The IowaWatch Connection

The IowaWatch Connection, a statewide audience engagement program, is produced with underwriting support from the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. It was launched as a pilot with a $25,000 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant awarded in 2014 through the Investigative News Network (now the Institute for Nonprofit News).

The IowaWatch Connection includes a weekly, statewide news and public affairs radio program that airs on participating stations across Iowa. It has underwriting support from the Iowa Insurance Division’s Iowa Fraud Fighters program.

Jeff Stein, host and producer of the IowaWatch Connection radio program

Jeff Stein, host and producer of the IowaWatch Connection radio program

IowaWatch Wins Top Broadcast News Awards For Politics, Farm and Agribusiness Reporting

Jeff Stein, a noted Iowa broadcast veteran and historian, former executive director of the Iowa Broadcast News Association and currently general manager at KXEL radio in Waterloo, hosts and produces the program on a network of stations across the state. The program premiered July 5-6, 2014.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RADIO PROGRAM

IOWAWATCH CONNECTION FORUMS

IowaWatch photo

The IowaWatch Connection continued in 2019 a streak of winning Iowa Broadcast News Association awards for excellence in broadcast journalism. Awards announced this year are for work in 2018.

IowaWatch has hosted public forums in various locations to explore issues that affect Iowans. The first, Critical Decisions about Elder Care, was held April 29, 2014, in Des Moines. Our forums since then have explored problems with meth addiction in Iowa, featuring the documentary Breaking the Cycle: Meth Addiction In The Heartland, in Council Bluffs, Des Moines and Iowa City; how to keep young talent in Iowa; whether or not boundaries exist for free speech on college campuses; and how well the University of Iowa does welcoming Latino and African-American students. We’ve explored in live storytelling events veterans’ issues, what appeals to people who adopted Iowa as their home state, how people treat you when you live on society’s fringe, how to balance risks for rewards and dealing with travel.

We went into partnership with the nonprofit FilmScene theater for the Nov. 4, 2018, showing of the documentary film, “Dark Money,” about hidden campaign spending used to influence government leaders, and how important journalism is as a watchdog on government. On Dec. 5, 2018, we partnered with The Daily Iowan for a legislative forum that looked at the pending 2019 Iowa legislative session. And, on April 24, 2019, reporters from IowaWatch, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), The Press-Citizen (Iowa City, IA) and The Daily Iowan helped us lead “Creative Minds: Journalism Workshop Engaging Citizens In the News,” a hands-on citizens’ journalism workshop in Iowa City.

Watch here for announcements of future events.

COVERAGE MAP OF THE IOWAWATCH CONNECTION

The IowaWatch Connection airs on 20 radio stations covering Iowa, reaching listeners across the state and parts of Iowa’s seven neighboring states. Additionally, an Illinois high school station, WLTL-FM, airs the program during the school year as a teaching tool for students and to help fulfill its public service responsibility.

The IowaWatch Connection airs on 19 stations that cover Iowa and a 20th station in Illinois. This image shows the stations' combined coverage areas.

The IowaWatch Connection airs on 20 stations that cover Iowa and a 21st station in Illinois. This image shows the stations’ combined coverage areas.

FIND A STATION NEAR YOU

KVFD-AM, Fort Dodge — Fridays at 10 a.m.
KALA-FM, Davenport — Fridays at 10:30 p.m.
WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids — Saturdays at 5:05 a.m; and periodically at unscheduled weekend times.
KOIL, Omaha — Saturdays at 5:30 a.m.
KSIB-FM, Creston — Saturdays at 6 a.m.
KXEL-AM, Waterloo/Cedar Falls — Saturdays at 6 a.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m.
KROS-AM, Clinton — Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m.
KROS-FM, Clinton — Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m.
WHO-AM, Des Moines — Sundays at 5:30 a.m.
KRTI-FM, Newton/Grinnell — Sundays at 5:30 a.m.
KCYZ-FM, Ames — Sundays at 6 a.m.
KSCJ-AM, Sioux City — Sundays at 6:30 a.m.
KSCJ-FM, Sioux City — Sundays at 6:30 a.m.
KMA-AM, Shenandoah — Sundays at 6:35 a.m.
KMA-FM, Clarinda — Sundays at 6:35 a.m.
KGLO-AM, Mason City — Sundays at 7:06 a.m.
WLTL-FM, LaGrange (IL) — Sundays at 7:30 a.m. during the school year.
KASI-AM, Ames — Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
KXIC-AM, Iowa City — Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
KFJB-AM, Marshalltown — Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
KICI-LP, Iowa City — Sundays at 3:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 8 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m.

