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.

Listen for more of the top 2020 stories on WGLT including the November election. The family of McLean County's youngest COVID fatality got a shock when they tested her blood oxygen level, it was far lower than you would expect in a 30 year old. Danielle Cater is one of 86 McLean County People to die in the pandemic. The broad range of symptoms COVID can all happen to people, sometimes in the same family. And to break the pandemic drumbeat, a light and fluffy story of popcorn.

We'll bring you some of the most powerful stories of 2020 including how some people have long term problems from catching COVID. The pandemic touches all of us. Plus, find out what it's like to be a contact tracer in McLean County. And Domestic violence takes a disturbing turn in Bloomington Normal.

We'll bring you some of the most powerful stories of 2020 including how some people have long term problems from catching COVID. The pandemic touches all of us. Plus, find out what it's like to be a contact tracer in McLean County. And Domestic violence takes a disturbing turn in Bloomington Normal.

This week on Sound Ideas we recap significant stories of the year including the dialog on race relations. Brandon Bell was part of the series Living Black in Bloomington Normal. You'll also hear from the first tenured African American professor at Lincoln College, a student who had the uncomfortable epiphany that most hate crimes are against blacks when she was doing research on hate. And an activist who says he's been exposed to bias and micro aggressions since a young age.

Water birth

Some areas of the country have had declines in pregnancy rates because people don't feel secure economically or otherwise. But Bloomington-Normal may see a baby boom rather than a baby bust.


A popular Netflix miniseries has helped game merchants in central Illinois.

Kristen Weikle

The Unit 5 school district said it is seeking guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education before deciding whether to require vaccinations for staff and students.

Tent outside hospital
Warner Hospital and Health Services / Facebook

Many rural areas avoided the worst of the pandemic in its early stages. Now, it seems the coronavirus is everywhere, straining hospitals that have fewer resources to address an ongoing health crisis.

Unit 5 is looking ahead to the new semester in January and a return to hybrid learning. Superintendent Kristen Weikle says they will look at building numbers as well as county and regional pandemic statistics to gauge when to stay in person and when not. Weikle says Unit 5 isalso starting in person classes later than usual to see how holiday infection rates are. Plus rural hospitals are under tremendous strain from the pandemic, particularly now with the virus so widespread. And Bloomington-Normal musicians have taken a huge economic hit from the pandemic. Hear how they are adapting nine months in.

Edward David Anderson performing during the summer of 2019 at the Black Dirt Music Festival in Bloomington
Simeon Marie

The pandemic has hit full-time performing musicians especially hard. There are very few places to perform and in-person audiences are sparse, at best.

Staff / WGLT

Advocates of criminal justice reform in the United States have had several achievements in the last couple of years. Both sides of the aisle embraced calls for lower prison populations. A growing social movement calls for rehabilitation over punishment.

Community Health Care Clinic / Facebook

A growing immigrant group in Bloomington-Normal faces barriers to getting medical attention.

Most churches pack in their members for carols and candles on Christmas eve. Not this year. But, it won't be a completely silent night for many other ministers. Plus, there is an immigrant group in Bloomington Normal with a severe language barrier that hinders access to healthcare.The language is French. A hit Netflix mini series, The Queen's Gambit, has given Bloomington Normal game sellers a boost. Chess sets are jumping off the shelves like, well, like a knight on a chess board. And pick your bracket winners now. No, it's not 'March Madness.' The Normal Theater has a competition for best Christmas movie.

Christmas lights
Nick Amuscato / Flickr via Creative Commons

There isn’t much the pandemic hasn’t impacted, including the schedule at Community Players Theatre.

America is polarized. For evidence of that, look no further than … well, everywhere.

But sometimes, a good old-fashioned disagreement can be fun. Like, John McClane or George Bailey? Clark Griswald or Buddy the Elf?

priest holding communion
Facebook/Epiphany Catholic Church

The holiday season is about family, friends, food and, for many, faith. Houses of worship usually are full around Christmas, but most will be empty this year.

Aperion Care
Eric Stock / WGLT

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in McLean County before Thanksgiving is now tracking through to a rise in deaths among older residents.

McLean County Health officials say they will craft different messages for various groups that hesitate to get a Coronavirus vaccine. Hear part three of our series on vaccines. Plus, COVID-19 deaths among older people are on the upswing in McLean County; deaths of all ages, for that matter. Front line health workers have a lot of stress and overwork just now. How they deal with that stress matters to everyone. And Community Players Theater has an on line holiday production filled with schmaltz and good cheer.

McLean County health officials say there are training and certification hoops to jump to be eligible to offer the Coronavirus vaccine. It'll be a marathon to have the vaccine widely available in the nation and the county. Plus, some of the first vaccinations in the state are in central Illinois, not in McLean County yet, though. Justice reform advocates target the state felony murder law. It's a heavy legislative lift. And the Mayor of Bloomington drops by.

Tari Renner
Staff / WGLT

The City of Bloomington is sending the fine money it has collected for COVID violations to District 87 to help families in need over the holidays.

A Civil War regimental flag
Sharon MacDonald

Andrew Jackson Smith was born a slave in Kentucky in 1842, the probable son of a slave holder. He escaped to the Union Army, became the servant of an officer from central Illinois, and later a soldier who distinguished himself for bravery "even in the cannon’s mouth."

Joe Biden
John Minchillo / AP

Main Street Republicans in Bloomington-Normal look ahead to a Joe Biden administration with a combination of fear and optimism. Several GOP members consulted by WGLT, who are not office holders and not involved in political activity, all affirmed traditional values of the party.

Peggy Parker standing in store
Peggy Parker

The pandemic has hurt many small businesses, but it's been especially tough for those that rely mostly on foot traffic. The pandemic has forced many mom-and-pop businesses to learn how to sell online.

actors on zoom
Nomad Theater Company

Nomad Theater Company puts a dickens of a twist on the holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol” in its latest production.  

The COVID-19 pandemic's blow to the labor force might not be as devastating to the Bloomington-Normal area as originally feared.

encased emergency defibrillator
Seth Perlman / AP

A non-profit that has provided defibrillators to schools, churches and businesses in McLean County for two decades is shutting down at the end of the year.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

The John M. Scott Commission has announced a $485,000 wellness grant to assist health service agencies in McLean County.

Dave Howell

If you watched the mostly black-and-white Episode 9 of FX’s “Fargo,” you might have recognized a historic Italianate farmhouse where some of the action was set.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois lawmakers return to Springfield in January, staring down a change in House leadership, the economic fallout of the pandemic and unfinished business interrupted by COVID-19.

If Normal wants Restore Illinois restrictions enforced, it’s going to require a local ordinance, according to Normal Mayor Chris Koos.