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Bill Nagel

Bill Nagel

Publisher | San Francisco Chronicle | Class of 1988

Bill Nagel’s road to big jobs in media — the San Diego Union-Tribune, LA Times and San Francisco Chronicle, to name a few — began at WILL-AM 580, where he drew his first journalism paycheck.

Charles Lindy was the ag editor at the time and he took a chance on me,” says Nagel (BS ’88, agricultural communication/journalism), who in 2018 was named publisher of the Chronicle, replacing fellow Illinois alum Jeff Johnson.

“Hustling for minimum wage, Charles had me write stories for the farm report on the station, scheduled me to read the farm report and commodity prices on the air and sent me to cover stories, including covering Ag Secretary John Block’s visit to Springfield.

“Another thing special about this is my parents could listen to the broadcast in Morrison, a small town in northwest Illinois. They even had me do side jobs like helping set recording equipment to broadcast a symphony concert from Terre Haute. It was also unique in that not many students even knew the place existed.

“The adult leadership at WILL let an inexperienced college kid do real work and have real challenges. Their trust in me built my confidence and opened doors that would have otherwise would have been walls throughout my career.”