present day. On this River to River program, we remember the Russian Revolution one hundred years ago. Drake University historian and native Russian Natalie Bayer and University of Iowa political scientist Bill Reisinger join the conversation.  They talk through the fall of the Tsarist autocracy and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.  It's a story that threads through to the present day in Putin’s Russia. 

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New technology has dramatically changed how we communicate and interact, and Michael Bugeja says that in doing so, it may slowly be eroding some of our core principles.  Professor Bugeja of Iowa State University's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication joins host Ben Kieffer during this hour of River to River

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Stefan Shepherd remembers listening to ABBA and Herb Alpert as a kid; he did not grow up with "kids music." But now he has kids and he started reviewing kid's music on his blog, Zooglobble. In this segment of Talk of Iowa, Shepherd joins host Charity Nebbe to present a few options for good music for kids.

Here are three examples with some thoughts about the music from Shepherd.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, "Paletero Man" from the album Out of LA.

City of Manchester

In this news buzz edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with one of the longest serving mayors in the country, Milt Kramer.  He was just reelected and has been elected 14 times since the early 1970s.

Also on this program, we hear about the theft of pension funds from Iowa's public employees retirement fund; the 2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year Aileen Sullivan; a State Historical Society project gathering WWI photos; and the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

The first seven years of Dekow Sagar’s life in Somalia were happy. Rural Somalia was beautiful, he had plenty of brothers, sisters and friends to play with, and the family farm provided what they needed. However, Sagar’s pleasant rural life was shattered by terrible violence and civil war.

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