Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

What do I do after the show ends at 9:00? I read. I'm especially interested in literature from the WNIJ listening area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by authors from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. Interviews and excerpts are available as podcasts in our archives.

If you're a writer from this area, or have a personal connection to this place, send your book to me at 801 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115. You can also email a .doc or .pdf to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While most of the books I feature come from established presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your manuscript is well edited.





Updated with identity of recorder
10:56 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Late Release Of Recording Makes Waves In IL-17

Heidi Schultz

UPDATE, 10/30/14

The man behind the recording that sparked the resignation of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos' top staffer has been identified. He's Austin Quick, a seminary student who worked for Bustos' opponent Bobby Schilling during his 2010 campaign. Quick is also a Northern Illinois University graduate who served as a Student Association Senator. He had a hand in several Republican candidates' campaigns, including State Representative Tom Demmer and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. 

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Election 2014
6:33 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Bustos And Schilling Are At It Again in IL-17

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D)
Credit www.cheribustos.com

In 2012, Democrat Cheri Bustos unseated incumbent Bobby Schilling in Illinois' 17th Congressional District. Schilling, a Republican, won two years earlier during a national wave of Tea Party-backed upsets.

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Election 2014
6:32 am
Tue October 28, 2014

IL-16 Contest Has Similarities To Neighboring District

Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R)
Credit http://kinzinger.house.gov/

Illinois' 16th Congressional District resembles the 14th in a couple of ways, according to Matt Streb. The political scientist notes Democratic map-makers packed IL-16 with Republican voters in order to increase the number of Democrats in neighboring districts.

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Election 2014
6:25 am
Mon October 27, 2014

IL-14 Rematch `Uphill Battle' for Hultgren Opponent

Congressman Randy Hultgren (R)
Credit www.randyhultgren.com

The race in Illinois' 14th Congressional District is a do-over between Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren and Democratic challenger Dennis Anderson. In 2012, Anderson got 41% of the vote, a margin that surprised NIU political scientist Matt Streb.

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7:47 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Streb: Durbin Acting Like Senate Race A Challenge

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D)
Credit www.dickdurbin.com

This election, (#WNIJ2014Election) WNIJ is focusing on U.S. House races, the contest for Governor, and the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Dick Durbin. This is Durbin's fourth campaign for the office. The Democrat won each race easily, but Durbin's behavior suggests the race is closer with state Senator Jim Oberweis.

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10:39 am
Mon October 6, 2014

The Drinkers Have Spoken; Will The Candidates Listen?

A pint of IPA at the Prairie Street Brewhouse, Rockford
Dan Libman

It's almost closing time for our `Politics on Tap' series.  Throughout the summer, author Dan Libman interviewed voters in their neighborhood bars, asking about their political concerns ahead of the election.  After a beer or two they opened up about Obamacare, the economy and redistricting.  Now, with `last call' looming -- at the bars and the polls -- Dan asked the regulars what issues they want the candidates to address.  Read the peoples' opinions in Dan's essay below. 

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Politics on Tap
6:26 am
Mon September 8, 2014

The Obamacare Effect: Sterling Bargoers Vote For Good Healthcare

The Rusty Fox, Sterling
Dan Libman

This November, citizens will vote on a number of issues. Many of them will also participate in the next open enrollment period under The Affordable Care Act. The ACA, or Obamacare, remains a hot topic for political pundits. But will it motivate voters? For the third time this summer, WNIJ asked author Dan Libman to learn the mood of the electorate. Dan has been interviewing voters in the places they feel most comfortable: their neighborhood bars.

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Politics on Tap
6:26 am
Mon August 4, 2014

An Economic Bar-Ometer We Can All Drink To

Cowboy and Tony's Butt Shack, Mendota
Dan Libman

Want to know what voters really think about politicians and the economy? Ask when they've had a beer or two. For the coming election, WNIJ wanted to go beyond its usual in-depth coverage of the issues and candidates. So we invited Pushcart Prize-winning author Dan Libman to visit taverns and saloons in LaSalle County, an area served by our repeater station WNIW at 91.3 FM. Dan used his iPhone to interview imbibing patrons.

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Politics on Tap
6:35 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Beer And Politics Really Do Mix

Adam & Eve at the Oasis, Rockford
Dan Libman

As we approach the November election, WNIJ decided to go beyond its usual in-depth coverage of the issues and candidates. So we invited Pushcart Prize-winning author Dan Libman to visit places where voters are most likely to speak their minds: their local bars. To close the "distance" of a reporter's microphone, Dan used an iPhone to interview imbibing voters.

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2014 Summer Book Series
6:40 am
Fri June 27, 2014

No Spoiler: Frances Kills, Then Chats With God About It

"This is the story of a retired high school Latin teacher who murders her son-in-law."

That's what Robert Hellenga wanted on the cover of his latest novel, The Confessions of Frances Godwin.

"I felt it was necessary to give some oomph to the story," Hellenga explains. "Otherwise, the memoir of a retired Latin teacher doesn't sound too exciting."

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