RECENT EPISODES

Topics covered include the political climate in Iowa, determining the truth in the news we consume, our cybersecurity and water quality in Iowa.

Program Topic Listen
267
Aug. 9-11, 2019
Public School Debt, Revisited — School is about to resume in Iowa and districts need funding, sometimes coming from the state and sometimes from district voters directly. But the concept of educating the next generation requires investment, and taking on debt becomes the answer for many districts.
Categories: Education, Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Margaret Buckton, Iowa School Finance Information Services
  • Tim Kuehl, Clear Creek-Amana superintendent
  • Jackie Black, Ankeny schools chief financial officer
  • Lauren Wade/IowaWatch
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
266
Aug. 2-4, 2019
Mental Health Care Shortage as Demand Increases in Flood Areas — Images from spring flooding easily depicted a devastating situation. But what about the residual impact in areas that cannot be seen?
Categories: Health
Guests:

  • Pat Sheldon, farmer, Percival, IA
  • Susan Ecker, director, Waubonsie Mental Health Center, southwest Iowa
  • Alecia Dougherty, clinical supervisor, Plains Area Mental Health Center, northwest Iowa
  • Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
  • Kelly Page, IowaWatch
265
July 26-28, 2019
Contentious Legislating, Revisited — The 2019 Iowa legislative session may have ended a week earlier than scheduled, but there was plenty of partisan wrangling in the final week of debate. How might that impact future governing from Des Moines?
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price
  • Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann
  • James Lynch, political reporter, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • UNI political science professor Christopher Larimer
264
July 19-21, 2019
Rural Redevelopment — A variety of efforts are underway to help Iowa’s smaller towns not only survive, but thrive.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs, Economy and Employment
Guests:

  • Bill Menner, executive director, Iowa Rural Development Council
  • Jayne Armstrong, Iowa district director, Small Business Administration
  • Angela Harrington, owner and developer, Hotel Grinnell
263
July 12-14, 2019
The Challenges Faced by Iowa’s Small Towns, Revisited — Part 1 of a two-part report: The rural and urban split in Iowa appears to be widening. How hard will it be to maintain the small town way of life? Produced in collaboration with 2019 IowaWatch Simpson College Journalism Project.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs, Economy and Employment
Guests:

  • Leigh Ann Coffey/Humeston business owner and Realtor
  • Linda Dawson/Humeston business owner
  • Cindi Davidson/Humeston business employee
  • Kerry Philips/Mormon Trail school superintendent
  • Randy Paulson, Taylor Bates, Dustin Teays, and Emily Carey/IowaWatch Simpson College Journalism project reporters
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
262
July 5-7, 2019
Tom Vilsack on public service, Revisited — An extended conversation with the 40th governor of Iowa, who later served as U.S. agriculture secretary in the Obama Administration.
Categories: Government and Politics, Agriculture
Guests:

  • Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa)
261
June 28-30, 2019
Game Fish Food Safety — Fishing is popular for recreation and as a food source. But how safe are those fish to eat? Standards for testing vary in the Midwest.
Categories: Health
Guests:

  • George Scholten, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • Maria Christensen, Waterloo, IA
  • Sabine Martin, Sophia Schillinger, Taylor Hunt and Erin McRae, Cedar Falls Tiger Hi-Line 2018-19 reporters
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
260
June 21-23, 2019
Silica Dust Impact, Revisited — Mining activities produce needed material, but the process may have a cost. Residents living near silica sand mines would like to understand better the possible impact the mines have on their health.
Categories: Health, Business and Consumer Affairs
Guests:

  • Kathy Kachel, Bagley, Wisconsin
  • Pat Popple, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
  • Patrick O’Shaughnessy, University of Iowa occupational and environmental health professor/Iowa City
  • Crispin Pierce, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire associate professor of nursing/Eau Claire, Wisc.
  • Emily Highnam/IowaWatch
259
June 14-16, 2019
Food Insecurity Solutions — Iowa feeds the world but many in the state are food insecure. Possible solutions in this report.
Categories: Agriculture, Business and Consumer Affairs
Guests:

