Broadcast areaBloomington-Normal
Frequency1230 kHz
AffiliationsWestwood One
Premiere Networks
CBS Radio Network
First air date
May 1925 (1925-05)[1]
Former frequencies
1200 kHz (LaSalle/Normal, 1928–1941)
1320 kHz (LaSalle, 1927–1928)
1280 kHz (LaSalle, 1925–1927)[2]
Call sign meaning
"Where Jazz Becomes Classic" (old mnemonic for sequentially assigned callsign)
Technical information
Facility ID5876
Power1,000 watts unlimited
Transmitter coordinates
40°27′1.1″N 89°0′42.3″W / 40.450306°N 89.011750°W / 40.450306; -89.011750Coordinates: 40°27′1.1″N 89°0′42.3″W / 40.450306°N 89.011750°W / 40.450306; -89.011750 (NAD83)
Translator(s)102.1 MHz W271DC (Bloomington)
WebcastListen Live

WJBC (1230 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Bloomington, Illinois, and serving the Bloomington-Normal region. It broadcasts a News/Talk radio format and is owned by Cumulus Media, part of a five-station cluster. It has two full-time news anchors and two part-time reporters.[3] The station calls itself "The Voice of Central Illinois".

WJBC is powered at 1,000 watts, using a non-directional antenna. The transmitter is on Greenwood Avenue at West Hamilton Road in Bloomington.[4] Programming is also heard on 50-watt FM translator W271DC at 102.1 MHz.



WJBC is live and local 6am to 6pm weekdays. In morning drive time, Scott Miller is heard. In middays, Neil Doyle and Illinois RFD hosts. 12:30pm – 3:00pm: Todd Wineburner, 3:00pm – 4:00pm: RFD Profit Watch, 4:00pm – 6:00pm: Blake Haas, 6:00pm – 9:00pm: John Batchelor, 9:00pm – Midnight: American Stories "[Midnight – 4:00am][Coast to Coast AM]] with George Noory" and 4:00am – 5:00am:First Light."

On weekends, WJBC has shows on home repair, real estate, technology and travel. Weekend hosts include Kim Komando and Chris Plante. Most hours begin with CBS Radio News. A station staff supplies local news, sports and agricultural reports.


WJBC has been the longtime home to the Illinois State Redbirds, as well as local high school sports. It also carries Chicago Bears football and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. On occasion, WJBC has also broadcast the Central Illinois Flying Aces and the Bloomington Edge.


Early Years

The station signed on in May 1925; 97 years ago (1925-05). It was originally based in La Salle, Illinois and was powered at 100 watts on 1280 kHz. Its call letters were apparently assigned arbitrarily during the AM radio expansion era of the 1920s.

For a while it adopted the mnemonic slogan "Where Jazz Becomes Classic".[1] The station was originally at the Hummer Furniture Store, then at the Kaskaskia Hotel. During the years in LaSalle, it moved to 1320 kHz, then 1200 kHz.

Move to Bloomington

The Great Depression eventually closed both the companies backing the station in LaSalle, and the owner of Hummer Furniture owner moved the station to Bloomington-Normal.[2]

Malcolm Magregor bought WJBC from Kaskaskia Broadcasting Company effective April 1, 1933. At that time, WJBC was still a 100-watt station, sharing time with WJBL in Decatur, Illinois.[5]

New Facilities

On September 11, 1934, WJBC began transmitting from its new facilities, making it the first radio station in Bloomington. The transmitter was in Normal and its main studio was at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Other studios were at Illinois State Normal School and the Illinois Farm Bureau.[2] At first it was only on the air a few hours a day, with eight daily newscasts, weather twice a day, and the Western Union time announced at the top of each hour.[2][3]

For much of the 1940s and 50s, WJBC was first an NBC Blue Network affiliate, then an ABC Radio Network affiliate. It carried a line up of dramas, comedies, news, sports and other programs during the "Golden Age of Radio." It was owned by the Bloomington Broadcasting Company, which also put an FM station on the air in 1947, 101.5 WJBC-FM (now WBNQ). The two stations mostly simulcast for the FM station's first two decades on the air.[6]

Rev. R.J. Zehr

On the morning of August 25, 1971, the station broadcast the last radio program of the Reverend R.J. Zehr, who died later that morning. Zehr's first broadcast on the station was on a Sunday in October 1934; shortly thereafter, he was given a daily slot, which he continued - without missing a day - until the mid-1960s.

Almost all of Zehr's broadcasts were live, not prerecorded. In 1949, he began doing the program from his house, via telephone. His program's time slot varied over the years, but normally aired between 5:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., and lasted 15 to 30 minutes.[7]

The audio tape cartridge machine, which fundamentally changed the way radio stations played commercials and music on air, was developed at WJBC in 1959. Ted Bailey (then Chief Engineer of WJBC) and staff engineer Jack Jenkins developed the ATC (Automatic Tape Control) machine. A joint patent was granted to Bailey, Jenkins and Nolte (station manager of WJBC) as inventors.[8]

Cumulus Media

On April 30, 2012, Townsquare Media announced that it was selling the station to Cumulus Media.[9] The assignment of the station's license to Cumulus was consummated on July 31, 2012.

Previous logo while simulcasting on 93.7 FM 2010-2014
Previous logo while simulcasting on 93.7 FM 2010-2014
Previous logo from 2008-2010 and 2014-2021
Previous logo from 2008-2010 and 2014-2021

In 2005, and again in 2009, the station won the Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters for Best Small Market Radio Station in the United States.[10] WJBC has won several Edward R. Murrow Awards for its local news coverage, as well as several Illinois Silver Dome Awards.


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  1. ^ a b "Highlights in WJBC History". Bloomington, Illinois: WJBC (AM). Retrieved 2010-09-22.
  2. ^ a b c d Higgins, Valerie (Summer 2007). "WJBC Radio Collection". Bloomington, Illinois: McLean County Museum of History. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
  3. ^ a b R., Ken (2006-05-24). "Bloomington's WJBC: Life Begins at 80". Radio World (online). New York City: NewBay Media. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved 2010-09-22.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WJBC
  5. ^ "Engineer Buys WJBC" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 15, 1933. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 127
  7. ^ Bill Kemp, "Pastor's voice was heard loudly on WJBC", The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), July 21, 2007
  8. ^ http://www.sbe24.org/wba-sbe-shows/archives/Clinic2009/Rector-cartmachine-2009.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ "Cumulus, Townsquare Swap Involves 65 Stations, 13 Markets, $116 Million Cash" from All Access (April 30, 2012)
  10. ^ "2005 Marconi Radio Award Winners", National Association of Broadcasters, retrieved April 14, 2008