The longtime public media reporter and producer will join the show when it begins broadcasting from the West coast in September.
Journalist Arun Rath will become the new host of the NPR newsmagazine Weekend All Things Considered beginning in late September, when the Saturday and Sunday edition moves its broadcast to the west coast. Rath has had a distinguished career in public media as a reporter, producer and editor, most recently as a senior reporter for the PBS series Frontline and The World® on WGBH Boston. He has also worked for several NPR and public radio programs.
"Weekend All Things Considered manages to cover the full range of human experience in an hour," says Rath. "It's hard work but the payoff is amazing. I'm especially excited to join the show as it reinvents itself at NPR West. The intense diversity of Los Angeles is invigorating --all the racial, economic, and political diversity smashed together--it's what's best and most exciting about America."
Rath began his journalism career as an NPR intern at Talk of the Nation, eventually joining the staff and becoming the show's director after working on several NPR News programs during the 1990s. In 2000, he became senior producer for NPR's On the Media, produced by WNYC, where he was part of a team that tripled its audience and won a Peabody Award. He spent 2005 as senior editor at the culture and arts show Studio 360 from PRI and WNYC. Rath moved to television in 2005 to report and manage radio partnerships for Frontline; he also reports on culture and music for the PBS series, Sound Tracks. At Frontline and The World®, Rath specialized in national security and military justice. He reported and produced three films for Frontline, the latest being an investigation of alleged war crimes committed by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq.
"Arun has that rare constellation of skills that will make him a first-class host," says Margaret Low Smith, senior vice president of NPR News. "He has editorial depth and range. He is relentlessly curious. Plus he is wonderful on the air. The audience will love spending weekend afternoons with him."
The relocation of Weekend All Things Considered to NPR West in Culver City, Calif., in September will offer the program expanded access to a whole new range of stories and sources drawn from the area's strong entertainment, international trade, science and technology industries. The move also provides NPR with a greater presence in the west, allowing it to respond even more quickly to news from the region. Rath and the staff of Weekend All Things Considered will join a team of journalists and support staff at NPR West, including Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, national correspondents Mandalit Del Barco, Kirk Siegler and Ina Jaffe; and Karen Grigsby-Bates and Shereen Meraji with Code Switch, covering race, culture and ethnicity.
8 pm Tuesday, July 2, on WILL-TV. Mount Rushmore's story is as bizarre and wonderful as the monument itself.
High on a granite cliff in South Dakota’s Black Hills tower the huge carved faces of four American presidents. Together they constitute the world’s largest sculpture. The massive tableau inspires awe and bemusement.
How, and when, was it carved? Who possessed the audacity to create such a gargantuan work? The story of Mount Rushmore’s creation is as bizarre and wonderful as the monument itself. It is the tale of a hyperactive, temperamental artist whose talent and determination propelled the project, even as his ego and obsession threatened to tear it apart. It is the story of hucksterism and hyperbole, of a massive public works project in the midst of an economic depression. And it is the story of dozens of ordinary Americans who suddenly found themselves suspended high on a cliff face with drills and hammers as a sculptor they considered insane, Gutzon Borglum, directed them in the creation of what some would call a monstrosity and others a masterpiece. Michael Murphy narrates.
Find out more.
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Thanks to you, we're in a good financial position entering the new fiscal year. We met our $2.1 million fundraising goal. You helped us stay strong! To each of you who made a contribution to Illinois Public Media during the last 12 months, you have helped make a difference in this community. And, thanks to your support, we will continue to work to provide exceptional news, arts, cultural and educational content on WILL-TV, WILL Radio and online, along with community and educational resources.
7 pm Thursday, July 4, on WILL-FM: American patriotic favorites and classical music “fireworks” with music by Sousa, Copland and more. Hosted by WILL's Vincent Trauth.
