University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Division of University Broadcasting | University of Illinois Archives

Name: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Division of University Broadcasting


Historical Note:

The College of Communications is the supervising administrative unit for the University Broadcasting Division.1 The Division operates radio station WILL AM and FM and television station WILL-TV. Broadcasting activities began in the spring of 1922 when a 400-watt transmitter using the call letters WRM went into operation in the Electrical Engineering Laboratory.2 A gift from Boetius H. Sullivan in 1925 enabled the Illinois experimental radio station to expand its operation, becoming the Roger Sullivan Memorial Radio Station.3 The expanded facilities were placed under the jurisdiction of the Director of Public Information Josef Wright who was appointed the first director of broadcasting.4 In 1928 the station increased to 890 kilocycles. At this time the call letters were officially changed to WILL.5 In 1938 the station's first musical director was appointed.6 The following year the station assumed regular nighttime broadcasting.7 In 1942 WILL was moved to Gregory Hall.8 The bands, the glee clubs and athletic scores had always been the favorite programs which the station aired.9 In 1946 the Athletic Association was allowed to broadcast University athletic events.10 An increased emphasis on news and public affairs resulted in the station's twenty-four hour a day use of the Associated Press beginning in 1948.11 A new transmitter building was constructed for WILL in Robert Allerton Park in 1950.12 The University's television station, the William A. Knight class of 1934 memorial, was a gift from the General Electric Company in 1955.13

The Motion Picture Production Center was organized as a service agency to produce educational films for the people of Illinois. The Center maintained six full-time staff members until July 1, 1974 when it was closed for financial reasons.14

1. Undergraduate Programs Catalog, 1975-1977, p. 255.

2. Carl Stephens, Illini Years: A Picture History of the University of Illinois, (Urbana, 1950), p. 78.

3. Board of Trustees Transactions, 33rd Report, May 16, 1925, p. 226.

4. Ibid., 45th Report, September 29, 1949, p. 882.

5. Stephens, p. 78.

6. Board of Trustees Transactions, 40th Report, July 21, 1938, p. 37.

7. Ibid., July 14, 1937, p. 362.

8. Ibid., 41st Report, February 14, 1942, p. 774.

9. Stephens, p. 78.

10. Board of Trustees Transactions, 43rd Report, February 14, 1946, p. 1007.

11. Ibid., 44th Report, April 10, 1948, p. 1087.

12. Ibid., 46th Report, December 28, 1950, p. 493.

13. Ibid., 49th Report, November 23, 1955, p. 874.

14. Michael Soaper was in charge of the Center's closing and supplied this information.




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