Photo by Kathy Richland


‘An American Summer: Love And Death In Chicago’; The Last Video Stores In Illinois

Alex Kotlowitz has been writing about violence in Chicago for decades - in film, in print, and for This American Life. His latest book is called “An American Summer: Love And Death In Chicago,” and it follows people for whom gun violence has become a part of daily life. Plus, Oregon may have America’s last Blockbuster store, but there are still thriving video stores here in Illinois. 


March 14, 2019 - The 21st Show

‘We Are Proud To Present…’; New Standardized Test; The Roots Of Our Trade War With China; Pi Day

On The 21st: Who gets to talk about history, especially when that history is brutal and hard to talk about in the first place? That’s the subject of a new play from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. Plus, after years of criticism, Illinois has scraped the controversial PARCC standardized test in schools. But will the new one be different enough to quell concerns from teachers and parents? And, we explore the messy backstory of the US trade war with China, including its roots in the Cold War and intellectual property theft. Also, what better way to celebrate Pi Day today than with some lemon meringue?

Peter Kaminski/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

March 13, 2019 - The 21st Show

Recycling in Northern IL; Reproductive Health Legislation; IN Dunes National Park; Springfield Food

On The 21st: The recycling market has changed in a big way ever since China stopped importing recycled plastic from the US. In Northern Illinois, one recycling group has several tons piled up because there’s no good place for it to go. Plus, it can be hard to have an abortion in the Midwest but Illinois stands out as the state with the fewest barriers in the region. And now, some House Democrats say it’s time to continue expanding access through new legislation. And, we don’t have a national park here in Illinois. But, our neighbors to the east now officially do as of last month. Also, Amanda Vinicky joins us to share her favorite Springfield culinary classics. 

Ted S. Warren/AP

March 12, 2019 - The 21st Show

Boeing And Flight Safety; Dwight Update; Media Literacy And Kids; High Speed Rail In Illinois

On The 21st: Boeing shares on Monday were at its lowest in almost five months after the second fatal crash involving its 737 Max plane. What’s next for the Chicago-based company? Also in travel, how inaction on building high-speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis is symbolic of the problem of train investment in America. Plus, if you’ve ever tried to get your kids off the internet, chances are YouTube is part of the equation. Now one state representative says it’s time to let teachers include media literacy in their high school classes. And, we get an update on the possibility of a Dwight Immigration Detention Center. 

Brian Kersey/AP

March 11, 2019 - The 21st Show

Immigrant Detention Center In Dwight?; Walgreens; Harold Washington’s Legacy; Progressive Income Tax

On the 21st: For years, Dwight depended on a federal prison that is now closed. Now, community leaders believe they may have found a solution in the form of another kind of facility: an immigration detention center. Plus, the FDA says one in five Walgreens stores that were inspected illegally sold tobacco products to minors. Some lawmakers are also saying it’s time for the company to stop selling tobacco altogether. Also, it’s been more than 30 years since Harold Washington became Chicago’s first African-American mayor. We'll examine his legacy and how black politics has changed since. And, we'll unpack Gov. Pritzker's new tax rates that he's released that would be part of a new, statewide progressive income tax.

Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

March 07, 2019 - The 21st Show

All Charges Against Former Rep. Aaron Schock Dropped; Tornado Season; U of I’s Black Chorus

On The 21st: Federal prosecutors have dropped all charges against former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. As long as he pays back the IRS and stays out of trouble for six months, he’ll walk free with a clean record. Plus, tornado season is on the way although really, they can hit any time of year. We’ll check in with the town of Taylorville to see how they’ve recovered after a tornado hit their community last winter. And the U of I’s Black Chorus joins us. They’ve been on campus since 1968 and they’re singing at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts this Sunday. 

Mindy Tucker/WNYC

March 06, 2019 - The 21st Show

‘Queer Money Matters’ Series; Illinois’s Gang Databases; ‘Beyond Opening the Gates’ Documentary

On The 21st: Daily expenses can cost a lot of money. The co-host of WNYC’s 'Nancy' podcast joins us to talk about life gets even more expensive for LGBTQ people. Plus, Cook County has a database that’s supposed to keep track of gang members. But it has a lot of mistakes and some say the bad data has even led to false arrests. Now, police agencies and elected officials are re-thinking what they should do with this information. And, a group of University High students in Urbana have put together a new documentary that dives into the complicated history of affirmative action.

