This article is about the radio and television stations. For other uses of the word "will", see Will (disambiguation).
Urbana, Illinois
United States
Branding WILL TV
Slogan Illinois Public Media
Channels Digital: 9 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
Affiliations PBS (since 1970)
Owner University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois)
First air date 1955[1]
Call letters' meaning ILLinois
Sister station(s) WILL (AM), WILL-FM
Former callsigns Digital:
WILL-DT (20032009)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
12 (VHF, 19552009)
Former affiliations NET (1955–1970)
Transmitter power 30 kW ERP
Height 302 m (991 ft)
Class NCE
Facility ID 68939
Transmitter coordinates 40°2′18″N 88°40′10″W / 40.03833°N 88.66944°W / 40.03833; -88.66944 (WILL-TV)
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website will.illinois.edu
City Urbana, Illinois
Broadcast area Champaign-Urbana
  • WILL-FM 90.9 (main program)
  • WILL-FM 101.1 (90.9 HD2)
Frequency 90.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date 1939 (1939) (experimental);[1] 1941 (1941) (full license)[1]
ERP 105,000 watts
HAAT 259 m (850 ft)
Class B (NCE)
Facility ID 68940
Former callsigns WIUC (1941–1954)[1]
Former frequencies ? (before 1954)[1]
Affiliations NPR
Sister stations WILL (AM), WILL-TV
Webcast will.illinois.edu/fm/willplayer/
City Urbana, Illinois
Broadcast area Champaign-Urbana
Branding WILL AM 580
Frequency 580 kHz
First air date 1922 (1922)[1]
Format News/Talk
HAAT 103.6 m (340 ft)
Class D
Facility ID 68941
Former callsigns WRM (19221928)[1]
Former frequencies 890 kHz (1929–1935)[1]
Affiliations NPR
Sister stations WILL-FM, WILL-TV
Webcast will.illinois.edu/am/willplayer/
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 run out of the College of Media. It consists of PBS member station WILL-TV (digital channel 9, virtual channel 12) and National Public Radio member stations WILL (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 outcomes from these meetings established the foundation for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System.[3] The NAEB was based at WILL from 1951 to 1961.[1]

WILL-TV received its largest bequest, $1 million (USD), 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.[4]

In April 2010, WILL announced a series of cost-reducing measures, including the elimination of its weather department.[5]


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. It also serves as the default NPR member station for Terre Haute, Indiana; that city doesn't have a full-power NPR station of its own. However, at sunset it must power down to 500 watts and gradually power down to 100 watts. At 6 am, it increases its power to 335 watts and ramps up to full power at sunrise.[2]


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[6] 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.[7]

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 violently 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. The Station Manager is Bob Culkeen.

Digital television

Digital channels

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
12.1 1080i 16:9 WILL-HD Main WILL-TV programming / PBS
12.2 480i 16:9 WORLD World
12.3 CREATE Create

Analog-to-digital conversion

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.[9] 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


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "The History of WILL". Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2015-02-14.
  2. 1 2 3 "Broadcast Frequencies & Coverage Areas". Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2015-02-14.
  3. Hill, Harold (1954). "The National Association of Educational Broadcasters: a history.". National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  4. 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.
  5. Kranich, Kimberlie (February 2010). "WILL Changes FM Format, Cuts Jobs, and Eliminates Weather Department". The Public I. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  6. http://www.w9wi.com/articles/grand_fm.htm Superpower FM Stations
  7. "About Digital Radio". Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  8. RabbitEars TV Query for WILL
  9. "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
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