The IowaWatch Connection

IaWatchConnection_2015_logoThe IowaWatch Connection, a statewide audience engagement program, was launched as a pilot with a $25,000 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant awarded through the Investigative News Network. In 2015, the Iowa State Bar Association became the program's current underwriter.

The program includes a weekly, statewide news and public affairs radio program that airs on participating stations across Iowa.

Jeff Stein, host and producer of the IowaWatch Connection radio program

Jeff Stein, host and producer of the IowaWatch Connection radio program

Jeff Stein, executive director of the Iowa Broadcast News Association and a noted Iowa broadcast historian, hosts and produces the program on a network of stations across the state. The program premiered July 5-6, 2014.



IowaWatch has hosted public forums in various parts of the state to explore issues that have impact on Iowans. The first such forum, Critical Decisions about Elder Care, was held April 29, 2014, in Des Moines. A second forum, featuring the documentary Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction In The Heartland was held July 1, 2014, in Council Bluffs to discuss the effect of methamphetamine addiction on Iowa families. Subsequent forums on the Breaking the Cycle documentary were held Nov. 19, 2014, in Des Moines and Nov. 20, 2014, in Iowa City. A forum on how to keep young talent in Iowa was held on May 12, 2015, in Waterloo with The Courier newspapers, and on July 22, 2015, in Coralville with the Corridor Business Journal. One is being planned in Dubuque for October with The Telegraph Herald.

Check back here for updates about the IowaWatch Connection.


The IowaWatch Connection airs on 19 radio stations covering Iowa. THe broadcasts reach listeners across Iowa and parts of Iowa's seven neighboring states. Additionally, an Illinois high school station, WLTL-FM, is airing the program as a teaching tool for students and to help fulfill its public service responsibility.

The IowaWatch Connection airs on 19 stations that cover Iowa and a 20th station in Illinois. This image shows the stations' combined coverage areas.

The IowaWatch Connection airs on 19 stations that cover Iowa and a 20th station in Illinois. This image shows the stations' combined coverage areas.


Click the yellow icons on the map below to find stations near you that air the IowaWatch Connection, along with air times.


Topics covered include farm safety and safety regulations, the stigma of depression among college students and coverage of the political climate in Iowa.

Program Topic Listen
August 28-30
Water Toxins — This year marked a record number of state beach closings due to microcystin, a liver toxin produced by cyanobacteria, more commonly called blue-green algae. What are the risks for people, pets and livestock that come into contact with the toxin? And why are we seeing more of it at Iowa beaches?
Categories: Health and Environment

  • Mary Skopec, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Beach Monitoring Program/Des Moines
  • Connor Nicholas, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Beach Monitoring Program/Des Moines
  • Stuart Schmitz, Iowa Department of Public Health, State Toxicologist/Des Moines
  • Alan Carr, Green Valley Park Ranger/Creston
  • Steve Ensley, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Clinician/Ames
  • Rhonda Gorden, Twin Lakes State Park visitor/Lake City
  • Lauren Mills, IowaWatch
August 21-23
Student Debt in 2015 — Student debt in this country is now more than one-point-two trillion dollars...that's more than Americans hold in credit card debt or car loans. And the amount of per-student debt has nearly doubled from just a decade ago.
Categories: Education, Economy and Employment

  • Mario Rossi, Drake University graduate/Des Moines
  • Madeline Meyer, Drake University senior/Des Moines
  • Raymond Starks, Drake University senior/Des Moines
  • Madison Cowmeadow, Drake University senior/Des Moines
  • Mariah Lewis, KDRA Radio, Drake University/Des Moines
  • Christine Romans, CNN/New York
August 14-16
Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in the Heartland — Examining the impact methamphetamine has on children raised in a home with a parent addicted to the drug, from an IowaWatch documentary on the topic. We'll hear from recovering addicts, prosecutors, and care professionals about their efforts to address the problem.
Categories: Criminal Justice, Health

  • Kasey Earl Wadding, Bremer County Attorney/Waverly
  • Kristin Huisenga, Gateway ImpACT Coalition/Clinton
  • Glennis Guerrero, Recovering Meth Addict/Council Bluffs
  • Lesa Rios, Recovering Meth Addict/Council Bluffs
  • Ralynn Francisco, Recovering Meth Addict/Council Bluffs
  • Scott Nicholson, Assistant Jasper County Attorney/Newton
  • Katie Kuntz, IowaWatch
August 7-9
Burmese Refugees in Iowa — Iowa has a long tradition of welcoming refugees…in fact, we were the first state to have a government resettlement agency. But today, the situation is different, and many of those from Burma are suffering as a result.
Categories: Government, Politics

  • Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad/Des Moines
  • Amy Doyle, Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Research Center/Des Moines
  • Clare McCarthy/IowaWatch
July 31-August 2
Cold Cases — The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism helped the Iowa Newspaper Association, the Des Moines Register and other participating newspapers with one story for a statewide project focusing on various murder "cold cases" in Iowa. This is the story about one northeast Iowa murder that remains unsolved, involving two young cousins and a small town that is committed to preserving their memory.
Categories: Criminal Justice

  • Heather Collins, mother of murder victim/Evansdale
  • Jeff Jensen, police chief/Evansdale
  • Tom Nichols, father of murder victim/Evansdale
  • Chris Mudge, executive director, Iowa Newspaper Association/Des Moines
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch


Business and Consumer Affairs
Criminal Justice
Economy and Employment
Government and Politics
Health and Environment
Center News