Before the Beatlemania that started in the US in early 1964, a member of the band visited the states, played a few sets with a band in Benton, Illinois and was interviewed by a young radio broadcaster named Marcia.
When she was 17 years old, Marcia Raubach got a phone call to come into the station where she hosted a weekend morning teen music show because there was a musician there who wanted to personally thank her for being one of the first to play his band’s record on the radio in America. That musician was none other than the late George Harrison, and 50 years later, when she looks back on it, Raubach kicks herself for not recording the interview she did with Harrison on WFRX in West Frankfort, Illinois in the fall of 1963.
It was the first interview with a member of the band that aired on American radio, and this hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Marcia about what she asked Harrison all those years ago. We’ll talk with her about meeting him and how the interview has remained a part of her life ever since.
We’ll also talk with Jim Kirkpatrick, author of the book “Before He Was Fab,” a book about Harrison’s visit to Illinois in 1963 and Bob Bartel, a Beatles memorabilia collector and the man responsible for the “Beatles house” in Benton, where George stayed when he first visited, being named an Illinois historical landmark.
When you can’t take care of a dog or a cat, it seems perfectly reasonable to go online to try and find them a new home. But would you ever even think to do that with a child?
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with reporter Megan Twohey about her series “The Child Exchange,” published last week by Reuters. In it, Twohey investigates what’s called “private re-homing,” a process by which an adoptive family hands a child over into another adult’s care without involving adoption officials or government agencies.
As the state drafts its criteria for who can obtain a concealed carry permit, should vision be a consideration?
It violates the American with Disabilities Act to discriminate against the visually impaired, even when it comes to gun ownership. The state of Illinois issues FOID cards, the documentation you need to legally own a gun in Illinois, and hunting licenses to the blind. So, even if you can’t see, or don’t see well, you can own a gun in Illinois, but should you be able to carry it in public?
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.
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.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason and Mike Jeffords of the Illinois Natural History Survey. We welcome your lawn and garden calls and questions today!
If you’ve been trying to attract butterflies to your garden but haven’t seen any, you’re not alone. There has been a substantial decrease in butterfly populations this year throughout the Midwest. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Mike Jeffords of the Illinois Natural History Survey about why.
Sandy Mason, our resident gardening expert, will also be here to answer your lawn and garden questions.
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.
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.
What inspires you? Have you ever traveled somewhere or seen something that led to one of those “moments.” This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with two Illinois artists inspired by seemingly opposing mediums – technology and nature.
Christopher Baker, a Chicago based artist and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s work “Hello World! Or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise” is currently on display at the Krannert Art Museum and combines more than 5,000 video diary entries into one display. You can’t understand all the voices individually, and if you step back far enough, you can’t even see clearly who the people are. These days, Baker says, it’s easy to get lost in that shuffle, to be drowned out by the noise. Should we accept that, or rebel against it? For the first half of this hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Baker about his art, his video diary project and a little about the history of YouTube.
Then during the second half of this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois State University’s Claire Lieberman. She teaches sculpture and is preparing for an expedition to the North Pole to observe the landscape and most importantly, the ice and what it looks like as its melting. She’ll spend about 2 weeks on a ship with scientists, climatologists and we’ll talk with her about the trip, how she’s preparing for it and what she hopes to discover while she’s there.
Have you gone to what seems like the ends of the earth seeking inspiration? Where did you go? What did you do? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!
Illinois Pioneers returned to WILL-TV last week…with David Inge as host. This hour on Focus, Jim Meadows talks with David about the show.
This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Inge about his new gig and about his life and career as a public broadcaster. We’ll hear about some of the upcoming interviews he’ll host on WILL-TV, and we’ll talk with him about his days as host of Focus, how he got started as a public broadcaster and what it’s like to talk with some of the most powerful and respected names in Illinois history.
WILL Producer George Hovorka also joins us for the first half of this hour on Focus to tell us more about Illinois Pioneers.
Who’re your state’s Supreme Court justices? What decisions are they making for you this fall? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about some of the cases before the Illinois Supreme Court and will learn more about who’s on the court and how they’re likely to vote.
Despite the fact that we never seem to hear much about it, there are several important cases before the Illinois Supreme Court this fall. One of them could affect the state’s efforts to solve its pension problems, and one of them . This hour on Focus, we’ll talk through some of the cases and their implications with Kirk Jenkins, an appellate attorney based in Chicago. Steve Beckett, a founding partner at Beckett and Webber, P.C. in Urbana and a lecturer at the University of Illinois College of Law also joins us.
Both attorneys have argued cases before the state’s high court, and we’ll also talk with them about Illinois’ Supreme Court justices, who they are and why we never seem to hear much about them.
Do you have questions about the Illinois Supreme Court? We’d love to hear from you this hour on Focus!
Do you agree with President Obama that the US should intervene in the conflict in Syria? How do you want your lawmakers to vote? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the debate and what US action would mean for people in Syria.
Congress continues to debate whether or not the US should get involved in Syria, even though President Obama can order a missile strike without Congress’ approval. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the debate and who really has the power to order military action. Juana Summers, a defense reporter with Politico joins us for the first few minutes of the program with the latest update about the debate in Washington D.C. Then, Ryan Hendrickson, a Professor of Political Science at Eastern Illinois University joins us. We’ll also talk with him about how our local US Representatives and Senators and how their voices play a role in the discussion.
We’ll also talk with Fred Lawson who he teaches international relations and government at Mills College in California about who is actually fighting in Syria and what the consequences of a missile strike would be. Lawson also spent time on a Fullbright Fellowship in Syria and will talk with us about who the people are who are being affected by all the fighting.
How do you want your legislators to vote? Do you think we should be involved in Syria? Do you have questions about the balance of power between Congress and President Obama? Let us know!
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