Meet One Family’s Three Generations of WILL Supporters

Rose Nolan discovered WILL radio in 1955. Now her children and grandchildren are fans, too.

Maureen Henry, Colleen Nolan-Grob, Rose Nolan, Kathy Nolan Henry

Maureen Henry, Colleen Nolan-Grob, Rose Nolan, Kathy Nolan Henry Photo by Michael Owen Thomas

Although WILL-TV was brand new in 1955 when Rose Nolan moved from Chicago to Champaign-Urbana for her husband to enroll at the University of Illinois, she first discovered WILL Radio’s classical music programming. Today she’s still a WILL and public broadcasting fan, now joined by her children and grandchildren.

Daughter Colleen Nolan-Grob, an oncology nurse, remembers growing up in a house filled with music. “If it was on WILL, we listened to it—symphonies, marching band pieces, jazz,” she said. “My dad, who had been in a drum and bugle corps, would whistle with any type of music and often would serve as conductor—he was pretty good at it. My mother would have the radio on anytime she was in the kitchen or in her sewing room.”

Kathy Nolan Henry, employed at the Illinois State Geological Survey, distinctly recalls their youngest sister, Moira, enjoying The Electric Company.

Her daughter, Maureen Henry, loved the PBS Kids program Arthur. “They had positive lessons and interesting guest characters,” she said. “I’ll never forget that I learned who Yo Yo Ma and Click & Clack were because of that show.” Maureen is now an English teacher at Heritage Junior High School in Homer.

All four agree that WILL offers an incredible array of widely accessible programs. “From kids to adults, liberals and conservatives, it really is something for everyone,” Colleen said. Maureen added, “Watching programs on WILL was something that my family could do together, and have discussions about. My parents instilled an appreciation for WILL in me from a very young age. We support the stations because we believe in what public broadcasting is all about.”