Isberner takes helm of WSIU-TV

By Gus Bode

Digital conversion project has work cut out for new director

As the newly hired acting director of SIUC’s Broadcasting Service, Candis Isberner doesn’t have much time to waste.

Although she just began her new position on Sept. 1, Isberner is preparing WSIU-TV for a digital broadcasting conversion project that has a May 1 deadline. Bob Gerig, the former station manager, is reassigned as the MCMA’s assistant dean for external affairs.


The Federal Communications Commission mandated all public stations, such as WSIU-TV, to go digital a few years ago. A public station that does not conform to the mandate may lose its broadcasting license.

“Right now, we’re working on meeting our needs together to get a digital transmission. It’s probably one of the largest technological undertakings since we went on air [in 1961],” she said.

Isberner is not new to the pressures and demands of operating WSIU-TV. In 1981 she was hired as a field representative for the Broadcasting Service’s instructional technology division and has worked in several branches within the station. In 1994, Isberner won a University Woman of Distinction Award and the Outstanding Administration Professional Award.

She earned a master’s degree in secondary education at Hofstra University in 1973 and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at SIUC in 1989.

Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts, cited Isberner’s long-term involvement as one of the primary reasons for her promotion.

“Dr. Isberner is a seasoned professional. She’s held numerous positions within the unit and has been active in the national level in terms of production of programs and applying for grants,” he said. “She’s well respected on this campus and she’s a no-nonsense person; she will actually get things done, so I have all of the confidence in her.”

Funding for the digital broadcasting conversion came from several sources, including Gov. George Ryan’s Illinois First infrastructure program and federal and state aid. The Broadcasting Service has $3.8 million committed to the project, Isberner said.


Digital conversion allows for more public station programs to air, said Tom Godell, associate director of WSIU.

This means WSIU-TV will air a multiple number of shows on a channel and give local viewers the choice to pick the program to watch, like clicking onto an icon on a computer. Digital broadcasting will also enhance the picture of the station’s programs, such as on nature shows and documentaries.

Godell said the organization has invested millions of state dollars so far, but they must find a way to raise the rest of the funding.

“The end result will be tremendous,” he said. “Community service will increase, and we’ll have more broadcasting services than ever before.”

Isberner said she wants the station to continue to look for ways to increase community participation, sustain funding models and improve the broadcasting system for the University-run FM radio.

“I’m looking forward with the opportunity to work with the qualified staff and meeting the challenges ahead,” she said.

Reporter Jane Huh can be reached at [email protected]