Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign in more than 600 years and cites health reasons for his decision to do so. This hour on Focus, we talk about how that will affect the Roman Catholic Church and the process and politics involved with conclave. Host Jim Meadows talks with Associate Professor of History and Catholic Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago Kevin Schultz about what the Pope’s resignation means for members of the Roman Catholic Church and for the rest of us. We also talk about the church’s declining membership and what leaders are trying to do to reverse the trend and how the Pope plays a role in that. Tom Roberts, Editor at Large for the National Catholic Reporter, also joins the program. During this hour we also discussed contraception, same sex marriage and child sex abuse scandals and how the Roman Catholic Church will more forward.
Has Rick Steves inspiried you to travel? Maybe you've long used his guide books... During this episode of Focus, Jim Meadows talks with travel writer and broadcaster Rick Steves about his life and career. We ask him about best practices when planning a trip and the best places to go for the first time and the veteran traveler. Steves also tells us his favorite places to visit and why he first started traveling. And of course, we find out more about his next adventure and his upcoming visit to Champaign-Urbana.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise and President Robert Easter. We asked them about the sequester and how it would affect the University and research efforts on campus, how the state's budget issues are affecting the university and if the UIUC will be getting a new mascot.
We also want you to have the opportunity to interact directly with your leaders. Do you have questions for President Easter or Chancellor Wise? If we didn't get to them today, post to our Facebook page, tweet us @Focus580 or post in the comments section below. We'll be talking with the President and Chancellor again on Focus.
During this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with author David Toomey about his new book, “Weird Life: The Search for Life that is Very, Very Different From Our Own.” He tells us about organisms that live off acid rather than water, those that reproduce without DNA and thrive in temperatures and pressures so extreme that they really shouldn’t be alive in the first place. Meadows also talked with Toomey about our fascination with exotic life forms here on Earth and why we’re so fascinated with the possibility of the discovery of life in the rest of the universe.
Senior reporter Jim Meadows will become Focus’ new interim program host starting Monday, February 25. Current host and News and Public Affairs Director Craig Cohen is leaving Illinois Public Media/WILL for Houston Public Media.
Meadows says he’s excited to have the opportunity to host Focus and is looking forward to being part of program’s rich legacy. He’s been with WILL since 2000 working as a reporter, newscaster and local host for Morning Edition, and has also been a substitute host for Focus several times.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
During this episode of Focus, we talked about film and its role in public discourse. Host Craig Cohen talks with Ben Kenigsberg, Film Section Editor for Time Out Chicago, and Richard Leskosky, an Associate Professor (retired) of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about this year’s Academy Award nominees and the political statements they make. We discussed waterboarding and the capture of Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, mental health issues raised in Silver Linings Playbook and the different depictions of slavery in Lincoln and Django Unchained. We also asked whether it’s a conflict of interest in Argo wins best picture; after all, it is a picture about how Hollywood came to the rescue...
The Truth… about insects, is out there. At least that’s May Berenbaum’s position on the matter. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with Berenbaum, University of Illinois Professor of Entomology, about this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival. We’ll ask her about this year's X-Files theme, and the character from Season 3 of the X-Files who is named for her. Bambi Berenbaum, an entomologist who appears the episode “War of the Coprophages,” is named for May. We interviewed Chris Carter Tuesday, February 19 on Focus and asked him about it. Find the podcast here.
Cohen also talks with Berenbaum about conspiracy theories surrounding UFO’s and her upcoming article in American Entomologist about how UFO’s are most likely insect swarms. Then, we'll discuss what’s in the future for cyborg insects, robotic bugs equipped with transmitters, cameras and recording devices.
Do you have questions about insects… real or robotic? Join our conversation! Connect with the show on Facebook and Twitter or post in the comments section below.
This hour on Focus Mary Kay Mace, whose only daughter was killed in the shooting on campus at Northern Illinois University five years ago, joins us. She’ll tell us about the tragedy and what she has and hasn’t seen change since it happened. We’ll also talk with Dorothy Espelage, a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies adolescent aggressive behavior, about what resources are available to young adults and what protocols are in place in case of an emergency on campus. Thom Pollock, Executive Director of Crosspoint Human Services in Danville will also be here to talk about the unmet need for mental health services in Champaign county and the surrounding area.
WILL also aired this video Tuesday evening during PBS' After Newtown programing. What's your reaction? Have you been personally affected by gun violence? Join our conversation on Facebook and Twitter, email email@example.com or post in the comments section below.
Tens of millions of viewers were captivated by Fox’s “The X-Files” in the late 1990’s. Inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone, The X-Files resonated with skeptics, conspiracy theorists and those who see reason to mistrust the government. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with the show’s creator, Chris Carter, about what inspired the show, what made it a hit and why he slept on a couch in Fox studios' lobby after pulling an all-nighter to finish the pilot. We’ll also ask Carter about his character Bambi Berenbaum, a knock-out entomologist who appears in season 3 and was named after University of Illinois Professor May Berenbaum.
Carter joins Focus in preview of his visit to this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival.
In the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with John Grant, the author of “Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions and the War Against Reality” about conspiracy theories in popular culture and why they persist.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, women are at a much higher risk for heart problems if they smoke than previously thought, and ideas about how often to have a mammogram are changing. What does this mean for you? We’ll find out this hour on Focus. Host Craig Cohen talks with Suzanne Trupin about women’s health. Do you have questions? We welcome your calls! We’ll also take your questions via Facebook and Twitter.