Focus

WILL - Focus - October 03, 2013

Are Orchestras in Crisis?

It’s no secret that classical music’s listener base has been shrinking over time, and there’s no easy answer to why. One thing is for certain, attendance at orchestral concerts is down. But what's the best way to reverse the trend? Classical musicians, conductors and fans tend to disagree.  

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(Duration: 51:50)

The Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra performing under the direction of Stephen Alltop.

Symphony orchestra performance attendance has always been a mixed bag, but what’s the best way to draw in new listeners? Some argue orchestras should perform more popular music at concerts in hopes of drawing people who might not necessarily exclusively listen to classical, and in East Central Illinois, pops concerts are better attended than strictly classical shows. But some devoted listeners only want to hear classical pieces by composers like Beethoven or Brahms and frown upon the idea of their orchestras performing more popular arrangements.

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Stephen Alltop, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra's new music director; Jeremy Swerling, maestro for the Danville Sympohny Orchestra and Kevin Kelly, music director for the Prairie Ensemble and the Eastern Illinois Youth Orchestra. We'll talk with them about how they make decisions about what to perform at concerts, trying to balance the concerns of dedicated listeners while trying to increase attendance and introduce new listeners to the genre.

Categories: Art and Culture, Music

WILL - Focus - October 02, 2013

Get Covered Illinois! Health Marketplace Now Open for Business

Do you have questions about the new health care marketplaces? Maybe you think you should be shopping for insurance, but you’re not sure. This hour on Focus, we’ll try to demystify Illinois’ new health care exchanges. 

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(Duration: 51:29)

Charlene Aumiller (left) gets help with the health care marketplace from Shannon Killian (right) of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on Oct. 1, 2013.

Yesterday, Illinois’ new health care marketplace opened for business, enabling people to start enrolling in new health insurance plans. There are several plans to choose from with several different levels of coverage, but not everybody should be looking to the marketplace for coverage. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Claudia Lenhoff, Executive Director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers and Julie Pryde, Executive Director of  the Champaign County Public Health District, which is working to educate people about the new marketplaces, also known as exchanges, and get them enrolled in coverage.

Categories: Health

WILL - Focus - October 01, 2013

A Conversation with Former National Science Foundation Director Subra Suresh

Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with the Former Director of the National Science Foundation, Subra Suresh.

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(Duration: 51:21)

Subra Suresh

When Subra Suresh was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as director of the National Science Foundation in September 2010, he made history as the first Asia-born director of the organization. Today, he serves as President of Carnegie Mellon University. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Suresh about the NSF, making the transition from director to university president and about the changing nature of scientific research, which Suresh says is taking on an increasingly interdisciplinary identity.

Categories: Education, Science

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