WILL - Focus - April 24, 2013

Jeremy Hobson

Do you enjoy the Marketplace Morning Report? Is there something you want to ask host Jeremy Hobson? This hour we talk with this WILL alum about his career and his next move to host the program “Here and Now.”


(Duration: 52:33)

Jeremy Hobson

This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with public radio host and Champaign-Urbana native Jeremy Hobson.

Hobson is currently the host of the Marketplace Morning Report, an eight-minute daily business news program with an audience of nearly six million. This hour, we talk with him about his experiences interviewing billionaires like former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and philanthropist Melinda Gates; his experience reporting in Turkey at the start of the Iraq war and the start of his radio career that began at the ripe old age of 9 when he started contributing to the program Treehouse Radio.

We'll also talk about his next steps as a co-host of WBUR and NPR's program Here and Now which will start airing on WILL AM 580 July 1 in place of the NPR program Talk of the Nation

Hobson is a graduate of Boston University and the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. He lives in New York and enjoys hiking, traveling and extremely spicy foods.

Categories: Media and journalism

WILL - Focus - April 04, 2013

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Calling them unmanned aerial vehicles sounds just as scary as calling them drones, but what do we really mean when we talk about this technology? This hour on Focus, we talked about drones, how they are being used and how they’re not. We also heard from an Urbana man working to advance the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in journalism and to inspire high school students to study math and science.


(Duration: 55:01)

an unmanned aerial vehicle

The technologies encompassed by the term “unmanned aerial vehicle” are vast and include everything from hobbyist drones that look like toy helicopters to units that are equipped with cameras and are being used to monitor crop damage. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Matthew Schroyer, a graduate of the UIUC who is also the founder of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists. We’ll talk with him about the things drones could help us do, and we’ll ask him about the privacy concerns the technology raises. Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, former Wired editor and founder of the website DIY Drones and Nancy Cooke, Professor at Arizona State University and Science Director of the Cognitive Engineering Research Institute in Mesa, Arizona, also join us.

Watch a video of Matt explaining and flying his drone. 



Are you excited by the possibilities of this kind of technology? Or does it scare you? Why? Join our conversation. Post in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580.

WILL - Focus - March 29, 2013

Next Week on Focus: MLB Opening Day, Drones and The Lawyer Bubble

Do you love MLB Opening Day? Who’re you rooting for this season? Does the idea of drone technology scare you or excite you?  Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.

Thursday on Focus, we'll talk about unmanned aerial vehicles.

Next week on Focus, we'll talk with the official historian for Major League Baseball and an Urbana man working with unmanned aerial technology for both journalistic purposes and to inspire high school students to study math and science. We'll also address the unmet need for homeless services in the area and talk about the growing disconnect between law schools and law firms in Illionis and why it matters. 

WILL - Focus - February 22, 2013

Meet Jim Meadows, Focus’ New Interim Host

Jim Meadows will become Focus’ new interim program host. Current host and News and Public Affairs Director Craig Cohen is leaving WILL for Houston Public Media.

Jim Meadows in WILL's talk studio

Senior reporter Jim Meadows will become Focus’ new interim program host starting Monday, February 25. Current host and News and Public Affairs Director Craig Cohen is leaving Illinois Public Media/WILL for Houston Public Media.

Meadows says he’s excited to have the opportunity to host Focus and is looking forward to being part of program’s rich legacy. He’s been with WILL since 2000 working as a reporter, newscaster and local host for Morning Edition, and has also been a substitute host for Focus several times.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” he said.

Categories: Media and journalism

WILL - Focus - February 22, 2013

The Academy Awards and Focus’ New Host

Today on on Focus, host Craig Cohen talked with Time Out Chicago’s Film Editor about this year’s Oscar nominees and the politlcal statements they make. Then, during the second half of the program, he talked with Jim Meadows, who will be Focus’ new interim host starting Monday.


