The IowaWatch Connection

Produced by

Produced by

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 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 newspaper, and on July 22, 2015, in Coralville with the Corridor Business Journal. A forum that explored whether or not boundaries should exist for free speech was held in Iowa City on May 2, 2016 with KGAN-TV CBS2 and the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Check 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 26 -28
ADA and School Compliance — The federal Americans with Disabilities Act is intended to help people access public facilities, but an Iowa Watch investigation shows most of our schools are not in compliance with the law.
Categories: Education

  • Tara Thomas, Waterloo Community Schools/Waterloo
  • Cael Rudkin, student/State Center
  • Joey Rudkin, parent/State Center
  • Hannah Soyer/IowaWatch
August 19 – 21
Iowa’s Business & Economic Climate Revisited — Iowa’s economy is a mixed bag. The agricultural sector is in a slump and gaps exist in worker training and skill sets, but other elements are on the rise.
Categories: Economy and Employment, Business and Consumer Affairs

  • Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa)/Des Moines
  • Mike Ralston, Iowa Association of Business & Industry/Des Moines
  • Steve Dust, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber/Waterloo
  • Dave DeVault, John Deere Waterloo Works/Waterloo
  • Michael Libbie, “Insight on Business”/Des Moines
August 12 – 14
Challenges Facing Iowa Seniors Revisited — Iowa’s senior citizens face a number of challenges, from resisting those who want to take advantage of them to making proper plans for passing down the family farm or planning for long term care.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs

  • Nick Gerhart, Iowa Insurance Commissioner/Des Moines
  • Mary Muehl, AARP Iowa/Des Moines
  • Greg Kenyon, attorney/Des Moines
August 5 – 7
Campus Free Speech Revisited — College traditionally is considered a place where open speech and expression are learning tools, taking students deeper into issues. But does a line exist where speech on campus goes too far?
Categories: Education

  • Hansen Bretling, UNI student government diversity director/Cedar Falls
  • Carter Yerkes, UI student government communications and marketing liaison/Iowa City
  • Miranda Pollock, BVU assistant professor of graphic design/Storm Lake
  • Dr. James Hampton, BVU professor of biology/Storm Lake
  • Gene Policinski, Newseum Institute/Washington, D.C.
  • Nicholas Fisher, editor, Northern Iowa newspaper/Cedar Falls
  • Sam Gill, vice president for learning and impact with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Lyle Muller/Iowa Watch
July 22 – 24
Dark Money in Politics — How much money is enough to win a U.S. Senate race? A lot — up front, but also behind the scenes with what is called dark money.
Categories: Government and Politics

  • Robert Maguire, political nonprofits editor/
  • Rebecca Morin, reporter/Daily Iowan Ethics & Politics Initiative
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
July 15 – 17
Climate Change Education — We take a look at how the issue of climate change is taught and viewed by high school students and teachers. It’s a special project, our first working with high school journalists.
Categories: Education, Health and Environment

  • Lynn Griffin, science teacher/Cedar Falls
  • Sarah Gao, senior/Cedar Falls
  • Brennan Kohls, junior/Cedar Falls
  • Brad Baker, chemistry teacher/Cedar Falls
  • Kamyar Enshayan, UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education/Cedar Falls
  • Olivia Martin, journalist/Cedar Falls
  • Tana Gahm-Ad, journalist/Cedar Falls
  • Sarah Stortz, journalist/Cedar Falls
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch


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