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.

Downtown Bloomington
Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

McLean County is one of only 77 counties in the United States to flip the presidential party preference from four years ago. McLean County went for Joe Biden and last cycle it went for President Trump.

Larry Dietz at news conference
Lyndsie Schlink / Illinois State University

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said Friday he plans to retire in June after more than seven years of leading the institution.

Twelve Bloomington bars go before the liquor commission hearing Friday over alleged violations of the ban on indoor service to slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, there wouldn’t be violations without customers.

William Caisley and George Gordon seated at board meeting
WGLT file photos

Two of McLean County's longest-serving elected officials are set to exit the stage.

Heroes sign outside Carle Bromenn
Mike McCurdy / WGLT

The head of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington says staffing remains "solid" despite the need for increased personnel to care for more coronavirus patients.

A venerable holiday charity tradition is adapting to the current uncertain times. 

Ferrero sign at entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington will become home to an international candy maker’s first chocolate manufacturing center in the United States.

Ferrero North America has announced plans to build a $75 million expansion at its existing plant on Beich Road.

The company said the new 70,000-square foot facility will employ about 50 workers. Construction is set to begin next spring and take about two years to complete.

Exterior of State FArm HQ
Staff / WGLT

In Part 2 of their interview, State Farm senior vice president Annette Martinez talks to WGLT's Ryan Denham about the company's recent moves on diversity and inclusion. That includes the appointment of State Farm's first chief diversity officer over the summer.

Chris Koos
Cindy Le / WGLT

The mayor of Normal said he's had to eat his words from a couple weeks ago when he argued McLean County didn't need mitigation efforts that were as stiff as those in counties with higher COVID-19 testing positivity rates.

Man standing on roof watching fire
Jae C. Hong / AP

Raging California wildfires on one coast and the most active Atlantic hurricane season in history on the other are just two examples of how our climate is changing. It's also changing how the insurance industry prepares for increased risk of property damage and in some cases, in trying to prevent it.

Frank Black with WGLTs trophy for the Blues Foundation 'Keeping the Blues Alive' Award
Jon Norton / WGLT

Listen at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, for an hourlong special dedicated to Delta Frank, our legendary blues host. Listen on 89.1 FM or stream at WGLT.org.

WGLT Hall of Famer and longtime blues host Gilbert Frank Black died Sunday of COVID-19-related complications. He was 79. Black served as a blues music host from 1985 until he retired in 2013.

McLean County Health Department sign
Staff / WGLT

UPDATED 8:35 p.m. | McLean County's head of COVID enforcement says there's a frustrating disconnect between the governor's office and local officials in enforcing the ban on indoor dining.

front of old Bloomington Fire Station that is now a restaurant
Epiphany Farms / Facebook

Epiphany Farms Restaurant Group in Bloomington laid off more than 80 people Friday. Three of its four restaurants are effectively closed.

kevin vernon
David B. Vernon

High school students from across Bloomington-Normal have dropped their crosstown rivalries to unite and send COVID-19 a message: You can’t stop us from performing! 

The insurance business is very competitive—and not just for customers.

Women holding banner and U.S. flag in front of U.S. Supreme Court
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

A Twin City immigration advocate hopes the incoming Biden administration will be less hostile toward the immigrant community than under the leadership of President Trump.

Performers on stage
University High School

Actors act, even in a pandemic. But what high school students are doing now is more subtle than the way they usually tread the boards.

People exercising while wearing masks
Jae C. Hong / AP

A sports science professor at Illinois State University says studies aren't yet clear on whether masks limit performance during aerobic exercise.

Dan Caulkins
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A Republican lawmaker who represents parts of McLean County said the state’s own contact tracing data does not support such a hard crackdown on indoor service at bars and restaurants.

Shelby at work

Discover magazine and National Geographic laying on the coffee table captured the mind of Dr. Shelby Putt at a young age.

Watterson Towers residence hall at ISU

The road to the presidency was not straightforward. And it has shaken some Illinois State University students, who have some of the same divisions and misinformed beliefs the rest of America has shown during voting.


A longtime public servant who fought against intolerance in Bloomington-Normal has died.

Olympia High School entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Not long after District 87 and Unit 5 started to bring students back to the classroom, several other McLean County districts had to pull their kids out of school as coronavirus cases surged.

VA Outpatient Clinic in Bloomington
Eric Stock / WGLT

The head of Bloomington's Veterans Affairs clinic says the pandemic has made caring for veterans more challenging and more critical at the same time.

Composting just got a whole lot easier in Bloomington-Normal.

The Ecology Action Center’s new community compost kiosk is more inclusive than your average backyard-composting setup. 

As calls for representation among the marginalized echo in schools, the Illinois Board of Higher Education has announced the newest student group, Diversifying Higher Education Faculty, for local universities with the goal to increase faculty of color.

laptop class
Tracy Koch / MIOpera

MIOpera is filling a big opera-sized hole in the arts community by offering a chance to enjoy performances by some up-and-coming singers. 

Courtesy Connie Beard

Republicans logged a lot of wins in McLean County Tuesday night.

Congressman Rodney Davis cinched a closely-watched race. County-wide officeholders fended off Democratic challengers. The county board held a Republican majority, despite efforts for a potential Blue Wave.

Those who expected a blue wave in Tuesday's election had a grave disappointment. Those who hoped for a ratification of the Trump presidency and for Republican gains likewise ended up unsatisfied.

sign leading to cafe dining room
Facebook/Jack's Cafe

Some McLean County restaurants kept their dining rooms open on Wednesday, in defiance of Gov. JB Pritzker’s order to stop indoor dining in regions with high COVID-19 positivity rates.