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

Bowling Green, Ky – America is remembering the life of former First Lady Betty Ford, who passed away Friday at the age of 93. A Glasgow surgeon has a unique connection to Mrs. Ford. Dr. William Thistlethwaite of TJ Sampson Hospital is the son of James Thistlethwaite, who diagnosed Mrs. Ford's breast cancer and assisted in her subsequent surgery. William spoke to WKU Public Radio about his father's role in helping Mrs. Ford, and the impact of her advocacy on behalf of women's health issues.

Louisville, Ky – Kentucky is home to one of a handful of doctors who is using aggressive, interventional treatments to help advanced stroke patients. Doctor Alex Abou-Chebl, a professor of neurology at the University of Louisville, is pushing beyond what is considered the "standard of care" for victims of stroke. In this report, we hear from the doctor and Andrew Fisher, a patient who was saved when Abou-Chebl placed tiny balloons and stents in Fisher's brain.

Bowling Green, Ky – Later this summer, the National Mall in Washington begins a multi-year renovation. A big part of the changes will be new grass along the mall to replace the turf that has been worn down by years of heavy foot traffic. Experts have chosen the Kentucky bluegrass seed for the effort. In this report, we hear from Caroline Cunnigham, President of the Trust for the National Mall, and turf expert Murray Cook.

Bowling Green, Ky – The widespread popularity of social networking sites and devices has some wondering if young people are becoming too self-involved and narcissistic. But research done at WKU indicates these sites don't increase narcissism so much as they amplify the narcissism already present within the user. Kevin Willis has this story.

Picture courtesy of butterfliesformaddie.com

Glasgow, Ky – Donna and Tony Morgan of Barren County have been on a mission ever since tragedy struck their family in 2005. That's the year their 6 year old daughter, Maddie, died suddenly of Pulmonary Veno Occlusive Disease, or "PVOD". Since then, the Morgans have set out to educate the public--and just as importantly, the medical community--about the rare disease. Kevin Willis reports from Glasgow about the Butterflies for Maddie Foundation.

Louisville, Ky – Raising a child with severe autism requires the strength and combined efforts of every family member. That's a key message author Mark Osteen brought to Kentucky. Osteen spoke in Louisville about his book "One of Us: A Family's Life with Autism." His visit was sponsored by the Kentucky Autism Training Center at the University of Louisville. Osteen implores parents not to blame themselves for their child's condition. Kevin Willis has our story.

Nashville, TN – David Penson is a man who spends a lot of time thinking about the health of the country. The Professor of Urologic Surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville served as co-chair of the advisory panel that authored the recent "Tennessee Men's Health Report Card." Dr. Penson said he was amazed to see in how many instances poor personal choices lead to nationwide health problems. He spoke to WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis.

Louisville, Ky – Kentucky's lung cancer death rate is 45% higher than the national average. Dr. Victor VanBurkle wants Kentuckians to understand the impact tobacco-related cancers are having on the state. He's a surgeon with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville. He says while cancer treatments have come a long way in recent years, the lung cancer death rate is essentially flat. That's because when most patients discover they have the disease, it's too late to save them.

Loretto, Ky – Maker's Mark is the highest-selling premium bourbon brand in the world. When you visit the distillery in tiny Loretto, Kentucky, you're struck by the humility of the employees, and their desire to carry on the tradition started in the early 1950s by Bill Samuels Sr. His son, Bill Jr., is stepping down as president of the distillery after 35 years. WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis visited the distillery to meet Bill and his son, Rob, who is set to become chief operating officer.

Owensboro, Ky – In Owensboro, a small Roman Catholic school is embarking on a strategic growth plan designed to boost enrollment. Brescia University is a liberal arts school that prides itself on graduating students who have a holistic view of education, and who are interested in serving their communities. We visited the school's downtown Owensboro campus to learn about Brescia's approach to education, and how it plans to grow in the near future.

Russellville, Ky – The relationship between JD Country Milk in Russellville and Mozz Mozzarella Bar in Louisville is a perfect example of the farm-to-table movement. Logan County dairy farmer Willis Shrock produces non-homogenized milk that's bottled on-site at the farm. The chefs at Louisville's Mozz Mozzarella Bar swear by the milk and use it to create their signature cheese. Kevin Willis visited the farm and the restaurant to learn about the partnership.

Elizabethtown, Ky – In Elizabethtown, a husband and wife team is helping wounded soldiers gain more control over their lives. Tom and Karen Brown are retired veterans who own Wild Rose Equine Center. With the help of therapists and volunteers, they offer eight-week courses that teach soldiers how to ride the horse and care for the animal, all the while improving balance, coordination, and memory skills. Kevin Willis visited Wild Rose and has our story.

Bowling Green – A Western Kentucky zoning board is giving the okay for a permit to operate a mosque. Mayfield officials are reversing a previous denial that had led to national controversy. Kevin Willis has more.

Pages