It's Code Red time at ALPLM

Museum hires former WICS meteorologist

Joe Crain, fired in June as meteorologist for WICS television, has been hired by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as director of public programming.

ALPLM spokesman Chris Wills said that Crain will start on Monday. Wills initially told Illinois Times that the position was new, then sent an email stating that the job has been on the institution's organizational chart, but left unfilled.

Crain, who will be paid $75,000 a year, could not be reached for comment.

Crain was fired after he criticized the WICS ownership, during a broadcast, for requiring that “Code Red” labels be attached to forecasts. Some viewers had complained that the Code Red label unnecessarily alarmed people, and the station, since firing Crain, has said that the Code Red label won’t be used anymore.

Wills said that Crain will help organize speaking events, conferences and special events tied into museum exhibits. “His duties, I’m sure, will evolve as he gets used to the job,” Wills said. Job duties will include marketing and helping find funding, Wills said, and Crain also will be “kind of a cheerleader in going out into the community and telling people what we’re doing here.”

In his email, Wills writes that that the position "requires someone who can work with our team to develop ideas for public events, gauge what events are likely to do well in the central Illinois market, organize the events to make sure they are run smoothly and help us talk to the community about our events and what makes them special." Crain, Wills writes is well qualified. "Both in TV and radio, Joe has years of experience working with teams on events and promotions," Wills wrote. "Few people can match his community connections, which will help him assess what events are likely to be most successful."

In a written statement, ALPLM executive director Alan Lowe said that Crain has "trademark enthusiasm."

"Joe has tremendous relationships with people throughout the region," Lowe wrote.

In other ALPLM personnel news, Nadine O'Leary, chief of staff, left last week for another position in state government. It was not immediately clear where she might be headed. And a new exhibits director, Lance Tawzer, has been hired. Previously director of innovation and experience at Naper Settlement, an outdoor history museum accredited by American Alliance of Museums, Tawzer, who holds a bachelor's degree, also worked as curator of exhibits at the Elmhurst History Museum.

Contact Bruce Rushton at

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