WILL - Focus - December 10, 2013

Speaking military slang

Have you ever been a part of a conversation that you didn’t quite understand because you were unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary?


(Duration: 51:53)

Eric (pictured on the far right) with friends in Kuwait in 2006 shortly before going to Iraq.

Eric Swenson says that when he first enlisted in the US Army, there were several occasions when superior officers would correct his word usage. He gun was a “weapon,” not a firearm, and if something was gone, it wasn’t out, it was “black.” Swenson says that learning to use this sort of lingo was a rite of passage when he first went through basic training, but now that he’s a veteran living stateside, it was just as much of a process to stop speaking military as it was to start.

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Swenson and dictionary editor and co-host of public radio’s “A Way with Words,” Grant Barrett about how slang and jargon are vital communication tools even though they work to alienate or include certain groups of people. We’ll learn more about certain words and phrases that are now commonplace in American speech that are relics of military culture, and Swenson will tell us more about some new military slang that’s developed as a product of US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Are you from a military family? Are there words from the military that were used in everyday speech? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!

WILL - Focus - December 09, 2013

Winter Meteorology

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with former WILL meteorologist Ed Kieser about winter weather and the recent tornado outbreak. We welcome your calls and questions!


(Duration: 51:31)

Astrological winter hasn’t made its debut yet, but meteorological winter is here. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with WILL's former meteorologist, Ed Kieser, about the recent weather anomalies we have experienced in the area and how everyone can best prepare for the winter weather. Meadows will also talk to Kieser about the tornadoes that took place in the area last month and what circumstances contributed to that weather event occurring.

WILL - Focus - December 06, 2013

Encore: A conversation with Frank Tavares, the former “Voice of NPR”

You’ve already heard his voice … even if you didn’t know it. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with the former “voice of NPR,” Frank Tavares, about being a somewhat of a disembodied celebrity and about his new book “The Man Who Built Boxes.


(Duration: 51:30)

Frank Tavares

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Frank Tavares, who for years was the “voice of NPR." Often cited as the most heard voice on public radio, Tavares read the underwriting announcements for the news network. We'll hear from him this hour about his public radio roots in Illinois and his work with the Journal of Radio and Audio Media, an communication journal for which he is a founding editor.

Host Jim Meadows also talks with Tavares about his new fiction book of short stories, "The Man Who Built Boxes."


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WILL - Focus - December 05, 2013

Will the 2013 Farm Bill be approved in 2013?

The 2013 farm bill is at least a 900 billion dollar piece of legislation. It’s been stalled in Congress since the 2008 bill expired a year ago. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about what the hold-up is and why it matters.


(Duration: 51:50)

Farmers have been operating for more than a year now without a farm bill. Since the 2008 bill expired, there’s been an ideological debate surrounding the funding of certain programs in the farm bill, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. There are currently two versions of the farm bill stalled in Congress, one passed by the Senate and one passed by the House, and if legislators can’t come to a compromise by January 1, farm policy written in the 1940’s will take effect. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why there’s been such a fight over this year’s farm bill and how that differs from farm bills past.

Jonathan Coppess, a Clinical Professor of Law and Policy in the Department of Agriculture Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former chief of staff to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, (D) who worked on the Senate version of the bill and Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation join us.

Tags: farm bill, farm

WILL - Focus - December 04, 2013

What does Tuesday’s pension vote mean?

A bill to fix the state’s massively underfunded pension system is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Illinois Public Radio Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and former state senator Rick Winkel about what’s in the bill and what happens now.


(Duration: 51:42)

Tally of votes in the Illinois Senate Tuesday on the pension reform bill

Tuesday, the Illinois Legislature approved a history plan to eliminate the state’s $100 billion pension shortfall, considered the worst in the nation. The House voted 62-53 in favor of the plan, and the Senate approved the measure minutes earlier. The bill, however, passed with little support from East Central Illinois lawmakers.

