From WILL - WILL Jobs -

Senior Host/Producer, Illinois Public Media (WILL AM-FM-TV-Online)

Electrovoice RE20 microphone

This is a rare opportunity for you to lead our award-winning radio talk show, Focus. We’re looking for an experienced journalist who looks for the “big idea” behind the news, who knows how to frame a daily on-air conversation that’s engaging, surprising, entertaining and relevant to our diverse audiences.  The Senior Host/Producer will join our growing team of journalists at WILL AM-FM-TV-Online (, the public broadcasting service of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

The Senior Host/Producer will work closely with the Focus production team to create daily programs that stand out among local and public media with topics that surprise, guests who shine and stories that connect with listeners’ lives. The Senior Host/Producer reports to the Director of News and Public Affairs, a former editor for NPR’s Talk of the Nation. This is a unique opportunity for an ambitious journalist to help build on Focus’ local success and develop a sustainable, regional service.  It’s also an ideal position for someone who wants to set the news agenda for the region and the state and who’s looking to make a difference in a high-profile, high-impact role at a station that’s based in a smart, engaged community. In the past year, the WILL newsroom was honored with PRNDI, regional Murrow and Illinois AP awards and named “Best Downstate News Operation.”  Focus was recognized with a 2013 PRNDI award.

The primary responsibilities of the Senior Host/Producer are to host programs, news segments, special coverage and events and to participate in the production of broadcast programs.  In performing this job, the successful Senior Host/Producer will:

  • Interview a diverse array of guests on a wide range of topics while demonstrating intelligence, empathy, wit and creativity
  • Help identify the “big idea” or shared experience underlying news stories to develop surprising regional angles and conversations
  • Engage listeners in a daily on-air conversation and create a safe space for guests and audience members to share surprising, compelling and sometimes difficult stories and experiences
  • Include audiences in the discussion in ways that add value, inform and/or offer insight into a unique or shared experience
  • Welcome diverse views and ideas from people with wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences
  • Work with Focus team to shape and focus every segment by mapping out pacing, key questions and necessary guests
  • Draw out great stories from guests and listeners, pose natural follow-ups and ask tough questions when needed
  • Participate in program planning meetings, suggesting ideas for Focus and other programs, program guests, creative use of sound and other elements
  • Write program billboards, intros and other copy and deliver seamless live, non-scripted material
  • Follow local, regional and national news closely
  • Take an active role in building the show’s online and social media presence
  • Participate in on-air fundraising

Minimum qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably in journalism, communications or a related field
  • At least three years of journalism experience
  • Proven ability to write in a clear, concise manner
  • Well-developed curiosity in a wide range of subjects and a broad range of general news knowledge
  • Engaging, energetic and conversational on-air presence
  • Deep knowledge of news and excellent news judgment
  • Ability to lead a daily talk program that reflects the interests of a diverse audience
  • Ability to handle rapidly moving and breaking news stories
  • Knowledge of online journalism practices
  • Proven ability to consistently work well with others, demonstrating at all times respect for the diverse constituencies at IPM and within the public radio system

Illinois Public Media is a not-for-profit public media service of the College of Media at the University of Illinois.  Our mission is to enrich people’s lives through programs and services that educate, entertain, inspire and empower by airing the best of public television and radio programs, producing local content for TV, radio and the Web while working with community partners to address needs and concerns.  


Salary commensurate with experience, but not less than $42,000.  This is a full-time academic professional position at the University of Illinois, offering very generous benefits including one month of paid vacation annually, free tuition for employees, health, dental and life insurance, sick leave and a pension system.

The University of Illinois is home to Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows and Pulitzer Prize winners.  The university’s library is one of the largest in the world and its Krannert Center is one of the nation’s top performance venues.  Residents of Champaign-Urbana enjoy a thriving arts scene, an active night life, Big Ten sports, museums, parks and a growing system of bicycle paths.  


Apply online at and upload a cover letter, resume, list of three professional references, and audio or video samples of your work in journalism or talk show hosting.  Please let us know how you learned about this job opening. This search has been extended. Full consideration will be given to applications received by October 20, 2014. Interviews may take place before October 20, but no hiring decision will be made until after that date.  Starting date is negotiable after the closing date.  For more information, call Dee Breeding, HR Specialist, 217-333-7300, or email

Illinois Public Media is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity.