WILL Pressroom

Niala Boodhoo announces she will be stepping down from The 21st

Niala Boodhoo sitting in front of a WILL microphone

Niala Boodhoo in the WILL studio.

After three years with The 21st, Niala Boodhoo will be stepping down as the show’s host and executive producer, effective the end of July. This decision comes after Boodhoo was named one of 17 journalists in the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship program for the 2019-20 academic year at the University of Michigan.

Boodhoo was crucial to the launch of The 21st and has been instrumental in its continued success as a statewide talk show.

“We knew we had a great idea, and I was very excited to execute it with Illinois Public Media,” Boodhoo said.  “The opportunity to create something new from the ground up was an absolute privilege. I feel like we’ve created a new statewide audience, prompted important conversation, and helped elevate discourse throughout Illinois.”

The 21st can be heard on five partner stations across the state of Illinois four days a week, and has established an audience that looks to the show to connect them to the rest of the state. The show has already won multiple local and national awards after just three years—including first place for “Best Call-In Show” at Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) awards earlier this month—and has traveled to many of the communities they serve, including Chicago, Bloomington, and Springfield. The show even recently spent a week broadcasting live from NPR headquarters in Washington D.C.

Senior producer Alan Montecillo will stay with the show, along with Anna Casey, former WILL Newsroom reporter, who recently joined the show as a producer. “I know that I’m leaving the show in good hands, and I fully expect Alan and the rest of the team will surpass the goals that we have already achieved through the show,” said Boodhoo.

Moss Bresnahan, CEO and president of Illinois Public Media is very proud of all of the work The 21st has done under Boodhoo’s leadership, “It’s with her vision that The 21st has established a loyal statewide audience that appreciates lively conversation and civil discourse throughout Illinois. I trust that will only continue with our very capable producing staff as we search for a new host.”

A nationwide search for Boodhoo’s replacement is now underway. Illinois Public Media is looking for someone with a startup mentality who is immersed in news, information, and culture. The ideal candidate thrives under the pressure of daily show production, values diversity and diverse perspectives, collaborates well with a close-knit team of producers, and is passionate about the future of public radio.