WILL - Focus - December 31, 2013

Encore: Dreamland - Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

We spend nearly a third of our lives asleep…but have you ever wondered why? Interestingly enough, despite years and billions of dollars in research, even leading sleep scientists still can’t answer that question. We'll listen back to a conversation, Lindsey Moon had with David Randall, author of the book “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep.”


(Duration: 51:33)

book cover

Studies of the brain and its processes are often full of more questions than they are answers, but one such question started to nag at David Randall after he sleep walked into a wall. “Why do we sleep?”

This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a conversation Lindsey Moon had with Randall about his book “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep." We’ll hear about why many of the sleep disorders we classify as problems today weren’t anything to be worried about before the invention of the light bulb, why it’s so hard to pin down the biologic reason for why the human brain needs sleep and will talk about the real reason it’s so hard to drag teenagers from bed before 10 a.m. We’ll also talk about what’s being called sleep crime, cases where sleepwalkers have committed murder while dreaming.

Randall is a senior reporter at Reuters and an adjunct professor at New York University. He’s also been published in the New York Times, New York Magazine and Forbes. Dreamland is his first book. 

Categories: Science

WILL - Focus - December 30, 2013

2013 by the Headlines

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look back at 2013 by the headlines.


(Duration: 53:16)

Damage from a tornado that struck Gifford, Ill. on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2013.

In 2013, the Illinois legislature finally passed a bill to try and fix the state’s pension issues, legalized same sex marriage and legalized medical marijuana. The Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges made their debut, plagued with problems, and the US almost took action in Syria. Tornadoes late in the fall tore through the state flattening homes in Gifford and Washington, and the state’s film community said goodbye to renowned critic Roger Ebert.

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look back and 2013 by the headlines. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey, and WILL reporters Sean Powers and Jeff Bossert talk with host Jim Meadows about the biggest stories of the year.

What was the biggest news in your life this year? Post in the comments section below!

Categories: Media and journalism

WILL - Focus - December 27, 2013

Encore: Understanding Personality Tests

Have you ever taken a personality test to see what it says about you? Today on Focus, we find out what they actually measure and what we can and can’t learn from them.


(Duration: 51:28)

The International Society for Arboriculture uses the "True Colors" personality test. Employees keep their colors on puzzle pieces outside their door in the office.

Personality tests inform hiring selections, career paths, dating options and any number of other decisions in business, academia and culture. But what do personality tests actually measure, and do our personalities change over time? Why do we seem to love to taking personality tests so much? This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a conversation host Jim Meadows had with Professor Brent Roberts about the science, popularity and limits of personality tests. Cindy Harris, a human resources manager, from the International Society of Arboriculture also joins the program. The Champaign-based organization says using the “True Colors” personality test has been really helpful in its workplace culture.
Have you taken a personality test? Did you find it useful or useless? Do you have questions about how it scored you? Give us a call this hour on Focus!

Categories: Art and Culture

WILL - Focus - December 26, 2013

A Season’s Griot

Kwanzaa begins today and lasts through January 4. During this hour, we'll learn more about the holiday and will listen to plenty of music with host Madafo Lloyd Wilson. 

Madafo Lloyd Wilson

Madafo Lloyd Wilson has been hosting public radio's only Kwanzaa program for nealry 20 years. During this hour, we'll join him as he captures tales and traditions of African American and African people with familiar and favorite elements of Griot. 


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WILL - Focus - December 25, 2013

Tinsel Tales 2

This hour, we'll hear holiday stories from the voices of NPR.

NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth and a host of festive voices. Continuing the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales, this is another collection of NPR favorite holiday stories. NPR personalities from past and present share stories of joy, hope and childhood memories. 


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WILL - Focus - December 24, 2013

Tinsel Tales

Lynn Neary hosts NPR's "Tinsel Tales." This hour we'll hear favorite holiday stories from the voices of NPR

Christmas is a time of traditions, and over the years, NPR has created a few traditions of its own. In this hour-long special, we'll experience wistfulness, joy, doubt and hope, summoned up in memorable stories from the NPR broadcast archives. David Sedaris, Bailey White, and John Henry Faulk, among many other NPR voices from the past and present tell stories of the season. 


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WILL - Focus - December 23, 2013

Encore: Pages From the Past

What do Adlai Stevenson, the Underground railroad, the Orphan Train movement and the old-time radio program Vic and Sade have in common?


(Duration: 51:30)

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp recently penned his 400th article for the Pantagraph newspaper based in Bloomington-Normal. He’s been writing about history for nearly a decade and says even though we’re in a pretty rural part of the Midwest, he’s never been at a loss for an interesting tale to describe in his history column.
This hour on Focus, we revisit when host Jim Meadows talked with him about his book “Pages from the Past: Stories from the Sunday Pantagraph.”  We learned more about Adlai Stevenson II, former Governor and 1950’s democratic Presidential candidate, and we talked with Kemp about his accounts of myths surrounding the Underground railroad in Central Illinois and the Orphan Train movement.

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - December 20, 2013

Coming Up on Focus

Find out more about what's coming up on Focus!

Monday, December 23: We'll listen back to a conversation Jim Meadows had with Bill Kemp, a historian who writes the "Pages from the Past" column for Bloomington-Normal's Sunday Pantagraph. He tells us about his recenlty published book and a little about quirky history in central Illinois.


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WILL - Focus - December 20, 2013

Personal Finance: Retirement

Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Kevin Waspi, a chartered financial analyst and Kathy Sweedler, a consumer economics educator for University of Illinois Extension. We welcome your calls and questions!


(Duration: 51:46)

a dollar with some cents

Illinois isn’t the only place where pension funding has been a problem. Many private companies have been dropping pension plans in favor of other retirement packages, like 401 K’s, in recent years, and the federal government’s new budget deal also targets pension funds as a way to save money. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with personal finance experts Kevin Waspi and Kathy Sweedler about saving for retirement, what your options are and how to plan for how money comes and goes through your lifetime.

Or course, this hour on Focus, we also welcome your personal finance questions whether you’re looking at buying a car, sending a child to college or just starting out.

Read more for this month's updated Couch Potato Porfolio.

Categories: Personal Finance

WILL - Focus - December 19, 2013

Film critic Matt Zoller-Seitz talks about filmmaker Wes Anderson

This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with film critic and Editor in Chief of Matt Zoller-Seitz about his new book “The Wes Anderson Collection.”


(Duration: 51:37)

book cover

Matt Zoller-Seitz was a young film critic working in Dallas the first time he met filmmaker Wes Anderson, who’s responsible for movies including “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “Rushmore.” Zoller-Seitz was the first critic to review one of Anderson’s movies, before either had made a name for himself in the film industry.

Today, Zoller-Seitz and Anderson are good friends, and Zoller-Seitz has just published his first book “The Wes Anderson Collection” that contains photos from the movies and transcripts of in-depth interviews between the two. This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Zoller-Seitz about the relationship between a critic and a movie maker.


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