WILL Pressroom

The 21st celebrates first anniversary by continuing to expand its northern reach



May 2, 2017 marks the official one-year anniversary of The 21st —a daily production of Illinois Public Media that brings you the news, culture, and stories that matter to Illinois, airing weekdays at 11 a.m. The hour-long talk show broadcasts on WILL-AM 580 as well as three other public media stations across Illinois: WGLT in Bloomington-Normal, WUIS in Springfield, and WCBU in Peoria.

As The 21st celebrates this milestone, Illinois Public Media is also excited to announce the addition of a fifth station, reaching an internal goal set by The 21st team before the show even began broadcasting.  

“Illinois Public Media is so proud of all of the work The 21st has done under Niala Boodhoo’s leadership during this first year,” Moss Bresnahan, CEO and president of Illinois Public Media. “We look forward to continued success in year two, and we’re particularly excited about how the show is experimenting with ways to reach additional Illinois’ audiences.”

Beginning May 15, The 21st will join the WNIJ 89.5 FM daily lineup, airing live weekdays at 11 a.m. and offering Northern Public Radio listeners a chance to connect with others from all corners of the state.

“WNIJ is very pleased to collaborate with Illinois Public Media and other public radio stations across the state to bring listeners the news and issues facing residents of Illinois,” said Staci Hoste, director and general manager of Northern Public Radio. “As a network of public media stations, we’re in a unique position to bring our listeners greater depth and breadth of statewide coverage resulting from this kind of collaboration.”

The 21st's mission is to provide 21st-century radio for the 21st state, combining relevant news, interviews, and conversations—with everyone from farmers, businesspeople, artists, and politicians, to, most importantly, residents across Illinois—about everything from current affairs and politics to arts, culture, and everyday life.

For Northern Public Radio, the addition of The 21st results in a refreshed programming schedule designed in accordance with WNIJ’s mission to share ideas, encourage thought, give pleasure, and create community.

Coinciding with the addition of WNIJ to The 21st suite of stations on May 15, Host and Executive Producer Niala Boodhoo will begin hosting live broadcasts of the show from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism’s downtown newsroom. This partnership with the Medill School of Journalism is yet another way for The 21st to expand on its mission.  

“We have tried to maintain a startup mentality with the show, so having a studio location in Chicago for the summer is a great way for us to experiment with different approaches to reach new audiences and expand our statewide footprint,” said Scott Cameron, executive editor of The 21st.

This partnership a great opportunity to bring the show into Chicago, and, as a Medill alumna, Boodhoo is also eager to be back at the Graduate School working with their student journalists. “We have had the good fortune in the show’s first year to have access to some incredibly talented student journalists through the University of Illinois. I love the idea of being able to build on that by doing the show from another place where graduate students are learning the craft of journalism,” said Boodhoo.

The 21st team is enthusiastic for the upcoming months and what’s to come in the second year of the show. “I'm so grateful to our listeners and how they have received and welcomed The 21st in our first year on the air," said Boodhoo. "As a team, we're looking forward to another year of creating the very best daily, statewide talk show we can for our Illinois audience.”