downtown Decatur
Wikimedia Commons
April 25, 2014

Brain drain in downstate Illinois

There’s been a steady flow of industry and people out of some downstate Illinois factory towns for years. This hour on Focus, we'll look at the numbers and hear from one town that has stopped the outflow of people, even after their Maytag plant relocated.


a bitcoin banknote
Wikimedia Commons
January 31, 2014

Cash, credit or Bitcoin?

Venture capitalists are starting to invest in bitcoin, and some major retailers are considering accepting it as payment. Does that mean it’s on track to become a new form of mainstream currency?


Station Manager Bob Culkeen and General Manager Mark Leonard
Mike Thomas
May 03, 2013

Talk with the Managers

What’s in the future for public media? How is the sequester affecting WILL? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Illinois Public Media General Manger Mark Leonard and Station Manager Bob Culkeen. We welcome your questions!


A satellite in space
February 01, 2013

The Future of Space Travel

Ten years ago, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded on re-entry over Texas, killing seven astronauts; in the years that followed, state-funded space flight dwindled. Today on Focus, we'll talk the future of space exploration with a former astronaut, an aerospace engineer and a businessman who wants to make human settlements in space a reality. Join our conversation at 10 or on Facebook and Twitter


Cover of Book, The Young Professional's Survival Guide: From Cab Fares to Moral Snares
December 06, 2012

The Young Professional’s Survival Guide: From Cab Fares to Moral Snares

We’ll discuss ethical dilemmas in the workplace with C.K. Gunsalus, Director of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, and Professor Emerita in the College of Business at the U of I, and author of The Young Professional’s Survival Guide: From Cab Fares to Moral Snares. We’ll welcome your examples of ethical quandaries you’ve faced in the professional world – from rampant stealing of office supplies, to questionable business practices – anything you’ve come across, that maybe you’ve been asked to do in the workaday world that has given you pause, and how you handled it.


November 01, 2012

Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love

There are many reasons to purchase goods or services from one company over another: price, quality, and convenience. But sometimes, the decision is a moral one; we seek out businesses we believe support or represent our world view – or avoid those that defy it. (The debate earlier this summer over Chick-Fil-A was a demonstration of both).

At the heart of such decisions is whether we deem a company to be socially responsible. But how do you really know? How can you be sure that a reputation is accurate and deserved? And what if the truth is mixed – what if a company leads on one ethical precept, but falls short on another?

Journalist Fran Hawthorne has contemplated these questions, and set out to uncover whether some of the most beloved, trusted companies who have built up a socially responsible reputation really live up to the hype. In the book Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love, Hawthorne takes us behind the scenes of companies with powerful brand loyalty, companies like Tom’s of Maine, Starbucks, and Apple. Along the way, Hawthorne finds out why these companies have earned seemingly unflagging devotion from socially conscious consumers. And she calls out the companies and consumers alike with a provocative question: Is it really about being socially conscious, or just looking like you are?

This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, September 04, 2012, 10 am


August 31, 2012

Farmers Markets

Janine MacLachlan, Food Writer, Blogger, and Founder of The Rustic Kitchen Cooking School

Lisa Bralts, Economic Development Specialist Director, Urbana's Market at the Square City of Urbana

Host: Craig Cohen

We can get our food from most anywhere – restaurants and grocery stores abound in most communities across the country. Even if you live in a small town, many food options are just a short drive away. But much of what we bring home from the grocery store – and much of what many restaurants (especially the fast food variety) serve is processed, pre-packaged, and probably not all that fresh.

And then there are farmer’s markets. Growers, producers and artisans bring fresh food from their local communities to such markets every week. And some consumers absolutely swear by various seasonal markets and farmstands.

Is the food really all that different? What controls are in place to ensure quality and freshness in farmer’s markets? How do you know you’re really getting the higher quality you pay for? And just what are the advantages for you, your family, and your community in seeing that such farmer’s markets succeed?

We’ll discuss the potential benefits of vibrant farmer’s markets for a community, and seek out your experiences shopping at them – or perhaps bringing your own fare to market, as we talk with Janine MacLachlan, a food writer, blogger and founder of The Rustic Kitchen Cooking School.  She’s the author of Farmers’ Markets of the Heartland. We’ll also be joined by Lisa Bralts, Economic Development Specialist Director for Urbana’s Market at the Square for the City of Urbana. She and Market at the Square are featured prominently in MacLachlan’s book.

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 10 am


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