This article is about the radio and television stations. For other uses of the word "will", see Will (disambiguation).
Champaign, Illinois
Branding WILL-TV
Slogan Illinois Public Media
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Affiliations PBS (1970–Present)
Owner University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois)
First air date August 1, 1955 (1955-08-01)
Call letters' meaning ILLinois
Sister station(s) WILL (AM), WILL-FM
Former callsigns Digital:
WILL-DT (2003–2009)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (1955–2009)
Former affiliations NET (1955-1970)
Transmitter power 30 kW
Height 302 m
Facility ID 68939
Transmitter coordinates

40°2′18″N 88°40′10″W / 40.03833°N 88.66944°W / 40.03833; -88.66944 (WILL-TV)

Website www.will.illinois.edu/

WILL is the callsign of the three public broadcasting stations owned by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and directly operated by its Division of Broadcasting. It consists of PBS member station WILL-TV (digital channel 9, virtual channel 12) and National Public Radio member stations WILL (580 kHz) and WILL-FM (90.9 mHz). The three stations are known collectively as Illinois Public Media, and are operated out of Campbell Hall for Public Telecommunication on the U of I campus.

WILL-TV received its largest bequest, $1 million (USD), from Lois Dickson, who had been a contributor to the station for the thirty years before her death at the age of 95 in 2004.[1]

In April 2011, WILL eliminated its weather department due to budget cuts.


After World War II, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosted the National Association of Educational Broadcasters for the establishment of broadcast allocations (AM/FM radio and TV channels) for non-commercial education programming. The outcomes from these meetings established the foundation for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System.[2]


Both WILL and WILL-FM are members of NPR and affiliates of Public Radio International and American Public Media. WILL (AM) airs NPR news and talk, along with agricultural news information for central Illinois farmers. WILL-FM airs classical music most of the day, but simulcasts some of NPR's more popular shows with its AM sister.

WILL (AM) signed on in 1922 as WRM. It was one of several AM stations signed on by Midwestern land-grant schools in the early days of radio. It became WILL in 1928. It operates at 5,000 watts during the day. Due to its location near the bottom of the AM dial, as well as its transmitter power, this is enough to provide grade B coverage as far north as Chicago and as far east as Indianapolis. It also serves as the default NPR member station for Terre Haute, Indiana; that city doesn't have a full-power NPR station of its own. However, at sunset it must power down to 500 watts and gradually power down to 100 watts. At 6 am, it increases its power to 335 watts and ramps up to full power at sunrise.

WILL-FM, first licensed in 1941 as WIUC and changed to WILL-FM in 1954, was the first FM station in the United States licensed to a university. WILL-FM has a translator on 106.5 in Danville. WILL-FM's all-classical HD2 channel is also simulcast on analog translator 101.1 in Urbana.

The two stations helped to create NPR, and were among the 90 stations that carried the inaugural broadcast of All Things Considered in 1971

WILL-FM began an HD Radio multicast in July 2008. 90.9 HD 1 is a simulcast of WILL-FM's analog signal. 90.9 HD2 is a 24-hour classical music service, and 90.9 HD3 simulcasts WILL-AM's programming to make up for the shortfall in the AM station's nighttime signal.


The U of I applied for a television license soon after the FCC lifted its freeze on new licenses. However, educational television was a new concept at the time, and most of Illinois' commercial broadcasters violently opposed the prospect of the U of I owning a television station. After a bill that would have forced the university to withdraw its application was narrowly defeated in the legislature, the Illinois Broadcasters Association funded a suit by a restaurant owner in Evanston claiming that the Illinois Constitution did not allow U of I to operate a television station. The case went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of U of I.

WILL-TV first hit the airwaves on August 1, 1955 from makeshift studios underneath Memorial Stadium. Originally airing for only a few hours at night, it began airing during the day in 1958 and added Saturday programming in 1974, four years after joining PBS.

Illinois Public Media's General Manager is Mark Leonard. The Station Manager is Bob Culkeen.

In 2009, WILL-TV stopped analog broadcasting on channel 12, continuing digital broadcasts on channel 9, and continuing to use PSIP to display its virtual channel on ATSC tuners as 12. The "WILL-TV" callsign was transferred over from the former analog channel 12 to digital channel 9 and the pre-transition call sign "WILL-DT" was officially retired.

See also


External links

  • WILL website
  • WILL (AM) webcast
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WILL
  • Query the FCC's AM station database for WILL
  • Radio-Locator Information on WILL
  • Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WILL
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for WILL
  • Radio-Locator information on WILL
  • Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WILL
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WILL-TV
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