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The History of WTIM​


A listing in Broadcasting Magazine with the news of an AM radio station application filed by Moyer Broadcasting, Co for 1410 kc, 1,0000-watt daytime radio station.  The original construction cost was only $20,000! The image below is from Broadcasting Magazine with the FCC approval of the station going on the air in early 1951.

(Broadcasting-Telecasting, Doug Quick Collection)


This is the summary of the application for what would possibly be WGGM(FM), 95.1FM in Taylorville. This is from the August 3, 1959 edition of Broadcasting Magazine.


The 1960 edition of the Broadcasting Annual Yearbook reported Taylorville having two radio stations. There is a question as to whether the FM station ever existed. 

Trying to follow the rabbit hole of the various owners of WTIM AM/FM over the years has been a challenge for me and this website, to say the least. It would have been even more difficult if I hadn't been a part of the station's history. I've mentioned my experiences with the station during my short tenure, but I write even more of my experiences at the bottom of this page.  So prepare to follow along with the story of this small-town central Illinois radio station. 


WTIM-1410AM in 1974 was a 1000-watt daytime station that operated at 1000 watts with pre-sunrise authority, allowing it to sign on at 6 am, before sunrise.  The transmitter site was on the Cemetery road extension to Cherokee Street about a quarter-mile south and east of the old single lane four-span Cemetery Bridge south of Taylorville.  

The building was located just off of the levee, which was the roadway.  It was the original transmitter site of WTIM when it went on the air in 1951, as developed by Keith Moyer (who later was part of the WJJY Television debacle in Jacksonville and is pictured in the gallery below).  It was an approximately 800-square-foot structure that contained two studio rooms, an office, a 
transmitter room, and a restroom.  

WTIM signed on the air with the playing of the National Anthem by the Taylorville High School Band on January 20th, 1952. The owner of WTIM was Moyer Broadcasting Company, owned at the time of sign-on by Russell Armentrout and his wife, who owned several movie theaters under the name of "Clark Theatrers, Inc." Roger L. Moyer, who managed the Clark Theaters was the other owner. The Armentrouts would sell their station shares back to Keith Moyer and his brother Roger as soon as 1952 or 1953. 
The Broadcasting Yearbooks from 1952 to 1961 list the ownership of WTIM as being K.W. Moyer Broadcasting Corporation (as the original owner).


But here's a curious thing...It also lists WGGM (FM) owned by Moyer and being a Taylorville FM station going on the air on May 1, 1960. Further investigation in Broadcasting Yearbooks in 1961 and 1962 indicated WGGM (FM) as being on the air. It's listed as being at 95.1FM and operating at 3.4 kW. I'm unable to determine where the tower/antenna was located, although I have to assume that it was located at the WTIM(AM) site with the FM antenna on one of the AM towers. By the time WTIM was sold in 1962, the listing for WGGM disappeared from the Broadcasting Yearbook in future editions. The license was turned back into the FCC when the station sold or never existed.


Kieth Moyer continued to seek out more radio properties in 1960 when he and James Hilderbrand, under Bay Shore Broadcasting (PO Box 481, Taylorville, IL) applied for another radio station in Hayward, California. Moyer had 75% ownership, and James Hilderbrand had 25% and was set to be general manager for KBBM(FM). The station was at 101.7FM and broadcast at 900 watts. Shortly after being granted ownership of the FM station, he applied for an AM sister station at 1340AM and a power of 1kW full time. The cost was $10,050, with the first-year operating cost at $48,000 and the expected revenue at $60,000.


Based on the information in the Broadcasting Yearbooks from the early 1960s, he was either not granted the new AM construction permit or pulled the application, as there was not a KBBM(AM) listed in future editions of the Broadcasting yearbook. In the transfer of ownership application for the California station, Moyer was also identified as the sole owner of WGGM-FM and a 71% owner of WTIM, both in Taylorville, Illinois.


A Christmas message from WTIM was published in the Taylorville Breeze Courier newspaper on December 23, 1952. Kieth Moyer later would be the founder of WJJY, Channel 14 in Jacksonville, IL. Also, Phil Petty would join the news department at WTVP, Channel 17 in Decatur. You can see him on the History of WTVP page. Mr. Moyer can be seen on the Other TV History page.

There are several caveats in the information in the previous 2 paragraphs. First of all, as I have done hours and hours of research using the weekly editions and the annual yearbooks for research, there are several inconsistencies in the published data. Some include misspellings, incorrect locations, wrong call letters, and outdated information. Regarding WGGM in Taylorville, even though I found the posting for the application for the station, I could never locate the FCC approval for a permit to construct the proposed station, even though it showed up in the Broadcast annual editions as being completed. I was also never able to find a notation that the permit for the station was ever refused or returned to the FCC. 

