Host/Producer The 21st

November 07, 2019

Illinois Public Media seeks a top rate journalist to Host/Produce our weekday radio talk show The 21st at WILL AM-FM-TV, the public broadcasting stations licensed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

The live, hour-long program airs weekdays on five public radio stations throughout the state of Illinois. This person will also participate in special news events, membership drives, and community engagement for WILL AM-FM-TV-Online.

The successful candidate will set the priorities and lead the production team in conceptualizing, researching, and producing these programs to best serve the community. As an effective journalist, the Host/Producer helps build on The 21st’s success to maintain and grow the program, both over the air and in a digital / multi-platform environment.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

Duties and Responsibilities:

Manages The 21st production team and participates in the production of broadcast programs for Illinois Public Media: 50%

  1. Works with News & Public Affairs Director and Director of Broadcast Operations in establishing priorities, vision, and objectives of The 21st.
  2. Provides leadership, direction, and overall administration of The 21st team of senior producer, producers, interns, students, and fellows in a daily, interactive show that reflects Illinois. Topics include politics / government, health, agriculture, the environment, race, religion, culture, and more. Provides context and depth to help audience members to be better informed about the issues and ideas affecting their lives.
  3. Develops operational policies, procedures, and priorities regarding multi-station and multi-platform program and presence.
  4. Leads strategic planning for the show and provides input to the strategies and priorities of the station.
  5. Researches, follows, and implements innovation in industry trends, future of journalism, educational opportunities, audience and staff development, and other relevant areas.
  6. Works with leadership within IPM and partner stations on production and distribution of The 21st  and other news / programming specials.
  7. Participates in program planning meetings, suggesting ideas for The 21st and other programs, program guests, creative use of sound and other elements.
  8. Helps develop programs and initiatives that inform, increase understanding, add context and offer surprises.
  9. Works with The 21st team for digital interaction, social media callouts, structure well-paced shows, and develop question lines.
  10. Must follow local, regional and national news closely, especially politics / government leaders and issues.
  11. Writes program billboards and introductory copy.

Hosts The 21st and other programs, segments, special coverage, and events for Illinois Public Media. 50%

  1. Leads thoughtful conversations on topics that are timely, relevant and affect the lives of our audience.
  2. Helps identify the “big idea” or shared experience underlying news stories to develop surprising local angles and conversations.
  3. Provides context and depth to help audience members to be better informed about the issues and ideas affecting their lives.
  4. Includes audiences in ways that add value, inform and/or offer insight into a unique or shared experience.
  5. Creates a safe on-air and/or community space for guests and audience members to share surprising, compelling, and sometimes uncomfortable experiences.
  6. Connects with the audience through empathy, vulnerability, and a mutual sense of trust.
  7. Reacts quickly to changing topics, breaking news, unexpected discussion areas, and technical problems. Must be able to interview comfortably in a live or recorded format.
  8. Must identify voices and views that we don’t tend to hear on public broadcasting. Expands audience’s worldview, by exposing them to topics and ideas they wouldn’t normally seek out on their own.
  9. Participates in IPM community engagement, membership drives, promotional events, and special coverage which may also include television or live stage events.
  10. Welcomes diverse and multicultural views and ideas from people with wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences.
  11. Participates and plans station functions with partner stations, not limited to remote productions, speaking engagements, and membership events.

Position Requirements and Qualifications:


Bachelor degree required

Education Preferred:

Bachelor’s degree, with preference to those in Journalism and Communications or related field


At least three years of journalism experience, as a broadcast news anchor, host, or reporter. Public Media and producing experience preferred but not mandatory. 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. Experience producing on digital audio workstations. Must have professional news digital and social media sharing experience.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  1. Experience in editing and producing on broadcast and digital audio workstations and software.
  2. Proven ability to take complex, detailed information and summarize it into a condensed, easy to understand form and the ability to write and edit accurate, clear, concise copy and handle breaking news stories with integrity on a moment’s notice.
  3. Engaging, energetic, and conversational on air presence.
  4. Ability to lead a daily talk program that reflects the interest of a diverse audience.
  5. Proven ability to consistently work well with others, demonstrating at all times respect for the diverse constituencies at IPM, partner stations, and within the public radio system.
  6. Ability to speak and write news fluently in other languages in addition to English is considered an asset.

Application Procedures:

To ensure full consideration, complete applications must be submitted by December 16, 2019. To apply create a candidate profile at and select the position for which you are applying; then upload all required documents, including 1) cover letter describing qualifications for the position, 2) current resume and the names and 3) List of names and email addresses and phone numbers for three or more references. Candidates will be informed before references are contacted.

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.