Yona Stamatis talks with ISO Conductor and Music Director Ken Lam about this weekend's "Magnificent Mozart" concert, featuring Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Jennifer Higdon’s To The Point, and Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, inspired by Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.

Friday, January 24, 7:30 PM, at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield.
Saturday, January 25, 7:30 PM, at the Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington.


flanked by students, J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at a Springfield school
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Wednesday aimed at bringing more young people into the civic conversation.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

A recreational marijuana lounge is coming to downtown Springfield. The City Council on Tuesday granted one of the first permits to open an establishment specifically for the consumption of marijuana. It also allows on-site consumption at the dispensary.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Our #OscarSpotlight series continues with a look at the most nominated and quite possibly the most divisive film of the year; the 11-time nominee #Joker. In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck embarks on a downward-spiral of social revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his infamous alter-ego: "The Joker".


Jan 21, 2020

Our #OscarSpotlight series continues with a look at #Netflix's #TwoPopes, the drama no one saw coming and the two nominated performances that power it.

Featuring: Craig McFarland & Ryan Lootens


U.S. Census Bureau

Advocates for an accurate census count are claiming a mailer from an anti-immigration group constitutes a “disinformation” campaign. The letter, sent out last fall, calls itself a “Consensus Survey” and asks residents for their views on immigration policy.


The #OscarSpotlight series continues! Martin Scorcese's The Irishman is next up as we re-release our #FullDisclosure review from last year. A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.


FEATURING: Lou Hare, Erin McCabe & Ryan Lootens

Doris Turner, J.B. Pritzker, and Juliana Stratton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s personal lawyers are seeking to keep him from having to sit for a deposition in a racial discrimination lawsuit against his campaign.

Dick Durbin speaks with reporters outside his house in Springfield
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As the U.S. Senate prepares for President Trump’s impeachment trial, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has a warning for his colleagues.

Sen. Don Harmon walking down the aisle to the front of the Illinois Senate chamber
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

There is a new president of the Illinois Senate: Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, won the support of his colleagues during a special meeting Sunday afternoon.

Record store
Todd Gehman (

Here are mighty fine albums and great songs we shared during the no particular order.

Crane Like the Bird          “Crane Like the Bird”

Drummer Kyle Crane (having backed such luminaries as Neko Case and M Ward) assembles an all-star cast of contributors for this debut of propulsive pop-rock.  Make no mistake, this is not a star turn showcase, but each guest readily lends exactly the right emotion and mood in each composition.

Senate President John Cullerton and Senators Kim Lightford and Don Harmon
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Members of the Illinois Senate will gather in the Capitol Sunday to choose a new president.

Sony Picture Releasing

The Oscars are here and once again the Front Row Network is giving you comprehensive coverage with our #OscarSpotlight series. Here we'll break down all of the most-nominated films and break down all of the categories. We start it out with Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's iconic novel #LittleWomen.

Featuring: Jeremy Goeckner & Sara Baltusevich

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

More fallout from the “rape in Champaign” email: Ag Director John Sullivan is out.

Bruce Sommer formally announces collaboration for downtown Springfield
Mike Smith / NPR Illinois

Two universities have formally announced a collaboration intended to bring a new higher education presence to downtown Springfield.

Tammy Duckworth in a hearing
Sen. Tammy Duckworth / YouTube channel

Both of Illinois’ U.S. senators voted in favor of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Illinois State Board of Education

The Illinois State Board of Education yesterday approved a budget request seeking $9.6 billion dollars in state funds, most of which will go to the state’s “evidence-based funding” model, designed to bring all school districts up to adequate funding.

As he marked a year in office, Gov. J.B. Pritzker talked with Brian Mackey about several issues facing the state, including his thoughts on marijuana.  

The minimum wage hike that just happened in Illinois also meant a pay boost for those under 18, but they will continue to be paid less than other minimum wage earners.  We have a report.

And Western Illinois University has struggled with enrollment, leading to financial problems.  But the interim President says he believes the dark clouds are lifting.  

That and more on this episode of Statewide.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Officials at Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, known as the ALPLM, are once again trying to verify the authenticity of a hat once thought to belong to Lincoln.

Ashley's Law
Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Around 94,000 medical marijuana licenses have been issued in Illinois, and about 600 of them are for children under the age of 18.

Students who need medical marijuana – typically to treat conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy – used to have to rely on their parents to come to school and give them their treatment. Now, students can get their cannabis from the school nurse, or administer it themselves under the nurse’s supervision.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Tuesday marks one year since J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as governor of Illinois. Since then, the state has raised its minimum wage, legalized marijuana, and passed several other pieces of legislation long sought by Democrats.

Pritzker marked the occasion with a series of interviews, including with our Statehouse reporter.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Springfield officials want to make sure all residents participate in the upcoming census count.

The population count begins in March, when residents will get a letter asking them to fill out an online form about their household.

Yes movie fans, the day has come once again. The nominations for 92nd Annual Academy Awards have been announced and, as always, there’s equal parts joy and anger to go around. I don’t think there’s quite anything in the movie world that inspires so much happiness and head-scratching at the exact same time as the yearly Oscar nominations. Per usual, there’s plenty of snubs and surprises to catalog.

SNUB: Frozen II Left in the Cold

5th Annual Geek Year In Review

Jan 10, 2020

It's the end of the year so it is time once again for the 5th Annual Geek Year In Review crossover podcast extravaganza! This year we welcome back our good friends Jeremie Bailey from the Lincoln's Legends podcast and Mitch Ladd from The Geek Awakens. We cover a wide variety of topics from movies to TV shows to Comics and even some video games. This is always one of the highlights of our podcasting year so a big shout-out to our co-collaborators and of course to all of you! So please enjoy this special episode!

Featuring: Craig McFarland, Mitch Ladd & Jeremie Bailey

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, WBEZ Chicago reported on a 2012 email in which then-lobbyist Mike McClain priased a former state worker for having “kept his mouth shut on ... the rape in Champaign,” among other things.

Courtesy of Kelly McConohy

In an attempt to relieve Illinois' severe teacher shortage, state lawmakers last year voted to remove a requirement known as the "basic skills test." That test has proven to be a stumbling block, especially for people pursuing the profession later in life, as a second career. This change, enacted just five months ago, has already opened the door for a would-be special education teacher in the East Moline School District. 

Committee on House Administration, Majority via Youtube

A central-Illinois election official told a Congressional panel Thursday some of the voting machines Illinoisans used in the last election are still susceptible to tampering. But he said efforts are underway to prevent it from happening again.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Pension payments are the biggest financial challenge facing Springfield. At Wednesday’s first city budget hearing, officials agreed on that much, but argued over what to do about it.

Illinois lawmakers did away with a requirement in 2019 that could have a big impact on those who want to be teachers.  We'll hear from one woman who says it has changed her life. 

With college debt skyrocketing, more high schools see the need to teach personal finance to students.  We'll visit one of those classrooms. 

And not many towns have a poet laureate.  We bring you a report from Aurora, a community that just named its first person to hold that title.  That and more on this week's Statewide.

Courtesy of Alexis Mansfield

Advocates have ideas being hashed out by a state task force.

Attorney Alexis Mansfield said her clients have told her troubling stories of what happens when small children reach the glass in a jail that separates them from a parent.