Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a correspondent in 2012.  He covers the statehouse when the legislature is in session, and reports on a variety of topics the rest of the year. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations across the country. He’s also a regular contributor to NPR’s arts desk, covering indie music news.

Clay is a Nebraska native and worked for Nebraska Public Radio and Television (NET) before coming to IPR. He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the CPB-funded Local Journalism project covering agriculture in the Midwest.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

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Music Interviews
6:59 am
Sat January 18, 2014

'Made For This': The Rootless Life Of A Roving Musician

David Dondero performs at D.G.'s Tap House in Ames, Iowa.
John Pemble

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 10:35 am

Guitarist and songwriter David Dondero is a transient. He's lived all over the country, from Alaska to Texas. When he's not touring, he finds work — most recently as a carpenter in California. But it never lasts. Music always finds its way back into his life.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:54 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Iowa Politicians Save Venom for 2014 Elections

The Iowa State Capitol on the opening day of the 2014 Iowa legislative session.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

The first of the 2014 legislative session comes to a close today, perhaps overshadowed by Governor Terry Branstad announcing he’s running for reelection. Many state lawmakers have their eye on looming national and state elections. Associated Press Statehouse and Political Reporter Catherine Lucey talks with IPR’s Clay Masters about how Iowa politics are shaping up at outset of 2014.  

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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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Statehouse and Politics
5:52 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Will the 2014 Legislative Session Be as Productive as Last Year?

The Iowa State Capitol on the last day of the 2013 legislative session.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Today is the first day of the 2014 Iowa legislative session. It’s an election year, which usually means the time lawmakers meet will be short so people can go run for re-election. IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell talks with Clay Masters about the 2014 legislative session. 

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Year in Review
2:24 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Top IPR Reporter Picks of 2013

2013 has been a busy year for Iowa Public Radio's news team. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with reporters and correspondents about some of the most meaningful and challenging stories they covered. It's a "reporter's notebook" edition of the show.

Here is a list of the full features heard on today's show:

January 10 - Undocumented Immigrants at University

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Shots - Health News
3:21 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Iowa Opens The Doors To Medicaid Coverage, On Its Own Terms

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 4:52 pm

At the Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines, Iowa, health insurance navigator Andrea Pearce stood in a crowded dining hall on a recent day, shouting instructions on how residents can sign up for Medicaid.

"If you do not have insurance and you want to enroll and you have an e-mail address where you know the password," she said, "come to the computer lab we will guide you through the application."

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Health
5:20 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Iowa Medicaid Alternative Shows Fed's Flexibility

Jerry Gross, who's 56 and homeless, waits in line at the Central Shelter and Services to talk with a healthcare navigator.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

More than twenty states have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, leaving many Americans below the poverty line with few health insurance options. Some states are coming up with their own low-income health plans which would give them some of the federal money set aside for Medicaid expansions while writing their own rules. Federal authorities approved Iowa’s alternative proposal. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports… the rest of the country is taking note. 

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Studio One
7:45 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Mason Jennings Talks About His New Record 'Always Been'

Mason Jennings talks about his new record, called "Always Been," in IPR's Des Moines studios.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Minnesota Singer/Songwriter Mason Jennings has been performing for almost two decades. Over the years he's recorded for record labels run by Jack Johnson and Isaac Brock of the band Modest Mouse. For his latest record, called "Always Been," Jennings recruited Iowa music veteran Bo Ramsey to produce. Jennings stopped by IPR earlier this fall to talk to Clay Masters about his new record. "Always Been" is this week's "CD of the Week" on Studio One.  

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Business and Economy
5:14 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Regional Airport Project Experiences Turbulence

Rob Hammann stands by a large shed on his property where his wife, Robin, has written a phrase protesting the regional airport.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Plans to build a new regional airport are underway in south central Iowa’s Mahaska County. Two existing airports – in Oskaloosa and Pella would close – and a new consolidated one would provide services to large companies in the area. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports on the fight over whether or not a new regional airport will help the area economy. 

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Environment
3:20 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Iowa Politicians Critical of Investigative AP Report on Ethanol

Credit Sarah McCammon

Critics are challenging an investigative report by the Associated Press that says ethanol production is damaging the environment. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, the debate comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is getting closer to finalizing how much ethanol will be blended into gasoline in 2014. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:06 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Feeding the Organic Supply Chain

Farmer Tom Frantzen proudly takes pictures of his corn crop near New Hampton, Iowa on October 10, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Organic food is a hot market in the U.S. The Organic Trade Association says that sales over the last five years have grown 35 percent. But there’s a problem in the supply chain – not enough organic grain.

