WILL Pressroom

Illinois Public Media to launch new radio talk show in March

Woman in radio control room

Niala Boodhoo, host and executive producer of The 21st Michael Thomas/WILL

Illinois Public Media is launching The 21st, a new hour-long talk show. Veteran journalist and public radio host Niala Boodhoo will host and executive produce The 21st.

The show will launch March 14, 2016, airing Mondays and Fridays through April 29, 2016 and airing daily starting May 2, 2016. The show will also be made available to other public radio stations throughout Illinois for simulcast for their broadcast audiences. WUIS in Springfield joins WILL as a launch partner.

The 21st — 21st-century radio for the 21st state — will combine relevant news and conversation with audience engagement through phone calls, social media and other digital channels. The 21st will not only facilitate discussions but help listeners connect with each other and with the information vital to their lives.

The 21st will set a new standard in talk radio in Illinois by bringing people together and sparking conversations on air and online around the issues and ideas that affect people’s everyday lives across the state,” said Moss Bresnahan, President and CEO of Illinois Public Media. “The public media audience is evolving and looking to interact with our content in new ways and on all platforms. There’s a real need in Illinois for a program that is relevant, smart and fun and connects people from all walks of life and from all corners of Illinois.”

Listeners will hear a mix of interviews and conversations—everyone from farmers, businesspeople, artists, politicians, and most importantly, residents across Illinois—on everything from news to politics to arts, culture and everyday life.

“We want to establish this hour as one where you will get a chance to connect with people throughout the state, and hopefully learn something about life here in Illinois,” said Boodhoo, who joins the Illinois Public Media team after two years of hosting The Afternoon Shift at WBEZ/Chicago Public Media. “I’d love for people to not just tune in, but also talk to each other, about what’s happening in Illinois and across the Midwest, the country and the world.”

Listeners can count on The 21st to cover the top stories and the latest news, as well as stories, big or small, from across Illinois.

The show will bridge the traditional with the digital. The 21st will build upon the foundation of public radio talk shows, but it will also go beyond the studio by plugging into digital conversations. The 21st will be made available to all audiences via WILL’s streaming services and mobile app, and all are welcome to join the conversation right now on Twitter (@21stShow).

Scott Cameron, formerly senior producer of NPR’s Talk of the Nation and currently Illinois Public Media’s director of news and public affairs, joins The 21st as a co-executive producer. 

You can listen to Boodhoo’s interview about the launch of The 21st during Morning Edition on WILL-AM580 with host Brian Moline here.

As a part of the launch partnership between WILL and WUIS, WILL-AM580 will also air Springfield's midday news magazine Illinois Edition beginning May 2, 2016.