FM 90.9’s digital service provides three streams of content:
- FM 90.9 HD1 airs a simulcast of the FM music service
- FM 90.9 HD2 airs a 24-hour music service, including programming from the C-24 classical music service and WILL-FM’s locally produced programs
- HD3 airs the news and information service, also available on AM 580.
To tune to the new service on your digital radio, tune to FM 90.9. After a brief delay, the radio will pull in the WILL FM 90.9 HD1 signal. If you want to listen to the 24-hour music service, dial the radio up to HD2. For the news and information service, dial up to HD3. See Our Digital Radio Fact Sheet.
Hear a clearer, more reliable sound of music from 90.9
Get AM 580’s news and information 24 hours a day in Mahomet, Monticello, Decatur and even further west. Digital radio dramatically improves reception and sound quality. Within WILL-FM’s primary service area the digital signal will not be subject to interference or fading caused by buildings and other radio signals. And the background hiss heard in communities farther away from our Monticello-based transmitter (including Champaign and Urbana) is gone. The digital radio installation was funded with a $75,000 federal grant, a major gift from Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and generous gifts from a number of Friends of WILL.
WILL Radio's digital radio service provides three streams of content:
- FM 90.9 HD1 - a simulcast of the FM music and news service.
- FM 90.9 HD2 - a 24-hour music stream with the C-24 classical music service, along with WILL-FM's locally produced music shows.
- FM 90.9 HD3 - the news and information service broadcast on AM 580.
What are the benefits of WILL digital radio?
The digital service makes WILL's news and information service available 24 hours a day to people west of Champaign who can't hear the AM 580 signal, and to those in town who have had trouble receiving the signal at night, when AM is at low power. Digital radio has crystal-clear, digital-quality sound without hiss or distortion. WILL digital radio's sound is h3 with near CD quality.
What makes the coverage west of Champaign possible?
The AM program service is piggybacking on WILL-FM's signal, which covers a different area than the AM signal. The AM signal covers a fat bean-shaped area, including Illinois from Interstate 64 to the Wisconsin state line, but it has a large notch on the west side. WILL-FM, with its transmitter near Monticello, covers a circular area from the outskirts of Springfield to the Indiana state line, including Monticello and Decatur. So people west of Champaign can now hear the AM service on digital. However, keep in mind that WILL Radio's digital signal covers a slightly smaller circular area than the WILL-FM analog coverage area. For the FM music service on HD1, the predicted coverage area is about 37 miles in each direction from the Monticello transmitter. For the AM news and information service on HD2, the predicted coverage area is about 32 miles in each direction from the Monticello transmitter. WILL-FM doesn't have to reduce power at sunset, as AM does, so the digital signal is h3 24 hours a day.
How do I tune to WILL's digital radio signals?
You need to have a radio labeled "HD" to receive the digital signals. On the HD radio, tune to FM 90.9. After a brief delay, the radio will pull in the WILL-FM 90.9 HD1 signal. To listen to the 24-hour music stream, dial the radio up to HD2. To listen to the news and information service, dial up to HD3. An HD radio will also pick up analog signals, not just digital signals.
Where can I buy an HD radio?
HD radios are available for purchase online at sites such as radiosophy.com and at local retailers including Circuit City and Best Buy. Some stores also sell digital radios to install in your car.
Do I need to use an antenna with my digital radio?
You may need to use an antenna to maximize your reception or keep the digital signal locked in. Many digital radios come with an antenna. Even if you receive the WILL-FM analog signal without an antenna, you still may need an antenna to receive WILL Radio's digital signals.
I've heard the terms digital radio and HD Radio. Are these the same?
While digital audio exists in a number of forms, the FCC-approved method of delivering digital radio signals in the United States is known as HD Radio. Broadcasters on other continents use other systems. HD (hybrid digital) Radio technology allows broadcasters to provide 21st century digital service and marks the most significant advancement in radio broadcasting since the introduction of FM stereo more than 50 years ago.
Are analog radio broadcasts going to end soon, as analog TV will end in February 2009?
Not for a very long time. The FCC is relying on marketplace competition, instead of a mandate, to move the digital radio conversion ahead. While it is true that you will need a new radio to benefit from digital radio, your present radios should hold you in good stead for some time to come, since radio stations that do convert to digital will be required to continue to offer their existing analog transmission services.
