Media & Communications
Iowa Communications Alliance Names Kevin Condon as Director of Public Affairs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Kevin Condon   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 12:31

URBANDALE, Aug. 5, 2014 – Dave Duncan, CEO of the Iowa Communications Alliance (“the Alliance”) announced that Kevin Condon will serve as the Alliance’s Director of Public Affairs.  Condon will lead the Alliance’s state and federal advocacy initiatives, public affairs, communications, and media efforts.

“We’re pleased to have Kevin join our team.  He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in public policy, communications, and rural economic development.”  Duncan said.  “We believe Kevin will be a great advocate for the rural communications industry.”

Prior to joining the Alliance, Condon was Director of Government Relations at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, advocating for the state’s largest business group.  As part of ABI’s public policy team he was also responsible for communications, policy development, regulatory affairs and media relations.  Prior to that, Condon worked for United States Senator Tom Harkin in a variety of roles on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and most recently as the Senator’s Business and Economic Development Liaison in Des Moines, IA where he became involved in many projects that received federal investment through the USDA Rural Development programs.  Condon has also served as the Government Relations Representative for the National Farmers Union in Washington DC advocating for the economic and social well-being of rural Americans. Condon grew up on a farm in Webster County where his parents continue to belong to the Webster-Calhoun Cooperative Telephone Association.

“I am looking forward to this opportunity that will allow me to help the Alliance support Iowa’s companies and cooperatives that provide critical communications access to their customers and their communities. People like my parents and the area I grew up in depend upon Alliance members to stay connected. It means a great deal to me personally to be able to help further the efforts of this great organization.”

Established in 2014, the Iowa Communications Alliance is the voice of Iowa’s rural communications industry.  The Alliance provides educational opportunities to members, promotes economic growth and stability of members and the communities they serve, and advocates in matters of state and federal public and regulatory policy.

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WTVP and WQPT Enter into New Partnership PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Lora Adams   
Friday, 01 August 2014 08:43

WTVP to Host WQPT Master Control Operations

Peoria, IL, July 31, 2014 -- Public Television broadcasting in the Quad Cities has come home to Illinois. On June 30 at 7:01 p.m., WQPT-Quad Cities PBS officially moved control of its technical broadcast operations to WTVP-Public Television for Central Illinois in Peoria.

According to WTVP President and CEO Chet Tomczyk, this new arrangement represents months of behind-the-scenes work on infrastructure, equipment and technology by both stations.

"This transition has gone smoothly, and viewers in the Quad Cities won’t know anything has changed," noted WQPT General Manager Mary Pruess. "This new broadcasting arrangement is a positive step forward for both stations and provides WQPT with stellar signal quality. Each station’s programming, governance and community services continue as before."

Pruess added that master control operations for WQPT, a media service of Western Illinois University, have long been out-sourced; however, instead of coming from Texas, WQPT’s signal will originate in Peoria and be sent via fiber to the WQPT transmitter in Orion.

"This change provides financial savings for WQPT, a new source of revenue for WTVP, valuable technological advances for both stations and an invaluable chance for the sister stations to work together," Tomczyk added.

“Western Illinois University has a long standing tradition of serving residents and students in our region. As the public broadcasting service of the University, WQPT in partnership with WTVP have established the beginnings of a win-win relationship with even more future opportunities for collaboration that will benefit our viewing audiences from Peoria, Macomb, Moline, and beyond,” said Joe Rives, vice president for the Quad Cities and planning at WIU. “Both Mary Pruess and Chet Tomczyk deserve our thanks for their outstanding leadership in this important project.”

The project was led by WTVP Chief Engineer Bill Porter and his team, including engineers James Jordan and Brett Ring, Operations Manager Jackie Luebcke, IT Director Mark Lasswell with Traffic Manager Jed Klabunde and operators Paul Coussens and Will Crotz, along with WQPT Traffic Coordinator Richard Diamond and Program Manager Jerry Myers.

“This collaboration between stations represents another way of being responsible stewards of the public trust placed in us by our members and contributors," Tomczyk said.

There will be a press conference on August 8 at 10 am at WTVP in Peoria to formally announce this new partnership. Please RSVP to Stacey Tomczyk at WTVP Ph 309.495.0594/Fx 309.677.4730

Magic of the Iowa State Fair Comes to Life in New Book PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Allison Means   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 12:36
The University of Iowa Press is proud to present our newest Iowa and the Midwest Experience series book, The Iowa State Fair, by Kurt Ullrich.

