Covering the Land of Lincoln

UI, Champaign Multimedia Group extend radio deal | Business

For more than eight decades, University of Illinois sports fans have turned to Champaign Multimedia Group to listen to Illini games, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and volleyball broadcasts.

That will be the case going forward.

The UI athletic department, and Learfield’s Fighting Illini Sports Properties, have announced the continuation of the longtime relationship with Champaign Multimedia Group. The new agreement is for five years.

“Some things are just meant to go together, and that’s how we feel about the Illini and WDWS and WHMS,” Champaign Multimedia Group Vice President/Market Manager Grant Thompson said. “2022 marks the 85th anniversary of the first football game on our airwaves, and this renewal leads us to our ninth decade broadcasting the Illini. We really couldn’t be more excited.”

The extended agreement, concurrent with the 2022-23 collegiate athletic season, provides fans the opportunity to hear Illini programming on Champaign Multimedia Group-owned stations WDWS 1400-AM and 93.9 FM and WHMS 97.5-FM.

More than 150 live events will be aired each athletic season. All home and away Illini football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and volleyball will be carried, as well as the coaches’ shows and brief daily show updates across all sports. In addition, a select number of softball games will be carried each year.

Illini football and men’s basketball games will be simulcast on 97.5-FM and 1400-AM/93.9-FM, while baseball, women’s basketball, volleyball and the select softball games will be carried on 1400-AM/93.9-FM.

“We are very pleased to continue our long-running relationship with the Champaign Multimedia Group as the home for Fighting Illini athletics on the radio here in the Champaign-Urbana area,” UI athletic director Josh Whitman said. “Fighting Illini fans in and around Champaign-Urbana have been able to find our games on these radio stations for decades. The familiarity between all parties makes this a great relationship. Thanks to Learfield and Champaign Multimedia Group for continuing this wonderful partnership.”

Growing up in the community, Thompson listened to Champaign Multimedia Group stations.

“You always knew this was the place you were going to get Illinois athletics and information,” Thompson said.

WDWS and WHMS offer expanded pregame and postgame shows. There is also a strong local connection in the broadcast booth. Brian Barnhart, host of “Penny for Your Thoughts” on WDWS, is the longtime voice of the Illini, calling football and men’s basketball games.

Champaign Multimedia Group serves audiences throughout East Central Illinois. It is consistently recognized for its journalism, commentary, advertising, broadcasting and design, reaching hundreds of thousands of residents with a family of products that include 10 print publications and eight websites. That includes the nationally-recognized News-Gazette and news-gazette.com as well as three radio stations: WDWS, WHMS and WKIO (Classic Hits 107.9).

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