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This Year



WUIS News Director Rich Bradley receives prestigious Lee award

July 18, 2005

Rich Bradley

SPRINGFIELD – Rich Bradley, veteran news director of WUIS-WIPA Public Radio, has been named recipient of the prestigious 2005 Leo C. Lee Award, presented by Public Radio News Directors, Inc. Presented at ceremonies held July 16 in Chicago, the award honors those who “demonstrate a lasting commitment to public radio journalism and who exemplify the ideal, spirit, and passion of the profession.”

Previous recipients include such notable NPR figures as Carl Kasell (1996), Ira Glass (1999), and Linda Wertheimer (2004).

Accepting the award, Bradley said that he was honored and added, “As someone who tried engineering, accounting, and geology before discovering radio and what it could offer, even today this profession continues to reward me. Finishing each day with the feeling you’ve made a difference or an impact on someone’s life, and the desire to share that with students and young reporters who have shown up in my newsroom -- all of that attracted me to public radio news thirty years ago and continues to attract me today.”  

Considered the father of the Illinois Public Radio network, Bradley created what was, at the time, a unique arrangement that relied on voluntary news contributions from most Illinois public radio stations. IPR was one of the earliest statewide public radio networks in the country, and its stories are now heard by public radio listeners from Chicago to Carbondale.

Joining then-WSSR as news director even before the station went on the air in 1975, Bradley created the WSSR-WSSU-WUIS news service from the ground up. He initiated the Statehouse Bureau in 1987 to become the hub of IPR, and still hosts the station’s longest-running program, the political roundtable “State Week in Review.” In 2002 he created the Pittsfield bureau to cover rural stories in western Illinois.

“Political junkies in our listening area rely on the sound of his voice,” noted Brad Swanson, who recently retired as the station’s general manager.

Bradley attended the U of I at Urbana-Champaign and graduated from Southern Illinois University.  He started his radio career in 1963 at WCIL in Carbondale, moving to Springfield in 1965 to serve as news director of WCVS Radio. From 1972 to 1974 he served as managing editor of Illinois News Network, a state-run broadcast operation, before coming to help build a public radio station at what was then Sangamon State University in 1974.

Bradley was a charter member of PRNDI and is a former member of its steering committee. He has also been an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association’s board of directors. He has received numerous professional awards, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Local Radio Program Award for Documentaries, and he has mentored numerous reporters who have themselves won national and statewide journalism awards.

Public Radio News Directors, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the professional development of local public radio journalists, is celebrating its 20th year.

Currently celebrating its own 30th anniversary, WUIS-WIPA is listener-supported public radio broadcast from the University of Illinois at Springfield.  WUIS’ mission is to satisfy a curious, societally engaged audience through programming and community outreach. For more information or for the program schedule, visit www.wuis.org.



    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.