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.

Pages

Politics
12:00 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WKYU-FM Entry for Best Political Coverage, 2013 Kentucky AP Awards

This audio compilation is WKYU-FM's entry in the category of Best Political Coverage for the 2013 Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters competition for radio.

Our entry features reports by Lisa Autry leading up to and following the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

Read more
Education
11:49 am
Tue January 15, 2013

WKU President Discusses Higher Ed Funding, University Construction Costs, Tuition Hikes

WKU President Gary Ransdell in the recording studio of WKU Public Radio
Credit Kevin Willis

WKU President Gary Ransdell's interview with WKU Public Radio

WKU President Gary Ransdell stopped by the studios of WKU Public Radio Tuesday morning to discuss state funding for higher education, a recent announcement regarding how university construction projects will be financed, and the impact of rising tuition rates on current and future students.

President Ransdell spoke with WKU Public Radio News Director Kevin Willis. Here are some excerpts from their conversation:

Kevin Willis: Last week it was announced that Governor Beshear and state legislative leaders were backing $363 million in bonds for university construction and renovation projects. But it was understood that the schools themselves would be footing the entire cost for their respective projects, with no extra state funding involved. WKU was given approval for $22 million in bonds for a new Honors College and International Center.

Are you satisfied with that approach?

Read more
Sports
7:58 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Two WKU Football Players Now On the Basketball Court

WKU quarterback--and basketball player--Kawaun Jakes

How badly beaten up is the WKU men's basketball team? Coach Ray Harper has been suiting up two football players in order to have enough bodies on the court during games and practice.

The Courier-Journal has this article about quarterback Kawaun Jakes and wide receiver Marcus Vasquez, two seniors who just wrapped up their final college football season, and how they're playing important roles for the WKU basketball team. 

WKU Public Radio recently profiled Vasquez, who returned to the football field after suffering a season-ending knee injury his junior year.

Regional
8:18 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Update: Road Closings, Reopenings Following Weekend Rain

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has issued this updated road closing report. Several roadways in our listening area have been closed due to the high water brought on by weekend rain. Here is the latest, as of Monday at 10:30 am.

Allen County:

KY 585/Old Franklin Road closed between MM 6-7.

KY 1533/Meador Post Oliver Road closed between MM 0-1.

Breckinridge County - KY 261, between 15-16MP - Closed

NOW OPEN - Breckinridge County - KY 2779, between 3-4MP

NOW OPEN - LaRue County - KY 583, between 1-2MP

Butler County:

KY 2713/Dexterville Road closed between MM 0-1.

KY 1153/Dallam Creek Bridge Road closed between MM 5-6.

Reed's Ferry (KY 269) and the Rochester Ferry (KY 369) closed due to high water.

Edmonson County:

KY 655/Segal Road closed between MM 3-4.

Read more
Regional
9:08 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Fort Knox Soldiers Reunite with Families After Tour in Afghanistan

Nearly 200 Ft. Knox soldiers are back home and reunited with their families following a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The Courier-Journal reported on the homecoming for soldiers from the 3rd Sustainment Command, who were stationed at an airfield in Kandahar.

This was the first deployment for some of the soldiers, while for others it was their fourth of fifth deployment overseas since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Business
9:46 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Kentucky Supreme Court Wades into Instant Racing Controversy

The Kentucky Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal concerning Instant Racing games being used at two racetracks in the listening area of WKU Public Radio.

Instant Racing uses videos of old horse races, with the identities of the horses, jockeys, and trainers concealed. Participants place wagers after seeing a brief video clip of the race in the corner of the screen. The games are currently being used at Kentucky Downs in Franklin and Ellis Park in Henderson.

The Courier-Journal reports it remains to be seen whether the Kentucky high court will decide, once and for all, whether Instant Racing games can operate in the Bluegrass State. The ruling being appealed was technical in nature, did not address the legality of the game and returned the case to the first court to hear the matter.

Health
2:19 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Federal Motion Against Tennessee DCS Seeks Records on Child Fatalities

A national advocacy organization is asking a federal judge to force the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to hand over child death records. The New York-based Children’s Rights first sued the Volunteer State in 2000 over youth safety concerns.

Children’s Rights has filed a new motion in federal court saying two children died inside the same Tennessee foster home within six months, and that the response to the incidents by the Department of Children’s Services raised, what it called, “serious concerns.”

The Tennessean reports the New York group wants the DCS to provide child fatality records for children who died in 2011 and 2012 and who had prior contact with the department. There has been no formal response by DCS to the federal motion.

The department in the past has said it will provide records before ultimately deciding it was against releasing case records due to confidentiality concerns. The court filing by Children’s Rights says the few internal records and summaries filed by DCS in December made it “impossible to determine what transpired in those cases.”

Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner is calling for a special meeting to investigate the Department of Children's Services' refusal to release records related to the abuse and death of children under its care.

Politics
1:55 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Tennessee House: Only 15 Bills Per Member

The Tennessee House of Representatives

The Tennessee House has voted to cap the number of bills members can introduce, a move GOP leaders think will help streamline business in the chamber.

The Tennessean reports the House passed a 15-bill limit for each member. House Speaker Beth Harwell initially wanted a ten-bill per member limit.

Supporters say the limit on legislation will lead to an increase in the overall quality of bills brought up in the chamber. But opponents describe the move as an effort to muzzle them. Representative Joe Towns of Memphis denounced the limit, saying “this is not the chamber of a communist country.”

The Tennessee Senate, meanwhile, finished their weekly business without deciding whether to bind the chamber to the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Education
9:55 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Former President Clinton to Headline Fundraiser in Owensboro

A view inside the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center in Owensboro
Credit Wendell H. Ford GEC

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Owensboro this spring for a benefit fundraiser. The Messenger-Inquirier reports the event will raise funds to support the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center.

Ford served in the U.S. Senate from 1974 to 1999, and was Democratic Whip the first six years of Clinton’s presidencies.

President Clinton has appeared in Daviess County before—in 2000, he presented an education award to Audubon Elementary School, and he campaigned at Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2008 on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Ford Government Education Center is located downtown in the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, and has displays of pictures, artifacts, and documents from Ford’s political career.

Politics
8:17 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Right-Wing Group Running Ads Against McConnell

Sen. Mitch McConnell

Kentucky's senior U.S. Senator finds himself the target of online ads run by a conservative group. The ads, bought by the group ForAmerica, criticize Republican Mitch McConnell for his role in the recent negotiations over the fiscal cliff.

Politico reports the ads read "Mitch McConnell: Whose side are you on?", along with a picture of McConnell wedged between President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Last-minute negotiations between Biden and McConnell reportedly helped break the impasse between Democrats and Republicans as time was running out to get a deal in place before huge spending cuts and tax increases went into effect.

Politico previously reported McConnell viewed the recent fiscal cliff deal as a way for Republicans to gain future leverage against Democrats and the White House.

Pages