This hour on Focus, we’ll hear from Brenda Koenig, founder of the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival. Then we’ll check back in with musician and author Stephen Wade and talk with him about going back to the communities where he researched his book “The Beautiful Music All Around Us.”
When Brenda Koenig founded the Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots festival, she wanted to inspire a place where people could dance, tell stories and enjoy the rich tradition sense of community that she says folk music creates. As a folk musician and fiddler herself, she says appreciating how the audience is enjoying the music, not being “the musician” in the spotlight is vital to performing folk music. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Koenig about why she and 80 volunteers put in the work to organize the festival. We’ll also hear from Matt Winters, a member of the C-U Folk and Roots Festival’s steering committee, about what’s new this year at the festival.
Then, during the second half of this hour on Focus, we’ll check in with author, banjo player and music researcher Stephen Wade. Wade is author of the book “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” which documents the contributions to folk music made by everyday people – from prisoners to housewives to farm laborers. Meadows talks with Wade about going back to the communities where he did his research for the book. We’ll also hear a few banjo tunes and talk with Wade about why he’s dedicated his life to folk music.
Are you a folk music fan? What do you like about it? Maybe you’re a volunteer for the festival, why do you dedicate your time? Post a comment in the comments section below or find us on Facebook.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Tim Yoder, the former host of PBS Create’s “Woodworking Workshop with Tim Yoder,” and Mike Van Pelt of the CU Woodshop.
Woodturning has been an art since around 1300 BC when the Egyptians first developed a two-person lathe, but it’s only been popular in the United States for the last few decades. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about woodturning and the satisfaction of making something tangible.
This hour on Focus, we’ll take a closer look at chronic wasting disease and how Illinois manages disease epidemics in its wildlife populations.
Chronic wasting disease was first discovered in deer in the Rocky Mountains in the 1960’s. Since then, its spread to the Midwest, Canada and a few eastern states, and there has been ongoing debate about the best ways to keep the disease from infecting more deer. CWD, which is 100% fatal and incurable in deer populations and has been in Illinois for the past decade. According to new research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the state is doing something right when it comes to managing the disease. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey, and Jan Novakofski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and a Professor of Animal Science, about the disease, how it affects deer and why we should be concerned with keeping it from spreading. We’ll also talk about managing diseases that have epidemic potential in wildlife populations.
Have you ever taken a personality test to see what it says about you? Today on Focus, we’ll talk about what they actually measure and what we can and can’t learn from them.
Personality tests inform hiring selections, career paths, dating options and any number of other decisions in business, academia and culture. But what do personality tests actually measure, and do our personalities change over time? Why do we seem to love to taking personality tests so much? This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Professor Brent Roberts about the science, popularity and limits, of personality tests. We’ll also hear from Cindy Harris, a human resources manager, from the International Society of Arboriculture. The Champaign based organization says using the “True Colors” personality test has been really helpful in their workplace culture.
As most pet owners know, caring for a cat or a dog can be expensive. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Dr. Sally Foote about the cost of owning a pet. We welcome your pet care calls and questions this hour!
Pet ownership overall in the United States is down in recent years, and according to research by the American Veterinary Medical Association, that might have something to do with the economy. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with veterinarian Sally Foote about the cost of pet ownership. We’ll hear from her about how she tries to make sure animals receive the care they need without putting unnecessary financial strain on families. Dr. Foote also talks with host Jim Meadows about pet insurance and if it can be worth it.
Often times when pets become too costly, families take them to animal shelters for other families to adopt. This hour on Focus, Jane Dallas, an adoptive dog owner, also joins us to talk about the process and some of the do’s and don’ts when bringing a shelter dog into your home.
He was found hanging in a nearby tree in the 1840’s, and now, if you venture out to the cemetery at night, you’ll be visited by a blue orb. Or so the story goes …
Storytelling is an art, but telling scary stories is a skill all its own. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with two people intimately involved with what it means to craft and share a tale meant to thrill, surprise and terrorize.
For the first half of this hour on Focus, Camille Born joins host Jim Meadows to talk about the history behind Champaign-Urbana’s ghost stories. According to some, there’s a blue ghost who haunts Clements Cemetery in Urbana and the spirit of a former police officer killed during prohibition lingers in downtown Champaign. Then, we’ll hear from Illinois native and fiction author Brandon Massey about writing horror stories. Meadows also talks with Massey about his forthcoming novel "In the Dark."
Born is hosting walking tours for the Orpheum Children's Science Museum as a part of their "After Dark" series where she tells several ghost stories on location in Champaign, and the University of Illinois' Spulock Museum is also hosting a ghost story event this weekend. Find more information here.
Read more to see a video of Camille telling a story not heard on air in our studios!
Michael Pasley was arrested 3 years ago when his meth lab was raided, he says it was more of a rescue than it was anything else. He’d been awake for 22 days straight when authorities caught him.
Five years ago, meth arrests were as low as they had ever been in Illinois with right around 400 seizures per year. This year, however, authorities expect nearly twice that many. Even though national rates of meth usage are down, it’s on the rise in east central Illinois. The state had the fifth most methamphetamine lab seizures in the country last year, behind only Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky.
There’s no question the game of baseball has changed substantially over the course of the 20th century. This hour on Focus, Jeff Bossert talks with Daniel Gilbert about his new book that explores the way the labor history of the MLB has shaped the game.
Over the course of the last few decades, Major League Baseball salaries have increased substantially, and sought after players have much more bargaining power today than they did a generation ago. During this hour on Focus, host Jeff Bossert talks with Daniel Gilbert about his new book Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency. We’ll examine baseball’s growing global influence and how the labor struggles within professional resonate throughout our society.
Gilbert is an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also a Red Sox fan. Don’t hold that against him.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Eastern Illinois Head Football Coach Dino Babers about in-state football rivalries and EIU’s success so far this season. Then, we’ll hear from Sheldon Turner who works with youth in Champaign.
Almost 25 years ago, Eastern Illinois Head Football Coach Dino Babers got his start coaching as a running backs coach at EIU. More than two decades later, he’s back as head coach and looks like he’s on track to lead the Panthers to their second run at the FCS Bowl playoffs in two years. For the first half of this hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Babers about his approach to coaching, the pressure placed on student athletes and his strategy as the team approaches the back half of their schedule for this season.
Then, in the second half of this hour on Focus, Meadows talks with Sheldon Turner. Turner grew up on the East side of St. Louis and says if he wouldn’t have had the mentors he did, he wouldn’t be where he is today. We’ll hear from Turner about Champaign School Districts “Operation Hope” program and about why Turner thinks athletics are so important to character building. Turner was recently named "man of the year" by Central Illinois Busniess.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with horticulture expert Sandy Mason. We welcome your lawn and garden calls and questions today!
Now's the time of year to start cleaning up the garden and raking leaves in the yard. University of Illionis Extension horticulture expert Sandy Mason says, that means it's a perfect time to start a compost pile if you haven't already. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Sandy about composting and what should be on your fall gardning to-do list.
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