The Cities
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Regional topics and issues
that matter.

Hosted by the renowned Jim Mertens, THE CITIES offers an exploration of local and national issues, events and stories impacting residents of Eastern Iowa, Western, North-Central, and Central Illinois. Plus our weekly Out and About segment featuring events happening throughout the region.

Airing Thursdays at 7:00PM.
*Encore airing on Sundays at 4:00PM.

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Find out what's happening in the region

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Recent Episodes

Eric Sorensen, United States Congressman (IL)

Jim Mertens talks with U.S Rep. Eric Sorensen (Illinois) about the latest budget bill passage, budget security, and whether there will be an agreement on a farm bill in a timely manner.

Broadcast date: April 4, 2024.

Kirk Marske, Renew Moline; and Karree Fah, Hiney Heros

Jim talks with Kirk Marske, Moline Centre Program Manager, about creating a plan for downtown Moline. Plus, Karree Fah, Hiney Heros of the Quad Cities, discusses the financial burden of baby diapers and how the organization helps.

Broadcast date: March 28, 2024

Reggie Freeman, East Moline Major

Jim talks with East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman about bold decisions for the East Moline downtown region, investments in policing, infrastructure, and other city services, and plans to build a city government that is as diverse as the city itself.

Broadcast date: March 21, 2023

Gregg Johnson, Illinois State Representative

Jim talks with Illinois State Representative Gregg Johnson about politics, legislative priorities, and a bi-partisan measure that better protects people who work in prisons. Jim then talks with Denny Hitchcock about what's coming up at Circa 21.

Broadcast date: March 13, 2024

Mike Thoms, Rock Island Mayor

Jim talks with Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms about Rock Island's plans for progress in the coming year.

Broadcast date: March 6, 2024

Sangeetha Rayapati, Moline Mayor

Jim talks with Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati about Moline's plans for the newly opened waterfront.

Broadcast date: February 29, 2024

Andrej Kozlowski & Max Bigalk

Jim talks with Sound Conservancy Founder Andrej Kozlowski about their future and new location, the old Moline Carnegie Library. Plus, Max Bigalk, United Way VITA Coordinator, discusses the Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Program.

Broadcast date: February 22, 2024

Matt Wilson, NWS and Scott Peake, Putnam Museum

Jim Mertens talks with Matt Wilson, Hydrologist for the National Weather Service, about the potential of spring flooding. Plus, Scott Peake, Putnam Museum Marketing Director, discusses the discovery unearthed in the museum vaults.

Broadcast date: February 15, 2024

Dr. Keith Boeckelman

Host Jim Mertens talks with Keith Boeckelman, Western Illinois University Professor of Political Science about what we can expect after the caucus and primary.

Broadcast date: February 8, 2024

WIU Admissions and FAFSA

Jim speaks with Kassie Daly, Western Illinois University Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Transfer Services, about the FAFSA delay and the steps students should take to prepare for college. Jim also talks with Brad Harvey about the past Quad Cities music scene and the possibility of a music museum in the Quad Cities.

Broadcast date: February 1, 2024

Rock Island’s West End Revitalization

Jim speaks with West Side Revitalization Coordinator Thurgood Brooks and Quad Cities Community Foundation’s Interim Director of Grant-making and Community Initiatives, Kaleigh Trammell, about revitalizing Rock Island’s west side.

Broadcast date: January 25, 2024

Scott County Party Politics

Every four years Iowa becomes the epicenter of national politics. Jim talks with Jeanita McNulty, the Chair of Scott County Republicans and Kay Pence, the Chair of Scott County Democrats about the caucus.

Broadcast date: January 18, 2024

Illinois State Senator Mike Halpin

Jim talks with the Chairman of the Rock Island County Democratic Party and Illinois State Senator Mike Halpin, about priorities, accomplishments, and failures.

Broadcast date: January 11, 2024

Quad City Lawmakers

Jim sits down with two veteran Quad City lawmakers, Iowa State Senator Cindy Winckler (Democrat from Davenport) and Iowa State Representative Gary Mohr (Republican from Bettendorf) about expectations for the upcoming session.