"Kurt Ullrich immersed himself in the 2013 Iowa State Fair with awe and curiosity. He competed, conversed, indulged, and enjoyed himself as a true Iowan while documenting the process. His images show the diversity and beauty of the state's greatest event."--Mary Willie, multimedia journalist, Des Moines Register

"You can almost smell the corndogs. . . . In his photographs, Kurt Ullrich captures the food, the fun, and, best of all, the faces--everything that makes the Iowa State Fair unforgettable."  --Sally Finder, editor, Meredith Corporation

Get Your Signed Copy
Saturday, August 2
Prairie Lights Books
15 S. Dubuque St.
Iowa City, IA
Sunday, August 10
4550 University Ave.
West Des Moines, IA

Friday, August 15
All day
Iowa State Fair
The University of Iowa Booth in the Varied Industries Building

Quad City Filmmaker Raises Funds for Documentary on Lincoln's Tomb Indiegogo project to be completed for 150th Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Chris Ryder   
Monday, 14 July 2014 15:56

Le Claire, IA, July 10, 2014: Le Claire, Iowa-based Autumn Leaf Productions, is launching an Indiegogo campaign to produce a comprehensive documentary on President Abraham Lincoln's tomb and monument in Springfield, IL. In March the Lincoln Monument Association board voted to authorize owner, Chris Ryder, to produce the documentary.

Autumn Leaf will have access to the LMA archives, including photos that have never been publicly displayed, in addition to the support from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
“The timing is perfect for the 150th anniversary in 2015 of President Lincoln's death”, said Autumn Leaf Owner/Filmmaker Chris Ryder. “There is a wealth of activity happening in Springfield next year. When you factor in the number of Lincoln enthusiasts across the country, it made complete sense to look at the bigger picture in regard to this documentary.”

Mary Todd Lincoln insisted her husband's wish was to be buried in a quiet, remote setting. This was a new trend at a time when most cemeteries were developed inside cities.

Immediately there was opposition to Mrs. Lincoln by those who preferred the body either remain in Washington, D.C. or in downtown Springfield for tourism purposes. Ultimately Mrs. Lincoln's wishes prevailed, but it would be some time before Mr. Lincoln's body would be at peace.

From conception of the tomb to final interment, Mr. Lincoln's body would be placed in several graves and ultimately moved 14 times. After a thwarted attempt to steal the body, the casket would later be encased 10 feet below ground in steel and concrete.

“There is so much history encapsulated in the tomb's 12 1⁄2 acres of property”, explains LMA President Pam VanAlstine. “From the architecture, statues, gifts from state and foreign dignitaries, to the commotion of the attempted theft, we have a lot of story to tell. There were millions of Americans who mourned the president on his funeral train route in 1865. To this day we see thousands of visitors each year who are emotionally moved when they visit the tomb. President Lincoln's legacy continues to grow.”

Oak Ridge cemetery is the second most visited cemetery in the United States, next to Arlington National Cemetery.

Ryder will serve as producer and director. His production partner, Don Hertz, is executive producer and technical editor. Together they have previously collaborated on projects for PBS, ESPN, TLC, and VERSUS in addition to numerous corporate promotional videos, music videos, and national television commercials.

Indiegogo backers will receive a one-time printing of a 150th commemorative edition of the DVD or Blu-ray paired with a CD of the documentary soundtrack. The soundtrack will contain original recordings of period-appropriate music, led by Nashville recording artist and producer Jeb Hart. There will also be opportunities to fund re-enactment scenes and obtain reserved tickets for the premiere screening and reception in Springfield.

Ryder adds, “When my role is complete, the entire rights to the production will be gifted to the Lincoln Monument Association, so all subsequent copies will raise money for the association and preservation of the tomb. I want this production to be a mini-endowment of sorts for the LMA.”

The campaign begins on July 10, 2014 and will run for 30 days.

RiverShare Libraries Introduce New OverDrive eBooks System by July 1 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Lisa Lockheart   
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 09:41

Readers Gain a Local Platform for Checking out eBooks at RiverShare Libraries

Readers of eBooks at libraries in the bistate RiverShare Libraries consortium will gain easier access to eBooks and eAudiobooks, thanks to the formation of a new, local eBooks platform on July 1 by their member libraries.

In this first phase of the project, RiverShare Libraries have formed their own OverDrive eBook buying group, moving eligible titles over to a new site, Local eBook and audiobook readers will have easier access and less competition for popular titles. The site will appear slightly different, but work much the same. Phase Two will move OverDrive titles to the library's central catalog. Patrons will be able to view and check out eBook titles in the same catalog where all other library materials are available, providing one-stop shopping for both print and digital titles. This second phase is expected to be complete later this year.

"The entire goal is to make the checkout process of digital titles as easy as possible for RiverShare patrons," said Maria Levetzow, chair of the transition project for the Rivershare consortium. "A smaller pool of libraries makes for shorter hold lists. It will be easier to login, as there's no longer a need to select a library from a long list."

Area libraries had provided access to the OverDrive eBooks engine alongside hundreds of other libraries through separate websites. That forced readers to compete for access to those books with hundreds of patrons, driving up wait times for popular titles. It also prevented any sharing of eBook collections between Iowa RiverShare and Illinois RiverShare Library members.

OverDrive is compatible with most e-readers, tablets, computers, and smartphones. To try out OverDrive or ask questions about the new platform, please visit your RiverShare member library for information and assistance.

About RiverShare Libraries: RiverShare is a consortium of 20 libraries with 30 locations in the Quad Cities and surrounding area.  Member libraries serve over 200,000 patrons and provide access to over 2 million items.  More information about RiverShare can be found at, at Facebook at Riversharelibraries or twitter @RiverShareLib.

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