|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2010)|
|City of license||Normal, Illinois|
|Broadcast area||Bloomington-Normal, Illinois|
|First air date||December 21, 1973|
|HAAT||125 meters (410 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||Coordinates: (NAD83)|
(Connoisseur Media Licenses, LLC)
WIHN, branded 96.7 I-Rock, is an FM active rock radio station on the Normal, Illinois, frequency of 96.7 MHz and studios in Bloomington, Illinois, in the Bloomington-Normal area. It is owned by Connoisseur Media and switched to its current rock format in early 1995 (as I-97) from its former Adult Contemporary format.
The station signed on the air Friday, December 21, 1973, from studios located on the second floor of the Castle Theater Building on Washington Street in Bloomington, Illinois. These studios were previously occupied by WJBC/WBNQ until their earlier move to the transmitter site on Greenwood Avenue.
The WIHN transmitter was located at Nord Farm on the West side of Bloomington/Normal. The antenna was side-mounted at the maximum allowable height of 300 feet (91 m) on an already existing communications tower owned by Dr. Stanley Nord with a studio/transmitter link from downtown. The Collins 3 kW transmitter was housed within an enclosure constructed inside one of the farm buildings.
The station was conceived by David S. Wolfenden who formed McLean Communications Corporation for the purpose of applying for the allocated channel 244A (96.7 MHz) at Normal, Illinois. Besides Wolfenden, who became President of the corporation and the station's general manager, other McLean principals included Andrew Rector, Wilbur Winn, William Brady, Bert Jackson and several other local businessmen. Prior to the formation of McLean, a local ministry had briefly pursued the channel and withdrawn.
At the same time as McLean's application, two Chicago individuals had formed a corporation and had applied for 244A as well. Ensuing negotiations over a number of months resulted in this group withdrawing their bid leaving McLean as the sole applicant.
With the idea of a modern, upbeat format in mind, Wolfenden looked for call letters depicting excitement phonetically: a phrase. Because on-air contests were envisioned as part of the format, the WIN theme came to mind. After much searching it appeared that WIHN was available — but it was not. WIHN belonged to "...the oil screw Oregon, sunk....", used for signal flag communications. With minimal arm-twisting by McLean's Washington FCC attorney, Tom Fletcher, the Coast Guard released the call.
In 2009, Wolfenden shipped a carton of historical documents from his home in Newport, Rhode Island to Andy Rector, President of ACC Electronix, 420 Wylie Drive in Normal, Illinois, to be included in the archives of the McLean County Historical Society as have been the records of WJBC/WBNQ. Rector was one of the original founders of McLean Communications and remains a resident of Normal. Wolfenden continues to be actively involved in radio and TV in the New England area.