(Duration: 55:01)

a photo from the audience at the Oscars in 1988

During this episode of Focus, we talked about film and its role in public discourse. Host Craig Cohen talks with Ben Kenigsberg, Film Section Editor for Time Out Chicago, and Richard Leskosky, an Associate Professor (retired) of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about this year’s Academy Award nominees and the political statements they make. We discussed waterboarding and the capture of Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, mental health issues raised in Silver Linings Playbook and the different depictions of slavery in Lincoln and Django Unchained. We also asked whether it’s a conflict of interest in Argo wins best picture; after all, it is a picture about how Hollywood came to the rescue...

WILL - Focus - February 19, 2013

X-Files Creator Chris Carter and Conspiracy Theories

The Truth is out there… Are you a believer? Today on Focus, host Craig Cohen talked with Chris Carter, the creator of the X-Files and John Grant, author of “Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions and the War Against Reality.” Find the podcast here.


(Duration: 50:45)

 David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) on set of the X-Files with creator Chris Carter.

Tens of millions of viewers were captivated by Fox’s “The X-Files” in the late 1990’s. Inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone, The X-Files resonated with skeptics, conspiracy theorists and those who see reason to mistrust the government. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with the show’s creator, Chris Carter, about what inspired the show, what made it a hit and why he slept on a couch in Fox studios' lobby after pulling an all-nighter to finish the pilot. We’ll also ask Carter about his character Bambi Berenbaum, a knock-out entomologist who appears in season 3 and was named after University of Illinois Professor May Berenbaum.

Carter joins Focus in preview of his visit to this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival

In the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with John Grant, the author of “Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions and the War Against Reality” about conspiracy theories in popular culture and why they persist.

WILL - Focus - February 08, 2013

Nina Totenberg and Nathan Wolfe

Did you know Nina Totenberg was run over by a speedboat on her honeymoon? Today on Focus, we'll talk with Nina about her life and career. Then, a conversation with Nathan Wolfe, the "Indiana Jones of vius hunting."


(Duration: 50:05)

Nina Totenberg

This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with Nina Totenberg, NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent and this year’s winner of the Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism about her coverage of the US Supreme Court and some little known facts about her life and career. Then for the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with Nathan Wolfe, a virologist who has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, about his work in Africa and why globalization is making our society more vulnerable to pandemic diseases.

Both Totenberg and Wolfe are speaking on campus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaing on Monday, February 11. Find more information at the links listed below.

WILL - Focus - January 07, 2013

Political Discourse in America


(Duration: 51:44)

January 7 is the 14th anniversary of the beginning of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in the U-S Senate. He was the first president to be impeached by the House since Andrew Johnson in 1868. It was a major political development dissected, moment by moment, by 24 hour news channels and talk radio. Politicians and pundits alike spoke in ever coarser tones about the issues surrounding the trial. And our political discourse hasn’t exactly improved since then. In fact, we saw moments when the major players in the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations, just over the last week or two, struggled to communicate effectively with one another. We’ll consider what it might take to raise the level of discourse in our politics – and whether major issues and ideas can be debated thoughtfully and respectfully by people with wildly divergent views. We’ll also explore what led to the coarsening of our political discourse particularly in the last 20 years, and whether our perception that it was more respectful in the past is really true.

WILL - Focus - December 27, 2012

Interview with Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas


(Duration: 50:33)

Since the beginning of his career in journalism eight years ago, Jose Vargas has written hundreds of stories — including covering the 2008 presidential campaign for The Washington Post; profiling Al Gore for Rolling Stone and Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker; writing and producing a documentary on the AIDS epidemic in the nation's capital; and winning a Pulitzer Prize for helping cover the Virginia Tech massacre.  A little over a year ago, Vargas wrote a groundbreaking essay in the New York Times Sunday Magazine revealing his "undocumented immigrant" status.  Since then, he founded Define American and has worked to facilitate dialogue about the DREAM Act and immigration issues.

This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, October 26, 2012, 10 am

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