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WJBC AM1230 logo.png
CityBloomington, Illinois
Broadcast areaBloomington-Normal
SloganThe Voice of Central Illinois
Frequency1230 kHz
First air dateMay 1925 (1925-05)[1]
Power1,000 watts
Facility ID5876
Transmitter coordinates40°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)
Callsign meaning"Where Jazz Becomes Classic" (old mnemonic for sequentially assigned callsign)
Former frequencies1200 kHz (LaSalle/Normal, 1928–1941)
1320 kHz (LaSalle, 1927–1928)
1280 kHz (LaSalle, 1925–1927)[2]
AffiliationsWestwood One News
CBS Radio Network (former)
NBC Blue/ABC (former)
OwnerCumulus Media
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
Sister stationsWBNQ, WBWN, WJBC-FM, WJEZ
WebcastListen Live

WJBC (1230 kHz) is an AM radio station based in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.

Part of a five-station cluster, WJBC is the only AM station of the group. It has five full-time news people and an agribusiness director.[3] The station is now owned by Cumulus Media.

The station calls itself "The Voice of Central Illinois".

WJBC has been the longtime home to the Illinois State Redbirds, Illinois Wesleyan Titans, as well as local high school sports, the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Cardinals. WJBC is the home station for the Normal CornBelters, although their games are usually streamed online only due to the Cardinals broadcasts. WJBC has also carried the Central Illinois Flying Aces and Bloomington Edge on occasion.

WJBC has been known for many years as a station that broadcasts all-local talk programs. This fact has consistently made WJBC one of the top radio stations in the Bloomington area. During the high school football season, the station airs the WJBC High School Football Extravaganza, where reporters call in with game summaries until 11:00 p.m.

WJBC carries The Dave Ramsey Show and The Alan Colmes Show at night, in addition to its local shows.


The station began broadcasting from La Salle, Illinois in May 1925 with 1000 watts on 1280 kHz. Its call letters were apparently assigned arbitrarily during the AM radio expansion era of the 1920s. The station was initially music-oriented, and 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. 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 a 100-watt station, sharing time with WJBL in Decatur, Illinois.[4]

On 11 September 1934, WJBC began transmitting from its new facilities, making it the first radio station in Bloomington-Normal. 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]

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.[5]

On April 30, 2012, Townsquare Media announced that it was selling the station to Cumulus Media.[6] The assignment of the station's license to Cumulus was consummated on July 31, 2012.

previous logo while simulcasting on 93.7 FM

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.[7]

WJBC has won several Edward R. Murrow Awards for its local news coverage, as well as several Illinois Silver Dome Awards.

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]



  • Scott Miller
  • Katherine Murphy
  • Marc Strauss
  • Greg Martin
  • Todd Wineburner
  • Greg Halbleib


  • Scott Laughlin
  • Denny Adkins
  • Bob Arya
  • Bones Bach
  • Ken Behrens
  • Marla Behrends
  • Nancy Blair
  • Patti Penn
  • Nick McClintock
  • Adam Studzinski
  • Terry James
  • Lyle Wood
  • Keith Blankenship
  • Mike Bradd
  • Dara Brockmeier
  • Jim Browne
  • Adam "Cha-Cha" Chandler
  • Elizabeth Estes Cooper
  • Sarah Curtis
  • L.A. Decker
  • Ryan Denham
  • Mark Dennis
  • Zach Dietmeier
  • Paul Dunn
  • Jim Durham
  • Karen Erks
  • John Fitzgerald
  • Jim Fitzpatrick
  • Keith Gottschalk
  • Lee Hall
  • TJ Hart
  • Cameron D. James
  • Mark Johnson
  • Chris Brathwaite
  • Rob Kass
  • Willis Kern
  • Art Kimball
  • Tim Lewis
  • Gene Lyle
  • R.C. McBride
  • Paul Morello
  • Don Munson
  • Lori Nelson
  • Don Newberg
  • Royal Norman
  • Don Norton
  • Howard Packowitz
  • Zach Parcell
  • Stephanie Pawlowski
  • L.P. Phillips
  • Red Pitcher
  • Joe Ragusa
  • Colleen Reynolds
  • Scott Robbins
  • Daune Robinson
  • Ron Ross
  • Scott Ross
  • Stew Salowitz
  • Art Sechrest
  • Alan Sender
  • J.D. Scott
  • Harvey J. Steele
  • Dan Swaney
  • Dick Templeton
  • Steve Vogel
  • Beth Whisman
  • Bill Walberg
  • Larry Whittaker
  • Todd Wineburner
  • Jim Cheney
  • Amy Meyer
  • Chris Rongey


  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. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
  4. ^ "Engineer Buys WJBC" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 15, 1933. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  5. ^ Bill Kemp, "Pastor's voice was heard loudly on WJBC", The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), July 21, 2007
  6. ^ "Cumulus, Townsquare Swap Involves 65 Stations, 13 Markets, $116 Million Cash" from All Access (April 30, 2012)
  7. ^ "2005 Marconi Radio Award Winners", National Association of Broadcasters, retrieved April 14, 2008
  8. ^ http://www.sbe24.org/wba-sbe-shows/archives/Clinic2009/Rector-cartmachine-2009.pdf

External links[edit]