Focus

WILL - Focus - February 24, 2014

Downton Abbey: Portraying Post-Edwardian Life

Are you a Downton fan? What did you think of season 4? Today on Focus, we’ll talk about the show and why it has captivated millions of viewers. Historian Sharon Michalove also joins us to talk about how realistic the show’s depiction of Post- Edwardian life is. 

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(Duration: 51:26)

Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed

During the course of the last four seasons, Downton Abbey has become one of the most widely watched television shows in the US, captivating viewers with its portrayal of English life in the early 1900’s. The finale of season 4 of the show aired last night in the US, and today on Focus, host Jeff Bossert talks with television critic Dave Quinn and historian Sharon Michalove about what happened this season and if the show’s depiction of life post WWI in Britain bears any resemblance to real life.

Do you have questions about characters interactions on the show? Did you enjoy season 4 of the show as much as you enjoyed season 3? We welcome your calls and questions this hour on Focus!

Categories: Entertainment, History

WILL - Focus - February 19, 2014

Encore: The Lost Region

According to historian and author Jon Lauck, in comparison to the South, the far West and New England, the history of the American Midwest has been far overlooked in its importance. This hour on Focus, he talks with host Jim Meadows.

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(Duration: 49:30)

The American Midwest played a crucial role in the development of the US as a whole, helped spark a revolution of American manufacturing by producing food for urban centers and played a critical role in the Union victory of the Civil War. If you ask most historians about the Midwest, however, you might find yourself explaining all that.

This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a conversation Jim Meadows had with Jon Lauck, author of the new book “The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History,” about the forgotten moments when the Midwest played a crucial part in US history. We’ll also hear about the vital role state and local historical societies have played in documenting history in the region.

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - February 05, 2014

Preserving heirlooms and treasures from the past

Do you have an antique or a photo album that has been in your family for generations? How do you preserve those things to ensure they’ll last?

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(Duration: 49:38)

We spend lots of time caring for artifacts from the past and are always looking for new ways to improve techniques for preserving the history found in our photographs, books and other heirlooms. There are entire industries built on preserving photos in scrapbooks or in digital slideshows, and there are museums and historical societies caring for everything from old pieces of clothing to handwritten letters and books. On an individual level, we all have things that are important enough to invest that kind of energy in caring for, but how do you go about doing so?


WILL - Focus - January 06, 2014

The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History

According to historian and author Jon Lauck, in comparison to the South, the far West and New England, the history of the American Midwest has been far overlooked in its importance. This hour on Focus, he talks with host Jim Meadows.

Listen

(Duration: 47:17)

The American Midwest played a crucial role in the development of the US as a whole, helped spark a revolution of American manufacturing by producing food for urban centers and played a critical role in the Union victory of the Civil War. If you ask most historians about the Midwest, however, you might find yourself explaining all that.

Categories: History

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?

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(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 - November 18, 2013

The Gettysburg Address

“Four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent…”

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(Duration: 42:24)

The only known photograph of President Lincoln giving his Gettysburg address on November 19, 1863.

150 years ago tomorrow, President Lincoln delivered one of the best known speeches in American history. Do you remember, without looking it up, when the battle happened that inspired the speech? Today on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Bruce Levine about the significance of the Gettysburg address and the Battle of Gettysburg. Levine says that while the Battle of Gettysburg is one of the most important battles of the war, the Gettysburg Address is not the most important speech Lincoln gave during that time period. We’ll talk about why that speech became so famous and what that says about American history. 

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - November 14, 2013

The Day Kennedy Died: A conversation with former life editor Richard Stolley

Abraham Zapruder caught one of the most infamous moments in American history on film and sold the footage to Life Magazine. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with the reporter who convinced him to give up the film.

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(Duration: 51:20)

Kennedy motorcade in Dallas

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas in 1963, Richard Stolley was Los Angeles bureau chief for Life Magazine. He got a call soon after the news of the assassination broke that someone named Zapruder had caught the whole thing on film.

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - September 30, 2013

Pages From the Past: Stories from the Sunday Pantagraph

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

Listen

(Duration: 51:38)

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, host Jim Meadows talks with him about his book “Pages from the Past: Stories from the Sunday Pantagraph.”  We’ll learn more about Adlai Stevenson II, former Governor and 1950’s democratic Presidential candidate, and we’ll talk with Kemp about his accounts of myths surrounding the Underground railroad in Central Illinois and the Orphan Train movement.

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - September 12, 2013

Chanute Air Force Base’s Tuskegee Connections

Did you know the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black group of fighter pilots to see combat in the US military, started their training in Rantoul, Illinois? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about Chanute Air Force Base’s connections to the Tuskegee Airmen and will learn more about the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron, who will be giving an air show in the area this weekend.

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(Duration: 52:01)

the restored Mustang fighter plane

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look back at East Central Illinois’ connections to the first all-black group of United States fighter pilots with Jim Eldridge, former education director at the Octave Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul. Brad Lang, a professional pilot who volunteers with the Commemorative Air Force’s Red Tail Squadron also joins us. His dad, Donald, served with the Tuskegee airmen in WWII.

Categories: History

WILL - Focus - August 26, 2013

Remembering the March on Washington

50 years ago this week, hundreds of thousands descended upon Washington D.C. for one of the largest protest marches of the civil rights movement. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Champaign-Urbana native Bill Smith about what it was like to be there. We’ll also talk with Sundiata Cha-Jua about the march’s historical significance.

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(Duration: 51:29)

In 1963 when he made the trip from Champaign to Washington D.C., Bill Smith was 21. As an active member of the NAACP chapter at the University of Illinois, he says he remembers feeling awed and inspired by the sheer number of other people who were gathered at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Even as a high school student at Champaign Central, he says he was involved with bringing the blacks and whites together. But it was when he returned from the march that he says he was motivated to really become an agent for change.

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Smith about his experience at 1963 March on Washington; his relationship with his long-time mentor Erma Bridgewater, and about the racial climate during the 1960’s in east central Illinois. 

We’re also joined by Sundiata Cha-Jua, an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about the significance of the march in the context of the larger movement and about Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Did you know someone who marched in a protest during the 1960’s? Did you? What was it like to be a part of one? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!

Categories: Civil Rights, History

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