How is HD Radio different from digital satellite radio such as Sirius XM?
While Sirius XM uses digital transmission, a key difference is that our digital broadcasts are over-the-air, free and available to all listeners, whereas satellite radio is a monthly pay subscription service. While Sirius XM offers a greater number of channels, it is a national service that does not provide local news, weather, traffic or other local content. However, like the satellite services, HD Radio listeners will have to purchase new receivers.
Frequently Asked Questions about the transition to Digital Television
What is digital television (DTV)?
In the digital system, images and sounds are captured using the same digital code found in computers - ones and zeros. This method allows more information and programming to be broadcast using less broadcast spectrum. Digital technology offers stations opportunities for high definition television, surround-sound audio and multicasting. On Feb. 17, 2009, all TV stations in the U.S. will switch completely to digital broadcasting.
What is high-definition television (HDTV)?
High definition television (HDTV) is not the same as DTV. HDTV refers to the resolution quality of the picture being broadcast. This is determined by the number of picture elements (pixels) across the screen and the numbers of rows down the screen. HDTV can have up to six times more pixels than the resolution of an analog signal. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. Viewers receive high-quality, crystal-clear pictures. These visually stunning pictures are displayed in a wide screen, rectangular format with a 16 by 9 width to height ratio compared to analog's 4 by 3, or basically square format. The superior picture and sound of HD programs can only be experienced on a high-definition TV set.
What is multicasting?
In addition to transmitting in HDTV, WILL can transmit additional channels of standard definition television (SDTV) programming simultaneously. This is called multicasting. WILL's digital service includes two standard definition channels and one HDTV channel.
Why are stations switching to digital?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all TV stations convert to digital transmission by February 17, 2009.
What does WILL-DT broadcast?
- WILL HD 12.1: High-definition PBS programming 24 hours a day - Nature, Antiques Roadshow, Great Performances, NOVA and more. WILL-DT schedule.
- WILL 12.2: The outstanding programming you've enjoyed for decades. A standard definition channel duplicating WILL's analog programming.
- WILL Create/World: Create airs from 6 am to 6 pm and offers cooking, arts and crafts, gardening, home improvement and travel programs. World airs from 6 pm to 6 am, and features PBS documentary, public affairs and news programs.
How do I find these channels?
The remote control on a digital TV displays the "virtual" channel number and the channel designations increase by decimals. So you will find:
- WILL-TV's analog service on channel 12;
- WILL-DT's high definition channel on 12.1 (Comcast: Channel 916 in C-U; Channel 917 in Springfield/Decatur Media Com: Channel 712 in Charleston and Gibson City);
- WILL-DT's standard definition channel on 12.2;
- Create/World on 12.3 (Create/World is broadcast on WILL-DT 3 and Insight Cable: Channel 219 in C-U; Channel 220 in Springfield/Decatur).
How do I receive a digital signal on my analog set?
If you subscribe to satellite or cable, you can receive a digital signal on your analog set. (But before you sign up with a local cable or satellite company, be sure to check that WILL-DT and the other channels you want are available from them.)
If you prefer to continue receiving a free over the air signal via an antenna, you will need to purchase a TV converter box for each analog set.
How can I receive an HDTV signal?
To experience the highest resolution possible, viewers will need new TV sets with an HD tuner and monitor or display device, such as the plasma display panel. Manufacturers can label their TV sets "digital" even though the sets are not capable of true high definition. Look for sets that have the Consumer Electronics Manufacturer's Association (CEMA) HD sticker.
What kind of antenna do I need to receive an over-the-air signal?
Some areas near our transmitter in Monticello may only need an "active antenna" that sits on top of the TV set. Most people in our viewing area will need a small or medium VHF/UHF combination outdoor antenna. There are some small profile amplified outdoor antennas that may work in your viewing area. You can find a helpful guide to antenna selection at http://checkhd.com/aw/welcome.aspx. If you need an outdoor antenna, make sure that it has an element for high VHF channels and not just UHF channels.
For more information contact:
Rick Finnie, chief engineer
300 N. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana IL 61801