When Community Broadcasters purchased WTIM, the application for the transfer of ownership never mentioned anything other than being WTIM(AM).

In 1961, the studios were moved to an addition to the Frisina Motor Hotel (formerly the Antler Hotel) in Taylorville.  The studio was adjacent to the " L "- shaped hotel structure's rear parking lot.  It was a concrete slab floor with a concrete block exterior with the main entrance to the main hallway from the hotel lobby just to the west of the hotel ballroom called "The Melody Room."


After the studios moved to the Frisina Hotel, the transmitter was used for storing logs, records, and other materials, along with many worked cross-word puzzles completed by the transmitter engineer when the FCC rules mandated a licensed operator at the site.

(continued below)

Explore the gallery of 21 captivating pictures that will cycle every few seconds. Click on any image to read the accompanying story and view the full description. For seamless navigation, use the left or right arrows to go to the previous or next picture. When done, click the "x" in the upper right-hand corner to return to the original view.

These schedules were published by the Taylorville, IL Breeze-Courier daily newspaper during a short period of time of "friendly relations" between the two Taylorville media. After that, the newspaper refused to publish any mention of the station. Even when it was specifically referred to, the newspaper only printed, "a local radio station."


(above): Milburn Stuckwish with a newspaper article from the Decatur Herald announcing his purchase of WTIM(AM), in Taylorville. This is from 1962.


(above): Jon Ulz, a former partner in Community Broadcasters Inc. Later became a Dean of Boys at Taylorville High School before returning to radio in the early-mid 1970s. This photo is from the Taylorville High School Yearbook, The Drift, from the 1970-71 school year.

wtim_1968-1215_wtim-fm authorization granted-broadcasting.jpg

(above): Milburn Stuckwish applied for and received a permit to operate WTIM-FM, at 92.7FM. This was posted on Dec 15, 1968. The station was on a local frequency, with a maximum power of 3,000 watts. The antenna was located on the northeast AM tower near the top only giving the antenna a height of around 200-feet or so.



(above): Just a few weeks after WTIM-FM went on the air Community Broadcasters, Inc filed to sell WTIM AM/FM to Public Service Broadcasters bringing Don Jones into the picture.  The price was to be $270,000.


The new Frisina Hotel studios were approximately 20 feet wide, probably 100 feet long,  and contained a lobby with an attached office. Behind that was another office and hallway which went to the studio area a newsroom studio overlooking the master control and a second on-air studio that contained an electric organ.  Yes, the station had a "staff organist," a woman named Mary Jones, who got her start playing for silent movies before 1929 at venues in the Midwest.  She hosted a daily show in which she played requests and hymns for the senior members of the audience through the mid-70s at least. Behind the organ, the studio was another on-air studio that was used as an on-air news reading booth. 


Meanwhile, in 1962, two employees of WSOY AM/FM in Decatur formed Community Broadcasters, Inc. Those owners included Milburn H. Stuckwish (at 50%) and Jon R. Ulz (at 32.5%) along with John E. Anderson (at 12.5%) and Harold E. Anderson (at 5%).  At the time of that sale, the ownership of WTIM was listed as being Moyer Broadcasting Corporation, owned by Keith Moyer (at 71%) and Roger L. Moyer (brother of Keith (at 29%).


Community Broadcasters purchased WTIM for $115,000, with $15,000 being part of a non-compete agreement lasting well into the 1970s to Stuckwish. Stuckwish was required to relocate to Taylorville with his ownership by the FCC. With the new ownership, there was no change in the staff other than Stuckwich would become general manager.  Jon Ulz would act as commercial and promotion manager.  

When the station's 1964 license renewal was filed, everything was in place as initially claimed. Stuckwish and Ulz were residing in Taylorville and had become active community members. 


Eighteen months later, on April 27, 1966, Stuckwish applied to the purchase of WCSJ(AM), Morris, Illinois, for Grundy County Broadcasters, in which Stuckwich was to be a 75-percent owner.  Stuckwish would spend at least 50 percent of his work time at the Morris facility. Also, with the new acquisition, three employees of WTIM agreed to leave Taylorville to be full-time employees at WCSJ. The purchase of WCSJ ended up being $105,000.


On September 27, 1967, 15 months after the WCSJ(AM) purchase, Community Broadcasters filed an application for a new FM station for Taylorville that would be operated with WTIM(AM). At that filing, Community Broadcasters requested approval for WTIM(AM) and the new WTIM-FM construction permit to be filed at the same time as an ownership change, with the new owners being Public Service Broadcasters or PSB for a purchase price of $270,000. Donald G. Jones was listed as president and general manager of PSB. Stuckwish claimed that the $250,000 he received for WTIM was less than two times the station's gross revenues, a typical formula at that time; receiving only $20,000 for WTIM-FM was less than equipment costs for the addition. That sale was approved on December 19, 1968. 


