River to River-logo

River to River

Iowa PR

The Exchange is the name of Iowa Public Radio's news/talk program. The list of lofty goals for the new show includes: going beyond the headlines of breaking stories, giving listeners access to elected officials, framing community problems, providing listeners the chance to discuss them as well as offer ideas to solve them.

The Exchange is the name of Iowa Public Radio's news/talk program. The list of lofty goals for the new show includes: going beyond the headlines of breaking stories, giving listeners access to elected officials, framing community problems, providing listeners the chance to discuss them as well as offer ideas to solve them.


Iowa City, IA


Iowa PR


The Exchange is the name of Iowa Public Radio's news/talk program. The list of lofty goals for the new show includes: going beyond the headlines of breaking stories, giving listeners access to elected officials, framing community problems, providing listeners the chance to discuss them as well as offer ideas to solve them.






2111 Grand Avenue Suite 100 Des Moines, IA 50312 866-780-9100


Iowans with Interesting Jobs

Ben Kieffer looks back on conversations from 2012 with Iowans who have fascinating or unusual jobs. These individuals discuss the cool, unique and sometimes scary aspects of their professions.

Top Iowa News Stories of 2012

2012 was another big year for news in Iowa. The headlines ranged from pink slime and spaceships, to the presidential election and financial scandal. Ben Kieffer counts down the top 10 news stories of the past year, plus some honorable mentions.


Heartwarming Stories

Most of us have someone who has done something or said something that changed our life. Ben Kieffer talks with people who are honoring those family members, teachers, mentors and friends who gave them that pivotal push in the right direction.


Therapy Animals

One of the ways the people of Newtown, Connecticut are recovering from last week's shooting is with the aid of therapy dogs. Animal assisted therapy is a type of therapy which uses trained animals to reduce anxiety and facilitate healing.Ben Kieffer talks with three Iowa therapists who works with animals. They discuss the history of animal assisted therapy, how the treatments work, and the special animals involved in these therapies.


Politics Day: Iconic Obama

How is Barak Obama represented in popular culture? Ben Kieffer talks with two University of Iowa graduate students who’ve written a book about the 44th President as a lens through which we can see not only politics, but also art and music.Then, Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa with the latest political analysis of the Connecticut school shooting and fiscal cliff negotiations.


Traffic Enforcement Cameras & Traffic Pet-Peeves

Several cities in Iowa are pushing for the controversial installment of traffic enforcement cameras, but the cities’ efforts are complicated by some state guidelines. Ben Kieffer talks with supporters and opponents to the installation of traffic cameras, and we’ll find out whether these cameras are a short, or long term goal for the state.Iowa State Representative Walt Rogers from the 20th District, human factors and vehicle safety research director at the UI Public Policy Center Dan...


State of Iowa's Unions

Michigan is now a so-called right-to-work state, signing into law a bill that prevents unions from requiring employees to pay dues, even in unionized workplaces. It’s being called a political defeat for unions. Will the effects ripple into Iowa?Ben Kieffer and guests examine the state of Iowa’s unions. Ben talks with leaders of three of the state’s unions, a labor historian, and a state lawmaker.


Climate Change In The Midwest

There has been a lot of talk about climate change in the news, with some experts saying super storms like Hurricane Sandy could be more frequent on the East Coast. But what’s the future of climate change in the Midwest? Ben Kieffer talks with University of Iowa Environmental Engineer Jerry Schnoor and others about what we might expect in the Midwest and how we might adapt to the change. Then, Ben talks with state Senator Rob Hogg, a vocal supporter of climate change policies.

Marijuana's Legal Status in Iowa

After this year’s November election, where voters in Colorado and Washington voted to make marijuana legal for recreational use, people in Iowa are proposing similar legislation.Two bills will be proposed in the Iowa legislature, one on making medical marijuana legal in the state, and one decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of the substance.Ben Kieffer speaks with those promoting the increased legality of marijuana in the state of Iowa, and those against any kind of...


The Recruitment of Teaching & Science Education

Earlier this year, the director of the Iowa Department of Education unveiled 13 recommendations from the state’s Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation. The goal - to improve education in part through getting better teachers. This hour we talk with several people about how to improve education in the state, including Linda Fandel, a special assistant for education to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. We’ll also hear from two faculty members at Iowa State’s School of Education about...


History of Santa Claus and the "Angel of Albia"

St. Nicholas Day takes place on December 6th. It’s a day when the aforementioned saint brings gifts to good girls and boys. Americans have a similar tradition, but instead of St. Nicholas a character named Santa Claus delivers the presents on Christmas Eve. Today on River to River, we speak with historian Bruce David Forbes of Morningside College and author of Christmas: A Candid History. We discuss how St. Nicholas crossed the Atlantic to become Santa Claus. Also, we talk to a modern day...


Politics Day

“Fiscal cliff” negotiations continue as polls show a majority don’t believe an agreement will be reached, and congressional Republicans are most to blame. Ben Kieffer talks with political experts Dennis Goldford and Tim Hagle about efforts to avoid going over the cliff.Then, our experts look ahead to Governor Branstad’s priorities in the coming legislative session, now that it seems likely he’ll seek re-election.

The Historical Accuracy of Spielberg's "Lincoln"

The passage of the 13th Amendment which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude almost didn’t pass.Host Ben Kieffer speaks with historian Thomas Schwartz, one of the foremost experts on the Abraham Lincoln. Schwartz—who is currently the director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum—worked as one of the historical consultants on the new film Lincoln.Schwartz discusses the historical accuracy of the film, what it was like to tour Springfield, Illinois with actor Daniel...


Future Of The Iowa Caucuses and Eyewitness Testimony

Iowa holds the coveted first in the nation contest to decide who will be nominated for President. But, how secure is the future of the Iowa caucuses? Ben Kieffer talks with David Yepsen of the Paul Simon Institute and JoDee Winterhof, who helped lead Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, about how Iowa can keep its leadoff spot. Then, an Iowa State University researcher is causing courts to rethink eyewitness testimony in criminal cases.


Iowa Blue Zones and Adele Diamond

How strong is the link between physical activity and success? Ben Kieffer talks with Adele Diamond, one of the world's leading researchers on the brain's cognitive functions, as she gives her answer. Diamond talks about the real difference exercise can make in how you think, feel and interact with others.Also, several members from Iowa’s Blue Zones project talk about the project's current endeavors.

Human Trafficking in Iowa

Even though slavery was outlawed almost 150 years ago, people are still imprisoned and exploited daily in the United States.Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable and isolated. Often these individuals are children or teenagers hoping to escape a difficult home life, but instead are captured by predators who sell them for sex.Host Ben Kieffer talks about the prevalence of and how to stop human trafficking in Iowa and nationwide.

Politics Day

The recent discussions on the fate of the Iowa Straw Poll among GOP leaders has sparked further questioning on the effectiveness of the annual event and other political gatherings. Ben Kieffer talks with political scientists Steffen Schmidt and Wayne Moyer about the week’s political events including the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations and GOP discussions with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.


Chronic Wasting Disease and Deer Hunting in Iowa

Deer hunting in Iowa is a $214 million industry. The big question leading into this weekend’s shotgun season is, how will the discovery of chronic wasting disease in captive Iowa deer impact the industry? Host Ben Kieffer, talks with wildlife biologist Jim Pease and Iowa state Senator and hunting enthusiast Dick Dearden about what they think should be done to protect Iowa's wild deer population. And we find out what Wisconsin has learned over 10 years of managing chronic wasting disease from...

Cyberbullying And Children On The Internet

While parents still worry about who their children are interacting with online, parents are focusing their concern now on how their children are represented online. Ben Kieffer talks with experts about the way children perceive the Internet and how their posts could affect their academic or professional future. Then Iowa school officials discuss efforts to prevent cyber bullying in Iowa.


Iowa's Reddest and Bluest Counties

We talk about blue and red states during elections… but what about blue and red counties? Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa analyzed some of Iowa’s most democratic and republican counties, and tells us what might influence those voting patterns. Wayne Moyer from Grinnell College and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College join in our conversation about the political news of the day.