WIUM Tristates Public Radio


Aug 24, 2012

Rich Egger's guest is Jonathan Ahl, who is the new general manager of Tri States Public Radio. He began work on Monday, August 20.

Ahl was a student employee of Tri States Public Radio in the mid-1990s. After he graduated from Western Illinois University, Ahl earned a Master's degree from the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois - Springfield.

Ahl briefly worked in commercial radio and television news in Peoria before joining the staff of public radio station WCBU. He eventually became WCBU's news director before moving to Des Moines in 2008 to lead the news department at Iowa Public Radio.

Ahl said he will take a three-pronged approach to the general manager job at Tri States Public Radio.

“I've always thought that the best way to run a public radio station is to focus on the best possible programming, to the widest possible audience, in the most fiscally responsible way,” Ahl said.

Ahl believes there are opportunities to build on the local and national programming already airing on the radio station. In addition, he would like to get the broadcast signal to more people and would like to improve the signal's quality.

Ahl said there will always be financial needs but he said the station is in very good fiscal shape.

“The previous general manager, Dorie Vallillo, was just a total master at being very responsible with the money,” Ahl said.

Ahl believes radio has a strong future. He points out radio can be with you while you're doing something else.

“Be it cooking dinner, driving your car, jogging. You shouldn't be looking at the web when you're doing any of those things and you shouldn't be watching TV when you're doing any of those things,” Ahl said.

“I think that as people continue to multi-task, I think that as our lives continue to be a little more busy and the pace increases, that there is still going to be a huge place for this.”

But he acknowledged the delivery method could change in the years to come, and he also said it's important to be involved with new media and new technology.

Ahl met his wife Anita when they both attended WIU. They have two children. Ahl enjoys distance running, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, and reading.