WGLT announces 2023 Hall of Fame class
The WGLT Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made contributions integral to WGLT’s ongoing excellence in public service as part of the NPR Network and to Illinois State University and the Bloomington-Normal community.
The 2023 class features five members who have made invaluable contributions to WGLT over the years as staff members, on-air personalities, students, donors, and community underwriters. They will be recognized and celebrated at Radio Faces on Nov. 8.
The Hall of Fame honorees are:
Carol Carey Odekirk, staff. Odekirk served as news director from 1983 to 1987. She also served as a reporter and Morning Edition host prior to her tenure as news director. Odekirk expanded newscasts and introduced a news segment re-capping the year in a 30-minute program, foreshadowing the launch of our current weekday newsmagazine, Sound Ideas.
After WGLT, Odekirk went on to a successful career in communications at State Farm for 32 years. She retired in 2019 and enjoys spending more time with one of her first true loves: public radio.
John “Larry” Eymann, donor. Eymann found many of his passions at Illinois State University as a student, including public radio, photography and art. His career with Amoco took him to Texas in the early 1990s, and he was a loyal listener and volunteer of KUHF, Houston Public Media. He went on to work for the station from 2009-2016.
Eymann was a longtime supporter of WGLT, making significant investments in operations, facilities, and equipment. In 2021, he established a School of Communication scholarship to support students studying radio and those interested in pursuing a career in public radio. His philanthropy will impact generations of students and better the entire public radio network. Eymann passed away in August 2023.
Laura Kennedy, host and on-air personality. Kennedy began her longtime tenure with WGLT starting as an intern in 1986 hosting classical music and jazz and retiring as All Things Considered host in 2018. Kennedy was instrumental in growing WGLT’s arts and culture coverage serving as the host for Culture Maven and Datebook. She also hosted and produced fan favorites like the Dean of Green and Psych Geeks.
Kennedy’s signature voice left an indelible mark on WGLT and Illinois State University, where she lent her voice for numerous projects, and the entire community.
CEFCU, underwriter. More than 60% of WGLT’s annual budget comes from community support, made up of individual donors and underwriters. CEFCU has been a significant part of that percentage for more than 20 years. CEFCU currently underwrites Marketplace, which WGLT was able to add to the programming lineup in 2019. CEFCU has also served as the presenting sponsor of Summer Concert and Highway 309 LIVE. Throughout the pandemic, CEFCU’s support enabled WGLT to financially support local musicians and venues, providing a critical source of additional income and revenue.
The alumni Hall of Fame recipient is Joseph Haynes Davis. This award honors an Illinois State University student worker or intern who started their career at WGLT. Davis is an Illinois State University class of 1981 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in mass communication.
While at WGLT, Davis worked alongside another Hall of Famer, Ben Paxton, hosting jazz and classical music programs and All Things Considered. That early experience led to a 30-year career in radio at numerous stations across the United States, including another NPR member organization, WXPN in Philadelphia. Davis went on to earn his Juris Doctor and found a law firm. He still uses his hosting and media expertise today serving as a television/radio guest and legal analyst.
The 2023 class joins 13 additional members of the Hall of Fame, which started in 2018. No classes were inducted from 2020-2022 due to the pandemic. Campus and community members are invited to celebrate the honorees at Radio Faces on Nov. 8. Tickets can be purchased online.
Inductees were chosen from a list of nominees provided by WGLT staff. Any volunteer, contributor, former employee, or intern may be nominated for selection, though current full-time and part-time employees are ineligible.