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 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.

Dean Borg

More cut flowers are purchased on Valentine’s Day than on any other day of the year, in spite of the fact that the holiday falls in the dead of winter. When buying a bouquet, it can be hard to determine how best to care for cut flowers and make them last.

Cindy Haynes, a horticulturalist from Iowa State University, has some tips for selecting cut flowers.

“We like roses that are fairly tight in bud that are showing good color,” Haynes says. “Red roses and some of the darker colored roses don’t show that damage quite as much as something like a white rose.”

Emily Woodbury

Kevin "B.F." Burt of Coralville has been performing the blues for more than 20 years. He's beloved in Iowa, and has performed around the world.

This month, he won three first place awards at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Burt about his humble solo performance origins at Baldy's Wraps in Iowa City, what it's like to be discovered after his performance in Memphis, and where he's focusing his energy next. 

Abingdon Press

For white people who are committed to equity and justice, living in a nation that remains racially unjust and still deeply segregated creates unique challenges.  These challenges begin early in life and impact the racial development of white children in powerful ways.

American Libraries / —

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.

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with romance novelist Hector Lareau about his Newsroom Romance series.

Lareau, a novelist and lawyer based in Davenport, draws on his experience in a Des Moines newsroom for his books Love, Local, Latebreaking, and Traffick Report. The high pressure newsroom environment inspired him to write romance. 

Nick Brincks

Majd Abdulghani spent two years recording her life, and eventually her story was edited into “Majd’s Diary: Two Years in the Life of a Saudi Girl,” which recently received the Best Documentary Silver award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

“I want to prove that being a Muslim, Saudi woman who wears a head scarf doesn’t stop me from being a scientist,” Abdulghani says in the piece.

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.

Karsten Moran / Redux Pictures

New York Times Magazine Staff Writer Nikole Hannah-Jones is no stranger to hard conversations about race. She grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, being bused to a school across town that was mostly white, compared to her majority black neighborhood. She says she grew up spending about two hours on the bus each day. 

Gisela Giardino/Flickr

"Wine is to women as duck tape is to men: it fixes everything. " "I make wine disappear, what's your super power?" "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, but if the white runs out, I'll drink red."

These are supposed to be jokes, but they may also be indicative of a growing problem. During this hour on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Ann Dowsett-Johnson, author of "Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol," about women's relationship with drinking culture. 

Minnesota Historical Society Press

 This program originally aired June 9, 2016.

The "Big Marsh" was a source of bounty for wildlife, native people and settlers.  When it was drained it offered up fertile soil, but what was lost?  This hour, we talk to Cheri Register, author of the new book, "The Big Marsh; the Story of a Lost Landscape" (Minnesota Historical Society Press).

New York Times

Although it goes by the humble name "M.910," an ancient manuscript book knows as a "codex" at the Morgan Library in New York City is on its way to a high-tech adventure.  Written in Coptic script by monks somewhere between 400 and 600 A.D., scholars such as the University of Iowa's Paul Dilley are excited that it may soon become legible for the first time.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Last January, actor Woody Harrelson wrote, directed, and starred in a live feature film called Lost in London. The movie was shot in London and broadcast live into American theaters, with audiences watching the film in real time.

The movie is inspired by real life events, and while it is a comedy, it takes places entirely in what Harrelson describes as the worst night of his life: a 2002 incident when he was arrested for getting into a fight with a cab driver just days after a night of infidelity was exposed by a tabloid.

Watching the local evening news on television was once routine in nearly every household. Increasingly, that is no longer the case according to a study by the Pew Research Center. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with KCRG-TV's News Director Adam Carros about how his newsroom is handling a decline in viewership. 

He says many networks are working to cut deals with streaming services like Apple TV, Roku, Hulu and Netflix. 

Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

It's not quite time to start sowing seeds, but it is time to get ready. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Horticulturalists Jauron and Linda Naeve of Iowa State University Extension about selecting and starting seeds, decoding the gardening jargon found in seed catalogs, and knowing when to plant. 

Clayton Treloar/Flickr

It starts as a minor inconvenience with no water coming out of the tap, but frozen pipes can quickly turn into a major crisis. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, home improvement expert Bill McAnally joins host Charity Nebbe to talk about caring for and inspecting your pipes. 

Daniel R. Blume /

Obituaries are not what they used to be. They have gone through many changes since they first started appearing in newspapers, but in recent years they have been radical and rapid. 

