Katherine Perkins

News/Talk Programming Director

Katherine Perkins has done various jobs at IPR member stations since 1999. She is now Program Director for News/Talk and Executive Producer for Talk Shows. As part of her job she is responsible for managing the sound of the news and information stream on IPR and long-term planning and oversight for Talk of Iowa and River to River. She oversees the broadcast schedule for the news and information stations that are part of IPR. She also continues to produce talk shows, but mostly 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 (more than 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.

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Morel mushrooms are one of Iowa's spring delicacies, but they can be very hard to find. Mark Gleason, Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Iowa State University says if you want to be successful go mushroom hunting with an experienced forager. Gleason says you can often find morels in the vicinity of dead and decaying elm trees.

Billionaire Donald Trump won seven of the Super Tuesday primary contests to take a commanding lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also claimed victory in seven of the states voting Tuesday, making it all but impossible for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to overtake her in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Daniel R. Blume / Flickr, Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

The 1976 film, "All the President's Men," glamorized investigative journalism. The movie won four Academy Awards, was nominated for Best Picture and inspired a generation of investigative journalists. This year another film, "Spotlight," tells the story of an investigative team at The Boston Globe, who uncovered the Catholic Church's pattern of protecting priests accused of child sexual abuse. Will it spark the same inspiration in an industry facing financial struggles, that is growing increasingly fragmented and driven by a need to fill a 24-hour news hole?

By Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States / Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11761539

The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend has ignited a firestorm. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately said the next president, not Barack Obama, should make the nomination. That sentiment was echoed by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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When searching for a home, we often ask ourselves if it's a place where we can grow old, but we don't often ask whether it's the home that will allow us to age in place. Universal design helps make homes function for people with varying levels of mobility.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally and Mary Yearns, a former ISU Extension Housing Specialist, about three big design features that make a home more accessible for people of various ages and abilities.

Clay Masters / IPR

Billionaire Donald Trump may have dominated media coverage of the caucus campaign, but when voters finally had the chance to weigh-in, it was retail politics and campaigning, including visits to all 99 counties, that won the day for Texas Senator Ted Cruz. That's according to Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for  The Des Moines Register.

John Pemble / IPR

This year's campaign for president has defied conventional wisdom. While analysts originally looked at fundraising and previous political experience, they overlooked one thing -- the state of mind of the electorate.

Dianne Dillon Ridgley

Two events put Henry Hampton on the path to creating an award-winning documentary series about the Civil Rights movement. That's according to his friend, human rights and environmental activist Dianne Dillon Ridgley.

Pete Souza, Official White House Photo / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

President Barack Obama gave his eighth and final State of the Union address on Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. Instead of a traditional speech where the President lays out an agenda for the coming year, the President took more of a long term view.

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Many decry the coarsening of our political discourse. History demonstrates that politics has always been a "contact sport." But over the years Iowa's social capital has allowed Iowans to disagree without being disagreeable.

Katherine Perkins / IPR

There was a time when Iowans knew their neighbors. They relied on each other to help with labor on the farm, or to keep an eye on children. And if you didn't see your neighbors during the week, you saw them on Sunday at church. But as church attendance declines and farms are fewer and farther between, Iowans are finding new ways to form community.

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Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation this year, according to the Pew Research Center. And as they're between the ages of 18 and 34, they'll be eligible to vote in the upcoming caucuses and 2016 election. So, what do these young voters care about?

Photo by John Pemble

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. River to River host Ben Kieffer spoke with him Thursday, November 19 in advance of a campaign trip to Iowa City.

BK: Senator Paul, welcome to our program.

RP: Glad to be with you.

Reese Erlich

There are interviews you spend hours sweating over, and then there are situations like the one faced by award-winning foreign correspondent Reese Erlich on a recent trip to Jordan. That's where he interviewed Abu Qatada, once described as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand-man in Europe before he was deported from the UK to Jordan in 2013.

Erlich says he had 20 minutes to prepare. The interview was hastily arranged by another of Al Qaeda's top leaders. Erlich says Qatada wanted to talk about human rights violations by the Assad regime in Syria, and by the U.S.

John Pemble / IPR

Think for a moment about the person with whom you share the least in common, when it comes to your beliefs. Now, imagine having coffee with that person, not just once, but many times over a period of two years.

