I did not have ‘Iowa Press guest’ on my bucket list, and yet on Friday, Chuck Offenburger, Ed Tibbetts, Teresa Zilk, and I taped a show that will air at 7 p.m., December 30 on IPTV. It’s already uploaded to YouTube, however: IOWA PRESS.
So, what’s it like to be a guest on Iowa’s premier interview show?
Travis Graven, the show’s producer and director, reached out to me in mid-November about having members of the Iowa Writers Collaborative as guests on the renowned show featuring O. Kay Henderson as host. He had four of us in mind.
Tibbetts had been invited to be a panelist on the show multiple times while he was a political reporter for the Quad City Times, but this was the first invitation he could accept. Offenburger is no stranger to appearing on any form of local media, and has been a guest on the show mulitple times. Teresa Zilk is a natural, so I’ll call this her first experience on Iowa Press.
As we arrived, one by one, we were ushered into the makeup studio, where Shelly Banks worked her magic. She’s done makeup and special effects on movie sets in Hollywood and on location, a gig she’s had for over 30 years. We lamented the loss of the Iowa Film office that brought so many projects to the state, but she’s keeping busy. Still, another economic casualty is the loss of the Democratic presidential sweepstakes launch, for folks like Shelly Banks. But she’ll work with the GOP candidates about to parade through Iowa.
Shelly has worked on presidential candidates, so I bombarded her with questions about what they are like. I could have listened to her for hours. She could write a book, but not while she’s still working. Wink.
My eyebrows have never been so black. Yikes.
Walking on the set for the first time was a kick. Iowa Press has been around for over 30 years, so the set is familiar to this viewer. Walking to the table, not so much.
In 2019, Kay Henderson was named to succeed David Yepsen, who succeeded Dean Borg. Many of us cheered the announcement because Kay Henderson has covered Iowa politics for decades in her News Director of Radio Iowa role. She has been with the network since 1987 and doesn’t need a cheat sheet to question politicians and hold them accountable when warranted. She’s the real deal.
On the other hand, we were there to talk about the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative, so that was a pretty easy assignment. The only flub was my Apple watch rang during the show. Yeah, that was mine.
I invited Henderson to join our collaborative, to which she smiled and asked, ‘…in my spare time?’ Her Iowa Press weekly appearances are in addition to her fulltime job with Radio Iowa. The door is open, I offered.
Offenburger was bugging her to let him write a column about the beginning of her journalism career launched in the town of Lennox. Chuck adds a note for this column, ‘You’re going to read that tale in an Iowa Boy Chuck Offeburger column soon.’
Since the taping, we’ve picked up several new subscribers. Yay.
Henderson, Graven, Banks, and the entire crew were warm and gracious, making the experience pleasant. The professionalism from start to finish was noteworthy.
After the show, we were invited to add our names to a big board featuring the signatures of past guests. I picked a spot between Congressman Steve King and Joni Ernst.
The half hour show sped by, and we all lamented that we didn’t work in the names of every member of the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative.
The fact that this effort, launched just in July, has grown to 22 members and has been the subject of an Iowa Press show is mind-boggling. That said, I think you’ll understand why it has found such a footing when you subscribe to the weekly Roundup and read all of our writers. It’s an outstanding stable of talent, all focussed on various aspects of life in Iowa. Subscribe: ROUNDUP.
Teresa has a powerful column in the works that will appear tomorrow, December 19, on the second anniversary of her son’s death. Teresa Zilk, Talking Good.
Watch Iowa Press and share this with your friends, please. YOU are the reason this is on the grow.
Signing off for now.
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Our current list:
Iowa Writers’ Collaborative Columnists
Laura Belin: Iowa Politics with Laura Belin, Windsor Heights
Doug Burns: The Iowa Mercury, Carroll
Dave Busiek: Dave Busiek on Media, Des Moines
Art Cullen: Art Cullen’s Notebook, Storm Lake
Suzanna de Baca Dispatches from the Heartland, Huxley
Debra Engle: A Whole New World, Madison County
Julie Gammack: Julie Gammack’s Iowa Potluck, Des Moines and Okoboji
Joe Geha: Fern and Joe, Ames
Jody Gifford: Benign Inspiration, West Des Moines
Beth Hoffman: In the Dirt, Lovilla
Dana James: New Black Iowa, Des Moines
Tar Macias: Hola Iowa, Iowa
Pat Kinney: View from Cedar Valley, Waterloo
Fern Kupfer: Fern and Joe, Ames
Robert Leonard: Deep Midwest: Politics and Culture, Bussey
Kyle Munson, Kyle Munson’s Main Street, Des Moines
John Naughton: My Life, in Color, Des Moines
Chuck Offenburger: Iowa Boy Chuck Offenburger, Jefferson and Des Moines
Barry Piatt: Behind the Curtain, Washington, D.C.
Mary Swander: Mary Swander’s Buggy Land, Kalona
Mary Swander: Mary Swander’s Emerging Voices, Kalona
Mary Swander: Emerging Voices, Kalona
Cheryl Tevis: Unfinished Business, Boone County
Ed Tibbetts: Along the Mississippi, Davenport
Teresa Zilk: Talking Good, Des Moines
To receive a weekly roundup of all Iowa Writers’ Collaborative columnists, sign up here (free): ROUNDUP COLUMN
Also, coming soon, Your Turn, Iowa.
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Oh Julie, I know just how you feel even though I was on in 2006 when I ran for Secretary of Agriculture. The Harris O'Brien household has been Iowa Press fans for a very long time. My appearance was with Dean Bourg, the dean of Iowa Press and what an experience it was! I loved getting my forehead powdered and the facial makeup. Being a no make up person it was pretty new to me. The appearance in the studio left me awestruck and hoping that I did well with my words. Thank you for sharing - I've watched the YouTube showing and loved it. The four of you were great!