Statehouse reporter Brandon Smith will take over as host of the political talk show Indiana Week in Review on WFYI-TV Channel 20 starting in early December, following the retirement of long-time host Jim Shella.
Smith, who covers the politics and government beat for Indiana Public Broadcasting, said he was “excited and awed” at the opportunity to take over the show.
“I certainly couldn’t pass it up,” he told IBJ. “The brand I would be taking over is just about unparalleled in Indiana politics. Jim Shella has done a truly remarkable job with his show for 25 years.”
Shella announced last month that he is retiring both as the host of Indiana Week in Review and as a Statehouse reporter for WISH-TV Channel 8. He has hosted IWIR for 25 years and his last show will be Nov. 18.
Lloyd Wright, president and CEO of WFYI, said Smith, who has covered the Statehouse beat since 2011, “brings a unique skillset to ensure Indiana Week in Review continues to provide discussions of important topics each week.”
Smith said, at least for now, the format of the show will remain largely unchanged.
“I don’t think viewers and listeners should expect to see anything radically different,” he said. “I think we don’t want to upset the apple cart too much for a show that’s working very well. But over time, I’ll try to put my own stamp on it.”
For 25 years, since Shella took over, Indiana Week in Review has featured four panelists—two partisans and two non-partisans. The current lineup is Republican Mike McDaniel and Democrat Ann Delaney as well as John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, and John Schwantes, the host of Indiana Lawmakers, which also airs on WFYI-TV.
Smith said he doesn't know if the lineup of panelists will change.
He said the show might cut back on the number of videos it uses. Shella and WISH-TV provide video for the program.
“We’re talking about a variety of solutions for that,” Smith said. “Some of it will come from WFYI itself, some of it could be from focusing less on video and more on graphics.”
He said Indiana Public Broadcasting is generally branching out into more video and “down the line I may be able to provide video.”
Smith received his bachelor’s degree in journalism, with minors in history and political science, from the University of Missouri.
Indiana Week in Review airs on WFYI 90.1-FM at 6 p.m. on Fridays and on WFYI-TV Channel 20 at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays. In addition, Indiana Week in Review is broadcast weekly on seven other Indiana Public Broadcasting stations throughout the state.