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The Cities
Taste of Fame


Regional topics and issues

Hosted by Jim Mertens this program focuses on the issues facing the communities of Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. The series also explores topics of national importance. Guests discuss a variety of topics with a unique and local focus along with our community calendar (Out and About), which promotes events, exhibits and other activities happening throughout the region.

Episodes are available for streaming online, via the PBS App and YouTube.

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


April 8

Brooke Hendrickx of the Child Abuse Council; and Dr. Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois 4-H program.

April 1

Rock Island mayoral candidates Thurgood Brooks; and Mike Thoms, current Mayor of Rock Island.

March 25

Moline mayoral candidates Sangeetha Rayapati, Augustana College; and Stephanie Acri, current Mayor of Moline.

March 18

Richard Brunk Rock Island County Board Chairman, and Dr. Josh Averbeck, Associate Professor of Communications, Western Illinois University.

March 11

Jessica Brooks National Weather Service Hydrologist; and Brett Hitchcock, Circa '21.

March 4

Tony McCombie (R) Illinois State Representative; and Michelle Hargrave Figge Museum Executive Director.

February 25

Dr. Guiyou Huang, Western Illinois University President; and Denise Bulat Bi-State Regional Planning Commission.

Jim Mertens

About Jim Mertens

Along with his duties on The Cities, Jim is a WQAD (ABC) news anchor. Before relocating to the Quad Cities, he was employed by WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo, Michigan as an anchor and reporter for six years. Prior to that, Jim was an anchor and reporter for seven years at 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 former president of the Iowa Broadcast News Association, as well as the Northwest Broadcast News Association.