up-front with Greg Petrowich: July

New Radio Schedule.
More to Love.

Lewis Carroll wrote Through the Looking-Glass in 1871. More than one hundred years later the Grateful Dead released their compilation album What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been… neither seems extreme enough or absurd enough to capture the state of things in Illinois these days.

Like all not-for-profit organizations and institutes of higher education in Illinois, WSIU faces its most challenging budget planning process ever. Proposals for budget cuts as high as 31% have been floated in Springfield, while rescissions to the Illinois Arts Council budget have already resulted in a loss of $70,000 for WSIU in the just completed fiscal year. At the time this letter is being written, there is no state budget for FY2016 and we are already 10 days into July.


"...Like all not-for-profit organizations and institutes of higher education in Illinois, WSIU faces its most challenging budget planning process ever...”

Throughout this uncertainty, WSIU remains committed to providing the highest quality public media service possible.
At the same time, fiscal prudence dictates that we make adjustments to our budget in preparation for this year and beyond. After reviewing several options, we’re preparing a series of changes that will provide greater budget flexibility while having the least impact on our audiences and even providing a few new and exciting programs.


On August 1, we will be ending our programming affiliation with Public Radio International (PRI). This is not a decision we take lightly, but given the number of long-term contracts we enter into each year, and the relative hours of programming we receive from each, this change allows us a substantial amount of budget flexibility while impacting the least number of programming hours.

See the changes to our radio programs via our downloadable radio schedules.

Changes will involve the addition of several new shows along with the conclusion of a few others. Most significant will be the discontinuation of Whad’Ya Know? and Zorba Paster on Your Health at the end of July—both distributed by PRI.

We’ll be adding three new programs on Saturdays beginning August 1. Listeners may already be familiar with Ask Me Another, which premiered on WSIU last year, but now returns with weekly episodes. Bullseye with Jesse Thorn will come to our Saturday lineup as well, along with Fresh Air Weekend. And now nearly one year into re-runs, The Best of Car Talk moves exclusively to our WSIU HD2 channel. On Sunday morning at 9:00 am, look for On The Media to replace Zorba Paster on Your Health.

During the week, our most significant change will be the addition of Here and Now each weekday from noon until 2:00 pm. Here and Now is a co-production of NPR and WBUR in Boston. It allows us to extend our award winning NPR News coverage throughout the midday with a live news magazine that is now carried on nearly 400 NPR stations nationwide. Here and Now co-host Jeremy Hobson grew up in Central Illinois and regularly features sources from his home state in his stories. Beginning July 27, All Things Considered will extend until 7:00 pm each weeknight as The Radio Reader with Dick Estell concludes its run on WSIU.


TV viewers will notice two changes this fall, as Lawrence Welk completes its run on WSIU in August while Dr. Who continues its hiatus until we have a more complete budget picture. Don’t worry, Downton Abbey will still return for its final season in January.


You may have already noticed that we made changes to the Previews guide starting July 1. Previews is now a monthly publication featuring more timely selected highlights from both radio and television. Check out our new issue here. Meanwhile we’ll continue to add features and updates to our website, and look for a WSIU mobile app coming soon.

These program additions and changes are designed to serve our audiences in a more sustainable manner while making the best use of our precious financial resources—given the uncertainty of the state’s future financial picture.

Speaking of efficiency, there are two things you can do today that will help insure an even healthier WSIU and provide you with the timeliest information about our programming:

  • Provide your email address so we can send you program updates electronically. It’s no secret that email promotion costs less and reaches you quicker.

  • If you haven't already, convert your annual gift to a sustaining membership with WSIU. Sign up for automatic monthly giving via electronic funds transfer (EFT). That way, we’ll invest more of your gift in programming each month. Some public broadcasting stations are enjoying great success with more than 50% of their supporters moving to sustaining memberships. Sign up today by calling (618) 453-6186 to speak to one of our customer service representatives.

As always, we thank you for your generous support of WSIU and look forward to continuing to serve you in the coming year.

- Greg Petrowich

Executive Director, WSIU Public Broadcasting

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