The IowaWatch Connection


The 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.

The program includes a weekly, statewide news and public affairs radio program that will air 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, will host and produce the program on a network of stations across the state. The program premiers July 5-6.



In addition, the grant will allow IowaWatch to host 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 in Des Moines. A second forum, featuring the documentary Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction In The Heartland was held July 1 in Council Bluffs to discuss the effect of methamphetamine addiction on Iowa families.

Check back here for updates about the IowaWatch Connection.


The IowaWatch Connection airs on 17 Iowa radio stations, which means we are going out on radio waves all over Iowa, even edging into neighboring states.

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Lauren Mills/IowaWatch

The IowaWatch Connection airs on 17 stations across the state, this image shows the combined coverage areas of the 17 stations.


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


Items on this list may be subject to change. Topics covered will include farm safety and safety regulations, the stigma of depression among college students and coverage of the political climate in Iowa and the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Program Topic Listen
July 5-6
Iowa’s Workforce — There’s a gap between the jobs available in Iowa and the skill set of workers to fill those jobs. We’ll talk about preparing workers for the jobs that are actually available, creating a better workplace and rethinking the entire concept of work.
Categories: Economy, Employment

  • Mike Ralston, president, Iowa Association of Business and Industry/Des Moines
  • David Swenson, associate scientist, ISU Department of Economics/Ames
  • Todd McDonald, president, ATW Training and Consulting/Urbandale
  • Sean Abbas, president, The Threads, Inc./Waterloo
  • Robert Kriegel, author/business consultant/San Francisco
  • Mike Rowe, host of "Dirty Jobs" TV program/San Francisco
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
July 12-13
College Student Debt - It costs more than ever to go to college, and that means student debt is now higher than ever. We'll talk with students about how they plan to pay that debt off and with administrators about why it costs so much to begin with.
Categories: Education, Economy

  • Roberta Johnson, director of financial aid, ISU/Ames
  • Jonathan Fox, director of financial counseling clinic, ISU/Ames
  • Gisella Baker, director of financial aid, Hawkeye Community College/Waterloo
  • Colleen Murphy, vice president for enrollment, Cornell College/Mount Vernon
  • Jessica Magill, student, William Penn/Oskaloosa*
  • Shelby Brink, student, Drake/Des Moines*
  • Jake Bemis, student, UNI/Cedar Falls*
  • Marisa La Greca, student, UI/Iowa City*
  • Ryan Ashe, student, UI/Iowa City*
  • Melanie Mackey, IowaWatch/William Penn

*audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

July 19-20
Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction in the Heartland - An examination of the impact methamphetamine has on children raised in a home with a parent addicted to the drug, from a new IowaWatch documentary on the topic. We'll hear from recovering addicts, prosecutors, and care professionals about their efforts to address the problem.
Categories: Health, Government

  • 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

*audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

July 26-27
Political Climate - Political rhetoric seems more heated, and the discussion nastier, than ever. We'll talk with analysts, journalists, and veterans of Iowa political campaigns about the situation, and how we might get back to more effective dialogue and governing.
Categories: Government, Politics

  • Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour/Arlington
  • Jim Bohannon, Westwood One Radio/Washington
  • David Andersen, Iowa State University/Ames
  • Christopher Budzisz, Loras College/Dubuque
  • David Oman, Republican activist/Des Moines
  • Peggy Huppert, Democrat activist/Des Moines
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
August 2-3
Living with Alopecia — We’ll introduce you to a young woman who has lived with a unique disease since she was a toddler; you’ll learn about what beauty really means, and hear why professionals say children are often more resilient in the face of adversity than adults.
Categories: Health

  • Gary Sherwood, National Alopecia Areata Foundation/San Rafael, Calif.
  • Cody Williams, licensed mental health counselor/Mason City
  • Taylor Goggin, UI student living with alopecia universalis/Iowa City*
  • Dannette Goggin, mother of Taylor Goggin/Lake Zurich, Ill.*
  • Sarah Harkness, assistant professor of sociology, UI/Iowa City*
  • Michelle Ngo, IowaWatch/UI

*audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

August 9-10
Farm Safety — Agriculture is Iowa's top business, but it's also the state's most deadly. We'll examine the topic of farm safety, including what government can, and cannot, do to help the situation.
Categories: Agriculture, Health, Economics

