Meet Jim Meadows, Focus’ New Interim Host


Senior reporter Jim Meadows will become Focus’ new interim program host starting Monday, February 25. Current host and News and Public Affairs Director Craig Cohen is leaving Illinois Public Media/WILL for Houston Public Media.

Meadows says he’s excited to have the opportunity to host Focus and is looking forward to being part of program’s rich legacy. He’s been with WILL since 2000 working as a reporter, newscaster and local host for Morning Edition, and has also been a substitute host for Focus several times.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” he said.

Meadows is a veteran of radio broadcasting in Illinois, with a longtime passion for public radio. He arrived at WILL from WCBU, an NPR member station in Peoria, where he worked as a reporter and as a late-night jazz host in the 1980s. He’s a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and got his start in radio working at a ten-watt station in Park Forest, Illinois as a high school student.

Meadows has moderated debates with newsmakers and legislators for both TV and radio and will work closely with producer Lindsey Moon to create programming that ventures beyond the headlines and, among other things, examines how new policy decisions affect the WILL community.

Cohen says the two will make a great team.

“Lindsey has already raised our game producing recent shows, and Jim has demonstrated a commitment to thoughtful exploration of issues throughout his career,” he said.

Meadows and Moon also plan to delve into the latest on health and wellness, environmental and education issues and will work to produce Focus programs that highlight art, culture and music in the area. Meadows has a soft spot for jazz and 1960’s rock music and is an experienced DJ, with a background spinning rock and jazz records during and post-college. With a strong interest in science fiction and a love for literature, Meadows is excited to bring the Focus audience engaging interviews with best-selling authors and academics.

In his free time, you can find Meadows watching films from the 1930’s and 40’s, exploring the East Central Illinois countryside (while making pit stops to pick up copies of local newspapers), or reading books for possible future Focus interviews. He is also well practiced in Taekwondo and Tai Chi and enjoys the tostadas from Mas Amigos Mexican Restaurant in Urbana. 


Do you have an idea for a Focus program? Do you have questions or comments about the show? Let us know! You can email or contact producer Lindsey Moon.