Alumni Sit-Ins

As part of October’s Illini Month, alumni of WPGU are given the chance to host their very own radio show! Guests are given the freedom to choose when they would like to do their show, who they would like to do the show with, what they want to do during the show, and what music they would like to play. This opportunity will only be available starting October 1st 2019 and will last until December 8th 2019. The complete schedule can be found here and will be updated frequently.

Alumni can host their show at any time as long as a sponsored show is not scheduled already.

If you are an alum and would like to go on the air, please fill out the application here:

You will be asked to send a symbolic $107 donation per hour per person to Illini Media for participating. To donate go to


Thursday, November 7, 2-4 PM: Burt Levy (1978-1979)

Burt Levy currently serves as a Business Process Consultant for Chicago based Synergy, which provides strategic & cutting edge HR strategies and administrative solutions for small to medium size businesses. In addition he serves as President of The Burt Levy Media Group, a media consulting firm, specializing in print, digital, entertainment, sales strategy, content creation, HR and career development consulting. Media Career Launch, a consulting division of BL Media Group, works with college students and recent graduates seeking careers in media. ( Burt is currently working on the development of a nationally syndicated digital entertainment show with a focus on movies, entertainment and pop culture.

Burt served as a senior account director in sales generating advertising revenue from spot sales, sponsorships and promotions.

From Burt, “U of I is home for me. So many fond memories and experiences. Met so many wonderful people, professors, and community leaders that have helped shape my life and molded me into the person and professional I am today.”

Friday, November 8, 7-9 PM: Patrick Magill and Ray Martinez (1988-1992)

Saturday, November 16, 1-3 PM: Jim Grimes and Bob Aurlet (1967-1973)

Jim started as a request line phone answer, then became a newscaster, DJ, Production/Promotions Director and General Manager in 1973.

From Jim, “WPGU gave me a great foundation for a future in broadcasting and media education and it was fun. It will be interesting to see what the current students are up to, and whether or not we can still DJ.”

Saturday, November 16, 3:30-4:30 PM: Becky (Brubeck) Nicol (1972-1974)

TBD: Thomas Leslie and Chris Curry (1985-1989)

Thomas has taught architectural design and technology at Iowa State University since 2000.  He received his BSAS from Illinois and my M.Arch. from Columbia, and he practiced as an architect in Chicago, London, and San Francisco before starting at Iowa State.  Thomas has written books on the architecture of Chicago early skyscrapers and on postwar structural engineering in Italy.

From Thomas, “I grew up in Urbana, so I knew a lot about the station before I started.  I spent a semester on WBDS, did one semester of overnights, and then did three years of the morning, afternoon, and/or evening drive.  I was the program director in 1987. My greatest on-air moment was interviewing Stevie Ray Vaughan before a show he did in Danville, but Chris and I also had a beer with Michael Hutchence of INXS once…Looking back, I learned a lot more from my time on-air and helping to run the station than I realized at the time–it was a formative few years and while I never had any illusions about making it a career, doing drive shifts got me used to the idea of having a high bar to hit every day.  With a lot of people actually listening, we worked hard to make the station sound like it was a good friend driving home.”

Chris Curry has spent the last 26 years as a high school English teacher, athletic director, and volleyball coach in the north suburbs of Chicago. After graduating with a degree in Advertising from the U of I in 1989, Chris worked in radio stations in Rhode Island and Michigan before returning to Chicago. At WPGU, Chris served as the general manager his senior year and various shifts from nights, to afternoon drive and lunch from 1986-89. Highlights from the few dim memories he has of the period include that first Jane’s Addiction show at Mabel’s, playing softball with Dweezil Zappa, and having a beer with Michael Hutchence after an INXS show. With Thomas Leslie, of course. 

From Chris, “My time at WPGU was extremely informative. It was the best part of my education – learning to balance ideals with the practical realities of running a business, negotiating all the egos (not least of all my own), and, finally, understanding that finding the best people is far more important than developing the best system or promotion. It was a little odd to spend that much time underground in the basement of Weston Hall. Maybe that’s why it was so easy to sit with George Chin in his lounge drinking volcanoes when we were supposed to be wrapping up a live remote for PGU’s 21st birthday…we just didn’t get out in the sun that often.  What it means to be back: At the very least, it means that some form of the Illini Media company is holding on and letting another group of students figure out the broadcasting business for themselves. So that’s good, no matter how precarious the whole thing has often been. It also means my wife can hear me on the radio, but this time she knows it’s me, rather than just being the voice of a stranger since we never actually met when we were on campus together…”