WGLT's Sound Ideas | WGLT

WGLT's Sound Ideas

Weekdays 5-5:30 p.m.

WGLT's Sound Ideas is our flagship news program. Every weekday, WGLT reporters go beyond soundbites for deeper conversations with newsmakers, musicians, artists, and anyone with a story to share.

This 30-minute newsmagazine is produced Monday through Friday.

Jayana Fennell and father Louis Fennell Jr.
Jon Norton / WGLT

Bloomington native Jayana Fennell is a Normal Community West High School graduate. She’s currently a junior telecommunications major for video production at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She’s also minoring in French. She spoke with Jon Norton for WGLT's series Living Black in Bloomington-NormalContact us if you'd like to be featured in the series.

Chadman James, a.k.a. "Grill Billyenz"
Jon Norton / WGLT

Chadman James, a.k.a. Grill Billyenz (or Billy Yenz) is a 30-year-old budding hip-hop star and self-described all-around creative. The Normal native spoke with Jon Norton for the WGLT series Living Black in Bloomington-Normal. Contact us if you'd like to be featured in the series.

Christopher Belt with son Louis
Jon Norton / WGLT

Christopher Belt is an English teacher at Normal Community High School. The Normal native spoke with Jon Norton for the WGLT series Living Black in Bloomington-NormalContact us if you'd like to be featured in the series.

Census envelope
Matt Rourke / AP

Today is Census Day, when many local governments, schools and civic organizations were planning to ramp up efforts to ensure everyone gets counted. This is to ensure their communities get their share of government funding and representation.

People hugging
Michael Dwyer / AP

Now a story about loneliness as Illinois continues under the governor's stay-at-home order.

A tent next to a hospital.
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal hospital officials said Thursday they have planned for surges in COVID-19 cases that could demand "desperate action."

downtown Bloomington
Eric Stock / WGLT

The shelter-in-place order Gov. JB Pritzker issued last week to limit the spread of the coronavirus has many more people working from home and less work for police in McLean County.

Charley Edamala
Illinois State University

Illinois State University Chief Technology Officer Charley Edamala described it as the calm before the storm, as the extended spring break tapered down. The global pandemic has disrupted face-to-face education at most universities in the United States. Classes at ISU resume online Monday.

Sonny Perdue
John O'Connor / AP

McLean County farmers and landowners have been sent over $68 million in USDA trade relief payments so far—and one ag industry watcher says more may be on the way.

Rathna and Krishna
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Something rare is happening on Woodbine Road on Bloomington’s far east side: Someone is actually building homes.

Drive-through virus testing
Lynne Sladky / AP

UPDATED 2:55 p.m. | The number of COVID-19 tests being done in McLean County is ticking up slowly, officials said Wednesday, as local health care providers lean more on commercial labs to expand who can get swabbed.

Larry Dietz at news conference
Illinois State University

Illinois State University students will not return to in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester, extending a shift to online learning prompted by the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday. 

Stan and Chemberly
Staff / WGLT

Several Town of Normal employees will get their semiannual cost of living raises, but Council Member Stan Nord says it’s a bad look for the town in the current economic climate.

Janessa and Linda
Tiffani Jackson / WGLT

Four years ago, black voter turnout declined in the U.S. for the first time in 20 years for a presidential election. Aiming to make a comeback starting with Tuesday’s primary, black voters in Bloomington-Normal say they’re adamant about educating themselves on the issues, hoping to make strategic selections that will result in progressive policymaking in the future.

Epiphany Farms restaurant entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker's decision to close bars and restaurants for the next two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was just the latest in a series of developments that have upended the food service industry in Illinois in recent days.

Custodian cleans schools
Tony Dejak / AP

Bloomington-Normal students and teachers got their first taste of their new reality Monday as schools began what will be at least a two-week shutdown because of the coronavirus.

Chestnut mental health training
Eric Stock / WGLT

Mental health experts say a culture of risk-taking and self-reliance can be deadly for construction workers.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

As the coronavirus pandemic forces the nation to disconnect from usual routines, communities of faith tried all the harder to hold on to each other and offer solace. Many turned to worship online, some as a regular part of the program, others for the first time, using meeting programs such as Zoom.

Staff / WGLT

The coronavirus pandemic is scary for many who live on tight margins or don’t have the security of a steady paycheck. That includes independent musicians, venue owners, promoters, and others whose livelihood depends on a thriving and functioning arts and music scene.

hotel exterior
Google Maps

The Bloomington-Normal hotel industry started 2020 off strong.

Booking were solid thanks to big events like the Illinois High School Theatre Festival at Illinois State University. And Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington hosted three state finals for wrestling, competitive cheer, and competitive dance.

Guille Delgado working at desk
Eric Stock / WGLT

District 87's new elementary school principal said she didn't seek a career in education. It found her.

actors reading
Community Players

Editor's note: Due to the updated COVID-19 guidance issued by Gov. JB Pritzker and the State of Illinois, the Community Players Theater will be doing the following regarding "Big Fish" performances:

The theater will be holding the Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, performances for those who have already purchased tickets. No additional sales or exchange for "Big Fish" tickets either online, call in, or walk in will be sold in order to help prevent community transmission of the disease.

Students walk in the quad
Cindy Le / WGLT

Illinois State University continues to work to retrieve students studying abroad. At the start of the semester spokesperson Eric Jome says that number was about 116 students in other countries.

Downtown Bloomington
Staff / WGLT

The City of Bloomington’s next Community Preservation Plan may put more emphasis on the not-so-distant past and more visibly connect the dots between historic preservation and affordable housing.

Randy Kindred in studio
Eric Stock / WGLT

Pantagraph sports editor Randy Kindred said he has been humbled by the outpouring of support he had heard from many of the newspaper's readers since he announced he was retiring as sports editor after 42 years with the paper.

Martin Health Center
Westminster Village

Concerns about the coronavirus prompted the two election authorities in McLean County to move several polling sites less than one week before the Illinois primary election.

Nicole Bruno and Martin
Photo provided / McLean County Republican Party

The McLean County Republican Party is seeking nominations for its Everyday Hero Award program.

State Farm signage
Staff / WGLT

More retirements, low unemployment, and increased competition from other industries have all contributed to a “war for talent” in the insurance business, according to a hiring expert.

Meredith Hopping performs her stand-up at Nightshop Friday night.
Doug Morris

Normal Community High School alum Meredith Hopping says stand-up comedy made the cut ... when the ISU theatre grad drew up a Top 30 list of things she'd like to accomplish as she was turning 30.

J.B. Pritzker closeup
Amr Alfiky / AP

The Pritzker administration is seeking additional funding for law enforcement to continue training for police officers, and there's some dispute over whether the funding crisis is as bad as police are making it seem.