  • Former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
  • Joseph Jones, executive director, The Harkin Institute on Public Policy, Des Moines, IA
  • Madeline Goebel, director of community outreach, the World Food Prize, Des Moines, IA
  • Sally Worley, executive director, Practical Farmers of Iowa
  • Daniel Bowser, food hub specialist, Lutheran Services in Iowa
258
June 7-9, 2019
Pesticide Drift Inspection Demand Growing, Revisited — Workloads for state investigators who determine whether herbicides are applied properly in Iowa have more than doubled the past two years, with no plans in sight for adding staffers.
Categories: Agriculture, Business and Consumer Affairs, Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship/Des Moines
  • Iowa Sen. Kevin Kinney/D-Oxford
  • Andy Kline, claimant/Boone, Iowa
  • Pat Kosman, claimant and farmer/Albia, Iowa
  • Dennis Fett, claimant and farmer/Minden, Iowa
  • Gretchen Paluch, Iowa pesticide bureau chief/Des Moines
  • Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University extension climatologist/Ames
  • Lauren Wade/IowaWatch
257
May 31-June 2, 2019
Student Mental Health In College — Transitioning to life at college is difficult, especially for those dealing with mental illness.
Categories: Education, Health
Guests:

  • Mary Rose Bernal, graduate/Grinnell College
  • Nicole Nitschke, student/University of Iowa
  • Declan Jones, student/Grinnell College
  • Marcy Shrum, board vice president/Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa
  • Warren Phillips, president/Iowa Psychological Association
  • Barry Schreier, director/University of Iowa Counseling Services
  • Lily Bohlke/IowaWatch
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
256
May 24-26, 2019
Working Into Retirement For Health Care, Revisited — Many Iowans nearing retirement age are driving an increase in older workers who keep their jobs to cover high health care costs their life savings cannot cover.
Categories: Economy and Employment, Health
Guests:

  • Debby Bell, West Liberty, Iowa
  • John Solow, University of Iowa Department of Economics chairman
  • Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa state director
  • Nichole Shaw, The Daily Iowan
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
255
May 17-19, 2019
College Payback Time — The high cost of a college education and the resultant student and family debt load is a topic we’ve covered before, but it bears continued interest because the problem is getting worse.
Categories: Education
Guests:

  • Student journalists from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Buena Vista University, Mount Mercy University, Coe College and St. Ambrose University contributed reporting for the annual IowaWatch College Reporting Project.
  • Guy Tannenbaum and contributing reporters Tyler Brunner, Omar Alcorta, Iran Carlos, Job Saunders, Allyssa Ertz, Cooper Maahs and Tanner Frost/KBVU, Buena Vista University
  • K. Rambo/IowaWatch
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
254
May 10-12, 2019
Public School Debt — Schools need funding, sometimes coming from the state and sometimes from district voters directly. But the concept of educating the next generation requires investment.
Categories: Education, Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Margaret Buckton, Iowa School Finance Information Services
  • Tim Kuehl, Clear Creek-Amana superintendent
  • Jackie Black, Ankeny schools chief financial officer
  • Lauren Wade/IowaWatch
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
253
May 3-5, 2019
Contentious Legislating — The 2019 Iowa legislative session may have ended a week earlier than scheduled, but there was plenty of partisan wrangling in the final week of debate. How might that impact future governing from Des Moines?
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price
  • Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann
  • James Lynch, political reporter, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • UNI political science professor Christopher Larimer
252
April 26-28, 2019
The Challenges Faced by Iowa’s Small Towns — The rural and urban split in Iowa appears to be widening. How hard will it be to maintain the small town way of life? Produced in collaboration with 2019 IowaWatch Simpson College Journalism Project.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs, Economy and Employment
Guests:

