A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

Tim Shelley | 31

News director, WCBU, Peoria Public Radio

Tim Shelley
Tim Shelly

Tim Shelley supervises WCBU’s full-time newsroom staff, as well as a team of correspondents and interns. He directs local news coverage, laying out content for the daily news podcast “On Deck” and the daily news magazine “All Things Peoria.” Tim also is a hands-on journalist, covering news stories in his own right. 

“Tim has a deep relationship with Peoria, and he wants to be here. Tim cares deeply about what’s happening here, and he’s using his position and influence with WCBU to help others learn to care, too,” said his nominator. “Tim’s journalism and newsroom leadership focus on substance — the things that matter most to Peoria, not the fleeting clickbait that many other news outlets often chase. His in-depth coverage of the topics that affect all community members is helping create a more informed, knowledgeable community that leads to a better place to live for everyone.”  

 Specifically, the WCBU newsroom, under Tim’s leadership, has helped Peoria better understand the violence that has spiked in this city over the past few years. At Tim’s behest, the WCBU Newsroom has done multiple special episodes on the trauma left behind by local violence, as depicted in interviews with a group of Peoria mothers who have lost children to it.

 Under Tim’s leadership, the WCBU newsroom has reached new heights, earning a 2022 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association, as well as a national award from the Public Media Journalists Association for its series on the state of public housing in Peoria.

 “Tim is a quiet leader,” said his nominator. “He is probably at everything, but quietly taking in the event, noting what those who can’t be there need to know, and then is back to his desk to put together a new story to share with the community. 24/7, 365, Tim is focused on Peoria and Peoria would not be the same without his efforts.” 

Childhood ambition: “Astronaut.”

Hobbies: “I play guitar and piano (badly). But I have fun with it!”

What no one knows about you: “I appeared on a locally taped segment of Reading Rainbow on WTVP when I was about 10 to talk about one of my favorite books that summer. This was technically my broadcast media debut.” 

Recommended book: “Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.”

Leadership definition: “Set the expectations and give talented people the freedom they need to succeed.”

Peoria needs: “Honestly? More journalists, in every medium. So many stories still go untold.”