Annual Reports

2012 Annual Report


Dear friends,

What do you need to build a fulfilling life?

You can exist on food, air and water. But what are the elements that help you make the most of the life you have? What helps you engage with your community and connect with important issues at home and in the world?

Among those essentials in your life, we hope you count on Illinois Public Media.

During the past year, our public media service provided news reports with vital information from our region and around the world; music that stirred and soothed the spirit; dramas such as Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs that let you escape to another time and place; and documentaries, science and nature programs that helped bring the world into focus.

WILL-TV’s Mid-American Gardener offered gardeners reliable information tailored to our growing region, and WILL-AM’s Focus gave listeners a chance to interact with newsmakers and experts on a wide variety of topics. Children’s programs like the new Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood provided educational entertainment that parents could trust.

We continued to work hard to be responsive to community needs, concentrating a day of programming on housing challenges in our area, and another on local foods. We aired a series of reports on health and wellness, and directed many hours of staff time to reporting about the election and hosting two political debates in the 13th Congressional District primary and general election races. Our Book Mentor Project added a technology component to activities with books and videos, and we received enthusiastic feedback from teachers about the Illinois Edition of PBS LearningMedia, a digital resource library we’ve made available for Illinois students and teachers.

To respond to another need, Illinois Public Media will become part of a national emergency alert network created by Congress. We received a $325,881 federal grant, which, along with $30,000 from the University of Illinois, will fund a generator, ensuring a reliable emergency alert service in the event of a loss of electrical service for Illinois Public Media’s studios. The generator is scheduled to be installed in 2013 and will provide technical power in case of a power loss for the program feed from Campbell Hall to our FM and TV transmitters. For national security or a national disaster, public TV stations can provide a means to get alerts to their broadcast audience and cellular users.

In the past year, Illinois Public Media said goodbye to some good friends. Retirements, including that of Focus host David Inge, meant we lost valued colleagues. But they also gave us the opportunity to look at our staffing and program schedules to make sure we were making the best use of our resources.

We work hard to do the most we can within our budget. One of the steps we’re taking is to join a national alliance of television stations that will partner to share technical resources. This will help us meet our future equipment needs by sharing an investment in hardware with other public broadcast stations, rather than duplicating our investments in technical infrastructure.

The funding model for public media, in which every dollar of federal support brings in six dollars of private support from users of the service, remains under threat. We appreciate your continued letters and phone calls to let your elected representatives know about the essential quality of public broadcasting in your life. Signing up to receive notifications at will be your most timely source of information about federal funding in the coming year.

Your generous financial contributions are crucial—they’re the reason our service celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2012. Thanks for joining with us to keep public media strong in central Illinois!

Mark Leonard General Manager

Learning everywhere: books, video, games on iPads

As part of Illinois Public Media’s Book Mentor Project, children in Champaign County Head Start classrooms used iPads to play PBS math and literacy learning games. Illinois Public Media provided two PBSKids Mobile Media Labs, including iPads and Kindle Fires, to the classrooms. CPB and PBS furnished the Media Labs as part of a project to encourage stations to use new PBS resources, including apps and games for mobile devices, in their educational outreach efforts.

Molly Delaney, Illinois Public Media educational outreach director, said she correctly predicted that the children could learn how to use the touch screens fairly quickly. “But it was amazing to see how engaged they were and how there was a group dynamic to the learning as kids crowded around the iPad and helped each other,” she said.

Book mentors still read books to the kids and do activities, but technology is an additional component this year, Molly said. The school district furnished new interactive white boards and iPads for all of its Champaign Early Childhood Center classrooms, and they’ll be integrated into the Book Mentor Project to take advantage of the PBS mobile apps.

Molly and Illinois Public Media’s community partners Christie Norton of Head Start and Amy Hayden of the Champaign Early Childhood Center went to Washington, D.C., to get training on how to leverage new PBS “transmedia” content in the classroom. The message they heard was that the key to enhancing learning with technology is using the right content on the right device at the right time.