  • Leigh Ann Coffey/Humeston business owner and Realtor
  • Linda Dawson/Humeston business owner
  • Cindi Davidson/Humeston business employee
  • Kerry Philips/Mormon Trail school superintendent
  • Randy Paulson, Taylor Bates, Dustin Teays, and Emily Carey/IowaWatch Simpson College Journalism project reporters
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
251
April 19-21, 2019
Sharing Recognition for Excellence — The Iowa Broadcast News Association last week presented IowaWatch with seven awards tied to broadcasts in “The IowaWatch Connection” series. We revisit some of the award-winning segments on voter engagement and rural development issues.
Category: Center News
250
April 12-14, 2019
Iowa Legislative Update — The second funnel deadline has passed, and the 2019 Iowa legislative session is in its final weeks.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Osceola)
  • Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids)
  • Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake)
  • Erin Murphy, Des Moines Bureau Chief, Lee Enterprises.
249
April 5-7, 2019
Tom Vilsack on public service — An extended conversation with the 40th governor of Iowa, who later served as U.S. agriculture secretary in the Obama Administration.
Categories: Government and Politics, Agriculture
Guests:

  • Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa)
248
March 29-31, 2019
Risks and Rewards, Revisited: In The Words Of People Who Have Experienced Them — Sometimes you have to take risks in order to accomplish something. We asked four Eastern Iowans who have taken to speak at a live storytelling event about risks they took in search of something better in reward and share their stories in this podcast.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs
Guests:

  • Vanessa Miller, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • Bhumika Nayak, Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids
  • Chuck Peters, chairman, Folience, Cedar Rapids
  • Reid Wilson, Vast Iowa, Iowa City
247
March 22-24, 2019
Silica Dust Impact — Mining activities produce needed material, but the process may have a cost. Residents living near silica sand mines would like to understand better the possible impact the mines have on their health.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs, Health
Guests:

  • Kathy Kachel, Bagley, Wisconsin
  • Pat Popple, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
  • Patrick O’Shaughnessy, University of Iowa occupational and environmental health professor/Iowa City
  • Crispin Pierce, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire associate professor of nursing/Eau Claire, Wisc.
  • Emily Highnam/IowaWatch
246
March 15-17, 2019
Pesticide Drift Inspection Demand Growing — Workloads for state investigators who determine whether herbicides are applied properly in Iowa have more than doubled the past two years, with no plans in sight for adding staffers.
Categories: Agriculture, Business and Consumer Affairs, Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship/Des Moines
  • Iowa Sen. Kevin Kinney/D-Oxford
  • Andy Kline, claimant/Boone, Iowa
  • Pat Kosman, claimant and farmer/Albia, Iowa
  • Dennis Fett, claimant and farmer/Minden, Iowa
  • Gretchen Paluch, Iowa pesticide bureau chief/Des Moines
  • Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University extension climatologist/Ames
  • Lauren Wade/IowaWatch
245
March 8-10, 2019
The Hoover Legacy — The only native Iowan to become president led an accomplished life beyond the four years in the Oval Office. But his accomplishments often are misunderstood, those keeping his legacy alive say in this podcast.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Thomas Schwartz, executive director, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum/West Branch
  • Matthew Schaefer, archivist, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum/West Branch
244
March 1-3, 2019
Never-ending campaigning, revisited — It used to be there was a decent interval between the end of one election cycle and the beginning of another. That interval has narrowed over time. Now, there’s full overlap. How best, then, for voters to determine where candidates stand on issues?
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Annie Petersen, director of officials research overseeing ‘Key Votes’, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Peter McLaughlin, director of elections research, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Walker McKusick, national director, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Thomas Stone, legislative research associate, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • David Babayev, political research associate, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Emily Harris, elections research associate, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
243
Feb. 22-24, 2019
2019 Legislative Update — Two weeks before the first legislative funnel deadline, IowaWatch and its affiliates checked with state lawmakers on how the 2019 session was faring, so far.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • James Lynch/The Gazette
  • Rep. Jon Jacobsen (R-Treynor)
  • Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford)
  • Rep. Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown)
  • Rep. Norlin Mommsen (R-DeWitt)
  • Rep. Lisa Heddens (D-Ames)
  • Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames)
  • Sen. Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames)
  • Sen. Chris Cournoyer (R-LeClaire)
242
Feb. 15-17, 2018
Issues Facing Iowa Veterans, Revisited — We explore issues facing veterans, particularly regarding health care.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Kevin Dill/Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs
  • Judith Johnson-Mekota/Iowa City VA Health Care Systems Director
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
241
Feb. 8-10, 2019
Working Into Retirement For Health Care — Many Iowans nearing retirement age are driving an increase in older workers who keep their jobs to cover high health care costs their life savings cannot cover.
Categories: Economy and Employment, Health
Guests:

