Who’s Who at The 21st
Brian Mackey, Host/Producer
In March of 2020, Mackey joined the Illinois Public Media team after spending eight years as the statehouse reporter for WUIS-FM, where he provided coverage of the Capitol for public radio stations throughout Illinois, including WILL. In addition, he appeared on the station’s week-in-review show State Week, and wrote in-depth features and a column for Illinois Issues magazine. Prior to working at WUIS, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register in Springfield and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. Mackey earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Governors State University and an M.A. in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield.
Anna Casey, Producer
Prior to joining The 21st as a producer, Anna worked as a general assignment reporter at Illinois Public Media covering local stories. Her print journalism has appeared in Kaiser Health News and St. Louis-Post Dispatch, among other outlets, and her radio pieces have appeared on Morning Edition and on KUT, where she was an intern for The Texas Standard. Anna is a graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and has a master's in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.
Ryan Andrew Wilde, Producer
Ryan Andrew Wilde is a New York native, and previously interned and worked as a producer at the Peabody Award winning public radio program The Brian Lehrer Show at WNYC. He has also hosted a radio show at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, a United States Antarctic Program scientific research base. After several years traveling, living, and working around the world, he earned a B.A. in Journalism and Creative Writing from The City University of New York — Baruch College.
Jason Croft, Technical Director
Jason Croft is a twenty-year veteran of public radio. Besides being the engineer of The 21st, he is also the Production Manager at Illinois Public Media, weekend on-air host, and general Jack-Of-All-Trades. From 1999-2010 he was the host and producer of WILL’s program Sidetrack. He is also involved with Champaign’s community radio station WEFT where he does a weekly lounge and Rat Pack-era music program.
Chantal Vaca, Engagement Producer
Chantal Vaca is a recent M.S. journalism graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joined The 21st team as an assistant producer intern in September of 2020 and has produced several segments for the show since. Beginning in January 2021, Vaca will work as an engagement producer for The 21st and will continue to produce segments while managing audience engagement. Outside of her journalistic work, Vaca enjoys cooking and trying new recipes.
Brielle Scullark, Digital Intern
Brielle Scullark is a Junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Journalism. She joined the 21st team as the Robert O. Endres Endowed Internship scholarship recipient in September 2020. Aside from interning at the 21st, Scullark is the Secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists at UIUC and previously served as a features reporter at the Daily Illini. Outside of school and work, Scullark enjoys journaling and plant-based baking.
Zainab Qureshi, Digital Intern
Zainab Qureshi is a Junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Journalism with a minor in Economics and Art & Design. Aside from interning at The 21st, she also oversees the Longform Department at the Daily Illini and previously served as Managing Editor for the Maneater during her time at the University of Missouri. After graduating, Qureshi will be pursuing a law degree.
Steve Morck, Digital Media Associate Producer
Steve Morck is the resident utility man for The 21st and WILL, filling in wherever needed with everything from engineering to producing. He came to WILL from commercial radio after graduating from Eastern Illinois University in 2013. He is also a huge sports fan and the lone White Sox fan in the building.
Reginald Hardwick, News & Public Affairs Director at Illinois Public Media
Reginald oversees WILL-AM/FM newscasts, IllinoisNewsroom.org and The 21st talk show. He started at Illinois Public Media in October of 2019 after serving as News Director for WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan. Previously, he was a television news producer and manager at the NBC station in Dallas, where he won 7 Emmy awards. Born in Vietnam, Reginald is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado.