|Branding||WGEM Sports Radio|
|Owner||Gray Television |
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date
|January 1, 1948|
Call sign meaning
|Power||5,000 watts day|
1,000 watts night
|Translator(s)||98.9 W255CY (Quincy)|
WGEM (1440 AM) is a radio station in Quincy, Illinois broadcasting a sports radio format. The station is owned by Gray Television and is an affiliate of ESPN Radio. The station is also broadcasting via FM translator W255CY, 98.9 FM, licensed to Quincy.
In addition to the main station at 1440 kHz, WGEM is relayed to an FM translator broadcasting at 98.9 MHz.
|City of license||Facility
|W255CY||98.9||Quincy, Illinois||156892||250||D||FCC LMS|
WGEM signed on January 1, 1948; its debut was hampered by an ice storm that forced the station off the air just twenty minutes into its first broadcast. The station was owned by Quincy Broadcasting Company, which was purchased by a partnership of transmitter manufacturer Parker Gates and Quincy Newspapers a few months later. Gates had previously attempted to enter station ownership by applying for a new station, WFAR, which was never built; meanwhile, WGEM was Quincy Newspapers' second broadcast property, as the company had launched FM radio station WQDI (105.1 FM) on August 1, 1947. Quincy Newspapers would assume full ownership of the station in 1950, after Gates chose to sell his stake in Quincy Broadcasting to focus exclusively on manufacturing. (WQDI would become WGEM-FM in 1953 to match the AM station and the then-new WGEM-TV; it would eventually become a simulcast of WGEM.) The station became an affiliate of the ABC Radio Network on October 1, 1948.
By 1976, when WGEM-FM broke away from its simulcast and became a country music station, WGEM had a middle-of-the-road format; that year, the station became one of the first AM stereo stations. It shifted to adult contemporary in 1980; in the early 1990s, the station again changed formats, this time to talk radio. During the Great Flood of 1993, WGEM provided comprehensive coverage, temporarily suspending its normal programming to provide updates on bridge closures, flood stages, and levee status.
In 2002, WGEM began to shift its format: its news/talk programming was moved to WGEM-FM, and the AM station adopted its current sports radio format; it had carried ESPN Radio at night under the previous format. However, much of WGEM-FM's primarily news-oriented local programming, as well as Paul Harvey and NBC Nightly News, continued to be simulcast on the AM station for several years thereafter; this was finally largely phased out in 2005.
On February 1, 2021, Gray Television announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire all Quincy Media television and radio properties for $925 million in a cash transaction. This included WGEM (AM) and WGEM-FM, as well as WGEM-TV. The acquisition was completed on August 2, resulting in the first ownership change for WGEM since its 1948 sign-on. The WGEM radio stations gained a radio sister station in Odessa, Texas as Gray had acquired KTXC, along with its local television sister stations KWAB-TV and KTLE-LD, from Raycom Media in 2019. WGEM (AM) also became Gray Television's first AM Radio property.
WGEM's schedule is primarily sourced from ESPN Radio; it does air a local morning program, WGEM SportsCenter, and as a result only carries the first two hours of Mike and Mike in the Morning. Other local programming, generally relating to local sports (including coach's shows for Quincy University and Quincy Senior High School basketball) is carried during their seasons. WGEM also carries Chicago Cubs baseball and Chicago Bulls basketball.
…WGEM(AM) was one of the first to broadcast in AM Stereo in 1976.
Plus, ESPN Radio on seven nights a week.