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.


In recent years, the phrase, “That’s What She Said” has become a popular punchline. It also is the title of a series of live events that showcase everyday women. The series began in Champaign in 2013 and was supposed to come to Bloomington earlier this year until, well, everything shut down.

Now, it's going online Friday evening.

Brad McMillan portait
Brad McMillan

A Bradley University professor and former congressional office manager has declared his candidacy for Normal Town Council.

big fish performance
Community Players

The doors to their theater may be closed, but Community Players has declared the show must go on. 

Venise Lashon Keys
Venise Lashon Keys

Art is a visual language used to captivate an audience and tell stories. For intersectional artist Venise Lashon Keys, her art illustrates stories that aim to empower, elevate, and educate all feminine identifying individuals and the Black community.

Some candidates are already looking past the November election and to the city and town council contests next year. AJ Zimmerman is early out of the gate for Normal Town Council. Plus, the Mayor of Normal is on four and a half terms and wants one more. A family affected by COVID-19 talks about the emotional toll of the disease. A chat with the new host of NPR's 1A about the national discourse.  And ISU Athletic Director Larry Lyons says budget cuts yes...job and sports cuts no because of the pandemic.

Jason and Brittany

When Jason Borchardt of Bloomington learned of his positive COVID-19 test result last week, he panicked. But not for himself. For his 8-month-old daughter.

Alan Mather

Illinois is still facing another crisis alongside COVID-19—a shortage of teachers. And one impacts the other.

Women at a restaurant
Andres Kudacki / AP

An Illinois State University biomathematician is reminding people that herd immunity won’t be a magical COVID-19 solution that happens on its own without widespread vaccination.

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner joined WGLT's Sound Ideas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. He discussed the current spike in COVID-19 cases and whether additional restrictions might be necessary locally.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Normal City Hall
Staff / WGLT

The November election campaign season is just ramping up, but some candidates already are looking ahead to next year's municipal contests.

Like attorney AJ Zimmerman, who said Tuesday he's running for Normal Town Council.

Arena exterior
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Coliseum fraud case is nearing an end.

Lead defendant John Butler pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count on Tuesday that will require him to pay the City of Bloomington and State of Illinois around $450,000 in restitution. Butler’s concessions company, BMI, also pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft.

John and Steve
Lewis Marien / The Pantagraph (Pool)

Nearly three years after being indicted, the lead defendant in the Coliseum fraud case agreed Tuesday to pay more than $430,000 in restitution to the City of Bloomington after pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor theft charge.

Larry Dietz at podium
Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said Monday he's closely monitoring the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases among students.

Linda Foster gesture
Emily Bollinger / WGLT

Moving forward with its advocacy for the civil and political rights of African Americans, the Bloomington-Normal chapter of the NAACP revealed its new strategic plan Sunday with an eye on reform.

Redbird Arena
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Illinois State University Athletics Director Larry Lyons said coaches and athletic department staff are reinforcing the need for mask compliance and social distancing after seeing a rise in coronavirus cases among student-athletes.

Small cell node
Rohanmkth / Creative Commons/Wikipedia

The City of Bloomington and Town of Normal are working together to hire a consultant to help establish rules for deploying wireless technology all over the community in ways that do not become eyesores.

Justin Vickers
Justin Vickers

It was just standing there, empty. No concerts, no audience, no applause. No nothing. And that’s a sad state for a concert hall. 

Brian Snyder / Pool Reuters via AP

Political campaigning is a social endeavor. But like the rest of us, candidates have had to shift to virtual platforms to connect with voters and get their message heard.

Kids running on playground

Child care programs for Bloomington-Normal students are filling up, with less than a week until the start of the fall semester.

Elroy's bar entrance
Eric Stock / WGLT

Sports bars in Bloomington already face two strikes as fall approaches.

Heartland Community College
Staff / WGLT

Heartland Community College enrollment on the first day of classes was down 8.6% among students and 8.4% in credit hours.

Sign encouraging mask use
Eric Stock / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker's new emergency mask order puts the burden of enforcement on businesses, schools and daycares.

Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

It’s hard to see past COVID-19, to picture what life will be like when the coronavirus is not the most important thing in front of us—and to conceive of all the ways it will stay with us as cultural artifact. (And not just the ubiquity of Zoom meetings.)

Kids on their laptops
Jessica Hill / AP

Remote learning is not the same thing as online learning.

That’s one piece of advice for parents from Anna Smith, an assistant professor of teaching and learning at Illinois State University’s College of Education. She teaches education-and-technology courses.

A statue of Columbus
Tim Shelley / WGLT/WCBU

Bloomington city staff will examine converting the Columbus Day holiday to one honoring indigenous people, with a majority of the city council indicating at least some support for researching the question during a Committee of the Whole session Monday night.

Kathy Michael speaks
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael says she agrees with a Brennan Center report that concludes it's more likely for an American to be struck by lightning than to commit mail voting fraud.

Biden and Harris walk
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Avani Rai is a 15-year-old incoming sophomore at Normal Community High School who has already made a name for herself a young leader in McLean County.

Heather's learning pod
Heather Roberts / Courtesy

Overwhelmed. Flustered. Outraged. Exhausted. That’s how Marti Stevens of Bloomington has felt over the past few weeks on the back-to-school rollercoaster.

Educators in Bloomington-Normal public schools say they support the goals of racial justice and equality that embody the Black Lives Matter movement, but they are not on board with all of the group's demands.

Brandon Bell grew up in Normal and now resides in St. Louis.

Bell spoke with Ariele Jones for the WGLT series Living Black in Bloomington-Normal. Contact us if you'd like to be featured in the series.