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

Rhonda J. Miller

Charles Booker has been endorsed by two of the nation’s most high-profile progressive politicians in his race for Kentucky’s upcoming U.S. Senate primary.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York on Tuesday endorsed Booker’s campaign.

Booker is a first-term state Representative from Louisville, and one of ten Democratic candidates running in his party’s primary for the U.S. Senate.

tourgreenville.com

The leader of a Muhlenberg County town said the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic will force city and county governments to make “impossible” budget choices.

Greenville Mayor Jan Yonts joined her Louisville counterpart, Greg Fischer, Thursday on a conference call with reporters, asking the U.S. Senate to pass a relief bill with economic aid for state and local governments.

Yonts said her county government is now operating on a $2.3 million dollar budget shortfall due to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus. She said a recent string of local drug overdose deaths, burglaries, and fatal fires show the need to maintain essential services.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear is moving up the date that people will be allowed to travel and gather in groups of 10 or fewer to Friday, May 22. That’s three days sooner than his original plan to lift the restrictions on Memorial Day, May 25. Beshear said he has decided to accommodate the holiday weekend.

“I’ve got to live in the real world like everyone else,” Beshear said during his daily news briefing Thursday. “I understand what people are going to want to do, and my job is to get the best results.”

medcenterhealth.org

A southern Kentucky physician who has helped shape the local response to the coronavirus has tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, an infectious disease expert at Med Center Health in Bowling Green, released a statement through the health care group saying she tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

She said she doesn’t think she contracted the virus while working at the hospital, but instead came in contact with an elderly family member who was exposed to an infected caregiver.

Becca Schimmel | WKU Public Radio

A Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is criticizing Republican Mitch McConnell for allegedly trying to defund a federal program that detects and curbs the spread of infectious diseases.

Amy McGrath is one of 10 Democrats seeking her party’s nomination for the Senate seat held by McConnell.

The New Yorker recently reported that in 2017, McConnell pushed an amendment that would have ended funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

McGrath also blames McConnell for decreased funding for important public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health reopened outpatient surgery programs Monday at its hospitals in Daviess and Muhlenberg counties. The procedures had been unavailable due to policies put in place after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Owensboro Health President Greg Strahan said anybody scheduled to undergo a procedure at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital or Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital has to be tested for COVID-19 in advance.

“We’ve already begun calling patients, having them come in and have a test done. It’s a 72-hour test that we have to wait for,” he said.


WKU

A new report shows Kentucky is on pace to meet a goal of having at least 60% percent of the state’s working age population with a postsecondary degree by 2030.

Figures released this week by the Council on Postsecondary Education show nearly 47% of Kentucky adults have a credential from a college or university. That's a 4.5% increase since 2014.

Virtually all of that growth came from short-term certificates awarded by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The number of degrees awarded by the state’s four-year schools was essentially flat.

CPE President Aaron Thompson says the state needs to get more KCTCS graduates to continue their education.


Rhonda J. Miller

Western Kentucky University announced changes Wednesday in response to the coronavirus.

Spring break has been extended a week and faculty will develop new ways to deliver instruction without being in the classroom.

The first change announced by President Timothy Caboni is that spring break will run until March 22, instead of ending on Sunday, March 15.

However, residence halls will open on March 15, as planned. 

President Caboni said closing residence halls isn’t an option. 


Abbey Oldham

Rand Paul says there’s no mystery concerning how the vote for President Trump’s upcoming trial in the U.S. Senate will turn out.

Sen. Paul predicts that none of the 53 Republican U.S. Senators will vote to remove Trump from office.

In an interview with The Hill, the Kentucky Republican said he thought every Senator, regardless of party, had already made up their mind about how they’ll vote.

“I think the votes have been decided. As much as anybody will be pretending to be judicious about this, I don’t think that there’s one senator who hasn’t decided how they’re going to vote,” Paul said. 


J. Tyler Franklin

Rand Paul of Kentucky is one of at least two Republican U.S. Senators supporting a Democratic resolution aimed at curbing President Trump's ability to launch future military strikes against Iran.

Sen. Paul and Mike Lee of Utah have publicly backed the resolution, which would place a 30-day deadline on the President to seek authorization from Congress for military action, except in a case of an imminent threat.

Politico reports the Senate version of the resolution could be introduced as early as next week.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her chamber will vote Thursday on its version of a resolution seeking to curtail Trump's actions against Iran.

WKU Public Radio

This audio file contains two live newscasts delivered in 2019 by the news staff of WKYU. 

Thank you for considering this entry in the radio category of Short Newscast in the 2019 Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters awards. 


WKU Public Radio

This entry contains some of the best political reporting produced in 2019 by Becca Schimmel.

Included are some great examples of enterprise and continuing coverage reporting, as Becca followed the story surrounding an executive order issued by the governor that limited access to the state capitol building. Also included are stories with interviews featuring U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie.

Thank you for considering this entry in the radio category of Political Coverage.

WKU Public Radio

These stories represent some of the best work produced in 2019 by Lisa Autry, and are for consideration in the Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters awards competition. 

Included in this entry are stories about efforts by Kentucky educators to rally voters against Gov. Matt Bevin's reelection, the impact of the federal government shutdown on the town of Hodgenville, workers at the Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant taking part in a nationwide strike against General Motors, and the sentence of life in prison given to a local man convicted of killing a young girl.  

Thank you for considering this entry in the category of Radio Reporter. 


WKU Public Radio

This entry in the Radio Reporter category for the 2019 Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters awards contains some of the best work produced in 2019 by Rhonda Miller. 

Included are stories about the impact some of President Trump's statements on immigration had on our local Hispanic population, efforts to track down the reason why a large number of fish died in area waterways, and an update on the annual count of Kentucky's homeless population.


Thinkstock

A lawmaker from Hardin County is hoping Kentucky follows the example of Tennessee and other states that don’t impose an income tax on its residents.

Supporters say transitioning away from an income tax and increasing the state’s sales tax would make Kentucky more attractive to businesses.

Opponents say it would be a boon to the wealthy, while hurting low-income and vulnerable residents.

The effort to move Kentucky away from relying on income tax gained steam in 2018. That’s when Republican Governor Matt Bevin signed into law a massive overhaul of the state’s tax code.


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