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Craig Cohen Leaving WILL for Houston

Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen Photo by Michael O. Thomas

Craig Cohen, Illinois Public Media’s director of news and public affairs, will be leaving the station Feb. 22 to take a job as host of a new talk show at Houston Public Media.

Also the interim host of WILL-AM’s morning talk show Focus, Cohen said he could not pass up the “extraordinary” opportunity to host a talk show in the nation's fifth largest broadcast market.

“I never imagined I would get such an opportunity,” Cohen said. “But I take the job knowing that Illinois Public Media’s news and public affairs department is in excellent shape. In the last year, we transitioned our coverage from one dominated by spot news to more in-depth, investigative coverage. We developed tag team reporting efforts to cover big breaking stories, we revamped our election coverage, and we refreshed Focus.”

Host of Morning Edition on WILL-AM from 1995-2002, Cohen returned to WILL as news and public affairs director in March 2012. When longtime Focus host David Inge retired June 30, Cohen stepped in to host the talk program until the budget allowed the hiring of another host.

Illinois Public Media senior news reporter Jim Meadows will become interim Focus host after Cohen leaves. He’ll work with Lindsey Moon, who recently joined the staff as Focus producer.

“Lindsey and Jim will make a terrific team,” Cohen said.  “Lindsey has already raised our game producing recent shows, and Jim has demonstrated a commitment to thoughtful exploration of issues throughout his career.”

Cohen said he has “every confidence that news and public affairs efforts at Illinois Public Media will continue to provide a strong, vibrant public service for the two-state region.”

Illinois Public Media General Manager Mark Leonard said he was very sorry to see Cohen leave, but delighted he will remain in the public media family.  “Houston is a tremendous radio market, and Houston Public Media has made a significant investment to expand their local news and information programming on a newly acquired second FM station,” Leonard said. “I’m sure that Craig will be a key component for helping to build and grow that service. We will always think of Craig as part of the Illinois Public Media family.”