“We were really excited to bring back this technology to our community,” Molly said. “We’ve seen how powerful these educational tools are and we’re dedicating ourselves to pursuing funding so we can incorporate additional technology in all of the Head Start classrooms in Champaign County.”

Words in the Wind

Local actors came together in a benefit performance for Illinois Public Media’s Book Mentor Project, raising more than $800 that will be used to buy two iPads for Head Start book mentor classrooms.

The fourth annual concert-style reading of children’s books by veteran actors was organized by U of I associate professor of theater Tom Mitchell, and featured performances by actors from The Station Theatre, Urbana; Parkland College Theatre, Champaign; Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company; Zoo Improv, Champaign; and the University of Illinois Department of Theatre.

“The actors not only provided a fun time for all, but made a significant contribution for Head Start children in our area,” said Illinois Public Media educational outreach director Molly Delaney.

Illinois PBS LearningMedia update

Results of a pilot study of the Illinois Edition of PBS LearningMedia, a free, on-demand media resource designed to help PreK-12 educators integrate technology to teach core subjects in the classroom, showed that the 74 participating teachers highly recommend the service.

“They were excited about how engaged students were when using resources, and they appreciated that it was free, easy to use, had a variety of high-quality resources and connected easily to their curriculum,” said Molly Delaney, educational outreach director for Illinois Public Media.

With the positive feedback from the pilot, Illinois public broadcasters pushed forward this year with a full launch of Illinois PBS LearningMedia. More than 3,500 teachers in the state have signed up to use the service, with a 75 percent increase since the beginning of the school year.

Chad Wickard, a 5th and 6th grade teacher at the Center for Math and Science in Rockford, said he’s seen the light bulb come on when kids who have been frustrated trying to “get” something then watch a PBS LearningMedia video. “You see that light bulb effect and you’re like, okay, this is working. It’s a two-minute video that brings together this hour-long lesson that I’ve been trying to teach them. I put in that video and all of a sudden the light goes on.”

Emily Dawson, a junior high science teacher in East Peoria, said, “My students are telling me they are picturing the video as they are taking the test. It’s making the connections between what we’ve learned in the book, what they’ve watched, and what they are able to retain and learn.”

Molly and Illinois Public Media general manager Mark Leonard presented the study results and information about Illinois PBS LearningMedia at the PBS annual meeting in Denver in May. Molly also presented LearningMedia resources in September at the Chicago meeting of the Shared Learning Collaborative, a group of tech developers and educators working to make personalized learning a reality for every U.S. student by improving the integration of technology in the classroom.

Creating a media venture with Stratton students

Not everyone getting ready for Strattonville’s newscast wanted to be on camera. Some of the students were just as content working the audio board or standing behind the camera. Others wanted a bit of power—they wanted to be the director.

Learning the different jobs for producing a school video newscast was one of the first steps students in Champaign’s Stratton Elementary School took in October for their “media venture,” part of their school microsociety that students named Strattonville. WILL received a grant from Unit 4 Schools to provide training for both students and teachers.

Students learned that reading a teleprompter isn’t as easy as it looks. How do you do it without moving your head as you scan the lines? They found that speaking into a microphone doesn’t come naturally to everybody and that for avoiding big mistakes, listening carefully to the director is just as important as using the video equipment correctly.

Illinois Public Media’s Henry Radcliffe and College of Media intern Alison Marcotte taught the students TV studio production; Kimberlie Kranich showed them how to interview, report and research; and Molly Delaney taught them media literacy skills.

Vacationing with WILL

In 2012, nearly 200 Friends of WILL took a trip with Illinois Public Media. Our expanding lineup of tours has been a way for the stations to increase fundraising without adding days of on-air fund drives. In February, 50 fans of WILL went by motor coach to Chicago to see a live taping of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. They watched the show, hung out with host Peter Sagal, Carl Kasell and the panelists afterward, then headed back home in a marathon one-night trip. We plan to do it again in February 2013.

Later in the spring, a group of 30 Friends traveled to Cuba with Collette Vacations. On a government-sponsored “people to people” tour, they walked the beautiful streets of Havana, and visited small historic cities with beautiful colonial architecture and vibrant street markets, a community known for its hand-decorated textiles, a state-run cigar factory, and a privately owned restaurant and farm.

Passengers on our Civil War Train Trip toured the southern battlefields, museums and more while staying aboard meticulously restored vintage train cars.A historian with special knowledge of the Civil War also accompanied 42 train-and-history-buff travelers. The 2013 train trip will include eastern Civil War sites and will highlight American historical sites such as colonial Williamsburg.

In September, WILL travelers went on a “Masterpiece and Mystery” Tour of England and Wales. They got a custom tour of Holmfirth, the Yorkshire village known to WILL viewers as home of Last of the Summer Wine. Their tour guide: Last of the Summer Wine producer Alan J.W. Bell. They had their photo taken in front of Highclere Castle, known to Masterpiece fans as Downton Abbey, and took a private tour of the famous house.

Thanks to our travelers, whose support of these trips helped to make your favorite programs possible. Stay tuned for information on our 2013 tours! New destinations include Iceland (with an optional trip to Greenland), a gardener’s tour of England with Mid-American Gardener host Dianne Noland, and another “Masterpiece and More” trip to England … and Ireland!

Live and Local’s old-time piano music show

In May, Live and Local host Kevin Kelly got together five contestants and former contestants to play for a live audience at The Blind Pig in advance of the Old-Time Piano Playing Contest in Peoria. The show was recorded and replayed on Kevin’s program.

A time shift for Live and Local

In September, WILL-FM 90.9’s Live and Local with Kevin Kelly moved from its noon timeslot to 4 pm weekdays, preceding NPR’s All Things Considered. The program continued to incorporate interviews with artists and many genres of acoustic music, updating listeners about local music by area and national performers.

When Live and Local moved to later in the day, it also underwent a slight change in format: Three days a week Kevin does the usual interview-with-music show, with live performances whenever possible. For two shows a week, he plays recordings by local artists, and by national and international artists who visit the show. He had a great response to a request for CDs so he could expand WILL’s library of recordings by local artists who play acoustic classical, jazz, blues, bluegrass, old-time, ragtime, folk, Celtic and other genres.

Vic Di Geronimo celebrates two-year anniversary of Classic Mornings

As Vic Di Geronimo celebrated the two-year anniversary of his Classic Mornings program in April, he continued to carefully select and research great classical music, and interweave it with commentary and stories about the music to appeal to both new listeners and those who have been listening for years. He particularly enjoys the creative process in coming up with a theme for Classic Morning Prelude, a 10-minute segment that airs on WILL-FM 90.9 at 8:49 am. Because the segment comes at the end of Morning Edition, he knows he has the opportunity to catch some regular news listeners that are not regular classical music listeners.

For WILLAg, first ever bus tour, rearranged analyst schedule

Farmers and their families took a bus trip to “Follow the Corn” from the fields of the Midwest down the Mississippi River to export markets in New Orleans Aug. 20-24. WILL’s Todd Gleason was the tour host and designer; 54 Friends of WILL traveled with Todd on our first ever WILLAg tour. A highlight of the week-long adventure was a tour of the Zen Noh Grain export elevator in Convent, La., which handles 400 million bushels of corn annually.

Among other developments in agricultural programming this past year, the retirement of analyst Paul Cooley in April allowed agricultural programming director Dave Dickey to bring Risk Management Commodities, represented by Bill Gentry, back into a weekly presence in the Pre-Opening Market Report. Jacquie Voeks of Stewart Peterson Group joined the analysts on the Opening and Closing Market reports.

In My Backyard, Lisa Bralts’ commentary segments about the intersection of food and neighborhoods, settled into a permanent slot in the Closing Market Report, offering an alternative to commodity-driven programming.

