WKU Public Radio News

News Team

The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.

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Kevin Willis

A sixth-generation distiller has passed away after five decades with one of the most famous bourbon producers.

Parker Beam served as Master Distiller Emeritus for Heaven Hill distilleries, and was with the company for more than 50 years.

Heaven Hill announced Monday that Beam died following a years-long battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion has led to a dramatic increase in substance abuse treatment services. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has examined substance abuse services covered by Medicaid between 2014 and mid-2016.


The group’s report found that Medicaid beneficiaries received 740-percent more treatment services for substance abuse issues over that 30-month period. Before the Affordable Care Act in 2012, about 585-thousand Kentuckians lacked health insurance, and therefore had no coverage for drug and alcohol treatment services.

Ft. Knox Army Post

The city of Radcliff is offering free land for a possible Veterans Affairs medical center.

The 50 acre site has all utilities in place and has direct access to Interstate 65. The offer of free land comes from Radcliff Mayor Mike Weaver, a retired Army colonel.

The Elizabethtown News-Enterprise reports land has already been acquired in Louisville near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway for a new VA hospital.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The sponsor of a so-called “religious freedom” bill says it may have to wait until 2018. Laurel County Republican Senator Albert Robinson said the bill would have passed this year had it not been for House Democrats.

The religious freedom bill would prohibit the government from forcing businesses to serve individuals if doing so would violate the business owner’s religious beliefs. Supporters say the bill’s passage is important to protecting an individual’s right to live according to their religious beliefs. Opponents of the bill say it would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


General Motors will temporarily close the Bowling Green assembly plant next month as the automaker tries to reduce a growing inventory of cars on dealer lots.

The Corvette plant will be idled for one week. GM will also halt production at four other plants ranging from one to three weeks.

Flickr/Creative Commons

A Kentucky lawmaker wants to establish a minimum age at which juveniles could be held legally responsible for committing crimes.

The bill would set the minimum age of 11 years old for a criminal offense. Louisville Representative and bill sponsor Darryl Owens said that young children have not fully developed their impulse control or decision making skills, making them unable to fully understand the consequences of their actions.

A refugee from Iraq and former Bowling Green resident convicted of terror-related offenses will stay in jail.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports 29-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi asked to have his life sentence vacated, claiming his court-appointed lawyer, James Earhart, did not represent him effectively. A federal judge ruled Hammadi's request should be dismissed.

Hammadi has been in jail since 2011 on charges that he attempted to provide money and weapons to terrorists in Iraq while he was living in Bowling Green.

Abbey Oldham

The head football coach at Western Kentucky University has accepted an offer to become the next head coach at Purdue. 

Jeff Brohm informed WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart and team members of his decision Monday morning.

Brohm is coming off back-to-back Conference USA championships and is 30-10 in the three seasons since taking over for Bobby Petrino. 

Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, who has served on the WKU coaching staff since 2013, will serve as interim head coach moving forward and into the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl. 

WKU has scheduled a 4:00 p.m. news conference at Diddle Arena.

Purdue dismissed coach Darrell Hazell in October following a 3-9 record this year.

Make WKU Public Radio part of your Thanksgiving Day with our special lineup of programming. Plus, you'll be able to hear Morning Edition and All Things Considered as normal. 

Giving Thanks (9c/10e)
Host John Birge presents a contemporary celebration of the spirit of gratitude, with this year's special guest, chef Jacques Pepin.

Turkey Confidential (11c/12e)
Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper comes to the rescue of Thanksgiving cooks, kitchen helpers, and dinner guests alike on the biggest cooking day of the year. A Thanksgiving morning tradition, Lynne answers listener questions throughout this live, two-hour program. This year, Lynne will field listeners' questions with the help of America's Test Kitchen co-host, Bridget Lancaster. 

A Shaker Tradition (1c/2e) Kevin Willis hosts this program of instrumental and vocal arrangements of Shaker hymns and dance tunes.

WKU Public Radio

A court of appeals ruling last week that cleared the way for  right-to-work legislation in Kentucky may not be the final word.

The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown reports the Louisville law firm representing nine unions against Hardin County plans to petition to re-hear the case.

Right to work laws lift mandatory union contributions for new hires. Unions say the law weakens them, allowing workers to get union benefits without having to pay for them.

Hardin County was one of 12 Kentucky counties that passed the legislation last year.

The unions say only states, not counties, have the authority to pass right to work laws. Their lawyer says the three-judge court of appeals misapplied two Supreme Court decisions and took them out of context.

They plan to file a petition within the required 21 days for the full 15 member appeals court to re-hear the case.


Kentucky’s public and private colleges and universities awarded a record number of degrees during the 2015-16 academic year.

A report from the Council on Postsecondary Education says Kentucky’s higher education institutions conferred 65,829 degrees--a 2.7 percent increase over the previous year.

The number represents a 32.5 percent increase over the amount of degrees awarded over ten years in the commonwealth.

Murray State and Morehead State had the highest increase in bachelor degree production, with the schools awarding 12 percent more degrees in the 2015-16 academic year. The University of Kentucky conferred 4 percent more.

Western Kentucky University saw a four percent increase in that same time.

Over the past decade, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System saw a 49 percent increase in the number of associate degrees it awarded.

Creative Commons

Kentucky’s Attorney General is warning residents to avoid falling victim to a “jury duty” phone scam.

Kentuckians have reported getting calls from someone claiming to be a U.S. Marshall, court worker, or law enforcement agent. The scammers accuse whoever answers the phone of failing to appear for jury duty, and says they must pay a fine immediately over the phone or risk arrest.

Attorney General Andy Beshear says law enforcement officers and other state and federal authorities do not take payments over the phone related to missing jury duty.

Other similar scams have been reported in Kentucky this year, including one where someone claiming to be a deputy sheriff says he can help solve a federal warrant for a fee.

Anyone receiving such calls can report the scam to the Attorney General’s office at 888-432-9257 or online.

Lisa Autry

Welcome to our live election blog, where we'll be covering races from across our listening area all day long.

Our news team will begin sharing election results as soon as they become official when all polls in Kentucky have closed at 6 p.m. central/7 eastern time.

NPR’s live national coverage starts an hour later, at 7p.m. central.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Barbara Stewart died at her home Thursday. The long-time owner of downtown Bowling Green fixture Barbara Stewart Interiors was 94.

Stewart founded her business in her home in 1952 as a picture framing business before moving it to East main Street on Bowling Green's Fountain Square. She hand made the picture frames herself.

Barbara Stewart Interiors  was named one of "Home Accents Today" 50 retail stars in 2015.

She is survived by a son, two daughters and five grandchildren.

A celebration of her life will be Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 pm at J.C. Kirby and Son Lovers Lane Chapel. Visitation will be Sunday from 1:00 pm until the time of the service at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be sent to jckirbyandson.com.

Expressions of Sympathy may be sent to Women's Fund of South Central Kentucky, P.O. Box 737, Bowling Green, KY 42102-0737.

Barbara Deeb
Abbey Oldham

Longtime WKU PBS host Barbara Deeb is returning to her radio roots as she becomes the new local host of All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio.  

Rhonda Miller, who joined the station in 2015, will move into a full-time reporter’s role in the newsroom, covering various issues throughout the WKU Public Radio listening area.

Deeb originally came to Bowling Green as an anchor and reporter for WKYU-FM in 1980. In recent years, her duties have been primarily on WKU PBS as host of MainStreet and Outlook.

“I am delighted at the opportunity to come full circle in the career I love,” said Deeb. “I look forward to my new duties as host of All Things Considered while continuing to make meaningful television programs for our public radio and television audience.”