|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
|City of license||Carbondale, Illinois|
|Broadcast area||Marion-Carbondale (IL) area|
|Slogan||"Todays Hit Music"|
|First air date||1946|
|Format||Contemporary hit radio|
|Audience share||6.4 (Fa'06, R&R)|
|Callsign meaning||Carbondale, Il linois|
(MRR License LLC)
|Sister stations||WCIL, WUEZ, WJPF, WOOZ-FM, WXLT|
WCIL-FM (101.5 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a contemporary hit radio format. Licensed to Carbondale, Illinois, the station serves the Marion-Carbondale (IL) area. The station is currently owned by Max Media.
WCIL (AM) signed on the air in 1946 as a daytime only station with personalities such as Jim Bowen, Bluegrass Roy and others in a second floor studio at about 215 W. Main St. in Carbondale . At that time, to get the AM license, they were pressured by the FCC to also sign on an FM station. They kept the FM on the air for about a year and then signed it off the air since, at the time, nobody listened to FM. In 1964, Paul F. McRoy, the station's then-owner, foresaw the potential of FM and applied for a new FM license. The license was approved and WCIL-FM signed on in 1968 and allowed broadcasting after local sunset when WCIL was required to sign off. WCIL AM/FM simulcasted the same programming on both stations. The format was easy listening music and news. A year or so before "CIL-FM" was born, Top 40 music was played at night after 10pm. The FCC required AM-FM simulcasts to split programming. So, plans were made to split WCIL AM and FM. The AM and FM split programming and became separate stations on August 16, 1976. Before this split of the stations, WCIL-FM would sign off the air at 2am and sign back on at 6am. Once the stations split, CIL-FM Rockinradio was born and was on the air 24 hours a day  and hasn't signed off since except for technical problems. The first song played on CIL-FM that morning at 6am was "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles, played by morning host Dennis Lyle. McRoy would go on to sell both WCIL-FM and AM to Lyle, now the President of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.
CIL-FM dominated ratings in the heyday of Top 40/CHR radio. The air-personalities were well known throughout the area. In the 1980s and 1990s, Programming Director Tony Waitekus propelled the station to national prominence. After Lyle purchased the station, John Riley took over mornings and had a successful run. Riley was charismatic about the Carbondale community and had a close connection to SIU Athletics.
Later, in 1997, Lyle sold the stations to the Zimmer Radio Group. Soon after the sale, CIL-FM had a 1997 relaunch as "Today's Hit Music".
Jon E. Quest has been broadcasting on WCIL for over a decade and now hosts the CIL-FM Morning Show with Lia Mira. Previous to Quest and Mira, the morning show was hosted by Kato, along with Mira. Prior to that, mornings were hosted by the Steve and DC Morning Show from 1997 (taking over from John Riley) until 2006.
In 2004, Zimmer Radio Group sold their stations in southern Illinois (including WCIL-FM), along with Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Sikeston, MO, to Mississippi River Radio, a subsidiary of Max Media, LLC.
WCIL-FM has been a home for many years for Southern Illinois University football and basketball featuring Mike Reis, now a member of the SIU Athletics Hall of Fame.The station is also an affiliate of the syndicated American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest, along with Dawson McAllister Live.
In December 2003, Mississippi River Radio, acting as Max Media LLC (John Trinder, president/COO), reached an agreement to purchase WCIL, WCIL-FM, WJPF, WOOZ-FM, WUEZ, WXLT, KCGQ-FM, KEZS-FM, KGIR, KGKS, KJEZ, KKLR-FM, KLSC, KMAL, KSIM, KWOC, and KZIM from the Zimmer Radio Group (James L. Zimmer, owner). The reported value of this 17 station transaction was $43 million.
- "Marion-Carbondale (IL) Market Ratings". Radio & Records.
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
- "WCIL-FM Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Homan, John D. (2003-12-19). "Zimmer sells 17 radio stations". Southern Illinoisan. "The Zimmer Radio Group, a family-owned media company, announced Wednesday it will sell 17 of its 32 stations [...] to Mississippi River Radio."
- "Changing Hands - 1/12/2004". Broadcasting & Cable. 2004-01-12.
- WCIL-FM official website
- History of WCIL
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WCIL
- Radio-Locator information on WCIL
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WCIL