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WILL IPM Logo TV 2015 crop.png
UrbanaChampaign, Illinois
United States
CityUrbana, Illinois
BrandingWILL TV
SloganIllinois Public Media
ChannelsDigital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
AffiliationsPBS (since 1970)
OwnerUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
(The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois)
First air date1955; 63 years ago (1955)[1]
Call letters' meaningILLinois or the word "Will"
Sister station(s)WILL (AM), WILL-FM
Former callsignsDigital:
WILL-DT (2003–2009)
Former channel number(s)Analog:
12 (VHF, 1955–2009)
Former affiliationsNET (1955–1970)
Transmitter power30 kW
Height302 m (991 ft)
ClassDT (NCE)
Facility ID68939
Transmitter coordinates40°2′18″N 88°40′10″W / 40.03833°N 88.66944°W / 40.03833; -88.66944 (WILL-TV)
Licensing authorityFCC
Public license information:Profile
WILL IPM Logo FM 2015 crop.png
CityUrbana, Illinois
Broadcast areaChampaign-Urbana
  • WILL-FM 90.9 (main program)
  • WILL-FM 101.1 (90.9 HD2)
Frequency90.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date1939; 79 years ago (1939) (experimental);[1] 1941; 77 years ago (1941) (full license)[1]
FormatFM/HD1: Classical music, NPR news
HD2: Classical music
HD3: News/Talk (WILL (AM) simulcast)
ERP105,000 watts
HAAT259 m (850 ft)
ClassB (NCE)
Facility ID68940
Former callsignsWIUC (1941–1954)[1]
Former frequencies? (before 1954)[1]
Sister stationsWILL (AM), WILL-TV
WILL IPM Logo AM 2015 crop.png
CityUrbana, Illinois
Broadcast areaChampaign-Urbana
BrandingWILL AM 580
Frequency580 kHz
First air date1922; 96 years ago (1922)[1]
HAAT103.6 m (340 ft)
Facility ID68941
Former callsignsWRM (1922–1928)[1]
Former frequencies890 kHz (1929–1935)[1]
Sister stationsWILL-FM, WILL-TV
Campbell Hall, the home of the WILL stations

WILL is the call sign of the three public broadcasting stations owned by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and licensed to Urbana, Illinois, United States. It consists of PBS member station WILL-TV (VHF digital channel 9, virtual channel 12) and NPR member stations WILL (AM) (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.


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 Rockefeller Foundation funded two-week seminars in 1949 (Allerton I) and 1950 (Allerton II) of 22 educational broadcasters from across the United States.[3] The outcomes from these meetings established the foundation for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service.[4] The NAEB was based at WILL from 1951 to 1961.[1]

WILL-TV received its largest bequest, $1 million, 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.[5]

In April 2010, WILL announced a series of cost-reducing measures, including the elimination of its weather department.[6]


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

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 (AM) signed on in 1922 as WRM. It became WILL in 1928.[1] The station is directional mostly to protect WIBW (AM) in Topeka, Kansas. WILL (AM) 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 and directional antenna, this is enough to provide grade B coverage as far north as Chicago and as far east as Indianapolis. However, at sunset it must power down to 500 watts and gradually power down to 100 watts. At 6 a.m., it increases its power to 335 watts and ramps up to full power at sunrise.[2]

Until 2014, it also served as the default NPR member station for Terre Haute, Indiana. That city lacked a full-power NPR member station until WISU began carrying NPR programming in 2014 as a satellite of WFYI-FM in Indianapolis.


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. It also moved its frequency to 90.9 MHz in 1954.[1] WILL-FM broadcasts with a grandfathered ERP[7] of 105,000 watts at an antenna HAAT of 259 meters (850 ft).

WILL-FM began an HD Radio multicast in July 2008.[1] 90.9 HD1 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 reduced coverage of the AM station's nighttime signal.[8]

WILL-FM has a translator on 106.5 in Danville.[2] WILL-FM's all-classical HD2 channel is also simulcast on analog translator 101.1 W266AF in Urbana.


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 vehemently 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.[1]

Illinois Public Media's CEO and General Manager is Maurice "Moss" Bresnahan.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[9]
12.1 1080i 16:9 WILL-HD Main WILL-TV programming / PBS
12.2 480i 16:9 KIDS PBS Kids
12.3 CREATE-WORLD Create (5:00am – 5:00pm) / World (5:00pm – 5:00am)

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WILL-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 12, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 9.[10] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 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[edit]

  • Illini Media - university-independent not-for-profit organization that runs radio station WPGU and the Daily Illini
  • Prairie Fire - a 15+ season running television news magazine and documentary program produced by WILL-TV


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "The History of WILL". Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2015-02-14.
  2. ^ a b c "Broadcast Frequencies & Coverage Areas". Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2015-02-14.
  3. ^ Hudson, Robert (Spring 1951). "Radio in Education : Allerton House 1949, 1950". Hollywood Quarterly. pp. 237–250.
  4. ^ Hill, Harold (1954). "The National Association of Educational Broadcasters: a history". National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  5. ^ Staff (Summer 2006). "WILL-TV Viewer Leaves $1 Million to Station". UIF Newsletter, issue 47. University of Illinois Foundation. pp. Illinois Gardner Web Site through WILL.
  6. ^ Kranich, Kimberlie (February 2010). "WILL Changes FM Format, Cuts Jobs, and Eliminates Weather Department". The Public I. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  7. ^ http://www.w9wi.com/articles/grand_fm.htm Superpower FM Stations
  8. ^ "About Digital Radio". Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  9. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WILL
  10. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.

External links[edit]