Many producers in the farm belt aren’t willing to take on organic production despite a hefty price premium. That has left organic food companies scrambling to find enough raw ingredients for the products that hit grocery store shelves. Just as corn and soybeans dominate conventional processed food and meat, these same grains are often key ingredients for organic foods.

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Environment
4:15 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Urban Wetlands Play a Part in Improving Iowa Water Quality

The Raccoon River in Des Moines.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

 Iowa homeowners and municipalities can use urban wetlands to capture nutrients that pollute state waterways and improve water quality. That’s according to a new report out Wednesday. But researchers say it would only be a small part of improving the state’s water quality.

The amount of pollution municipalities put into the state’s rivers and streams are regulated. This new report from the Iowa Policy Project documents what else cities and homeowners to reduce polluted storm runoff. 

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Statehouse and Politics
5:39 am
Thu October 24, 2013

GOP Candidates Establish Themselves in First Senate Primary Debate

Credit Iowa GOP Facebook

The half dozen Republican candidates in the 2014 primary race for U.S. Senate met Wednesday night in Des Moines for a debate. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports it wasn’t much of a debate… more of a chance for voters to figure out who’s running.

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Environment
2:59 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Environmentally Sensitive ‘Driftless’ Region Highlights CAFO Concerns

Chris Wasta fly fishes on Bear Creek in Winneshiek County, Iowa. The trout stream is a region of the Midwest known as the 'driftless' region.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

   

Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:45 am
Fri October 18, 2013

2013 World Food Prize Laureates Stir up GMO Controversy

Protestors gather on the west side of the Iowa State Capitol to protest the laureates.
Clay Masters IPR

  The World Food Prize is commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize of Agriculture. This year it went to three biotechnology pioneers and infuriated environmental groups. The award winners were honored Thursday in Des Moines. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

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Health
5:05 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Iowa Millennials Prepare for Affordable Care Act

Kelley Mills, 23, of Des Moines works 3 jobs to make ends meet. She and her parents do not have healthcare.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

 Editor Note: The Millennials in the piece were found because they signed up for the IPR Insight Network. Please consider signing up today and lending your expertise and experience to some of our reporting.

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Health
4:36 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Sorting Out The Affordable Care Act in Iowa

Credit flickr creative commons

 

   October 1 is an important milestone in the rollout of health reform. The new insurance marketplace – where Iowans can select health coverage – goes live on October 1st. Iowa Public Radio’s Sarah McCammon and Clay Masters have an overview of what to expect on the health exchange.

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Environment
6:00 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Farmers, Policymakers Debate Water Quality Regulation

Farmer Tim Smith stands by a creek that cuts through his property near the north central Iowa town of Eagle Grove. He does several water quality conservation practices on his land including a bio-reactor, strip tilling and cover crops.
Clay Masters IPR

This summer, officials in Iowa have been asking farmers to voluntarily reduce the amount of fertilizer they use. That’s because the fertilizer contains nitrates that are being washed into state waterways and creating environmental concerns locally and nationally. The runoff has been particularly bad this year, and the outcry over typical crop practices is growing. To find if Iowa farmers are complying with the government’s request, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters followed the water trail.

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Business and Economy
6:02 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Education Economics

Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

 It's back to school season in Iowa. IPR's Clay Masters talks education economics with Sarah McCammon while she finishes up her assignment for Marketplace this summer covering business and economics news. They discuss the increasing costs for teachers and parents to pay for public school and a report by the US Department of Education found colleges giving bigger grants to wealthier kids. 

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Music News
11:11 am
Thu August 22, 2013

A Unique Digital Music Service, For Locals Only

Iowa City librarian Jason Paulios reviews recently donated CDs. Paulios says donations of old music give the library greater freedom to purchase new stuff, as well as license digital versions directly from smaller artists.
Clay Masters

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 12:30 pm

Iowa City librarian Jason Paulios pulls out his smartphone, enters his library-card number and begins downloading an album by local metal band Blizzard at Sea.

"So it's extracting now," he says, eyes on the screen. "It's at about 90 percent."

The download takes about five minutes to complete. Paulios says it's a great way to check out local music: You could be waiting for a concert to start, download an album by the band you're about to see and then listen to it on the way home.

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Arts and Culture
6:35 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Iowa City Library's Local Music Project Could Become Library Model

Iowa City Librarian Jason Paulios looks at recently organized CDs that were donated to the library. Paulios says he gets a lot of donations when school at the University of Iowa starts and ends as students come and go on campus.
Clay Masters IPR

Despite changes in how Americans are listening to music, think Pandora or Spotify, people are still checking out physical CDs from libraries. A recent PEW report found that half of Americans visited a library last year, and 16 percent of them checked out music.

But just as libraries are introducing eBooks to readers – librarians are also trying to figure out how to get digital music to library goers. Iowa City has launched a digital music library that focuses on its local music scene.

Going Local Online

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Business and Economy
6:57 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Rockwell Collins Buys Airinc, John Deere Earnings Beat Projections

Rockwell Collins is headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Credit Facebook / Rockwell Collins

Many Iowans work for two companies in recent business headlines. In a nearly 1.4 billion dollar deal, Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins announced it was buying communication system company Airinc. Rockwell Collins CEO, Kelly Ortberg, calls it the biggest deal the company has undertaken.

And the latest quarter of John Deere earnings beat analyst projections. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment for Marketplace this summer, about the two news-making companies. They also discuss the state's corn crop and how it compares to the cornbelt as a whole.

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Music
1:03 am
Sat August 17, 2013

William Tyler Speaks 'Truth' Through His Guitar

William Tyler performs in Iowa City.
Clay Masters

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 6:35 am

William Tyler takes the stage at the Trumpet Blossom Café, a vegan restaurant and bar in Iowa City. Surrounded by effects pedals for his guitar, he wears jeans and black cowboy boots, and his fingernails are about an inch long.

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Business and Economy
6:05 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: The Economics of Early School Start Date

Crowds at the Iowa State Fair.
Credit Iowa State Fair

    

The Iowa State Fair wraps up next weekend. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, over the economics and controversy over when schools should start and how that affects state fairs and tourism. Masters also talks with McCammon about the energy stories she's done on Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that was involved in the BP oil spill three years ago, and a solar company that’s also ahead of its peers.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:28 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Series from Harvest Public Media Highlights Role of Age in Farming

The Hawthorn farm has been in the family for four generations since it was founded in the late 1870s by Bob Hawthorn’s great-grandfather who went by the name “Trapper.”
Credit Ray Meints / Nebraska Educational Telecommunications

Next week IPR is launching a 5-part series during Morning Edition from Harvest Public Media on the role of age in farming. It's called "Changing Hands, Changing Lands." It includes a television documentary on Iowa Public Television that airs on August 16th.

IPR's Clay Masters spoke with IPR's Harvest Public Media reporter, Amy Mayer, about the series and some of the research and reporting that went into the project. 

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Business and Economy
6:45 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Cost-Benefit Analysis for Better Government

Credit Matt Cardy / Getty Images

  The Pew Charitable Trusts and McArthur Foundation are funding a project that hopes solve public policy in an evidence-based way. IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace this summer, about her reporting on the issue. They also discuss an upcoming story she's working on the economics of recycling. 

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Business and Economy
6:43 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Controlling the Cost of College

Candidates applying for a place at the Medical University of Vienna sit for an exam in a hall of the fair grounds in Vienna on July 5, 2013.
Credit Patrick Domingo / Getty Images

This week IPR's Clay Masters checks in with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment with Marketplace, about issues regarding paying for college.

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

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Arts and Culture
6:54 am
Wed July 24, 2013

NPR Reporters Travel RAGBRAI

Don Gonyea, Scott Horsley and Brian Naylor spoke to IPR at their RAGBRAI campsite in Des Moines, July 23, 2013
Credit John Pemble / IPR

 RAGBRAI, the annual bicycling ride across the state, made its way to Des Moines Tuesday. The trip wraps up this weekend in Fort Madison. Among the cyclists this year are NPR reporters Don Gonyea, Scott Horsley and Brian Naylor.

IPR's Clay Masters caught up with the trio. You can follow their travels the rest of this week at Return to Iowa.

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River to River
2:54 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Staffing Iowa's Prisons

Warden Patti Wachtendorf shows IPR's Charity Nebbe around the Mitchellville Correctional Institute for Women.
Emily Woodbury Iowa Public Radio

Nationally the turnover rate for correctional officers is over 15%. Working in a prison is a stressful and dangerous job, but it can also be rewarding.  Today, Clay Masters speaks with a correctional officer from the Mitchellville Correctional Institute for Women joins the program to discuss what its like to work at a prison.

Also, the union AFSCME claims that the Department of Corrections has insufficient staff numbers running the state’s prison and as a result correctional officers are at risk.  Clay Masters looks into the validity of these claims

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Business and Economy
6:41 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Unemployment Rate Holds Steady, Energy Markets Heat Up

Farmers Rick Hammond and Abbi Harrington. Rick is married to Abbi's sister, Heidi. The family is fighting the Keystone XL.
Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

  This week Clay and Sarah discuss the state's unemployment rate which is largely unchanged for June. They also discuss an issue Sarah is reporting on regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline and its impact on the country if its built or not. 

IPR would like to know what business issues are important to you, join our IPR Insight Network and lend your expertise and experience to our reporting.  

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