WILL - Focus - September 16, 2013

The Future for AM Radio

Can terrestrial radio survive in a digital era? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai about why he’s trying to save AM radio.


(Duration: 51:35)

WILL AM-580 staffers in the 1930's

AM radio audiences are at an all-time low, but Ajit Pai, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, has a plan to try and save AM signals from the static. Pai joins us for the first half of this hour on Focus to talk about why he is pushing for new policies to help AM stations bolster their signals.

Tags: radio, am radio, am, fcc

WILL - Focus - September 13, 2013

Where are the Butterflies?

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and Mike Jeffords of the Illinois Natural History Survey. We welcome your lawn and garden calls and questions today!


(Duration: 51:36)

a monarch

If you’ve been trying to attract butterflies to your garden but haven’t seen any, you’re not alone. There has been a substantial decrease in butterfly populations this year throughout the Midwest. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Mike Jeffords of the Illinois Natural History Survey about why.

Sandy Mason, our resident gardening expert, will also be here to answer your lawn and garden questions.

WILL - Focus - September 12, 2013

Chanute Air Force Base’s Tuskegee Connections

Did you know the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black group of fighter pilots to see combat in the US military, started their training in Rantoul, Illinois? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about Chanute Air Force Base’s connections to the Tuskegee Airmen and will learn more about the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron, who will be giving an air show in the area this weekend.


(Duration: 52:01)

the restored Mustang fighter plane

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look back at East Central Illinois’ connections to the first all-black group of United States fighter pilots with Jim Eldridge, former education director at the Octave Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul. Brad Lang, a professional pilot who volunteers with the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron also joins us. His dad, Donald, served with the Tuskegee airmen in WWII.

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - September 11, 2013

Christopher Baker and Claire Lieberman

What inspires you? Have you ever traveled somewhere or seen something that led to one of those “moments.” This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with two Illinois artists inspired by seemingly opposing mediums – technology and nature.


(Duration: 51:37)

Christopher Baker's "Hello World! Or: How I stopped listening and learned to love the noise."

Christopher Baker, a Chicago based artist and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s work “Hello World!  Or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise” is currently on display at the Krannert Art Museum and combines more than 5,000 video diary entries into one display. You can’t understand all the voices individually, and if you step back far enough, you can’t even see clearly who the people are. These days, Baker says, it’s easy to get lost in that shuffle, to be drowned out by the noise. Should we accept that, or rebel against it? For the first half of this hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Baker about his art, his video diary project and a little about the history of YouTube.

Then during the second half of this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois State University’s Claire Lieberman. She teaches sculpture and is preparing for an expedition to the North Pole to observe the landscape and most importantly, the ice and what it looks like as its melting. She’ll spend about 2 weeks on a ship with scientists, climatologists and we’ll talk with her about the trip, how she’s preparing for it and what she hopes to discover while she’s there. 

Have you gone to what seems like the ends of the earth seeking inspiration? Where did you go? What did you do? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Art and Culture

WILL - Focus - September 10, 2013

David Inge

Illinois Pioneers returned to WILL-TV last week…with David Inge as host. This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with David about the show.


(Duration: 49:35)

Host David Inge with Lou Henson

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Inge about his new gig and about his life and career as a public broadcaster. We’ll hear about some of the upcoming interviews he’ll host on WILL-TV, and we’ll talk with him about his days as host of Focus, how he got started as a public broadcaster and what it’s like to talk with some of the most powerful and respected names in Illinois history.

WILL Producer George Hovorka also joins us for the first half of this hour on Focus to tell us more about Illinois Pioneers. 

Categories: Community

WILL - Focus - September 09, 2013

The Illinois Supreme Court Fall Term

Who’re your state’s Supreme Court justices? What decisions are they making for you this fall? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about some of the cases before the Illinois Supreme Court and will learn more about who’s on the court and how they’re likely to vote.


(Duration: 51:55)

Illinois Supreme Court Judges

Despite the fact that we never seem to hear much about it, there are several important cases before the Illinois Supreme Court this fall. One of them could affect the state’s efforts to solve its pension problems, and one of them . This hour on Focus, we’ll talk through some of the cases and their implications with Kirk Jenkins, an appellate attorney based in Chicago. Steve Beckett, a founding partner at Beckett and Webber, P.C. in Urbana and a lecturer at the University of Illinois College of Law also joins us.

Both attorneys have argued cases before the state’s high court, and we’ll also talk with them about Illinois’ Supreme Court justices, who they are and why we never seem to hear much about them.

Do you have questions about the Illinois Supreme Court? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Criminal Justice, Law

WILL - Focus - September 06, 2013

Should the US Intervene in Syria?

Do you agree with President Obama that the US should intervene in the conflict in Syria? How do you want your lawmakers to vote? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the debate and what US action would mean for people in Syria.


(Duration: 51:37)

Congress continues to debate whether or not the US should get involved in Syria, even though President Obama can order a missile strike without Congress’ approval. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the debate and who really has the power to order military action. Juana Summers, a defense reporter with Politico joins us for the first few minutes of the program with the latest update about the debate in Washington D.C. Then, Ryan Hendrickson, a Professor of Political Science at Eastern Illinois University joins us. We’ll also talk with him about how our local US Representatives and Senators and how their voices play a role in the discussion.

We’ll also talk with Fred Lawson who he teaches international relations and government at Mills College in California about who is actually fighting in Syria and what the consequences of a missile strike would be. Lawson also spent time on a Fullbright Fellowship in Syria and will talk with us about who the people are who are being affected by all the fighting.

How do you want your legislators to vote? Do you think we should be involved in Syria? Do you have questions about the balance of power between Congress and President Obama? Let us know!

Categories: Politics
Tags: syria, politics

WILL - Focus - September 05, 2013

A History of Food in 100 Recipes

What’s your favorite dinner dish? Ever wondered where it came from? This hour on Focus, we’ll learn more about the history of food from the first real writings about cheese to how and why the fork became commonplace in Western culture.


(Duration: 51:28)

book cover

How we think about food, how we prepare food and how we eat food is constantly changing. It’s mind blowing to think about how much food changes over the course of a decade, let alone several hundred years. What are your favorite dinner dishes? Have you ever wondered how they evolved into the recipes you know and love? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with author William Sitwell about the history of food….and when we say history, we mean deep history. We’ll go back to the 1400’s when royals were eating feasts prepared from recipes calling for an entire pig, and we’ll learn more about when the fork became a fixture in Western culture. 

Why 100 recipes you ask? We’ll find during this episode of Focus.

Due to technical problems, WILL AM580 was off the air Thursday morning. Our interview with David Inge has been rescheduled for Tuesday, September 10. 

Categories: Food

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WILL - Focus - September 04, 2013

What’s Next for Student Newspapers?

The Daily Illini recently announced they will no longer print a Friday edition of the paper. While it’s nothing new that newspapers are struggling, what does it mean that the problems facing traditional print media have now trickled down to include student publications?


(Duration: 51:38)

The Daily Illini newsroom

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Lil Levant, publisher for the Illini Media Company about the future of the Illini student media and how institutions that train young journalists are trying to adapt to new technology. Ron Johnson, Director of Media at Indiana University in Bloomington also joins us. He says the Daily Illini is not alone in its struggle to maintain financial stability, and many schools are instituting student fees to help support student newspapers.

We’ll also talk about student newspapers and the role they play on college campuses and if online publication carries as much legitimacy as print publication for student journalists.

Are you a student and work for a college paper? Is having an article published online as meaningful as having it published in print? Did you work for a newspaper in college? How did working there affect your college experience? Tell us your story!

WILL - Focus - September 03, 2013

Thieves of Book Row

The “goods” were kept under lock and key…and under special lighting…in the back room….


(Duration: 51:45)

Travis McDade

During the 1920’s, desperate and out of work due to the Great Depression, some people were willing to try anything to make a buck. That includes orchestrating a heist to lift a collection of rare books from a public library. 

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with University of Illinois Associate Professor Travis McDade about his new book “Thieves of Book Row.”  He’ll tell us about Manhattan’s “Book Row,” a theft ring comprised of some of the most notorious literary criminals in US history, the detectives who worked their case and about how much money they were actually making off the texts.

We’ll also talk with him about rare book collecting today and if books are as valuable as they were in the early 1920’s. We’ll also learn more about how librarians protect rare books and prevent these kinds of thefts.

Do you collect books? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!


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