Solar panels at the new University of Illinois Solar Farm.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

March 05, 2019 - The 21st Show

Farmers And Solar; Illinois Election Security; Indiana’s Hate Crime Bill; Peru’s Endangered Penguins

On the 21st: More farmers are installing solar panels on their land - in part because crop prices are falling and the state is providing incentives. But some worry that it’s a waste of Illinois’ fertile soil. And, funding for federal elections has gone down in Illinois over the years. Plus, the debate over a hate crimes bill has put Republican lawmakers on one side, and Indiana’s Republican governor on the other. And find out what two U of I alums are doing to save endangered penguins.

Benjy Jeffords/WSIU

March 04, 2019 - The 21st Show

Why Are There So Few Black Men in Medicine; Sports Betting in IL; The Politics Of A “Fair Tax”

On The 21st: Last year, fewer than 4 percent of incoming medical students in Illinois were black men. What’s behind that and what should be done about it? Plus, states are getting ready to make their own rules when it comes to sports betting. Here in Illinois, both Democrats and Republicans say it’s time to get in on this growing market. And, Governor JB Pritzker wants to change our state’s income tax so that higher-earners pay more. It’ll take a constitutional amendment and it’s going to be a long political fight.

Illinois Holocaust Museum

February 28, 2019 - The 21st Show

‘Purchased Lives’ Exhibition at IL Holocaust Museum; The Challenges At DCFS; Sears’ Radical Past

On The 21st: We’ll get a tour of the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s newest exhibit. It focuses on the dangerous journeys that slaves made after they already got to America. Plus, we'll revisit our conversation about the radical past of the Sears catalog and how they helped disrupt segregation in the Jim Crow era. But first, The Department of Children And Family Services has had 11 directors in the last 16 years. And a new report from their inspector general says that more children are dying, even after DCFS has already checked up on them.

Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwrinkle advance in Chicago's mayoral race. They will be on the ballot in a run-off on April 2.

Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle's campaigns

February 27, 2019 - The 21st Show

Chicago’s Mayoral Race; Rep. Kinzinger National Guard Controversy; Drug Prices; Identifying Jane Doe

On The 21st: Chicago will elect a black woman as mayor for the first time ever. Last night, a field of 14 narrowed down to two: Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. Also, Rep. Kinzinger may have violated Wisconsin state law by openly criticizing a governor's decision to withdraw troops from the southern U.S. border. Plus, the price of insulin has more than doubled since 2012. So should Illinoisans be allowed to import the drug from Canada? And, more than 40 years ago, the body of a young woman was found along the highway in Seneca, Illinois. She’s never been identified. But, Deputy Coroner Brandon Johnson is determined to give her back her name.

Tamara Cubrilo for Illinois Newsroom

February 26, 2019 - The 21st Show

Schools Helping Homeless Families; Wheaton College And The Underground Railroad; Fighting Robocalls

On The 21st: More than 50,000 students in Illinois dealt with homelessness last year. And now, one school district is using a state law to help families find housing using money in their transportation budget. Plus, Illinois was once home to many stops along the Underground Railroad. We'll bring you the story of just one of those stops at Wheaton College. And, are you getting more and more robocalls these days? We’ll give you some tips on what to do about them.

Spurlock Museum Exhibit

Spurlock Museum

February 25, 2019 - The 21st Show

Indian Exhibit At Spurlock Museum; Gun Permit Revocations; Diversity In Academic Publishing; Oscars

On the 21st: The Spurlock museum is featuring stories of the Indian diaspora with objects submitted by local residents. We hear what that exhibit says about the many stories of Indians right here in Illinois. Plus, when your gun permit gets revoked, the police send you a letter demanding that you turn in your firearm. But most of the time, there’s no follow-up and it has allowed thousands of people to keep their weapons, including, the gunman in last Friday’s Aurora shooting. And, a new grant funds diversity fellowships which calls for more representation in academic publishing. Plus, we talk about last night's Oscars.           

E. Jason Wambsgans/AP

February 21, 2019 - The 21st Show

Reactions To Gov. Pritzker’s Budget Address; Photojournalist Chris Capozziello

On The 21st: Yesterday Governor Pritzker gave his first budget address in Springfield before a joint session of the General Assembly. It’s the beginning of the give and take between him and state legislators and it should lead to a final budget by the end of May. Today, reactions from lawmakers on what they liked, what they didn’t like, and where there’s room for some middle ground. Plus, we’ll speak with artist and photojournalist Chris Capozziello about his exhibition, The Distance Between Us. It tells the story of what it’s like to have a twin with cerebral palsy.

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