This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Broadcast area||Marion-Carbondale (IL) area|
|Slogan||"Todays Hit Music"|
|First air date||1946|
|Format||Contemporary hit radio|
|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 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 simulcast the same programming on both stations . The format was easy listening music and news. A year before CIL-FM was born, Top 40 music was played at night after 10p.m. 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 2a.m. and sign back on at 6a.m. Once the stations split, CIL-FM Rockin' Radio was born and was on the air 24 hours a day  and hasn't signed off since except for technical problems. McRoy would go on to sell both WCIL-FM and AM to Dennis 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 .
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.
There have been four official morning shows over the 40-year span of CIL-FM:
1. Dennis Lyle, 1976-1987
2. John Riley, 1987-1997
3. Steve Shannon and D.C. Chymes, "The Steve And D.C. Show" 1997-2006
4. Lia Mira and Jonny Quest, "Lia 'N' Jonny in the Morning" 2006-2016, "Lia Mira in the Morning" 2016-Present
The first song played on CIL-FM the morning of August 16, 1976 at 6:00 was "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles, played by morning host Dennis Lyle. 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. Jonny Quest, who broadcast on CIL-FM for 25 years, retired in 2016.
In 1997, Dennis Lyle sold the stations to the Zimmer Radio Group. Soon after the sale, CIL-FM had a 1997 relaunch, from "Rockin' Radio" to "Today's Hit Music".
In 2004, Zimmer Radio Group sold their stations in southern Illinois (including WCIL-FM), along with Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Sikeston, Missouri, to Mississippi River Radio, a subsidiary of Max Media, LLC. The reported value of this 17 station transaction was $43 million.
- "Call Letter Origins". Radio History on the Web.
- "WCIL-FM Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "Changing Hands - 1/12/2004". Broadcasting & Cable. 2004-01-12.