Illinois History Minutes

April 6 Illinois History Minute


Today is the birthday of WILL-AM. The University of Illinois’ new radio station was called WRM when it signed on for the first time, on the evening of April 6th in 1922.

A small audience watched the broadcast at the U of I’s electrical engineering laboratory. They saw university administrators and professors talking into a telephone mouthpiece, giving short talks on dairy farming and park landscaping, and relaying news and sports items, jokes, and asking anyone listening to write in about reception and with suggestions for future programming. The student newspaper, the Daily Illini, wrote in an editorial the next day that the new station could help alumni stay connected with the university. The newspaper estimated the number of radios in Champaign-Urbana alone at about 200.