Sustainer profile: Patrick Keenan
U of I professor tells us why he supports WILL with an ongoing monthly gift.
Patrick Keenan listens to NPR’s Morning Edition on a small transistor radio every morning when he’s getting ready for work. At night, when he’s doing the dishes after his kids are in bed, he listens to podcasts of Fresh Air on his smart phone. And he always listens to the Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle.
He said he recently became a sustaining member of Illinois Public Media to make sure he was doing his part to support the public radio news reporting that he counts on every day.
“As I read the newspaper, I can see that it is literally shrinking,” he said. “There’s no really good news on television. NPR is the most important thing to me for staying informed, and we have a local gem in WILL,” said Keenan, a University of Illinois law professor who moved to Champaign-Urbana in 2001.
Being a sustaining member by giving an ongoing monthly gift makes his support “idiot-proof,” he says. “Before, I would call in during the pledge drive if I remembered. This is the first time I’ve been a sustainer. This way, I don’t forget to make a gift. My support continues until I decide to stop.”
Although he listens to NPR reports a number of different ways—radio, Web streaming, podcasts—he realizes that by supporting WILL, he is also supporting NPR because member dollars help pay WILL’s NPR dues that enable NPR to create programming.
Keenan said NPR does two things that make it not just important, but essential to him. First, it helps him keep up with what’s happening in the world and around the country, things that he might not be exposed to without their reports. Second, NPR has gotten much better at covering breaking news in the last five years.
He listens to Illinois Public Media’s regional news reports, and also enjoys the agricultural reporting. “I grew up on a farm, and WILL’s agricultural news is the best in the country. I am just personally interested. It’s done in a way that’s informative and accessible,” he said.