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

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.

Bowling Green, Ky – Millions of Americans swear by the morning cup of coffee. A growing body of research suggests coffee has several positive health benefits. In this report, Kevin Willis speaks with Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Justin Shepherd, owner of Spencer's Coffeehouse in Bowling Green.

Bowling Green, Ky – Delaying the vaccinations a child is to receive in the first year of life has no positive impact on that child's cognitive development. That's the conclusion of research conducted at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and published in the journal Pediatrics. Researcher Dr. Michael Smith spoke to WKU Public Radio about the study, and WKU Nursing Instructor Deanna Hanson described the negative consequences of delaying or forgoing vaccinations.

Owensboro, Ky – Wendell Hampton Ford surely stands as one of Kentucky's most consequential politicians of the 20th century. The Owensboro native represented Kentucky for 24 years in the US Senate after serving as Governor. Kevin Willis recently visited Senator Ford at his office at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, which houses the Wendell Ford Government Center. Ford discussed a life in politics, as well as his thoughts on the current state of political affairs.

Glasgow, Ky – Shoppers at a Glasgow farmer's market have an unusual meat option: locally raised buffalo. Kim and Bev Braun run Buffalo Nickel Ranch, their 20 acre farm in Glasgow. Currently home to 26 bison, the ranch provides several cuts of buffalo meat, which is popular with some consumers because it's much healthier than beef. Kevin Willis visited the Barren County buffalo ranch, and brings us this report.

Bowling Green, Ky – In the second of our two-part series of reports, we take a ride with Bowling Green Police Sgt. Matt Edwards, who patrols some of the city's most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Sgt. Edwards tells us how he tries to build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities who are often suspicious of the police. He says a technique known as "community policing" plays a major role in the effort.

Bowling Green, Ky – The Bowling Green Police Department faces considerable challenges in reaching out to the city's many immigrant communities. Bowling Green has a growing Hispanic population, as well as recent arrivals from Bosnia, Albania, Vietnam, Burma, Liberia, Iraq, and Burundi. Many of these immigrants are naturally suspicious of engaging with law enforcement. In this report, we hear from BGPD Chief Doug Hawkins and Officer Monica Woods, International Communities Liaison.