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City Quincy, Illinois
Broadcast area Quincy/Hannibal/Keokuk
Branding ESPN 1440
Slogan We've Got Your Game
Frequency 1440 MHz
Translator(s) W255CY 98.9 (Quincy)
First air date January 1, 1948 (1948-01-01)
Format Sports radio
Power 5,000 watts day
1,000 watts night
Class B
Facility ID 54277
Transmitter coordinates 39°58′47″N 91°19′27″W / 39.97972°N 91.32417°W / 39.97972; -91.32417 (WGEM)Coordinates: 39°58′47″N 91°19′27″W / 39.97972°N 91.32417°W / 39.97972; -91.32417 (WGEM)
Callsign meaning GEM City
Affiliations ESPN Radio
Owner Quincy Media
(WGEM License, LLC)
Sister stations WGEM-FM, WGEM-TV
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.wgem.com

WGEM (1440 AM; "ESPN 1440") is a radio station in Quincy, Illinois broadcasting a sports radio format. The station is owned by Quincy Media and is an affiliate of ESPN Radio. The station is also broadcasting via FM translator W255CY, 98.9 FM, licensed to Quincy.


WGEM signed on January 1, 1948; its debut was hampered by an ice storm that forced the station off the air just twenty minutes into its first broadcast.[1] The station was owned by Quincy Broadcasting Company, which was purchased by a partnership of transmitter manufacturer Parker Gates and Quincy Newspapers a few months later.[2][3] Gates had previously attempted to enter station ownership by applying for a new station, WFAR, which was never built;[2] meanwhile, WGEM was Quincy Newspapers' second broadcast property, as the company had launched FM radio station WQDI (105.1 FM) on August 1, 1947.[1] Quincy Newspapers would assume full ownership of the station in 1950, after Gates chose to sell his stake in Quincy Broadcasting to focus exclusively on manufacturing.[2] (WQDI would become WGEM-FM in 1953 to match the AM station and the then-new WGEM-TV;[4][5] it would eventually become a simulcast of WGEM.[6]) The station became an affiliate of the ABC Radio Network on October 1, 1948.[7]

By 1976, when WGEM-FM broke away from its simulcast and became a country music station, WGEM had a middle-of-the-road format;[8] that year, the station became one of the first AM stereo stations.[9] It shifted to adult contemporary in 1980;[10] in the early 1990s, the station again changed formats, this time to talk radio.[11] During the Great Flood of 1993, WGEM provided comprehensive coverage, temporarily suspending its normal programming to provide updates on bridge closures, flood stages, and levee status.[11]

In 2002, WGEM began to shift its format: its news/talk programming was moved to WGEM-FM, and the AM station adopted its current sports radio format;[12] it had carried ESPN Radio at night under the previous format.[13] However, much of WGEM-FM's primarily news-oriented local programming, as well as Paul Harvey and NBC Nightly News, continued to be simulcast on the AM station for several years thereafter;[14][15][16] this was finally largely phased out in 2005.[17][18]


WGEM's schedule is primarily sourced from ESPN Radio; it does air a local morning program, WGEM SportsCenter, and as a result only carries the first two hours of Mike and Mike in the Morning. Other local programming, generally relating to local sports (including coach's shows for Quincy University and Quincy Senior High School basketball) is carried during their seasons. WGEM also carries Chicago Cubs baseball and Chicago Bulls basketball.


  1. ^ a b "Why Advertise With WGEM Radio?". WGEM.com. June 10, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Mishkind, Barry (December 20, 2010). "Parker Gates". The Broadcast Archive. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ Family Traditions: Celebrating Illinois Newspaper History (PDF). Illinois Newspaper Foundation. 2002. p. 28. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1953 (PDF). 1953. p. 131. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook-Marketbook 1954 (PDF). 1954. p. 130. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1958 (PDF). 1958. p. A-278. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "At Deadline…" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 23, 1948. p. 90. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1977 (PDF). 1977. p. C-66. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ "TRANSITION TO DIGITAL TELEVISION (Senate hearing)". March 1, 2001. Retrieved December 28, 2014. …WGEM(AM) was one of the first to broadcast in AM Stereo in 1976. 
  10. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1981 (PDF). 1981. p. C-73. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Rimer, Sara (July 15, 1993). "The Nerve Center; From Vital to Mundane, A Big Story for WGEM". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  12. ^ "About WGEM". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on August 9, 2003. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  13. ^ "WGEM AM-1440 homepage". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on August 18, 2000. Retrieved December 28, 2014. Plus, ESPN Radio on seven nights a week. 
  14. ^ "WGEM AM-1440 Programs". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on August 10, 2003. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Program Schedule for the week of 06/15/04 - (Quincy WGEM-AM (WGEM-AM))". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2004. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Program Schedule for the week of 09/14/04 - (Quincy WGEM-AM (WGEM-AM))". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2004. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Program Schedule for the week of 02/14/05 - (Quincy WGEM-AM (WGEM-AM))". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2005. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Program Schedule for the week of 09/06/05 - (Quincy WGEM-AM (WGEM-AM))". WGEM.com. Archived from the original on September 12, 2005. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 

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