  • Debby Bell, West Liberty, Iowa
  • John Solow, University of Iowa Department of Economics chairman
  • Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa state director
  • Nichole Shaw, The Daily Iowan
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
240
Feb. 1-3, 2019
A Conversation with Jim Leach, Revisited — An extended interview with the man who served Iowa in Congress for 30 years.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Former U.S. Rep. James Leach (R-Iowa), visiting professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and College of Liberal Arts an Sciences.
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch
239
Jan. 25-27, 2019
The 2020 Caucuses, Revisited — The Democratic National Committee has outlined changes for Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential precinct caucuses. What impact will they have on this uniquely Iowa event?
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Dave Nagle
  • Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price
  • Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez
  • Iowa Republican Party chairman Jeff Kauffman
  • Lee Enterprises Des Moines Bureau Chief Erin Murphy
238
Jan. 18-20, 2019
2019 Iowa Legislature Convenes — The 88th Iowa General Assembly began work this past week, with a cordial atmosphere in the statehouse this year.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Osceola)
  • Sen. Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque)
  • Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville)
  • Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion)
  • House Minority Leader Todd Prichard (D-Charles City)
  • Lyle Muller/IowaWatch
237
Jan. 11-13, 2019
Government Shutdown Impact on Iowa — It’s now a record-long partial shutdown of the federal government, with no end in sight. What is the impact on Iowa and middle America?
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)/New Hartford
  • Jordan Goodman, financial journalist/New York
  • Anna Johnson, Center for Rural Affairs/Nevada
  • Ernie Goss, Creighton University economist/Omaha
  • Ken Root, Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network/Des Moines
236
Jan. 4-6, 2019
State of Journalism, Revisited — The role of a free press in a democracy was guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. But what is the state of the craft today?
Categories: Center News
Guests:

  • Stephen Berry, IowaWatch co-founder
  • Randy Evans, Iowa Freedom of Information Council executive director
  • Brian Cooper, The Telegraph Herald opinion page editor
235
Dec. 28-30, 2018
The Year 2018 In Review — A look at the IowaWatch stories from 2018 that readers let us know had the biggest impact on them. Our measure: Google Analytics reading data.
Categories: Center News
Guests:

  • Jeff Stein and Lyle Muller/IowaWatch Connection
234
Dec. 21-23, 2018
Risks and Rewards: In The Words Of People Who Have Experienced Them — Sometimes you have to take risks in order to accomplish something. We asked four Eastern Iowans who have taken to speak at a live storytelling event about risks they took in search of something better in reward and share their stories in this podcast.
Categories: Business and Consumer Affairs
Guests:

  • Vanessa Miller, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • Bhumika Nayak, Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids
  • Chuck Peters, chairman, Folience, Cedar Rapids
  • Reid Wilson, Vast Iowa, Iowa City
233
Dec. 14-16, 2018
Bias and Hate Incidences on College Campuses, Revisited — Sometimes it’s simply one word, other times it’s a broad gesture, but each conveys bias- or hate-related incidences on an Iowa college campus. What’s being done to fight back?
Categories: Education
Guests:

  • Adam Steinbaugh/Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • Julian Neely/ISU Student Government president
  • Hira Mustafa/UI student
  • Lauren Wade/IowaWatch
232
Dec. 7-19, 2018
2019 Iowa legislative preview — The election is over, and now the focus is on governing.
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • James Lynch, The Gazette
  • Christopher Larimer, professor of political science, University of Northern Iowa
  • Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton)
  • Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford)
  • Rep. Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City)
  • Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames)
231
Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2018
Never-ending campaigning — It used to be there was a decent interval between the end of one election cycle and the beginning of another. That interval has narrowed over time. Now, there’s full overlap. How best, then, for voters to determine where candidates stand on issues?
Categories: Government and Politics
Guests:

  • Annie Petersen, director of officials research overseeing ‘Key Votes’, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Peter McLaughlin, director of elections research, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Walker McKusick, national director, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Thomas Stone, legislative research associate, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • David Babayev, political research associate, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Emily Harris, elections research associate, Vote Smart, Des Moines
  • Lyle Muller, IowaWatch

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