Focus

WILL - Focus - April 26, 2014

An update on WILL-AM’s ‘Focus’

An update on WILL-AM's Focus from Illinois Public Media's news and public affairs director, Scott Cameron

We wanted to give you an update on our plans for the future of Focus. In recent months, we've created a model for what our local, morning call-in show will look and sound like when we re-launch the program early next year. Last month, we let you know that we're searching for a host to build on that vision. As that search continues, we're also now looking for a strong producer to complete our team. Together, they will form the core of our new talk programming staff.  In the meantime, we will end our Friday Focus shows after April 25 until that team is in place. Our reporting staff is again at full strength, and doing the kinds of award-winning stories that you expect. That commitment to great local reporting and storytelling carries over to our call-in talk show … which will return, as planned, in early 2015.

Our Monday through Thursday 10 am program, Tell Me More, will now also air at 10 am Fridays.

Categories: Media and journalism
Tags: focus

WILL - Focus - February 28, 2014

The 86th Academy Awards

The Oscars are the most-watched film award show; how do they influence the industry?

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(Duration: 51:50)

For nearly a century, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been hosting the Oscars. For just as long, the awards have influenced marketing, distribution, taste and conversations within the movie industry. But not everyone agrees completely about how meaningful the awards are. Austin McCann, the general manager for the Art Theater Co-op in Champaign, says that he doesn’t put much faith in the Oscars’ ability to select what he considers to be a good film.

Nationally, the Oscars are just one part of an interconnected series of film festivals and awards shows around the world, says Erik Childress, film critic for WGN and contributor to Indiewire.com. He closely watches and analyzes the awards season each year. This hour on Focus, host Jeff Bossert talks with both McCann and Childress about the influence of the Oscars and their favorite films this year (Oscar-nominated or not).

What were your favorites this year? Were you able to see them all? This hour, Bossert will talk with McCann about how the Art selects films for the theater long before they become Oscar nominees. 


WILL - Focus - December 30, 2013

2013 by the Headlines

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look back at 2013 by the headlines.

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(Duration: 53:16)

Damage from a tornado that struck Gifford, Ill. on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2013.

In 2013, the Illinois legislature finally passed a bill to try and fix the state’s pension issues, legalized same sex marriage and legalized medical marijuana. The Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges made their debut, plagued with problems, and the US almost took action in Syria. Tornadoes late in the fall tore through the state flattening homes in Gifford and Washington, and the state’s film community said goodbye to renowned critic Roger Ebert.

This hour on Focus, we’ll take a look back and 2013 by the headlines. Illinois Public Radio’s Brian Mackey, and WILL reporters Sean Powers and Jeff Bossert talk with host Jim Meadows about the biggest stories of the year.

What was the biggest news in your life this year? Post in the comments section below!

Categories: Media and journalism

WILL - Focus - November 25, 2013

Encore: The Future for AM Radio

Can terrestrial radio survive in a digital era? This hour on Focus, we’ll listen back to a talk with Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai about why he’s trying to save AM radio.

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(Duration: 51:35)

WILL AM-580 staffers in the 1930's

AM radio audiences are at an all-time low, but Ajit Pai, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, has a plan to try and save AM signals from the static. Pai joined us for the first half of this hour on Focus to talk about why he is pushing for new policies to help AM stations bolster their signals.
 
We'll also listen back to when Host Jim Meadows also talked with Michael Harrison, publisher for Talkers Magazine, about the evolution of the AM dial from old time radio to music to conservative talk programming and sports. Can AM radio survive as we know it in an era of rapidly evolving technology? We’ll talk it over this hour on Focus.
 
What roles has AM radio played in your life? Are you ready to give it up? Or do you still think it's relevant? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!
 

Tags: radio, am radio, am, fcc

WILL - Focus - September 23, 2013

Designing Culture

Technology is constantly changing the way we organize everything. Despite the pace of change, we’re still in control. This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Anne Balsamo about the ways she says it’s possible for us to design the culture we want through the way we use the technologies we create.

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(Duration: 51:32)

Anne Balsamo

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Professor Anne Balsamo. She’s a media designer by trade and has been involved in creating several interactive exhibits, like a digital version of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that you can explore by quilt block, name and date. She says in order for us to live in the world we want, we need to keep that world in mind while we’re designing and using our technologies. We’ll talk with her this hour about what interactive media is and if its constructive or just another distraction.

Balsamo is also heading a project called “FemTechNet,” which among other things, has been responsible for adding women into some of Wikipedia's historical entries. We'll also talk with her about how "FemTechNet" is working to create new kinds of learning opportunities though online collaborative education and about how her femisist views mesh with her work arguments about technologies. 

Anne is giving a talk entitled “Designing Digital Memories” at 7:00 p.m. tonight in the Library and Information Science Building at 501 East Daniel Street in Champaign.


WILL - Focus - September 16, 2013

The Future for AM Radio

Can terrestrial radio survive in a digital era? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai about why he’s trying to save AM radio.

Listen

(Duration: 51:35)

WILL AM-580 staffers in the 1930's

AM radio audiences are at an all-time low, but Ajit Pai, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, has a plan to try and save AM signals from the static. Pai joins us for the first half of this hour on Focus to talk about why he is pushing for new policies to help AM stations bolster their signals.

Tags: radio, am radio, am, fcc

WILL - Focus - September 04, 2013

What’s Next for Student Newspapers?

The Daily Illini recently announced they will no longer print a Friday edition of the paper. While it’s nothing new that newspapers are struggling, what does it mean that the problems facing traditional print media have now trickled down to include student publications?

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(Duration: 51:38)

The Daily Illini newsroom

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Lil Levant, publisher for the Illini Media Company about the future of the Illini student media and how institutions that train young journalists are trying to adapt to new technology. Ron Johnson, Director of Media at Indiana University in Bloomington also joins us. He says the Daily Illini is not alone in its struggle to maintain financial stability, and many schools are instituting student fees to help support student newspapers.

We’ll also talk about student newspapers and the role they play on college campuses and if online publication carries as much legitimacy as print publication for student journalists.

Are you a student and work for a college paper? Is having an article published online as meaningful as having it published in print? Did you work for a newspaper in college? How did working there affect your college experience? Tell us your story!


WILL - Focus - July 26, 2013

Mark Leonard Leaving WILL and the Future for Non-Profit Journalism

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with departing WILL General Manger about what’s in store for the future of public broadcasting.

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(Duration: 51:11)

Mark Leonard

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.

Categories: Media and journalism

WILL - Focus - 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!

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(Duration: 51:36)

Station Manager Bob Culkeen and General Manager Mark Leonard

This hour on Focus host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois Public Media’s head honchoes. Bob Culkeen and Mark Leonard will be here to discuss programming changes taking place this summer, the health of your public media station and new ideas we’re cooking up at WILL.


WILL - Focus - April 30, 2013

Boston Marathon Media Coverage

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the media coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing with Bob Garfield of On the Media and Professor Brant Houston of the University of Illinois College of Media.

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(Duration: 51:13)

Lots of things about the Tsarnaev brothers remain unknown, but as more facts about them and why they allegedly planted bombs at one of the largest US marathons become available, what role do the media play? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Bob Garfield, co-host of the program “On the Media” about journalistic ethics and when personal facts about someone’s life like race, ethnicity and religion should matter to a story. We’ll also talk about accuracy and some problems new media created in misidentifying the alleged bombers’ identities. Brant Houston, the Knight Chair Professor in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois College of Media also joins us.

Several major news organizations misreported certain aspects of this case and had to make corrections. Does that cause you to question the facts they report moving forward? Post in the comments section below or find us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580

Categories: Media and journalism

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