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City Macomb, Illinois
Broadcast area Illinois
Branding Tri States Public Radio
Frequency 91.3 (MHz)
First air date 1956
Format Public broadcasting
ERP 50,000 watts
HAAT 148 meters
Class B
Callsign meaning Western Illinois University
Owner Western Illinois University
Website Tri States Public Radio

WIUM (91.3 FM) is a 50,000-watt radio station licensed to Macomb, Illinois, in west-central Illinois. Western Illinois University is the station licensee, authorized by the Federal Communications Commission.


Tri States Public Radio is an outreach service of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Western Illinois University.

Early history[edit]

After World War II, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosted the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NEAB) for the establishment of broadcast allocations (AM/FM radio and TV channels) for non-commercial education programming. The outcomes of meetings underwritten by the Rockefeller Foundation (Allerton I) in 1949 and (Allerton II) in 1950 established the foundation for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System.[1] [2]

In 1956, Western Illinois University established WWKS for educational radio broadcasting at 91.3 MHz with 3,000 watts. The station's FCC call letters were attributed to William Kimbrough Shake, who installed the equipment acquired from Gates Radio, in Quincy, IL. The station's mission was to provide educational programming primarily for the growing K-12 audiences in west-central Illinois. The radio studios were located in Tillman Hall (the "new science building") and a 250-foot (76 m) radio tower was constructed south of Murray Street, at the north edge of the University in 1956.

With the completion of the university's "new library", Memorial Hall in 1962, WWKS studios were relocated to the top floor. The radio station and adjacent video studios would remain at this location for the next 40 years. The station's sole full-time employee throughout the decade is Elmer "Tug" Haddock, who served as General Manager and provided supervision of volunteer student announcers. In 1964 Sallee Hall (College of Fine Arts and foreign languages) was built along Murray Strret and adjacent (north) of the WIUM tower, the station’s transmitter was moved to the roof of Sallee Hall in a specially designed enclosure. The station's FCC call sign was changed in 1970 to WIUM, to better reflect the station's ownership (Western Illinois University - Macomb) and mission.


  • 1970 - WWKS becomes WIUM.
  • 1978 - WIUM increases power to 7,200 watts. The 19-hour broadcast day features classical, jazz and rock music with some local news, sports and weather. The Radio Information Service is created to broadcast readings from local newspapers through specially tuned receivers placed with people with a print disability. The service was inspired and initiated by Helen L. Wear, the first blind woman to graduate from Western Illinois University.
  • 1981 - WIUM relocates its transmitter to the new 500-foot (150 m) tower at Western Illinois University's Horn Campus south of Macomb. This tower was constructed to jointly support WIUM-FM and the new Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television station (WIUM-TV), now WMEC to serve west-central Illinois. The original WIUM-FM tower adjacent to Sallee Hall was dismantled in the following years.
  • 1982 - WIUM qualifies for Corporation for Public Broadcasting support and becomes a member station of National Public Radio. Coinciding with the addition of NPR programming is the organization of a second station to be run and programmed by WIU students (WIUS-FM, now in the Department of Broadcasting in Sallee Hall).
WIUM & WIUW coverage map
  • 1983 - WIUM's first on-air membership drive raises $3,550 in pledges.
  • 1984 - The station purchases its first compact disc player and begins 24-hour-a-day broadcasts.

Tri-States Public Radio[edit]

  • 1989 - WIUM increases its power to 50,000 watts.
  • 1990 - Production of Rural Route 3 begins. The award-winning live performance series is distributed to public radio stations nationwide throughout the decade.
  • 1991 - WIUM's administrative reporting line is moved from Broadcast and Educational Communication Services to the School of Extended and Continuing Education.
  • 1995 - Tri States Public Radio is born as WIUW signs on at 89.5 FM. The new tower and transmitter just outside Warsaw, Illinois extend public radio service into southeast Iowa and northeast Missouri.
  • 2002 - Tri States Public Radio moves into a new, state-of-the-art broadcast facility at 320 University Drive at the front door of the Western Illinois University campus.
  • 2004 - Tri States Public Radio becomes part of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. The Southeast Iowa News Bureau in the Hotel Iowa in downtown Keokuk opens.
  • 2005 - WIUM become the first University-licensed public radio service in the state of Illinois to begin broadcasting in HD (high definition) Radio technology.
  • 2007 - Tri States Public Radio enters into a partnership agreement to provide daytime NPR programming to the Galesburg radio market via WVKC at Knox College.
  • 2013 - Tri States Public Radio entered into a 20-year management agreement to operate Knox College’s WVKC-FM as a full-time NPR station for the Galesburg market. Knox College will retain its license to WVKC. Tri-States Radio will provide equipment and technical support to enhance the school’s capacity to deliver a high-quality audio stream[3]
  • 2014 - Tri States Public Radio adds translator station K292GR at 106.3 FM to serve the Burlington, IA area. [4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hudson, Robert (Spring 1951). "Radio in Education : Allerton House 1949, 1950". Hollywood Quarterly. pp. 237–250. 
  2. ^ Hill, Harold (1954). "The National Association of Educational Broadcasters: a history". National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Tri States Public Radio to operate student-run WVKC". Current.org. 22 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "NPR goes on the air in Burlington". thehawkeye.com. 29 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Keep public broadcasting (NPR) on the air". thehawkeye.com. 29 March 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°25′41″N 90°40′59″W / 40.428°N 90.683°W / 40.428; -90.683