WILL - Focus - April 15, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Friday on Focus: Filmmaker Steve James on his new documentary, “Life Itself”

Friday, April 18 on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with filmmaker Steve James about his new documentary “Life Itself," which is based on Roger Ebert's 2011 memoir.

Flm critic Roger Ebert in Chicago in 2005

A new documentary about film critic Roger Ebert premiers in Champaign Wednesday, April 23 at this year's Overlooked Film Festival, "Ebertfest." This Friday on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with filmmakker Steve James, also known for his work on the film "Hoop Dreams" about making the documentary.

WILL - Focus - February 28, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

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 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 - February 05, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

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 - February 03, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

New Leaders: A Black History Month Special

Today - State of the Re:Union special shines the spotlight on the next generaton of grassroots leaders in the African American community.

Usually during Black History Month, we remember Civil Rights icons and reflect on their legacy.  But over the past couple of years, State of the Re:Union has met a new generation of African American leaders, people you may not see on TV specials or making nationally acclaimed speeches. Most of these men and women are on the front lines of their communities, rolling up their selves and diving in to what can be very unglamorous work. In this episode, State of the Re:Unionwould like to introduce you to this group of leaders and what they’re accomplishing in their various corners of America.

We are sorry we are unavailable to provide a podcast for this hour. 

Categories: Community

WILL - Focus - January 29, 2014 ~ Comment (1)

Women On the Internet: Welcome but not welcome?

This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about technology is changing the conversation about sexism. 

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(Duration: 51:52)

people working at computers in a library

Sunday evening when University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise emailed the campus to say that classes would indeed be held despite a predicted below zero temperature with windchills reaching into the double digits, the internet became a way for students to voice their discontent. Within hours, a Twitter hashtag joking about the cold turned into a sexist and racist attack on the Chancellor herself. During this hour on Focus, Scott Cameron talks with Amanda Hess, author of the recent article “Why Aren’t Women Welcome on the Internet” about her experiences with the kind of verbal abuse directed at Chancellor Wise. Hess also talks about the University’s nonresponse to the incident.

Then, host Jim Meadows talks with Kate Clancy, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. She blogs for the Scientific American about “human behavior, evolutionary medicine…..and ladybusiness” and recently wrote about the current plight of women in academia. She says the kinds of backhandedness that happens online translates into real life consequences. Emily Graslie, the producer and host of the Field Museum’s behind-the-scenes science vlog “The Brain Scoop,” also joins the show. Her recent post “Where My Ladies At?” questions whether more women would pursue careers in science if they were met with a different kind of judgment from men in the field.

Categories: Community, Gender issues

WILL - Focus - January 22, 2014 ~ Comment (0)

Conceal and carry law now in effect

Illinois new conceal and carry law took effect January 1. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about what citizens who aren’t gun owners can expect from people who will soon be concealing a loaded weapon on their person.

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(Duration: 51:42)

A handgun is on display during a seminar on gun violence in Springfield, Ill.

Concealed Carry permits are being approved by the Illinois State Police and could start being mailed soon. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about who will be carrying a gun and what kind of training the state requires before they’ll issue a permit. Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh and concealed carry instructor John Boch join host Jim Meadows to start this hour on Focus. We’ll hear about how the application review process is working out in Champaign county and will hear what kind of training you can expect people with concealed carry permits to have.

Then, police departments and citizens who want a license to conceal and carry aren’t the only ones who’ve been getting ready for the new law. Private Security Consultant Tim Sutton says he’s been working with hospitals and churches addressing security concerns posed by the new law.

Did you apply for a conceal and carry license? Why do you want one? Now that conceal and carry is a reality in Illinois, do you feel safer or not? Give us a call this hour on Focus or find us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580

Categories: Community, Law

WILL - Focus - January 08, 2014 ~ Comment (1)

Raising the Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25. Should it be higher?

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(Duration: 49:59)

Rachel Warren is 21 and says that she “makes it work” supporting herself by working two jobs for minimum wage, one in Champaign and one in Urbana. If she had to support someone else, however, she says that just wouldn’t be feasible. Gov. Pat Quinn has been pushing for an increase to Illinois minimum wage, which is already a dollar higher than the federal standard. If the state mandated a wage increase for people like Warren, she says even a dollar more an hour would make a substantial difference in her monthly budget.
This hour on focus, we’ll hear from Warren and will talk about the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage and the arguments for and against doing so. Bob Bruno, Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago and James Sherk, a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics at the Heritage Foundation join us.
Do you or have you ever worked for minimum wage? Are you a small business owner who would be affected by a potential wage increase? Post in the comments section below!

Categories: Community, Economics, Politics

WILL - Focus - December 17, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Why give gifts?

We spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for gifts we give around the holidays. Why?

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(Duration: 51:41)

holiday gifts

There’s a lot of forethought, and sometimes a lot of stress, that’s a part of the holiday season. That’s completely counter-intuitive considering the holidays are supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about why certain expectations are attached to the holidays and what we can do about it.

Categories: Community, Consumer issues

WILL - Focus - November 22, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman, and Controlling Chaos

This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with Illinois new Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman, then we'll talk with Jack Rozdilsky, who researches the aftermath of natural disasters to try and make the recovery more efficient.

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(Duration: 51:34)

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman

Illinois new Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman has been head of the state’s high court for almost a month now. During the first half of this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Garman, who lives in Danville, about what it took for her to get there. We’ll also ask Garman about her views on cameras in the court room, and about her work to create a committee on child custody issues for the state’s supreme court.

Then on the second half of this episode of Focus, Jack Rozdilsky joins host Jim Meadows. Rozdilsky is a professor at Western Illinois University who teaches and researches what strategies make emergency management most effective. We’ll talk with him about how to orchestrate a recovery and how to teach someone to control chaos.

Categories: Community, Law

WILL - Focus - November 20, 2013 ~ Comment (0)

Rebuilding after a tornado

Now that the clean-up has begun and the damage is being assessed in communities stricken by this weekend’s tornadoes, we’ll talk this hour about what it’s like to rebuild.

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(Duration: 51:36)

Mary Sutherlin looks at what's left of her home Tuesday, November 19 in Gifford.

Mary Sutherlin has spent the last few days working with her neighbors and her husband to clean up what’s left of her home. She says when the tornado struck her hometown of Gifford on Sunday, she and her husband and 11 year-old grandchild barely made it into the back room before the tornado blew away most of her neighborhood. For the first half of this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Sutherlin about what’s next and how she’s handling rebuilding and clean-up. Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Spokesman Rick Atterberry also joins us.

Then, Jim Gilliland, former mayor of Ogden, Illinois joins us. He says when a tornado struck the town of around 700 people in late April of 1996, both the damage and the idea that he was a key decision maker was overwhelming. We’ll talk with him about how the community came together and started to pick up the pieces in the weeks and months following the storm.

Categories: Community

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