WILL - Focus - January 22, 2013

International Adoption in Illinois


(Duration: 50:45)

Ben and Timmy McClelland

The Russian government recently instituted a controversial ban on adoptions to the United States. Outcry from both families in the middle of the adoption process with Russia and families who have previously adopted from the country has been harsh.

WILL - Focus - December 03, 2012

Winter Weather Preparedness

Winter is here. You ready?

Ed Kieser joins us to answer your questions on the first day of winter.


(Duration: 51:21)

Trees covered with snow and ice

Guest: Ed Kieser, Meteorologist, American Electric Power, Columbus, OH; Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois

It's been one of the the warmest years on record, but that doesn't mean the Midwestern winter won't bring it's own challenges. On the first Monday of meteorological winter, we'll talk with former WILL meteorologist Ed Kieser about how to prepare for and what to expect from winter weather. We'll also offer you an opportunity to win a prize suitable for stocking stuffing in our Focus Winter Weather Preparedness quiz!

Categories: Community, Environment, Science

WILL - Focus - November 06, 2012

Exploring JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit


(Duration: 51:33)

This September marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. An estimated 100 million copies of the book have been sold since its publication, but interest in The Hobbit sees no signs of abating, as the first of a trilogy of Hobbit films by Peter Jackson opens this December. Author Corey Olsen, who produces a podcast called The Tolkien Professor, feels that The Hobbit has lived far too long in the shadow of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books. His idea is to turn attention back to what he calls "this brilliant little book." Olsen is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington College in Maryland and the President and founder of the Mythgard Institute, a new online teaching center for the study of Tolkien and other works of imaginative literature.

WILL - Focus - September 07, 2012

Why Does the World Exist?


(Duration: 51:22)

Jim Holt, Essayist and contributor to the New York Times Book Review and the New York Review of Books.

Host: Craig Cohen

It’s hard to pass up any book that promotes itself as an “existential detective story.” That’s the subtitle of author Jim Holt’s new book “Why Does the World Exist?” In it, Holt traces efforts to grasp the origins of the universe, and suggests along the way that many discussions revolving around the classic question “why are we here?” are simply too narrow – that there are many more possible answers than the old God versus the Big Bang debate would suggest. Holt talks with philosophers, physicists, and a Buddhist monk, among others, as he seeks big answers to the biggest of questions.

WILL - Focus - September 03, 2012

The 20th Century Exodus: The Triumphant Life and Journey of the Jewish in Our Community


(Duration: 59:03)

A radio documentary special  by Urbana University Laboratory High School students.

Growing up in Champaign as one of a handful of Jewish children in town, Ruth Kuhn Youngerman enjoyed friendships with people from a variety of faiths. The Jewish community was small and close-knit, led by Jewish storeowners such as the Sterns, Lowensterns and Kuhns who helped develop commerce in downtown Champaign and Urbana.

Yet Jewish residents were integrated and accepted in the community, said Youngerman, who was born in 1914, the same year that the first Jewish temple was built at State and Clark streets. When her grandfather, Kuhn’s Department Store founder Joseph Kuhn, died, they called him the best “Christian” in the community, Youngerman said. “In other words, they were saying he was like them, that they (Jews) were good people.”

Urbana University High School students interviewed Youngerman and 13 other leaders of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish community for a new radio documentary, The 20th Century Exodus: The Triumphant Life and Journey of the Jewish in Our Community.

WILL - Focus - July 31, 2012

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change


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Most of Africa’s farmers are so poor they can’t grow enough to feed their families year round. In January of 2011 a group of Kenyan farmers decided to take a chance--joining the One Acre Fund, a social enterprise set up to help some of Africa’s most neglected people. The hope was that they could feed their families for the year, and have a bit left over to sell.  Roger Thurow brings us the story of a farm community on the brink of change, the subject of his book "The Last Hunger Season."

This is a repeat broadcast from Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 11 am

WILL - Focus - July 04, 2012

Capitol Steps Politics Takes a Holiday 4th of July Special


(Duration: 54:60)

In order to accommodate the Secret Service scandal and the requests of many public radio stations, the Capitol Steps July 4th edition of “Politics Takes a Holiday” will be a full hour. Packed with new songs and more fun than a GSA party in Vegas, the Capitol Steps hope to remind you that if this special influences your vote for President ... yikes, we’re in worse shape than we thought.

WILL - Focus - May 31, 2012

Interview with Cokie Roberts


(Duration: 51:47)

NPR’s Cokie Roberts shares stories about growing up in a political family. She was in Urbana earlier in the month to speak at this year’s commencement ceremony. Before that, she stopped by our studios to talk about some of her experiences in journalism. As it was the day before Mother’s Day, she told some stories about her Mom, who, like her Dad, was a member of Congress. We also talked about some of the important, yet overlooked women in early American politics.

This interview was recorded on May 12, 2012.

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