On April 6, 1922, four members of the University of Illinois’s electrical engineering laboratory put WILL-AM on the air. What would follow is a century of service to bring news, music, sports, education, and entertainment to Illinois via AM radio, then FM radio, then television, and later the internet. On April 6, 2022, the staff of Illinois Public Media staff read a proclamation to WILL’s 100th anniversary.
WHEREAS, on April 6, 1922, WILL-AM, then known as WRM, signed on for the first time, broadcasting from the University of Illinois Electrical Engineering Laboratory in Urbana;
WHEREAS, from the beginning, the station used the innovative power and reach of this new technology to educate, inspire, and connect Illinoisians;
WHEREAS, Illinois Public Media as a media organization has a long history of enriching the state through the arts and classical music, even hosting its own chamber orchestra in 1937, the “WILL Sinfonietta”;
WHEREAS, from it’s very first broadcast, WILL-AM has upheld the mission of a land-grant university by providing essential information to the agricultural community, which continues to this day with daily programming and podcasts;
WHEREAS, WILL-FM signed on with first FM license awarded to a university in 1941;
WHEREAS, in 1948 WILL hosted the Allerton Conference for the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, which later began delivering programs to noncommercial radio stations across the country; this was the forerunner of NPR and PBS.
WHEREAS, in 1968 Mister Rogers Neighborhood debuted on WILL-TV. That show along with Sesame Street and local children’s shows such as Stories ‘n’ Stuff helped build the important educational impact Illinois Public Media continues to provide to children today.
WHEREAS, Illinois Public Media continues a rich tradition of state-focused, locally-hosted news programs with The 21st radio talk show, which brings listeners the news, culture, and stories that matter to a statewide audience;
WHEREAS, Illinois Public Media produces award-winning local programming on WILL-TV, WILL-AM, and WILL-FM focused on news, arts, and the unique history and culture of our state;
WHEREAS, today Illinois Public Media has donors in every region of the state and a global audience.
WHEREAS, Illinois Public Media has been an integral part of this community for 100 years, providing free services to all, and to this day remains focused on using the power of public media to educate, inform, and inspire the people of Illinois.
WHEREAS, Illinois Public Media celebrates the 100th anniversary of WILL-AM on this day, April 6, 2022.