The All Day Ag Outlook Meeting at the Beef House in Covington, Ind., drew a sold-out crowd once again, and our Ag eLetter was emailed weekly to more than 2,900 people.

A new host for Focus

Craig Cohen became the interim host of WILL-AM’s Focus in September, following the retirement of longtime Focus host David Inge. Craig, who is also Illinois Public Media director of news and public affairs, retained Focus as a thoughtful, respectful conversation about the issues and ideas affecting our world. Focus became a one-hour program, a change necessitated by staff retirements and a tightened budget. By moving Fresh Air to 11 am, WILL-AM 580 was able to add Talk of the Nation to its schedule at 1 pm, offering listeners the opportunity to join discussions with decision-makers, authors, academicians and artists from around the world.

Illinois Radio Reader: Now mobile!

More Illinois Radio Reader users began accessing the service on the Internet during the past year. Illinois Public Media’s service for blind and visually impaired people is available via Web streaming as well as special radio receivers. In addition, IRR’s programming became available on the mobile app iBlinkRadio, which uses smart phone technology to serve the visually impaired community.

IRR’s Vintage Vinyl sale in May raised more than $14,000 for the service.And finally, the Illinois Radio Reader was awarded $2,800 from the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois for the purchase of sub-carrier radios provided to new IRR listeners.

U of I journalism students report from Turkey on WILL-TV

In May, under the guidance of professor Nancy Benson, nine U of I journalism students reported stories from Turkey, a secular Muslim country of 75 million people. They explored a wide variety of issues with the goal of better educating the American public, producing a half-hour television special that aired on WILL-TV in September.

Illinois Travels to Turkey highlighted the role of Islam in daily life, the debate among Turkish women over whether to wear a head scarf, the fight for a free press, daily lives of LGBT residents of Turkey and efforts to help victims of domestic violence in the country.

Solution developed for DIRECTV interference

After months of interference for viewers trying to watch WILL-TV on DIRECTV, Illinois Public Media developed a solution to provide a clear WILL-TV signal to the satellite provider. The station began delivering its signal to DIRECTV through a fiber-optic cable in July.

IPM invested $15,000 on equipment and committed to a recurring $1,400 monthly fee to implement the fiber-optic fix after being unable to determine the source of the interference, despite testing by the FCC.

“We understood the frustration of DIRECTV subscribers,” said IPM general manager Mark Leonard. “We were frustrated, too, that we could not find the source of the interference.” DIRECTV has an estimated 65,000 subscribers in the WILL-TV designated market area.

The interference created a loss of sound, poor picture quality and, in some cases, a complete loss of the WILL-TV signal from 5:25 pm until about 6:25 am each day. An investigation detected a signal near the DIRECTV regional receiving and transmitting site in Springfield that was interfering with WILL-TV’s signal, but the offending source remained a mystery.

4th graders learn about primary sources on WILL tours

Every Champaign Unit 4 fourth grader toured WILL during in the spring of 2012 as part of their social studies curriculum. “The tours provided a tangible local connection for us with students and strengthened our relationship with teachers and families,” said Molly Delaney, Illinois Public Media educational outreach director.

Many of the 722 Champaign fourth grade students who toured Illinois Public Media thought that the best part of their visit was getting to be history detectives while studying primary sources.

That was one part of the tour that was designed to supplement the students’ social studies curriculum. On the screen in WILL’s teleconference room, students saw an old photo, a report card, an essay and a newspaper clipping. Then, after making wild guesses and getting some helpful clues, they correctly discovered that all four primary sources were related to Molly, their host at WILL, from a time when she was a fourth grader, won an essay contest, and went canoeing with her brother.

Molly talked with students about primary sources and how they can be used in research. She showed them some of the primary sources that WILL-TV has used in making historical documentaries on Red Grange and Abraham Lincoln. The tours also included having students do mock interviews about what the students would want kids in the future to know about them and their school. The activity showed them how they themselves can be primary sources about their own lives.

