Host/Executive Producer – The 21st

July 02, 2019

Illinois Public Media is looking for a host to take the helm of its successful statewide talk show, The 21st.

The show has been in operation for just three years, and it’s already won multiple local and national awards - and expanded to air on five NPR member stations throughout Illinois. In doing so, The 21st  has established an audience that looks to us to connect them to the rest of the state.  Listeners and guests expect to be treated with dignity and respect and are used to having difficult and important conversations, but also enjoy fun ones, too.

Are you the person to take The 21st to the next level?

We're seeking someone with a startup mentality, and is immersed in news, information, and culture—whether you find that by actual in-person encounters, or virtually via social media platforms, apps or podcasts. Do you love finding the next breakout artist, writer, thinker, or hashtag? Do you care about diversity, collaborating with a close-knit team of producers, and want to change the future of public radio?

The ideal candidate thrives under the pressure of daily show production, communicates well with others, and likes to have fun at work. This opportunity is a chance to continue the success of a modern public radio show with new audiences in mind. Public media experience isn’t required - just experience hosting, which includes podcasts.

If that’s not enough, the job comes with competitive pay, excellent benefits—including free tuition at the University of Illinois—and a vibrant, engaged community.

See the full job description:

Duties and Responsibilities:

Manages The 21st Production Team and participates in the production of broadcast programs for Illinois Public Media:

  • Sets and leads the priorities, vision, and objectives of The 21st.
  • Provides leadership, direction, and overall administration of The 21st team of senior producer, producers, interns, students, and fellows.
  • Develops operational policies, procedures, and priorities regarding multi-station and multi-platform program.
  • Leads strategic planning for the show and provides input to the strategies and priorities of the station.
  • Researches, follows and implements innovation in industry trends, future of journalism, educational opportunities, audience and staff development, and other relevant areas.
  • Works with leadership within IPM and partner stations on production and distribution of The 21st and other news / programming specials.
  • Participates in program planning meetings, suggesting ideas for The 21st and other programs, program guests, creative use of sound and other elements.
  • Helps develop programs and initiatives that inform, increase understanding, add context and offer surprises.
  • Works with The 21st team for social media callouts, structure well-paced shows and develop question lines.
  • Helps identify voices and views that we don’t tend to hear on public broadcasting and develops specific topics of coverage, series and signature segments.
  • Follows local, regional and national news closely.
  • Suggests opportunities to build connection with audience on social media and in-person events.
  • Develops significant digital / multi-platform presence. 14. Serves as a public representative of IPM.
  • Records promotional material for IPM.
  • Responds to personal inquiries from listeners to the extent possible.
  • Interacts with online audience.
  • Makes personal appearances, representing IPM at public events, as requested.

Hosts The 21st and other programs, segments, special coverage, and events for Illinois Public Media:

  • Leads thoughtful conversations on topics that are timely, relevant and affect the lives of our audience.
  • Helps identify the “big idea” or shared experience underlying news stories to develop surprising local angles and conversations.
  • Provides context and depth to help audience members to be better informed about the issues and ideas affection their lives.
  • Includes audiences in ways that add value, inform and/or offer insight into a unique or shared experience.
  • Creates a safe on-air and/or community space for guests and audience members to share surprising, compelling and sometimes uncomfortable experiences.
  • Connects with the audience through empathy, vulnerability and a mutual sense of trust.
  • Reacts quickly to changing topics, breaking news, unexpected discussion areas and technical problems.
  • Hosts news segments, specials and live events on radio and TV and in the community.
  • Expands audience’s world view, by exposing them to topics and ideas they wouldn’t normally seek out on their own.
  • Welcomes diverse and multicultural views and ideas from people with wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences.
  • Conducts live and taped interviews.
  • Delivers seamless live, non-scripted material without warning.
  • Writes program billboards and introductory copy.
  • Participates in on-air fundraising.

Position Requirements and Qualifications:


Required: Bachelor degree; preferred degree in Journalism, Communications, or related field


  • At least five years of journalism experience.
  • Experience maintaining high journalistic ethics and standards under deadline pressure, including standards of objectivity, balance and fairness.
  • Experience building a personality presence in social media.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Fluent in digital audio editing software.
  • Proven ability to write in a clear, concise manner.
  • Well-developed curiosity in a wide range of subjects and a broad range of general news knowledge.
  • Engaging, energetic and conversational on-air presence.
  • Deep knowledge of news and excellent news judgment.
  • Ability to take complex, detailed information and summarize it into a condensed, easy to understand form.
  • Knowledge of how to make regional and national topics local and vice versa.
  • Ability to lead a daily talk program that reflects the interests of a diverse audience.
  • Ability to handle rapidly moving and breaking news stories.
  • Knowledge of online journalism practices.
  • Ability to work well with production team and take coaching.
  • Demonstrated ability to discuss local, regional and national issues on air in a clear, balanced and intelligent manner.
  • Well-developed on-air personality and a strong ability to conduct thoughtful interviews with people who have diverse and opposing opinions, comments and views.
  • Proven ability to consistently work well with others, demonstrating at all times respect for the diverse constituencies at IPM and within the public radio system.

Application Procedures:
To ensure full consideration, complete applications must be submitted by July 24, 2019. Interviews may be conducted before the closing date, although no hiring decisions will be made until after the search has closed. Please create your candidate profile at and upload a cover letter describing qualifications for the position, current resume and the names and contact information for three professional references.  For further information regarding application procedures, you may contact Annetta Allison (217) 265-7648 or

This is a full-time, 12-month academic professional appointment with a start date as soon as possible after the closing date.  Salary will be commensurate with qualifications.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or criminal conviction history. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (