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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 6, 2003

Stumped? WSUI/WOI's 'Our Big Brain' Show Answers Your Questions

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Why does red mean stop and green mean go? Why is it a sin to clap between movements at a classical music performance? What is Iowa's oldest continuously operating business? Beginning Thursday, Jan. 15, listeners to WSUI/WOI public radio's statewide "Talk of Iowa" broadcast will be asked to come up with questions covering just about any subject for a new show called "Our Big Brain." Then, unlike other talk shows, which generally invite only experts to answer questions, listeners will be asked to call in during the live show to provide the answers, or at least, educated guesses.

" That's why it's called 'Our Big Brain'", says host Ben Kieffer. "All of us make observations and soak up information in our daily lives. We all come across things in life that make us stop and think, yes, but why is that? This show is about tapping into that common warehouse of curiosity, knowledge, and experience."

"Public radio has the smartest listeners around," says WSUI Program Director Dennis Reese. "They're curious and have tons of questions about anything and everything. I know they'll come up with tons of inventive and fascinating answers as well."

The special guest during the premiere will be University of Iowa journalism professor Stephen Bloom, author of "Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America." He'll be chipping in with a few nagging questions of his own and no doubt taking a crack at some of the queries that come up during the hour.

"It's not 'Ask Dr. Science'" says Kieffer. "We're looking for real information or at least plausible guesses to the questions asked, but you don't have to be an expert by any means. Also, political opinions and the like are best left to our other talk shows."

Listeners are invited to call in during the first live broadcast of "Our Big Brain" scheduled for 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15th, by dialing toll-free 1-866-780-9100. The scheduling of subsequent "Our Big Brain" shows will be announced at a later date.

To make sure their burning questions aren't held up by busy telephone lines on the day of the show, listeners can also email queries ahead of time to "Talk of Iowa" is broadcast weekdays 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on WSUI (AM910) and The WOI Radio Group (AM640). It can also be heard live online via the WSUI website at

STORY SOURCE: University News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,