Broadcast date: January 4, 2024

The Iowa Caucus

Jim talks with Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann about the presidential race, caucus history, and the future of the Iowa Caucuses at the heart of Iowa politics since 1976.

Broadcast date: December 28, 2023

Movies of the Year

Jim visits with Mike Schultz, Editor and Film and Theater Critic for the River Cities' Reader, to continue the holiday tradition of discussing the best and worst movies of the year.

Broadcast date: December 21, 2023

Visit Quad Cities & Holiday Stress

Jim speaks with Visit Quad Cities President and Chief Executive Director, Dave Herrell about what is planned for and what we learned from 2023. Jim talks with Lisa Levy of Gilda's Club about healthy ways to cope with holiday stress and sadness.

Broadcast date: December 14, 2023

Wreaths Across America & Festival of Trees

Jim talks with Wreaths Across America program's Administrative officer Daniel Baltisberger and Local Organizer Jeanne Cook about the local efforts at the Rock Island National Cemetery. Plus, Jim visits with Kevin Maynard, the Quad City Arts Executive Director about the impact the Festival of Trees has on the Quad Cities' community.

Broadcast date: December 7, 2023

Project NOW & German Heritage Center

Jim talks with the Executive Director of Project NOW, Reverend Dwight Ford, to discuss the safety net designed to ensure everyone gets through the winter safely. Plus, Jim welcomes Brian Allen, the German Heritage Center's new Executive Director, to talk about events waiting for you at the foot of the Centennial Bridge.

Broadcast date: November 30, 2023

Festival of Trees & Ballet Quad Cities

Jim talks with the Quad Cities Festival of Trees Interim Administrator, Cheryl DeCap about this year’s festival. As well as, Joedy Cook, the Ballet Quad Cities CEO, about this year’s Nutcracker performance.

Broadcast date: November 16, 2023

Mississippi River Protection

Jim talks with Col. Robert Sinklar, Executive Coordinating Director of Corn Belt Ports and Roger Viadero, a Western Illinois University Environmental Scientist on the development and protection of the Mississippi River.

Broadcast date: November 11, 2023

Richard H. "Quijas" Brunk

Jim talks with Richard H. "Quijas" Brunk, Rock Island County Board Chairman on the progress and growth of Rock Island. Plus, the 60th anniversary of the Belgian Museum of the Quad Cities with Steve Slininger.

Broadcast date: November 2, 2023

Recent Archives

Rita Hart

Jim talks with former Iowa State Senator Rita Hart about the Democratic plan for the caucus and building on losses in the state.

Broadcast date: October 26, 2023

Jan LaRoche & Brittany Pate

Jim talks to Jan LaRoche, the Moline Library Adult/Young Adult Services Coordinator and Brittany Pate, Western Illinois University-QC Senior Library Specialist to talk about book banning and the future of libraries in the Quad Cities.

Broadcast date: October 19, 2023

Mark Rothert

Jim talks with East Moline City Administrator Mark Rothert about East Moline development plans. Plus, John Brassard, Jr. discusses his podcast “Scary and Dreadful Things” and ghost stories from the Quad Cities.

Broadcast date: October 12, 2023

Most Rev. Thomas Zinkula

Jim talks with Most Rev. Thomas Zinkula, Archbishop-Elect, Dubuque Catholic Diocese, about the future of the Eastern Iowa Catholic Church and how his Quad Cities' background shaped him.

Broadcast date: October 5, 2023

Jim Mertens

About Jim Mertens

For more than 10 years, Jim Mertens has been the host of THE CITIES. Mertens is an award-winning news anchor. He joined the Cedar Rapids, Iowa ABC network affiliate KCRG-TV9 News team in 2022 after 27 years of reporting news for the Quad Cities region at WQAD-TV in Moline. Before that, Jim was a news anchor and reporter for WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He also worked for WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He began his professional career in radio in 1978 at WFON-FM in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Jim has received numerous awards for his journalistic reporting. His Long-form journalism has earned him first-place awards with the Iowa Associated Press, the Iowa Broadcast News Association, and the Illinois News Broadcasters Association. He was a former president of the Iowa Broadcast News Association and the Northwest Broadcast News Association.

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