American patriot favorites and classical music “fireworks” from the Friends of WILL CD Library, with music by Sousa, Copland, and others for the musical backdrop to your Fourth of July activities. Vincent Trauth hosts. Includes:
John WILLIAMS: Summon the Heroes
COPLAND: Fanfare for the Common Man
TRAD.: Armed Forces Medley
SOUSA: Stars and Stripe Forever; Washington Post (Marches)
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 Overture
Midday news program at 12 noon Monday-Friday on WILL-AM
On July 1, WILL-AM 580 began airing a midday news program, Here & Now, co-hosted by Champaign-Urbana native Jeremy Hobson, as it became NPR’s replacement for Talk of the Nation, which has ended production.
Hobson, who grew up in Urbana and worked at WILL-AM early in his career, was formerly host of Marketplace Morning Report, heard on many NPR stations, including WILL-AM.
Here & Now, produced at Boston-based public radio station WBUR, has expanded to two hours and added Hobson as a co-host as NPR redirects resources to support news coverage, rather than call-in talk programming, through the middle of the day.
Airing on WILL-AM from 12 to 2 pm Monday-Thursday and 12 to 1 pm on Friday, the program offers numerous opportunities for WILL to add segments of locally produced news and feature content to be incorporated in the mix of stories, said Kimberlie Kranich, director of community content and engagement at Illinois Public Media. WILL-AM’s The Afternoon Magazine has been absorbed into the new program. The type of local content previously included in that show, including agricultural and local news updates, will air in segments of Here & Now, she said. Jason Croft, a longtime technical director and audio producer at WILL Radio, is WILL-AM's local on-air host for Here & Now.
Hobson is working with longtime Here & Now host Robin Young, and with his former WILL-AM colleague Alex Ashlock, who is the producer of Here & Now. Hobson was an intern at NPR’s All Things Considered when he was 17, and since then has gained deep experience as a public radio producer, reporter and host.
Here & Now has been produced by WBUR since 1997, and became a national program in 2001. The show airs on more than 180 stations, including eight top-25 market news stations. The expanded edition of the program, produced in collaboration with NPR, has a dedicated producer at NPR headquarters to help get NPR bloggers, reporters, and editors onto the program.
WILL-AM continues to air Focus from 10-11 am, Fresh Air from 11 am-noon, and the Closing Market Report at 2 pm. Science Friday with Ira Flatow continues to air at 1 pm on Fridays.
7 pm Thursday, June 27: Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1
Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Lang Lang. Music director Gustavo Dudamel leads the group in the Philharmonic’s season finale. Also on the program: Nielsen’s 4th Symphony, "The Inextinguishable."
8 pm Wednesday, June 26, on The Evening Concert: The group performs Shostakovich's 9th String Quartet.
The East Coast Chamber Orchestra plays Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and the Jerusalem String Quartet plays Shostakovich’s 9th String Quartet on Center Stage from Wolf Trap. At 7 pm, hornist Philip Myers is the lead in Brahms’ Horn Trio, Opus 40 on the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival series.
9 pm Monday, June 24: A close-up look at the rarely seen world of undertakers in the black community.
Through the eyes of Harlem funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African-American funerals are brought to life. Homegoings takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in the black community, drawing on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration. The film paints a portrait of the departed, their grieving families and a man who sends loved ones “home.”
“When it comes to death and funerals, African-American people, we have our own way,” Owens says. “It has worked for us throughout the ages; it has kept us balanced, sane. And everybody knows that it’s going to be a sad, good time.”
A thumbnail biographical sketch of Owens might sound a little odd: A South Carolina boy obsessed with funerals grows up to be a renowned funeral director in New York City’s historic Harlem neighborhood. The bigger picture, as captured in Homegoings, shows an exceptionally warm-hearted, philosophical man who pursues his business with equal care for the living and for the dead. He combines instinctive sympathy for those who grieve with a deep knowledge of African-American funeral customs that aim to turn sorrow into an affirmation of faith that loved ones are going “home.” Paradoxically, Owens’ success reveals that this precious tradition, formed in a time of rigid segregation, is disappearing. Homegoings is the portrait of man with a rare passion and of the inspired, if threatened, African-American way of death.
