Kevin Willis

News Director

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio.  He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.  

He is a broadcast journalism graduate of WKU, and has won numerous awards for his reporting and feature production. 

Kevin grew up in Radcliff, Kentucky and currently lives in Glasgow.

Ways to Connect

IdeaFestival Bowling Green

An estimated 800 middle and high school students will be on the campus of Western Kentucky University Thursday for the fifth-annual IdeaFestival Bowling Green.

The theme of this year’s event is “What’s the Big Idea?”, and is focused on helping young people identify and achieve their dream ideas.

Hardin County Schools

A former Hardin County Schools superintendent and chairwoman of the Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has passed away.

Lois Gray was 81. She died Tuesday in Florida.

She served as the superintendent of Hardin County Schools from 1992 to 2002.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University student newspaper has received a grant to help cover the legal expenses related to the school’s ongoing lawsuit against the paper.

The College Heights Herald reports it was given a $10,000 grant from the Kentucky Press Association Legal Defense Fund.

The chairman of the fund has also pledged to provide additional financial support to the paper if it needs help fighting the lawsuit in the future.

Ron Baker via Creative Commons

The president of a Somerset music festival has finally landed the headlining act she’s been after for years.

“I remember my first meeting nine years ago--I was like, ‘I want John Prine', said Tiffany Bourne. "And the board, no matter who’s been on it, every year, we’ve tried and tried and tried. But he lives in Europe in the summer months, so it was always a ‘no.’”

But Tiffany Bourne says singer-songwriter John Prine has finally told the Master Musicians Festival “yes”.

WKU Athletic Communications

Update:

Visitation and funeral arrangements have been made for the man known as the “Voice of the Hilltoppers.”

Wes Strader passed away Tuesday evening at the age of 79.

He was the play-by-play voice of the WKU football and men’s basketball teams for 36 seasons.

All arrangements are being held at Eastwood Baptist Church in Bowling Green.

Visitation will be held Monday from 2 to 8 pm, with funeral services at 1 pm on Tuesday.

The burial will be private.

WKU Public Radio

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said she’s not surprised a federal commission on voter fraud has been shut down.

Grimes and a majority of Secretaries of State across the nation refused to submit voter information to the commission, which was set up by President Trump last year.

Trump claimed he lost the 2016 popular vote only because of massive voter fraud. Grimes said the commission never should have been a reality.

Becca Schimmel

A financial technology company says Kentucky is home to three of the top 25 best places in the

U.S. to work in manufacturing. The list created by the company “Smart Asset” ranks the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox area as the fifth-best place in the country for manufacturing jobs.

Owensboro was ranked 17th, and the Louisville metro area was 19th. The report says a little more than 17 percent of jobs in the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox region fall into the manufacturing category. That area has seen a 7 percent increase in manufacturing job growth over a one-year period.

Jeanna Glisson

The Kentucky Farm Bureau is hoping to raise awareness of the important role migrant labor plays in making the state’s agriculture system work.

Joe Cain is director of the bureau’s commodity division, and is the featured speaker at an event Tuesday night in Muhlenberg County.

He says he hopes any changes to the nation’s immigration laws will include updates to the H2A program, which allows agriculture employers to bring workers to the U.S. for seasonal work.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Kentucky is launching a new initiative that will provide more students with computer science education classes from elementary to high school.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt announced the plan Tuesday at Glasgow High School. The initiative will develop state-based computer science standards, and create professional development opportunities to encourage teachers to attain computer science credentials.

Commissioner Pruitt thinks computer science learning opportunities need to be available to all Kentucky students.

mapio.net

An Owensboro man is leading an effort to move a Confederate statue off the Daviess County Courthouse lawn.

Twenty-two-year-old Jesse Bean started a petition on the website Change.org to convince local leaders to act.

Bean says he was inspired to take on the issue following the weekend violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and efforts in Lexington to move a pair of Confederate statues away from that city’s downtown.

Bean says the local statue should be displayed at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.

Flickr/Creative Commons

The leader of a Kentucky auto industry group says it’s not hard to imagine the day when self-driving cars will be commonplace.

Dave Tatman, executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, points out that many of the vehicles we’ve been driving for years have been hinting at the future.

“You see autonomous features in the cars we drive every day,” Tatman said. “You know, my truck’s got lane departure warning, it’s got forward collision avoidance. That’s all part of autonomy. So I think that autonomous vehicles are here to stay.”


WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s Secretary of State is again refusing a request to provide state voter information to a federal committee.

In a statement released by her office, Alison Lundergan Grimes said she was declining for a second time the request from her Kansas counterpart, Kris Kobach, who is the head of the Committee on Election Integrity created by President Trump.

The commission was formed after the president claimed millions of people cast illegal ballots in last year’s election. No evidence exists to support the claim.

U.S. Army

One of the latest scams making the rounds in Kentucky involves a caller who claims to be raising money to cover Veterans Affairs medical bills and aid homeless veterans.

The caller claims to represent a bogus charity called “Coalition for Veterans of America.”

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office says its received multiple reports from Kentuckians—including one from state police—who say they’ve been contacted by the scammers.

WKU

Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni says the school can help fill local employment needs while also broadening the perspectives of its students.

Caboni’s first week as WKU President comes at a time when the state is putting increased pressure on colleges and universities to help address workforce development concerns.

Caboni says he wants WKU to prepare students to make a good living, while also preparing them to have a good life.

“I think that having that balance is important. That preparing people to go into the workforce and into a profession is key, but also ensuring they have the critical thinking and broader communication skills to be successful over a lifetime,” WKU’s 10th president said.

Caboni says one of his chief goals is for WKU to recruit “more and better” students who can graduate in four years. Degree productivity is a key point of Kentucky’s new performance-based funding model for higher education.

You can hear our full interview with Timothy Caboni here:


Kentucky LRC

The Secretary of Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says he’s thrilled with the impact of the state’s needle exchange programs.

John Tilley believes the 32 local needle exchange efforts in Kentucky represent a change in how the state is facing the growing problems of opioid addiction, and diseases spread through the use of infected syringes.

Tilley says many of the addicts participating in needle exchanges are deciding to get help.

“They are five times—five times—more likely to enter treatment. And we’ve had great success in getting people who go to these programs into treatment, so that’s a public health win. We have to do it to battle back Hepatitis C—that’s a public health nightmare in Kentucky.”

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