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Powering Ideas

The energy of two inquisitive minds fuels
on-air conversations in Iowa, about Iowa

Story by Donna Schill, Photos Courtesy KRU

Three years ago station manager James Moore turned on the microphones in the bunkerlike recording studio at the back of 100.1 KRUU-FM, where he spent most of his waking hours. Across from him sat former BBC correspondent Stuart Tanner, a new professor at the university in Fairfield.

Moore, along with listeners, learned that day of Tanner’s trips to Ghana, Iraq, and China and of documenting the Palestinian and Israeli conflict in the Middle East. At the end of the hour, the interview ended. Their conversation did not. 

“Inevitably we started talking about world affairs,” recalls Tanner. “We’d sit and yabber, and we thought, ‘Why not turn on the mics?’” 

This was the beginning of KRUU’s popular radio relationship, Tanner & Moore, a weekly news talk show. The hosts soon learned that they had more in common than a love of journalism and current affairs — they shared a deep concern about the environment.

“We are heading into a massive resource strain and a hugely significant environmental strain on the world,” says Tanner. “If we know this, why not plan for it?”

Sustainability experts were posing similar questions, and Moore had featured many of them in KRUU programming.

During an on-location interview featuring the Iowa Office of Energy Independence (OEI), Moore and his listeners learned about funding opportunities for projects designed to educate Iowans about energy best practices. 

“It felt like such a natural fit for KRUU,” he remembers. “It was in our wheelhouse.”

On his drive home from Des Moines, Moore hatched the idea for a radio series devoted to energy.

He and Tanner consulted with Fairfield Sustainability Coordinator Scott Timm, along with Maharishi University of Management’s Lonnie Gamble, assistant professor of sustainable living.

Together they mapped destinations across the state, highlighting key cities, projects, and people to visit. 

By the time they applied for a grant, Tanner and Moore had a proposed timeline, list of shows, and 70 pledges from the community for matching funds.

With support from OEI, Tanner and Moore launched in May of 2011 an ambitious radio project — Dream Green.

They spent the summer producing 20 hours of programming, each week visiting a new Iowa location — a methane digester in the Amana Colonies, an intercollegiate solar boat race in Cedar Falls, solar manufacturer PowerFilm in Ames, and others.

Tanner photographed while Moore carried a portable microphone, the two exchanging roles fluidly throughout their interviews. Editing often began in Tanner’s RAV4 on the way home.   

 

(Read more Powering Ideas)

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