At some point, almost everyone dreams of being a movie star or being on stage and in the limelight… but without the actors and actresses in supporting roles, there would be no star of the show. This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation Jeff Bossert had with Stephen Toboloswky and University of Illinois Acting Program Chair Henson Keys about the importance of the character actor and how supporting roles are sometimes even more challenging to play well than leading roles. We’ll also talk with Stephen about the moment he knew he was destined for a career as a character actor....when he started to lose his hair while he was studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Annie Kohlhagen-Fleck was working as school teacher when she met her husband Frank in the mid-1940’s. He was a farmer, and she spent her life from the time they married in 1947 until her death in 2007 caring for milk cows and chickens and raising her four children. She learned about farming, money management and crop insurance through trial and error, what her daughter Ruth Hambleton calls “the hard way” not having grown up on a farm or having access to resources to help guide her through the complicated world of crop insurance and bookkeeping.
In 2003, Ruth founded Annie’s Project, in honor of her mother, to help women learn to manage farming operations alongside other women.
This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Ruth about Annie’s story, the project and how it’s helped empower more women to become stakeholders in agriculture. Stephanie Butcher, who manages the business for her family’s 2200 acre grain operation in Mt. Auburn, Illinois, also joins our conversation. She says taking Annie’s Project classes have been invaluable in helping her get involved with farming and learning about agriculture marketing and business. She took over the books and the business side of running her family’s farm in 2008 with her husband after enrolling in an Annie’s Project class. Even though she grew up on a farm, she says she didn’t learn anything about the business aspect of farming.
Are you a female farmer? What appeals to you about the farming lifestyle? How did you learn about life on the farm? We’d love to hear from you this hour. Find us on Facebook or send us a tweet @Focus580.
According to Nielsen Soundscan, a company that tracks the sale of music in the US, vinyl sales are up by more than 30% over this time last year; more than two million vinyl albums have sold in 2013. Nielsen says their data shows that vinyl sales started climbing in 2007 and have kept on going ever since. Interesting considering music hasn’t been released solely on vinyl albums for decades... This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the resurgence of records and record stores and will talk about what makes old-fashioned records so appealing in an era largely defined by digital culture.
Greg Kot, music critic for the Chicago Tribune and co-host of the podcast “Sound Opinions,” Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork and Jeff Brandt, the owner of Exile on Main Street in Champaign join us. Maybe you didn’t grow up in the vinyl era but still enjoy listening to albums. What is the appeal?
Ticks spread diseases that can be a threat to both your pet’s health and to yours. So far this summer, there’s been an increase in Illinois’ tick population, and this hour on Focus, we welcome veterinarian Sally Foote. She’ll be here to talk with host Jim Meadows about the species of ticks that live in Illinois, what diseases they spread and how to protect your pet from them. We’ll also talk about the best ways to remove a tick from your dog or cat. Of course, we also welcome your questions no matter what breed or species you love and care for.
Before she started writing her new book “Pretty Good for Girl: Women in Bluegrass” Murphy Henry thought she was one of only a few women trying to make bluegrass music. But as she found out, there are lots of women who have had successful careers, they just hadn’t gotten any attention for it. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass, why these musicians have slipped under the radar and why, before now, there’s been so little conversation about their contributions to the genre. We’ll also talk with Murphy about her own musical career, her love for playing the banjo and the “Murphy Method,” a technique she pioneered to teach banjo.
We also talk with her about Champaign-Urbana native Alison Krauss and her career and contributions to bluegrass music.”
This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation host Jim Meadows had earlier this summer exploring East Central Illinois…from the perspective of a tourist. Sue Post, author of Hiking Illinois, tells 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. Sue also tells us about native wildlife of note.
Then during the second half of the hour, we’ll hear from 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 every 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!
Former Saturday Night Live cast member Julia Sweeney is known for both her infamous character “Pat” and her solo performances. Since her days on SNL, she’s toured as a one woman show exploring love, cancer, family and faith in “God Said Ha!,” “In the Family Way” and “Letting Go of God.” In her most recent book, “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother,” she confronts parenting and what it was like for her as a single woman to adopt her daughter, Mulan. This hour on Focus, we’re listening back to a conversation she had with Jim Meadows about the book and the embroidered pillow that inspired it.
We also talk with her about “Pat” and her career as a comedian and performer.
This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation host Jim Meadows had with “Dr. Happiness” earlier this spring. Ed Diener, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois, has written extensively about what factors influence psychological wealth and well-being. He talks with us about his research, how he got others in the field to take him seriously when we started trying to quantify something so abstract and what makes life satisfaction so vital to our health.
During this episode of Focus, we also talk with him about what it really means to be happy and how researchers go about quantifying these things.
Professor Diener was awarded the Distinguished Scientist Lifetime Career Award by the American Psychological Association earlier this spring. He’s the author of three books, and in addition to his many achievements, founded one of the most acclaimed and widely read journals on the study of psychology, “Perspectives on Psychological Science.” He is also listed on the Institute of Scientific Information’s most cited list with more than 65,000 scientific articles quoting his work.
What makes you happy? Tell us in five words. Post in the comments section below or post on our Facebook or Twitter page @Focus580.
WILL General Manager Mark Leonard started his career in public broadcasting as a camera operator, getting a start working on documentaries on Native American reservations in South Dakota and has since held just about every job in television production there is. This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Mark about his career and what he’s accomplished as the leader of WILL’s television and radio stations. Today is his last day with WILL; he’s departing to take a new position as the general manager at NET, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. We’ll talk with him about his career, what’s ahead for WILL and the health of public broadcasting stations through his lens.
Then in the second half of this hour, Mark Jurkowitz, Associate Director of the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism joins our conversation. According to a new report out recently from his organization, the news landscape continues to shift. Newspapers have been dying a slow death, and in the wake of disappearing resources for reporting, publicly funded and non-profit journalism organizations are starting to emerge. We’ll talk about how that changes where you can expect to get your news and how that could open a whole other can of worms when it comes to funding.
Do you have questions for WILL departing General Manger Mark Leonard? Post in the comments section below or tweet us @Focus580.
This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a conversation Jim Meadows had with Dr. Craig Surman, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical school and the coordinator of the Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital about his book “Fast Minds: How to Thrive if You Have ADHD.”