Iowa writer Mary Kay Shanley has been studying obituaries and how they've changed; she also teaches people how to write them. During this Talk of Iowa conversation, she talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Shanley is also the author of Our State Fair: Iowa's Blue Ribbon Story, The Memory Box, and She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes. 

Photo Courtesy of Justin Roberts

There is a lot of children's music out there, and some of it is really bad. But over the course of the last two decades, children's music as a genre has become a home for many smart, funny, and talented musicians. Iowa native Justin Roberts is one of them. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, he talks with host Charity Nebbe about his newest album Lemonade, which has been nominated for a Grammy this year. It's his third time being nominated. 

On this album, he has several laugh out loud funny songs, including one called "Valentine."  

Image courtesy of the Wapsipinicon Almanac

Since 1988, Timothy Fay of Anamosa has published the Wapsipinicon Almanac. The 2018 edition is now for sale. The old-fashioned publication features contributions from 20 people, mostly Iowans, and has become a staple of Iowa literature.

Over the 40 years since its initial release, Fay reflects on those he has loved and lost during his time publishing the almanac.

African American Museum of Iowa

The African American Museum of Iowa will offer free admission from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST on Monday, January 15 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with LaNisha Cassell, the museum's executive director, and Felicite Wolfe, the museum's curator. 

Michelle Hoover

This program originally aired on April 20, 2016.

In her new novel "Bottomland," (Grove Press), Ames native Michelle Hoover writes about a family's struggles after the disappearance of two of their daughters.  She tells host Charity Nebbe that the story was inspired by a long forgotten photograph of her own family.

Emily Woodbury

Lauren Haldeman is a poet and illustrator who lives in Iowa City. She’s a Writer’s Workshop graduate and the winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, she talks about how her latest poetry collection, Instead of Dying, was inspired in part by the death of her younger brother, Ryan.

Honza Soukup

Pediatricians agree that breast milk is the healthiest source of nutrition for a newborn baby, and breast feeding rates are on the rise in the United States. But, nursing a baby isn’t always an option.

“Our daughter was full-term,” says Sarah Fillmore of Des Moines, “but she had to be in the NICU for about a week, and she had some breathing problems when she was born that made it difficult for her to learn how to latch.”

John Pemble

Governor Kim Reynolds delivered her first Condition of the State address today. She succeeded Governor Terry Branstad and has not been elected to the office she holds, so this is an important moment for her.

“What a country and state we live in, where a small town girl from rural Iowa can become governor and have the opportunity to serve Iowans at the highest level," Reynolds says in her speech.

Elvert Barnes — /

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. [cropped]
gyro2 —

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.

Amy Broadmoore

Kelly Teeselink was 9 when she started to struggle with a negative body image."I remember nearly everything negative ever said about my body. I have a little box in my memory of those comments. I remember feeling that it was really important for me to be a certain way, look a certain way, be a certain weight."

When Teeselink received a "Barbie" workout tape as a gift she remembers thinking she would work out until she was skinny. She's found diary entries from 4th or 5th grade lamenting how unfair it was that some people were skinny when it was so hard for her.

New Year's Resolutions for Your Garden

Jan 5, 2018
Image courtesy of Reiman Gardens

The harsh winter weather is upon us this January, and many Iowans are left longingly looking at their outdoor gardens buried in snow wondering what they can do to stay busy during the winter months. While some may opt to visit Iowa's many wonderful indoor botanical gardens, another option is to create a similar atmosphere within your own home. Assistant director of Reiman Gardens, Aaron Steil, has suggestions how to create a humid atmosphere for plants to grow.

Lotzman Katzman/Flickr

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? 


The Oxford Dictionaries declared "youthquake" as its Word of the Year for 2017, although we found out that it was  originally coined in about 1965 by the fashion industry.  This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks again with our "Word Maven," Patricia O'Conner, proprietor of the popular language blog, "Grammarphobia."  O'Conner is the author of a number of language books, including "Woe is I," "Words Fail Me," and "Origins of the Specious."

Courtesy of Iowa State University Large Animal Hospital

If you’ve ever taken a psychology class, you’ve probably heard the story of Phineas Gage. He was a railroad worker who survived a terrible accident in which an iron rod was driven through his head. He’s remembered in the psychology books because that accident taught us a lot about how the brain works.

In this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe hosts a conversation about an Iowa horse named Jamberry who had a very similar accident to Gage.