How will it help the state’s budgetary woes and what will it mean for state employees? Does it violate the state’s pension protections spelled out in the Illinois constitution?  This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois Public Radio’s Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and former Illinois State Senator Rick Winkel about what’s in the bill and what it means.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Focus - December 03, 2013

Growing urban agriculture

A lot of our food grows in expansive, rolling fields that make up the Midwest. But with more and more people living in cities, that is changing. This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Will Allen, CEO of Milwaukee’s urban farming project “Growing Power.”


(Duration: 51:28)

Will Allen at Growing Power's urban farm in Milwaukee

After he retired from the NBA, urban farmer and author Will Allen returned to his roots. He was born to sharecroppers in South Carolina and grew up on a small vegetable farm. Today, he’s CEO of Milwaukee’s urban farming project, “Growing Power” and is working to help eradicate food deserts, places where it’s hard to find affordable, fresh produce. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Allen about the project and its mission to help more people, especially those living in cities, gain access to healthy food.

Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, Meadows talks with Sam Wortman, an Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. Wortman studies urban agriculture and says projects like Allen’s are helping accessibility problems but warns that the model for how to create a sustainable urban agriculture system varies from place to place.

Categories: Agriculture, Food

WILL - Focus - December 02, 2013

Scott Tinker on the Switch Energy Project

This hour on Focus, we'll talk about our changing energy resources with Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology and State Geologist of Texas Scott Tinker.


(Duration: 51:46)

Scott Tinker

The way we power our lives is constantly evolving. Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Scott Tinker about fracking, his documentary "Switch" and his mission to educate the public about where our electricity comes from and the reality when it comes to try and make changes to what fuel keeps the lights on.

Tinker will be showing his film and speaking at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Tuesday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Lincoln Hall Theater and will be giving a seminar on fracking on . Find more information at the link below.

Categories: Energy

WILL - Focus - November 29, 2013

Hanukkah Lights 2013

In this holiday special, Hannukah Lights 2013, NPR's Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz read memoirs and stories from acclaimed authors' experienes during the Jewish festival of lights. The stories are written expressly for the show.

In this holiday special, Hannukah Lights 2013, NPR's Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz read memoirs and stories from acclaimed authors' experienes during the Jewish festival of lights. The stories are written expressly for the show.

Categories: Religion

WILL - Focus - November 28, 2013

In Memory: A Thanksgiving Feast with Doyle Moore

This hour on Focus, we remember our "Chef-in-Residence," Doyle Moore.


(Duration: 51:24)

David Inge and Doyle Moore

Doyle Moore loved to cook, and what he craved most was a chance to share the food he made and stories about the food he made with family and friends. That’s probably why he joined former Focus host David Inge to talk cooking on Focus580 for more than 30 years.

This hour on Focus, we pay homage to WILL’s "Chef-in-Residence." Join host Jim Meadows as we listen back to conversations Doyle had with David and Focus' listeners about pumpkin pie, the Thanksgiving turkey’s supporting cast, and what Doyle liked to call “gifts from the kitchen.” We'll also hear from former Focus producers Jack Brighton and Harriet Williamson, and WILL’s Dee Breeding about their favorite Doyle stories and recipes.

Do you remember Focus' cooking show? Did you ever make a recipe Doyle shared over the air? We'd love to hear from you about it! Post in the comment section below or find us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580.

Read more to find recipes from the show (and a few extras)!

Categories: Food

WILL - Focus - November 27, 2013

Jamie Moyer talks about his new book and the Chicago Cubs

During this half hour on Focus, former major league baseball pitcher Jamie Moyer tells Jeff Bossert about his new book, “Just Tell Me I Can’t.”


(Duration: 26:01)

Jamie Moyer made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs when Ronald Reagan was President, and after a close to career ending elbow injury, became oldest pitcher in MLB history to win a game at the age of 49 four years ago. During this segment on Focus, Moyer tells Jeff Bossert about why he returned to the game. He also tells Bossert about his relationship with his late mentor and friend Harvey Dorfman.

Categories: Sports

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