Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

In Brief

June 17, 2008

WNIJ to unveil new programs

Beginning Tuesday, July 1, listeners of WNIJ will hear some changes on the Northern Public Radio station, including the return of Bob Edwards to the local public radio dial.

Northern Public Radio also plans to begin streaming online at and by July 1. This feature is scheduled to coincide with the debut of re-designed station Websites, where visitors also can sign up for a new E-Newsletter to stay informed of station happenings.

Programming changes include:

“Here & Now” (noon weekdays, beginning Tuesday, July 1)

For one energetic hour each weekday, “Here & Now” combines the best in news journalism with intelligent, broad-ranging conversation to form a fast-paced program that updates the news from the morning and adds important conversations on public policy and foreign affairs, science, technology and the arts, from film and theater to music, food and more. A notable roster of guests joins “Here & Now” host Robin Young.

“Sound Opinions” (noon Saturdays with a rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Sundays, beginning July 5)

Take two nationally respected rock critics, the latest music news, personal commentary and exclusive interviews and performances. Add a huge pile of records old and new. The result is “Sound Opinions,” the world’s only rock ’n’ roll talk show.

Based in Chicago, “Sound Opinions” is hosted by music journalists Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. Every week, “Sound Opinions” fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from cutting-edge underground rock and hip-hop, to classic rock, R&B, electronica, worldbeat or just about any other genre. It’s public radio’s answer to inquisitive and adventurous music fans hungry for exposure to new sounds. 

“Bob Edwards Weekend” (2 p.m. Sundays, beginning July 6)

One of public radio’s most familiar voices returns to WNIJ this July. Bob Edwards is the host of “Bob Edwards Weekend,” distributed to public radio stations by Public Radio International. As one of the original co-hosts to launch “Morning Edition” in 1979, Edwards’ latest program features in-depth interviews with newsmakers, journalists, entertainers and other compelling figures.

New voices debut on WNIU

WNIU (90.5 / 105.7 FM), the area’s only 24-hour-a-day non-commercial classical music service, will in July present a new roster of music hosts, including former NIU Huskie Bob Christiansen.

Northern Public Radio also plans to begin streaming online at and by Tuesday, July 1. This feature is scheduled to coincide with the debut of re-designed station Websites, where visitors also can sign up for a new E-Newsletter to stay informed of station happenings.

John Zech (5 to 9 a.m. weekdays) is a radio veteran with 21 years of broadcasting experience. He is an accomplished trombonist whose knowledge and love of classical music make him a perfect fit for a classical music series.

Zech speaks English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. His interests are broad, including tournament-level tennis, all forms of billiards and martial arts. He also boasts tremendous marketing savvy, having spent many years in management and sales for a Twin Cities-based multilingual communications company.

Jeff Esworthy (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays) hosted at WKSU-FM/Kent in northeastern Ohio from 1978 to 1995. He professes a widely diverse musical background.

As a teen, Esworthy developed a keen interest in the classical music of North India and studied sitar. In college, he studied anthropology; the music of India, Japan and Africa; and rural northern Thailand. He also has an interest in folk music, has played banjo in a southern string band and also plays fiddle.

Julie Amacher (1 to 3 p.m. weekdays) is the only four-time winner of the PRPD Announcer of the Year award. Her work as music director of KUNC/Greeley helped win that station the PRPD Flo Award for Best Station six times and the Fundraising Award twice. Amacher’s record of outstanding work as an announcer, programmer and producer at KUNC make her one of the most respected hosts in the public radio system.

Valerie Kahler (3 to 7 p.m. weekdays) hails from Mesa, Ariz., graduating from Northern Arizona University with a degree in performance as a cellist. She was a member of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.

Kahler began her career in radio at KNAU-FM/Flagstaff in 1989 as program host and music director. During the summer of 1998, she worked for National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” Her interests in music cover many classical genres, pop, Broadway music and more.

Bob Christiansen (7 p.m. to midnight Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays; 5 to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays) has been an announcer and program director for nearly 30 years. This Chicago-area native attended NIU and served as a music host at WNIU. He teamed up with Bill Morelock while at Northwest Public Radio, creating the nationally distributed “Bob & Bill” program.

In addition to his current work in classical programming, Christiansen hosts shifts on Minnesota Public Radio’s classical music stations, including hosting “The Opera,” a weekly program devoted to one of his personal weaknesses.

Suzanne Bona (“Sunday Baroque” from 7 to 10 a.m. Sundays) has been a classical music broadcaster since 1987. She’s also a professional, classically trained flutist. This avid reader, culinary explorer and cat lover is a true radio aficionado enjoying life sans TV.

NIU Art Museum prepares
to rent artworks for offices

It’s time for the NIU Art Museum’s annual “Art to Lend” program.

This exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection is available to hang in secure campus offices. To consider the selections, stop by the Altgeld gallery (first floor, west end) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, July 14, through Thursday, July 17.

As in previous years, works will be assigned by lottery based on preferred selections. The lottery drawing will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 17.

There are nominal fees for this service to cover part of the Art Museum’s incurred costs and for the direct care and maintenance of the collection, including matting and framing to make new selections available.

Check for more information on the rental policy.

For more information, contact Pete Olson at (815) 753-7867 or

Retirement reception planned
for Physics laboratory manager

Ben Dewey, laboratory manager in the Department of Physics, is retiring at the end of the month after 17 years of service to NIU.

A celebration is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, June 30, in Faraday West 300.

Alumni Association to thank
faculty, staff at Sox game

NIU’s Alumni Association will thank NIU faculty and staff for their support and dedication to the university by offering two-for-one pricing for an upcoming Chicago White Sox game Tuesday, July 1.

Join the Alumni Association in a private suite featuring indoor and outdoor open seating and continuous buffet and bar starting at 6 p.m. through the seventh inning stretch. Packages cost $125 and include two game tickets, all food and beverages and a wonderful atmosphere. Join us Tuesday, July 1, for an exciting baseball reception.

Call (815) 753-1452 to order.

Alumni Association to travel
to Dalmatian Coast this fall

Discover Dalmatia’s ruggedly beautiful, island-dominated shoreline on this touring itinerary which takes travelers from Dubrovnik in southern most Croatia to Ljubljana, the beautiful capital city in Slovenia.

The trip begins Sept. 19.

The Dalmatian Coast offers an unmatched collection of Roman ruins, medieval towns, gorgeous rivieras, picturesque lakes, mountain views and idyllic islands. Visitors step back in time at beautiful Dubrovnik, an architectural gem that is more than 1,000 years old.

More information about this and other NIU Alumni Association Travel Programs is available online.