Press Release

Southern Illinois Wonders Radio Series to Launch March 2014 on WSIU FM Radio

CHICAGO, IL- February 26, 2014— A new partnership between the Illinois Humanities Council and WSIU Public Broadcasting will share the history, art, culture and all the other wonders of southern Illinois. 

Southern Illinois Wonders will be a series of five-minute radio programs featuring humanities-themed topics related to southern Illinois. Presented by some of the region’s brightest and most highly respected individuals, this series will air on WSIU 91.9 FM in Carbondale and its affiliates, WUSI 90.3 FM in Olney and WVSI 88.9 FM in Mount Vernon beginning March 12, 2014 and airing each Wednesday at 6:30 AM, 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM. 

Some of the confirmed topics and speakers will include: 

  • The evolution of the use of ‘Egypt” as a term for southern Illinois, presented by Mike Jones, director of the General John A. Logan museum in Murphysboro. This will be topic for the first program, March 12.
  • The history of steamboat building in Metropolis, Illinois, a city along the Ohio river that became the center of that industry during the post-Civil War era, presented by Carbondale architect and historian Bob Swenson;
  • The history of moonshining in southern Illinois, presented by distiller and journalist Karen Binder;
  • Poetry by Gary DeNeal, author, artist, and publisher of Springhouse Magazine, read and discussed by his son  Hugh DeNeal, songwriter and member of the celebrated southern Illinois band, The Woodbox Gang;  
  • The farmer’s movement that arose in Union and Jackson counties in response to the Panic of 1873, presented by Carbondale City Council member and anthropologist Jane Adams;
  • Personal recollections on life as a writer in southern Illinois, presented by acclaimed novelist Laura Benedict, author of the forthcoming novel Bliss House; 
  • Personal recollections of the development of the African American Catholic community of southern Illinois, presented by Father Joseph Brown, professor of Africana studies at SIU-Carbondale; 

Programs will be presented as straightforward essays or commentaries, while others will be developed in more creative or experimental formats. In addition to the on-air broadcasts, the series will be available in streaming audio and podcast formats through the WSIU website and the IHC website  

“We’re very excited to be working again with our valued partner WSIU FM radio in this new series,” mentioned IHC Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre. “Southern Illinois Wonders will create opportunities for audiences to learn about the region’s long history and distinctive culture, from those who study, celebrate, and live it.” 

For more information about Southern Illinois Wonders, please contact the Illinois Humanities Council’s Matt Meacham, Program Officer, at (312) 422-5589 or by email at A complete schedule of topics and presenters, along with links to audio clips, will be available via 

About the Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) is a philanthropic and educational organization dedicated to making the humanities a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities in Illinois, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. This year, it marks 40 years of developing or funding educational activities and programs throughout the state, including lectures, seminars, performances, exhibitions, films, library discussions, and written materials – all free and open to the public. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) supported by state, federal, and private funds. 

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580