WILL - Focus - June 28, 2013

Insects in the Garden?

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and entomologist Phil Nixon. We welcome your lawn and garden questions today!


(Duration: 51:22)

It’s finally officially summer, and while that means sun, lemonade and cool days at the beach, it also means that mosquitos, ants and other creepy crawlers are gracing us with their presence. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with University of Illinois Extension entomologist Phil Nixon and horticulture expert Sandy Mason. We welcome your pest, lawn and garden care questions this hour on Focus!

WILL - Focus - June 27, 2013

Images of America: Monticello and Remembering Champaign County

Monticello been called “the patent medicine capital of the world,” and is home to the famous Allerton Park. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with author Maureen Holtz about the town’s history…in pictures. Then, we’ll talk with former Mayor Dannel McCollum about his book “Remembering Champaign County.”


(Duration: 51:34)

Two men stand in front of the Pepin Syrup Company in the 1920’s.

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look through into history through the lens of a camera. Maureen Holtz, author of the new book “Images of America: Monticello” joins us to talk about some of the things that make Monticello’s history so rich. We’ll talk with her about the pepsin syrup factory that earned the town the title “patent medicine capital of the world,” and how she went about compiling the town’s history dating back to the 1800’s in authentic photos.

Then during the second half of this hour on Focus, Dannel McCollum, former Mayor of Champaign and author of “Remembering Champaign County” joins us. We’ll talk with him about March Madness on campus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Benjamin Franklin Harris, entrepreneur extraordinaire. Host Jim Meadows also talks with Dannel about the county’s first convicted murderer who was defended by Abraham Lincoln.

Categories: Community, History

WILL - Focus - June 26, 2013

Issues Facing Public Libraries

The weeding of thousands of non-fiction books at the Urbana Free Library has created controversy over transparency in libraries. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about how libraries are curated, what role they play in community and some of the challenges they face due to strained government budgets.


(Duration: 51:07)

The Urbana Free Library

What services do you expect from your public library? Do you want a library to be like a book store, with only newer books and lots of cutting edge technology, or would you rather have a library with extensive collections of books published across several decades? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Carol Tilley and Kathryn La Barre of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science about the challenges public libraries face as many make the transition into the digital age. 

WILL - Focus - June 25, 2013

100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Illinois

100 years ago this week, Governor Edward F. Dunne signed a bill giving women in Illinois the right to vote for President. This hour on Focus, we remember Illinois’ push for women’s suffrage.


(Duration: 51:37)

women meeting to rally the suffrage movement

In 1870, Frances Willard proclaimed before the Illinois General Assembly that it was an “insult” that 21 year old boys could vote to make laws for their mothers but that the mothers themselves had no voice. More than three decades later, she, among several others, finally convinced enough lawmakers that was true. In 1913, Illinois gave women the right to vote in Presidential elections. The catch – the bill for women’s suffrage did not apply to gubernatorial elections or elections for state representatives, congressmen or senators, yet.

This hour on Focus, we’ll remember the men and women who pushed for women’s suffrage in Illinois, and those who pushed back. Mark Sorensen, who has written extensively about suffrage in the state, joins us. He’ll tell us about some of the key players who fought for the bill  and how the state worked to dissuade female voters from exercising their new right to vote. We’ll also talk Professor Virginia Boynton of Western Illinois University about why it took so long for women to be granted the right to vote in the first place.

Categories: Human Rights

WILL - Focus - June 24, 2013

Jeremy Hobson and Here and Now’s New Local Host Jason Croft

This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation with Jeremy Hobson, a Champaign-Urbana native. He's the new co-host of Here and Now, coming to WILL on July 1.  We’ll also hear from Jason Croft, WILL’s new local host of the program.


(Duration: 50:20)

Jeremy Hobson and Robin Young, hosts of "Here and Now"

Jeremy Hobson got his start in broadcasting at the ripe old age of 9 when he started contributing to a program called “Treehouse Radio” on WILL. These days, he’s co-host of the Boston-based  WBUR’s program, Here and Now, which is coming to WILL on July 1. This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation host Jim Meadows had with Jeremy earlier this spring about his time as the host of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report, his new adventure at WBUR and his roots in Champaign-Urbana. Then, we’ll talk with Here and Now’s new local host, Jason Croft.


