Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

So easy a third-grader can do it

In a strange twist, we've received dozens of audition tapes from would-be Jim Sheppards hoping to land the P.A. job for Illini men's basketball games — even though we have nothing to do with the decision.

Top of the Morning, April 2, 2015

Music marathon ... A to Z

Mike Haile, general manager for our three radio stations, is reintroducing one of his favorite routines this weekend.

Illini target: 'God will lead me in the right direction'

Charlotte transfer Mike Thorne Jr. announced on Wednesday that he would make a decision on his 2015-16 destination on April 25.

Top of the Morning, April 1, 2015

Mike Miner has yet to take in a performance at Parkland College's theatre. Now that the 315-seat auditorium goes by the name of his late parents, the 1967 Watseka High product thought he better get there.

"I'm looking forward to it," Miner said.

Top of the Morning, March 31, 2015

— Like the Cubs and Cardinals, Adam Watson is anxious to get his season started.

"It's like we're in spring training now," the 36-year-old Villa Grove farmer said. "Spirits are good, the weather is beautiful, the shed doors are open."

UI's huge tennis win: A multimedia wrap

Illinois finally beat Ohio State in men's tennis on Sunday, ending the Buckeyes' 97-match regular-season winning streak.

UI coach Brad Dancer discussed the win with Jim Turpin and Loren Tate on Monday morning.

Top of the Morning, March 29, 2015

Next month's Roger Ebert's Film Festival will be the 14th — and last — for Champaign's Mary Susan Britt, the affable associate festival director. Britt and her family are moving to Louisiana in June.

Her cluttered office in Gregory Hall indicates Britt's in full Ebertfest mode. Still, she had time for a few questions after this year's lineup was announced:

Top of the Morning, March 28, 2015

The University of Illinois Black Chorus prepared for Sunday's performance alongside Foreigner much like the Illini's basketball team ahead of a Big Ten game.

"We watched tape," Ollie Watts Davis, the group's conductor, said. "(Foreigner) sent us video of other choirs singing with them, and we studied those."

Top of the Morning, March 26, 2015

With a new P.A. announcer on the way for UI men's basketball games next season (sports, B-3), I reached out to an old pro for advice. Jim Sheppard, 66, worked the mic at UI basketball and football games for 22 years, phrases like "That's a Three!" striking a chord with fans.

Still living in the area, he'd be interested in returning to his role. "They know my resume," he said.

Jim Sheppard: I'm interested

For 22 years, Jim Sheppard served as the Illini's popular P.A. announcer at basketball games,  phrases like "Deeeeee for Threeeeee!" resonating with the Assembly Hall crowds.