|Broadcast area||Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area|
|Slogan||Lansing's More Compelling Talk Radio|
|First air date||February 19, 1947|
|Power||25,000 watts (Daytime)
1,900 watts (Nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||Ingham County
|Affiliations||Fox News Radio
Michigan Radio Network
|Sister stations||WHZZ, WQHH, WXLA|
WILS (1320 AM) is a news and talk radio station in Lansing, Michigan that broadcasts on 1320 kHz with 25,000 watts of power during the day and 1,900 watts at night. WILS is owned by MacDonald Broadcasting and features a local news department and a mixture of local and national talk personalities. The station is an affiliate of Fox News Radio.
WILS is home to the locally produced Morning Wakeup with Dave Akerly and the Capital City Recap with Michael Cohen. WILS focuses heavily on local issues and personalities, especially topics of political and business interests. It is the Lansing Market's home for syndicated talkers Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, and Coast to Coast AM.
Radio station WILS signed on in 1947 as a daytime only station at 1430 kHz with 500 watts of power. The transmitter for the station was located on East Mount Hope avenue, with studios located in Downtown Lansing at Saginaw and North Washington.
The exact sign on date is believed to be February 19, however transmissions from WILS could have been made as early as November 1946 when a construction permit was granted. In 1949, the station moved to 1320 kHz and increased power to 1,000 watts with a directional antenna array located at 600 W Cavanaugh Road. In 1952, the Federal Communications Commission granted WILS to up its power once again to 5,000 daytime and 1,000 watts nighttime using separate directional arrays. In 1966, the studios were moved from downtown to the Cavanaugh Road site, where they remain today.
The station was once sisters with Lansing NBC television affiliate WILX-TV. The television station signed-on March 15, 1959 and was owned by Jackson Telecasters along with WJCO radio (AM 1510, now WJKN). The company was half-owned by Lansing Broadcasting along with WILS.
WILS was a popular Top 40 music station in Lansing during the 1960s and 1970s. One popular WILS personality during the '60s Top 40 era was John Records Landecker, who later went on to great popularity at WLS in Chicago and CFTR in Toronto. Tim O Toole, another popular Chicago radio personality, worked at WILS from 1969-1971. He currently does Weekends on True Oldies 94.7 in Chicago. WILS-AM was a fully staffed live radio station until January 17, 1984, when the station switched to mostly automation (the original automated format was Drake-Chenault's "Hitparade", a Big Band/Nostalgia format) and was known as Hometown Radio 1320.
The WILS call sign was also shared with the station's sister at 101.7FM (now WHZZ). From 1967 to 1972, the AM and FM were a simulcast of the top-40 format. In 1972, WILS-FM launched a country format, however Jerry Marshall's morning show which originated on WILS-AM continued to be simulcasted. Then three years later in 1975, WILS-FM returned to a daytime twelve hour simulcast of WILS-AM in the daytime, followed by 6 hours of Album-oriented rock in the evenings and jazz overnight. The AOR format was so popular that WILS-FM completely broke away from the AM station in 1978. The station was dubbed WILS 101-FM. An ownership change in 1983 would bring the end of 101-FM, with the FM flipping to adult contemporary as LS-102 (see WHZZ for further history on the former WILS-FM 101.7).
WILS was purchased by MacDonald Broadcasting, owner of several other stations in the Saginaw and Traverse City markets. The station switched briefly to a Country music format (simulcast with WILS-FM) in 1992, and then flipped to Adult Standards in 1993. It was known as Unforgettable 1320 and was an affiliate of ABC Radio's satellite-delivered adult standards/MOR music package known as "Timeless Classics" (formerly "Stardust"). The station had had this format since the early 1990s and was quite successful in the ratings with it. The Timeless Favorites format moved to sister WXLA 1180 AM after that station was purchased by MacDonald Broadcasting; WILS and WXLA essentially simulcast each other with separate IDs and imaging until 2006. 1320 WILS changed its format to news and talk radio, with the slogan More Stimulationg Talk Radio airing personalities such as Laura Ingram, Clark Howard, Dennis Miller, and Michael Savage. Local personalities included then morning show host Walt Sorg, followed by Chris Holoman and Tony Conley. Sports talk show host Jack Ebling was an afternoon fixture on WILS before moving to WQTX. In 2010, the station changed its slogan to the current More Compelling Talk Radio moniker.
On January 25, 2008, WILS turned on their new Windsor Township transmitter and became the most powerful AM station in Lansing. The new 25 kW daytime signal covers much of Mid-Michigan, and be easily received as far away as Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Mt. Pleasant, and Jackson. The station can even be heard in portions of northern Ohio and Indiana. The directional pattern of WILS is limited to the east to avoid adjacent channel interference with WTRX 1330 in Flint. The new 1.9 kW four tower nighttime array provides better coverage to the immediate Lansing, Charlotte, Grand Ledge, and DeWitt areas.
Since switching to news-talk, WILS has become Lansing's premiere news radio station, offering more local news and local talk shows than any other station in the market. It is the only remaining radio station in the Lansing market actively covering local governmental meetings and events, with local news seven days a week from 6am to 6pm.
WILS is a direct competitor to Townsquare Media's (formerly Cumulus Media) WJIM also licensed to Lansing. The situation has almost come full circle as 1240 WJIM was WILS's main competitor as a top 40 station in the 60s and 70s. In 2013 Cumulus dropped Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck from WJIM. WILS immediately gave the conservative personalities a new home in the Capital City. In 2016, Michael Savage, who was originally on WILS returned to 1320 after being dropped by WJIM earlier in the year.
Dave Akerly, former Lansing television personality begins the day at WILS with the Morning Wake-Up from 6am to 9am. Michel Cohen anchors the Capital City Re-Cap weeknights from 6pm to 7pm. Both programs also tackle a wide variety of issues involving local, state and national government and also feature guest experts that share opinion from all sides of the political spectrum.
- "WILX-TV Channel 10 Onondaga/Lansing". Station Listings. michiguide.com. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
- WLS FM