It's showtime for new host of 'Penny for Your Thoughts'

It's showtime for new host of 'Penny for Your Thoughts'

As the new host of WDWS' popular 'A Penny for Your Thoughts' radio program, Brian Barnhart will be asking plenty of questions. Before Barnhart's debut — 9 a.m. today on 1400-AM — we got in some of our own.

As the voice of the Illini, my most memorable call was ... the Elite Eight win over Arizona in Chicago in 2005. For what was at stake and the way the Illini came back to win a berth in the Final Four, nothing before or since then has topped that. I will say the Tyler Griffey last-second layup to beat Indiana is not far behind, however.

Some of my favorite Penny topics will be ... current events, local and national. I enjoy talking politics and Illini sports and anything connected to history. I also like learning about unfamiliar subjects from people that are experts in a particular field. I just really enjoy talking to and with people from all kinds of backgrounds and points of view.

The biggest difference between hosting a talk show and calling a game is ... there are not 15,000 people in the same room with you. When you announce a game, there are no phone calls to answer. I do get a lot of texts from family and friends during a game.

My favorite airport is ... Willard — centrally located in the Big Ten and easy to get in and out of. Makes for a short trip back home after a late-night arrival.

When I'm not on radio, I'm ... spending time with my wife, Leanne. I also enjoy watching or listening to college football and basketball. I watch a lot of current events shows and politics as well as reading history books. I enjoy a good movie, too.

As for radio heroes growing up ... locally, my favorites were Larry Stewart, Jim Turpin and Loren Tate. I listened faithfully every Saturday morning to Saturday Sportsline and enjoyed Jim and Loren's Illini radio broadcasts. Nationally, I enjoyed Jack Buck, Vin Scully and Wayne Larrivee.

Other than Champaign, my favorite Big Ten town is ... Minneapolis. A big city but Midwestern and friendly. I love doing games from The Barn at Minnesota — it just needs to be a little warmer. It's a really nice place in the summer months, but the Illini don't play up there then.

I can't wait to interview ... sometime, I would like to interview a former president — regardless of party. I would like to learn from them what it feels like to be president on a daily basis, the challenges that they faced that most people wouldn't realize or understand.

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