Christine Turner’s debut feature documentary, Homegoings, premieres Monday, June 24,at 9 pm on WILL-TV, kicking off the 26th season of the award-winning PBS series POV (Point of View).
Isaiah Owens is the quintessential self-made man. The son of a sharecropper, he grew up among people who made their living picking cotton. When a loved one died, he says, relatives “would sign a promissory note that when the cotton is ready this year, that they would come back and pay. The black funeral director wound up being a friend, somebody in the community that was stable, appeared to have means.”
But neither Owens nor his mother, Willie Mae, who today works as a receptionist at his other funeral parlor in Branchville, S.C., can completely account for the Owens’ fascination with burials, even as a boy. When Owens was five, he buried a matchstick and put flowers on top of the soil. After that he progressed to burying “frogs . . . chickens; I buried the mule that died. I buried the neighbor’s dog, and the dog’s name was Snowball.” Willie Mae says with a smile, “Anything that he find dead, he buried. Can’t even think where he got it from. . . . But that was his calling.”
In 1968, this calling took 17-year-old Owens to New York City, where he learned his craft. A few years later, he opened what would become one of Harlem’s most popular funeral homes, with a largely Baptist clientele. Today, Owens’ wife, Lillie, works with him, but Owens remains the most constant presence. When he is dressing and beautifying the dead, he shows a dedication to craft and attention to detail that exemplifies Owens Funeral Home’s motto: “Where Beauty Softens Your Grief.” When talking with bereaved families, he is entirely focused on the members’ individual needs. (He seems to remember the name of everyone he’s ever buried, including Snowball.)
Homegoings introduces some of Owens’ customers, who express a mix of grief, humor and celebration. Linda “Redd” Williams-Miller, for instance, jovially plans her own funeral down to the last detail, including the exact shade of her namesake color to be used for her nails and hair. The children of Queen Petra are unsure how to honor their mother’s multicultural legacy, until Owens suggests there’s no reason they can’t have a parade, led by a white horse and carriage, down the very block where their mother was a street vendor. Owens commiserates with Walter Simons, whose grandmother’s passing turns into a double funeral when his grandfather dies just two days later. They share the sorrow and joy in knowing that two people could be so connected by love.
Williams-Miller describes the African-American funeral this way: “Homegoing. A happy occasion. . . . going home to be at peace. . . . You’re going home to meet the ones that went on before you and they’re there waiting for you.” Throughout Homegoings, Owens relates the culture and history of death and mourning in the black community, harkening back to slavery and segregation. He explains that “when the slaves were killed . . . it wasn’t a proper funeral, but they kind of did their best. . . . When they got down in the woods, away from the slave masters . . . they came up with songs like ‘Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world, going home to live with my God.’” He recalls that when he was growing up in the South, the funeral director was a lifeline for the community: “Whenever somebody got sick, they would call Mr. Bird at the funeral home, and then he would ride out in the country to tell my mother, ‘Such and such one is real sick in Philadelphia,’ and . . . ‘your sister called.’”
Owens recalls more recent history, too, from an era when Harlem was full of mom-and-pop funeral homes, each with a loyal clientele, “but since ’68 I probably could count at least 20 or 25 funeral homes that have gone out of business.” He also notes another trend: In the 1980s many of the departed were victims of violence or AIDS, whereas today people are dying of heart problems or stroke. Owens routinely receives invitations to sell his establishment to bigger companies, but he always turns them down. “I’m trying to create a business that could take care of my family for maybe the next hundred, 200 years,” he explains. In doing so, he is also carrying forward a legacy—dating back more than a century—of the black funeral director as a pillar of the community.
9 pm Tuesday, June 25, on WILL-TV: Getting sexually assaulted, and even raped, is sometimes part of the job for women who pick the food we eat.
For the women who pick and process the food we eat every day, getting sexually assaulted, and even raped, is sometimes part of the job. Frontline and Univision partner to tell the story of the hidden price many migrant women working in America's fields and packing plants pay to stay employed and provide for their families. This investigation is the result of a yearlong reporting effort by veteran Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman, the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. More info and a preview.