  • Charles Schwab, professor and extension safety specialist, ISU/Ames
  • Kelley Donham, former director, Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, UI/Iowa City
  • Roger Stutzman, farmer/Riverside
  • Derek Oden, professor, Del Mar College/Corpus Christi, Tex.
  • Sarah Hadley, IowaWatch/UI
August 16-17
Turning Garbage Into Gas — What if we could turn our everyday trash into fuel that could power our cars? That time is closer than you think, and Iowa is on the forefront of this new technology. It's called "trashanol", turning garbage into gas.
Categories: Government, Energy, Economy

  • Allen "Snooks" Bouska, Mayor/Marion*
  • Dave Elias, Landfill Superintendent/Iowa City*
  • Matt Hayek, Mayor/IowaCity*
  • Jeff Mitchell, Dean of Industrial Technologies, Kirkwood Community College/Cedar Rapids
  • Gabriella Dunn, IowaWatch/UI

*audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

August 23-24
Payday Loans — For many who are in trouble financially, their only option is to get money from a payday loan or "E-Z cash" business. But the fees, charges and interest that go with that can lead to big trouble down the road.
Categories: Economy, Government

  • Randy Johnson, Iowa Division of Banking/Des Moines
  • Jessica Whitney, Iowa Attorney General's Office/Des Moines
  • Jamie Fulmer, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Advance America Cash Advance/Greenville, S.C.*
  • Brian Curtis, former payday loan user/Davenport*
  • Hans Hassell, Assistant Professor of Politics, Cornell College/Mt. Vernon*
  • William Brauch, Iowa Attorney General's Office/Des Moines*
  • Lauren Mills, IowaWatch

*audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

August 30-31
Community Colleges — Iowa's community colleges have evolved to meet the changing needs of society, forging new partnerships with four-year colleges and the private sector to enhance career opportunities for students.
Categories: Education, Employment, Government

  • David Ball, director of admissions, Hawkeye Community College/Waterloo
  • Andy Pattee, superintendent, Cedar Falls Community Schools/Cedar Falls
  • Mick Starcevich, president, Kirkwood Community College/Cedar Rapids
  • Lee Belfield, general manager of The Hotel at Kirkwood/Cedar Rapids
  • Mike Ralston, president, Iowa Association of Business and Industry/Des Moines
  • Michele Farrell, CEO, Measured Intentions/Urbandale
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
September 6-7
College Depression — College students with depression often run into more difficulties than the typical student. Those who struggle the most with this often invisible disease often don’t connect with the help they need.
Categories: Education, Health

  • Jordon Deutmeyer, student, UNI/Cedar Falls*
  • Alyson Brown, 2013 graduate, UI/Iowa City*
  • Jacob Christenson, marriage and family therapy professor, Mt. Mercy University/Cedar Rapids
  • Linh Ta, IowaWatch/UNI
  • Rana Moustafa, Iowa Watch/UI

*audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

September 13-14
Tanning Hazards — Skin cancer is a major health problem and a big share of the blame for that goes to indoor tanning. Despite knowing the health hazards, people still do it, and that includes many under age 18. Should the government regulate indoor tanning by minors? And knowing the risks, why do young people still spend time in tanning beds?
Categories: Health

  • Dr. Mary Stone, professor of dermatology, UI/Iowa City*
  • Ashleigh Brown, 2014 UI graduate/Iowa City*
  • Dr. Vincent Reid, oncologist, Hall-Perrine Cancer Center, Mercy Medical Center/Cedar Rapids
  • Kathryn Susik, Iowa Watch/UI

* denotes audio taken from previous IowaWatch material

September 20-21
Common Core in Iowa — The national K-12 common core education standards have drawn attention from educators, parents, and government officials. The Iowa Core is to be fully implemented by the end of this academic year. But what is it, and why are so many talking about it?
Categories: Education, Government

  • Rep. Sandy Salmon, Iowa District 63/Janesville
  • Tammy Wawro, Iowa State Education Association/Cedar Rapids
  • Tamara Scott, Concerned Women for America/Ankeny
  • Mandy Ross, associate superintendent for school improvement, Ames Community School District/Ames
  • Celia Stevenson, education faculty, Morningside College/Sioux City
  • Linda Waugh, education faculty, Morningside College/Sioux City
  • Lauren Coffey, Daily Iowan Ethics & Politics Initiative/UI
September 27-28
To be decided