Making puppets at the Youth Literature Festival

Fuzzy yarn, pipe cleaners and tiny plastic eyes were flying as hundreds of children sat at Illinois Public Media’s activity table at the Youth Literature Festival in October to create puppets from the Land of Make-Believe. Kids used socks, gloves, paper plates and paper bags as their creative backdrop and gave them personality with glue and a table full of add-ons.

It was our way of contributing a fun activity to the event sponsored by the University of Illinois College of Education, and introducing families to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the new PBS Kids show from the creators of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Families were also able to watch episodes of the animated series.

Conversations with city and campus

During Focus: A Conversation with Two Mayors airing on WILL-TV and WILL-AM in February, Illinois Public Media News reporter Jim Meadows talked to Champaign Mayor Don Gerard and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing about the past year and the year ahead for the Twin Cities.

In June, Focus host David Inge interviewed University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise on AM 580, and in October, Craig Cohen talked to U of I President Robert Easter, with the interview airing on both WILL-TV and WILL-AM.

In each case, viewers and listeners could call in with questions, giving them direct access to these newsmakers.

Election year debates and coverage

Illinois Public Media hosted two election-year debates, moderated by reporter Jim Meadows and co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Illinois, for the race in the new 13th Congressional District. Democrats David Gill and Matt Goetten went head-to-head before the primary, with a three-way debate between Gill, Republican Rodney Davis and Independent John Hartman just before the November general election. A U of I student journalist was on each of the panels that questioned the candidates, and political science and journalism students were part of the studio audiences for the debates.

Ahead of the elections, WILL hosted or attended community conversations to learn what issues were most important to voters. The Illinois Public Media News team focused on four key issues to voters: the economy, health care, education and the role of government. Reporters asked each of the candidates in the 13th Illinois Congressional District and 52nd Illinois State Senate races the same 12 questions covering those four major issues. Audio clips and transcripts of their responses were available to voters on our election website, along with Focus interviews with the candidates and news stories about those and other races.

News reporters concentrate on in-depth reporting

During the past year, Illinois Public Media’s news department shifted its focus from heavy spot news reporting to more in-depth reporting.

“In-depth news coverage is what sets public media apart,” said Craig Cohen, director of news and public affairs. “We can take the time to explore issues and tell stories in more detail, and reach out to more sources, than perhaps other media outlets can due to deadline or sponsor pressure. We committed to spending more time producing carefully crafted, contextual stories that explore the motivations and impacts of a variety of events, issues and ideas.”

Reporters provided comprehensive coverage of Congressman Tim Johnson’s unexpected retirement announcement, exploring not just why he announced his intention to retire, but why he waited until after he won the GOP primary.

Reporters also looked at the impact on our listeners of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act. They reached out in advance of the decision to local hospital groups, major regional employers, local health care providers, patient advocacy groups, lawmakers and politicians, providers for low income and uninsured patients, and university experts on public policy. Once the ruling was made public, their coverage considered a wide variety of angles in reporting the High Court’s decision and its impact.

A series of 14 stories on health and wellness, most by reporter Sean Powers, looked at nutrition education in the schools, efforts to fight obesity in immigrant communities and other issues. The reporting was supported by a grant by the Lumpkin Family Foundation. Sean also developed stories examining U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainee procedures and how they have led to tough decisions for local law enforcement regarding immigration. Jim Meadows examined stormwater utility fee proposals in Champaign and Urbana, and Jeff Bossert looked at the potential impact of a threatened prison closure on the community of Dwight, Ill.

These are just a few examples of this renewed commitment to an in-depth exploration of issues, ideas and events.

Andrea Seabrook offers blunt assessment of Congress

Illinois Public Media brought NPR congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook to central Illinois for a two-day visit in April that included an appearance in a class at Urbana’s University Laboratory High School class, a talk at Campbell Hall that was open to the public, and an appearance on WILL-AM’s Focus.

A great storyteller, Seabrook, who has since left NPR to branch out on her own with a daily podcast about Congress, told students and the Campbell Hall audience that although the news media often like to focus on what lawmakers say and what happens each day on the floor, she likes to pay attention to what members of Congress don’t say. She talked about the noticeable dip in civility and bi-partisanship in Congress. “People ask me if this is the worst that it’s ever been,” she said. “But if no one’s beating anyone with a cane then it’s not the worst it’s ever been, although in some ways beating someone with a cane is more functional than nothing happening at all.”

Community Cinema: Viewing and discussing

Our monthly Community Cinema series continued to draw people interested in watching outstanding documentaries together and discussing the regional issues they raised. One highlight was the September film, Half the Sky, inspired by Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn about courageous individuals forging meaningful solutions in health care, education and economic empowerment for women and girls around the globe.

The audience watched a segment that addressed gender-based violence, and heard via Skype from University of Illinois graduate Molly Melching in Senegal. After spending time in Senegal as a U of I exchange student, Melching founded Tostan, a Senegal-based group dedicated to empowering African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights. Also on the panel were Jenny Allen of the Center for Women in Transition; Ann Sibley of Project IMPACT Plus, a central Illinois group that seeks to empower women economically; and representatives of the Tostan organization at Danville High School.

“It was inspiring to hear from someone with a U of I connection who is working on sustainable development in Africa, as well as from people working on economic empowerment closer to home,” said Henry Radcliffe, who heads up the project for Illinois Public Media.

WILL Connect programs examine housing needs and local foods

Illinois Public Media and took a comprehensive look at housing issues and at the growing movement to eat locally grown food during two days of special program on WILL-TV and WILL-AM.

During the day of programming on housing, WILL-AM’s morning talk program, Focus, highlighted public housing issues, and a live program, Housing: A Basic Human Need, on WILL-TV featured video stories about housing in the two counties and a roundtable discussion with local experts. The program, hosted by David Inge, featured stories on Generations of Hope in Rantoul, and a developer in Danville who turned the historic New Holland building into mixed income housing. Reporter Pam Dempsey of produced the program. CU-CitizenAccess is a community journalism project of the University of Illinois College of Media with professional and student journalists.

The local foods programming included C-U Digging into Local Food on WILL-TV, with a live studio-based discussion on local food production efforts and consumption of locally produced food in Champaign-Urbana. Video stories looked at Urbana’s Market at the Square, Champaign’s Randolph Street Community Garden, and efforts underway in Champaign-Urbana to start cooking classes teaching economical, healthy cooking.

Uni students look at counterculture in C-U

Students at Urbana’s University Laboratory High School interviewed Champaign-Urbana residents about the counterculture era from 1965-1975 for a radio documentary and series, Beyond the Tie-Dye, that aired on WILL-AM in September.

Students worked with Illinois Public Media’s Dave Dickey and Uni teacher Janet Morford to tell compelling stories of students arrested in protests, participating in classes when rocks began sailing through the windows, and manning crisis intervention centers for students experiencing the rapid social changes of the time. The programs also delved into how the counterculture movement spurred alternative business models in C-U and what lasting effects the counterculture movement had on participants.

20 years of gardening tips

Mid-American Gardener turned 20 this past year, celebrating by adding the anniversary designation to its leafy logo, and getting panelists together for cake. Host Dianne Noland and her rotating group of experts helped worried gardeners trying to deal with the drought by advising on issues like whether to water grass, how often to water plants and shrubs, and how to help trees survive.

“This dry summer really underscored the need for both mulch and collecting rain water,” said Dianne. “We suggested that people put a 3-inch layer of aged bark mulch around perennials, trees and shrubs to hold in moisture, and taper the mulch from the turf or sidewalk up to 3 inches and then back to an inch or less around perennial stems or tree trunks.”

Panelists also urged viewers to collect rain water in barrels or large buckets, covering the container with fine-mesh mosquito barrier. “Rain water was the only way I was able to keep some of my vegetables alive,” Dianne said. “It provides excellent chemical-free water for plants.”

Fun with a Downton Abbey sneak preview

Several hundred people turned out for our Downton Abbey Season 3 sneak preview event, getting an advance look at Shirley MacLaine’s character tangling with the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Some attendees got into the spirit by coming dressed in clothing from the time period of the Masterpiece series, and staff from the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts brought costumes that might have been worn by the characters in the drama.

New Faces

Bob Culkeen, formerly vice president of technology and operations at WJCT public radio and television in Jacksonville, Fla., joined the staff in January as station manager of WILL television and radio.

Craig Cohen, whom many listeners remembered from his stint as WILL-AM’s local Morning Edition host from 1995-2002, rejoined WILL in March as director of news and public affairs. He also became the interim host of WILL-AM’s morning talk program Focus after the retirement of David Inge. Craig most recently worked as director of programming and producer/host for WITF-FM and TV in Harrisburg, Pa.

Lisa Bralts, formerly the City of Urbana’s director of Market at the Square and economic development specialist, became Illinois Public Media marketing director in September. She’s also a commentator for WILL-AM with the In My Backyard series about the intersection of local food and neighborhoods.

John Steinbacher became Illinois Public Media membership director in October. John came to Illinois Public Media from the Champaign-based International Society of Arboriculture, a professional organization with 21,000 members worldwide where he was the membership and component relations manager.

Awards Telly Award Illinois Public Media producer Kimberlie Kranich and videographer/editor Henry Radcliffe won a Bronze Telly Award for their video story about a mobile food pantry that was part of our WILL Connect: Hunger initiative. The international Telly Awards competition annually showcases the best work of television stations, advertising agencies, production companies and cable operators.

Associated Press Awards Illinois Public Media news reporters and contributors won six awards in the downstate radio division of the 2011 Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Journalism Excellence Contest, including best investigative series, best documentary series and best sports story.

Sean Powers and CU-CitizenAccess reporter Pam Dempsey won best investigative series for their reports on landlords at the Cherry Orchard apartment complex near Rantoul who stood trial for code violations. Sean also won for best sports report with his story about the Farmer City Raceway, won second place for best spot news for his account about the anonymous online posting of a police video showing the arrest of a man in the U of I’s campustown, and won second place in the hard news feature category for his story about how audio recording in public places can be a serious crime in Illinois.

The entire news team, including Sean, Jeff Bossert, Jim Meadows, Dave Dickey and former news and public affairs director Tom Rogers won best series/documentary for their Life on Route 150 series.

WILL-AM 580 commentator Lisa Bralts and her editor Dave Dickey won in the best light feature category for her commentary on “DIY Smokerpalooza.”

Communicator Awards

Illinois Public Media’s programming about community hunger won two Silver Awards of Distinction in the international 2012 Communicator Awards. A day of programming about hunger on WILL-TV, WILL-AM and the Web in November 2011 won the Integrated Campaign-Social Responsibility category. Illinois Public Media’s video about the Wesley Evening Food Pantry in Urbana won in the Program-News-Social Responsibility category. Kimberlie Kranich produced the video and Henry Radcliffe was videographer and editor.

Fiscal 2012 financial report Illinois Public Media experienced another stable financial year, with support from our members and local businesses remaining solid, even in an uncertain economic climate.

Among noticeable changes in the budget:

  • University of Illinois funding increased to pay for repairs to our AM transmitter tower system, including painting, replacement of tower guy wires, a new tower lighting system and new transmission lines. This was reflected in an increase in our expenditures for broadcasting.
  • The value of our endowments increased significantly from fiscal year 2011. While the economy was weak, resulting in less revenue as well as fewer revenue streams, the stock market was strong.
  • Local programming and production expenses decreased as external funding for projects was hard to find because of the soft economy. With a lean operating budget, we were not able to fund as many projects.

We ended the year with a slight operating surplus for carryover to the next fiscal year.

2012 2011

Operating revenues:

University Funding 2,165,034 1,691,618

Membership Contributions 2,140,394 2,229,971

Program Underwriting 355,110 411,001

State Grants 229,141 304,489

Other Grants 40,118

Community Service Grants

and Other Federal Grants 1,333,180 1,497,117

Other Income 105,442 90,431

Total Operating Revenues 6,368,419 6,224,627


Non-operating Revenues:

Indirect Support 2,417,705 1,967,260

Other 1,619,093 956,867


TOTAL REVENUES 10,405,217 9,148,754


Operating expenses:

Local Programming and Production 3,724,676 4,143,991

Broadcasting 1,671,702 1,120,617

Promotion and Development 2,474,032 2,355,624

Management and General 1,060,304 914,152

Other 521,038 564,451


TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES 9,451,752 9,098,835


With appreciation 2011-2012 COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Thanks to our Community Advisory Committee for their help during the past year in gathering information about community issues and needs, helping heighten community awareness of Illinois Public Media and the WILL stations and their services, advocating for broad-based support of WILL, and identifying and encouraging new sources of funding for specific projects.

Phyllis K. Dougherty, Danville, chair
Allan Penwell, Champaign, vice-chair
Kathy Munday, St. Joseph, secretary
John & Susan Adams, Atlanta
Constance Locher Bussard, Springfield
Belinda De La Rosa, Urbana
Jon Dietrich, Champaign
Joan Friedman, Urbana
Bert Gray, Decatur
Maxine Kaler, Champaign
Joe Lewis, Champaign
Jan Mandernach, Decatur
Geoff Merritt, Urbana
Gregory Ray, Mattoon
George Richards, Danville
Steve Rugg, Urbana
Barbara Shenk, Urbana
Patti Swinford, Decatur
Bob Swires, Danville
Maggie Unsworth, Urbana
Lori Williamson, Champaign


WILL thanks the underwriters who make our programs and outreach project possible. Each of these businesses contributed more than $5,000 during the past year.

  • AgriGold
  • Auditory Care Center
  • Busey Bank
  • Columbia Street Roastery
  • Common Ground Food Co-op
  • Community Blood Services of Illinois
  • Corkscrew Wine Emporium
  • C-U MTD
  • Farm Credit Services of Illinois
  • Friar Tuck Beverage
  • Heel to Toe
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
  • M2 on Neil
  • Meijer
  • Meyer Drapery Services, Inc.
  • PNC Wealth Management
  • Rental City
  • Subaru of Champaign
  • Supervalu
  • Tate & Lyle
  • The Music Shoppe
  • World Harvest Foods

2011-2012 GRANTS

  • Illinois Public Media PNC for Young Learners Initiative Book Mentor Project: $90,000 over three years Lumpkin Family Foundation for Health and Wellness Initiative: $20,000 over two years Corporation for Public Broadcasting for emergency generator as part of Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) project: $325,000
  • Women and Girls Lead Campaign for Community Cinema: $750
  • American Archive Content Inventory Project for creating a master inventory and database of surviving audio and video recordings produced by WILL since its founding in 1922: $80,251
  • Illinois Radio Reader Illinois State Library: $29,232


  • College of Education (PBS LearningMedia and Youth Literature Festival)
  • Department of Journalism in College of Media (CU-CitizenAccess)
  • Family Resiliency Center, U of I College of Medicine, U of I Extension (C-U Fit Families)
  • Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Department of Theatre, Division of Intercollegiate Athletics Hometown Heroes (Book Mentor Project)
  • National Soybean Research Laboratory (Health and Wellness Initiative)
  • Police Training Institute (Community Conversations)
  • School of Earth, Society, and Environment (Environmental Almanac)
  • WUIS, WSIU (13th Congressional District Debate, Education Reporting Initiative)