John Pemble / IPR

This is the Q & A between audience members and Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at the Iowa State Fair Soapbox on August 22, 2015.           

All right good morning. No, no, speech from me this morning. I want your questions. I want all twenty minutes to be your questions, not you hearing some speech from me so let's get your questions…

John Pemble / IPR

This is the Q and A between Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter and South Carolina senior Senator Lindsey Graham at the Ag Summit March 7, 2015 in Des Moines.

R: Well, senator, welcome.
G: Glad to be here. Eat more bacon.

R: Thank you for bringing Charleston, South Carolina, weather to Des Moines today. Or at least something close.
G: Come to Charleston. It's good.
R: Let's get started.
G: Okay.

John Pemble / IPR

R: Governor Bush, welcome.
B: Good to be here.
R: You know, a variety of folks are saying and talking about this being your first trip to Iowa, but I think it's not...
B: No.
R: And you came here often when your father ran for president and when your brother did. Why don't you talk a little bit, first, about those experience?

John Pemble / IPR

This is the Q and A between Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter and Texas Senator Ted Cruz at the Iowa Ag Summit March 7, 2015 in Des Moines.

R: Well, Senator, welcome. It's a little bit warmer than it was two weeks ago when you were here. Thanks for bringing the warm weather with you.
C: Well, I try to bring that up from Texas.
R: Why don't we get started?
C: Great.

John Pemble

This is the Q and A between Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at the Ag Summit March 7, 2015 in Des Moines.


The battle over who will become the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is "probably the most important thing happening in politics today." That's according to Dave Andersen, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University.

John Pemble / IPR

The latest Iowa Poll, conducted by Selzer and Company and published in the Des Moines Register, shows billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field, with neurosurgeon Ben Carson the second favorite among likely republican caucus-goers.

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If you're thinking of selling your home, or buying a fixer upper, it's hard to know which remodeling projects will bring a good return on that investment. Home Improvement expert Bill McAnally suggests contacting a home inspector before deciding where to start. He says knowing what a home inspector is likely to point out to a potential buyer may change your focus completely. "If you're going to sell it, you have to fix [problems] that you know about, or that has to be in a disclosure statement." And, obviously, issues with the safety of the home trump any cosmetic concerns.

teachernz, licensed under Creative Commons / Flickr

If you see lumps or weird shapes on the leaves of your oak tree, don't panic, says Laura Jesse, director of the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State University. She says it's likely a gall, which is harmless to the plant.

"They're the most interesting shapes," says Jesse, who calls them "beautiful." Jesse also says if you break them open you can usually find a wasp larvae that began feeding on the tree and prompted it to grow a gall around the insect.

John Pemble / IPR

As former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turns over her personal email server to the FBI amid allegations that she sent or received classified information through personal email accounts, it's too early to tell whether the story will hurt her presidential aspirations.  That's according to Dianne Bystrom, Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics and Kelly Winfrey, a Lecturer in Leadership and Communication Studies at the Catt Center. 

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Fresh herbs are one of the most versatile plants available to home gardeners. Iowa State University Extension Program specialist in Value-added Agriculture, Linda Naeve, says they're an easy way to add color and texture to the landscape without the risk of a plant getting too big. The exception to that rule is mint, which is very aggressive. Naeve says it should be planted in a container, and then added to the garden, to help keep it in check.

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There are the remarks, as delivered, by former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Iowa Democrats' Hall of Fame Dinner, July 17, 2015.

Don Graham / Flickr, Licensed Under Creative Commons

President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan this week. The plan sets the first-ever EPA standards on power plant emissions and requires a 32% reduction in those emissions over the next 15 years. It also seeks to boost renewable energy sources.

2016 Republican presidential hopefuls reacted negatively to the plan. Florida Senator Marco Rubio called it "catastrophic," while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush described it as "irresponsible and over-reaching." New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called it an example of "overregulation" that would "kill American businesses and jobs."

United States Senate - http://www.webb.senate.gov/newsroom/official_photo.cfm. / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jim_Webb_official_110th_Congress_photo.

These are the remarks, as delivered, by former US Secretary of the Navy, and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner, July 17, 2015.

John Pemble / IPR

This is the Q and A between Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at the Ag Summit March 7, 2015 in Des Moines.