WILL - Focus - June 21, 2013

Next Week on Focus

Next week on Focus, we'll commemorate 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Illinois, will talk about  issues facing Public Libraries and much more!

The Urbana Free Library

Next week on Focus, we’ll talk about issues facing public libraries and will remember the men and women who fought for women’s suffrage in Illinois. We’ll also listen back to an interview with Here and Now’s new co-host Jeremy Hobson and will welcome your lawn and garden care questions.


WILL - Focus - June 21, 2013

Personal Finance: Tracking Spending

Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Kevin Waspi, a chartered financial analyst and Jake Kuebler, a certified financial planner with Bluestem Financial Advisors, LLC in Champaign. We welcome your calls and questions about your finances!


(Duration: 51:42)


This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the best ways to track your spending and how doing so can help you meet your financial goals. Personal finance expert Kevin Waspi and certified financial planner Jake Kuebler will be here to talk with us about the best ways to keep track of where your money is going, whether you want to do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or if you want to do it electronically using online banking tools and apps. We also welcome your questions whether you are just starting out and looking for advice on investing, thinking about buying a home or planning for retirement.

Read more for the couch potato porfolio.

Categories: Personal Finance

WILL - Focus - June 20, 2013

Illinois Wine

The Illinois wine industry more than tripled its size in the last ten years. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about where to find the best Illinois wines, growing grapes in a Midwest climate and will talk investigate some of the challenges vinters face in the state.


(Duration: 51:47)

a woman shopping for wine

There’s what some call a wine movement happening through the Midwest, and Illinois is definitely following suit. Midwest wine makers and grape growers have seen a huge increase in business in the last decade, and this hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why. Bradley Beam, an enologist with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vinters Association will join us to talk about what makes an Illinois wine and Illinois wine and where you can go to find the perfect one for you. Tony Jacobson, a winemaker at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in Fairmount also joins us. We’ll talk about new research being done to enable vineyards to grow more grapes in a colder climate, and he’ll walk us through the wine making process from start to finish.

Have you visited a winery or vineyard in Illinois? What wines do you recommend? Maybe you have questions about why locally produced wines are sometimes hard to come by… We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - June 19, 2013

Summer Movie Reviews

What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently? We want to hear from you today on Focus! This hour we’ll talk with’s new Editor, Matt Zoller-Seitz. Michael Philips also joins us this hour to talk about the best new movies out this summer.


(Duration: 49:45)

a movie theatre

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with’s new Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz about the future of the flagship movie review site for fans in an era post-Roger. The site, recently expanded and revamped, now includes all or Roger's work, a blog by his wife, Chaz, and other new features for movie fans. We’ll also talk with him about new movies out recently - what’s worth seeing….and what’s not. Michael Phillips, film critic for the Chicago Tribune, also joins us.

Categories: Cinema

WILL - Focus - June 18, 2013

Being a Tourist in Your Backyard: Staycations in East Central Illinois

The dog days of summer are here… It would be so nice to get away. Sadly, that’s not always an option. Never fear! This hour on Focus, we talk about things to do in the area that will make you feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re in your own backyard.


(Duration: 55:01)

a couple sits in their backyard

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows explores East Central Illinois…from the perspective of a tourist. Sue Post, author of Hiking Illinois, will be here to tell us about some scenic, and maybe unexpected, places in the area to enjoy the outdoors and will talk with us about what makes hiking in Illinois unique. We’ll also talk with her about native wildlife of note.

Then during the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with Heather Wilkins, Director for the Land of Lincoln Regional Tourism Office, about Illinois trails. These Trails don’t have much to do with hiking, but they’re just as scenic.  We’ll talk about where you can go to visit everything from Illinois’ most historic drive-in movie theatres to the oldest soda fountains and the world’s largest golf tee and covered wagon.

What are your favorite places to go or things to do to “get away” while staying in the area? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Community, Travel

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