Stuckwish claimed that his sale of the Taylorville station was based on his partner, Jon Ulz, deciding to go into the educational field.  Indeed, he did, as he was Dean of Boys at Taylorville High School during the 1970-71 school year. Before that, he worked at a local Savings and Loan before returning to manage WTIM AM/FM under Donald Jones' Public Service Broadcasters.

This goes with my personal timeline, as I first applied to work at WTIM in the Spring of 1972. My interview was conducted by Don Jones and Ron Billiter, whom I assume was the station's operation manager. After not being hired, I tried again two years later, this time with Jon Ulz, who did hire me.

Stuckwish also indicated to the FCC that he wanted to be released from his requirement to live in Taylorville to move to Morris, Illinois, where he said WCSJ needed his 100 percent attention. He also filed to purchase WRMI(FM) in Morris. It was granted on August 23, 1971.  Then, in April of 1973, Stuckwish, owner of his new company, Superior Broadcasting, filed for an FM construction permit for Decatur, Illinois, and indicated a desire to be its general manager.  The following year, in June of 1974, he offered the sale of both Morris stations, AM and FM.

Also coming into play, Prairieland Broadcasters, who operated WDZ in Decatur on the filing for the FM station, claimed to the FCC that Stuckwish was trafficking in broadcast operations. Plus, his covenant to not compete against WTIM, which was enforceable through 1979, would make his owning and managing an FM station in Decatur and Macon County directly competing with WTIM AM/FM in adjacent Christian County. PSB and its president, Don Jones, even submitted a letter to Stuckwish stating that since the stations were located in two different counties, the covenant not to compete had no bearing on him owning a property in Decatur. With that letter, the FCC chose not to investigate this issue further. However, Stuckwish's legal challenges weren't over yet, as Prairieland and WDZ continued challenging his bid for Decatur's second FM signal. That's another story. Perhaps I'll seek out that story in the future.

 (continued below)


WTIM distributed this window sticker as a promotional device for its clients to place on their doors. I saw this sticker on doors for years.

A coverage area map from 1963 shows the local spending of people frequenting businesses within WTIM's radio station coverage area.


This WTIM ad was presumably published in a supplemental event booklet in 1965. One note that Betty Jo Ulz, was the wife of manager and part owner Jon Ulz.  In all likelihood, she was also the traffic director of the station. Johnny "Paylola" Mazzotti would follow station owner Keith Moyer in 1968 to Moyer's TV station WJJY, Channel 14 in Jacksonville, IL. I don't have any information about Don King or Dave Sutton. If you know, please let me know from the Colmment section on the Home page.

An article from the late 1960s showcases the Taylorville Radio operation and its utilization of IGM automation. A photograph of Larry Williams is included.

(from the Larry Williams Collection)


Under the leadership of Public Service Broadcasters, WTIM AM/FM became an early user of broadcast automation, which would significantly reduce the number of on-air employees. During at least part of the two station-IGM automation, both stations were overseen by a rotation of two people, each being on "log" for three hours on and three hours off.   I discovered this by finding some older transmitter and programming logs from the era, which indicated the small air staff during full automation.  Most of the names on the logs from that era were Donald Jones and Pam Whiting. At least one local announcer was responsible for local programming, such as the famous local buy-sell-trade call-in programming "Swap Shop," along with local news blocks.

Larry Williams was the person in charge of that as well as producing all of the other program elements that the automation system would air.  Larry describes his duties that included hosting "Mary Jones at the Organ," working the "Swap Shop" program, the late afternoon top 40 show, recording the ministerial alliance morning meditation that would air the next day or throughout the week, engineering highs school sports as well as Bill "Little Cowboy" Durbin's shows, sold advertising in the Pana area, as well as attending school board and city council meetings for the news department.  


While Larry was at WTIM AM/FM, he mentioned Don Sharp, a sales manager, and Lee Lawrick, a sportscaster who published a weekly magazine on Illinois high school sports (later went to WFMB as "Lovable Lee"). Larry would spot and engineer the games with Lee Lawrick, while Augie Kronshagen and "Big Dog" Ren Auldy of George's Candy Shop in Pana would do the play-by-play for the Pana Panther games.  Larry would also do news segments from Pana from a studio set up in the Pana bank building. 


Larry remembered his salary as $650/month plus a 15% commission on what he sold. After Larry and his wife, Susan (who was a bookkeeper at the station as well) left to go to Springfield's WFMB in the early 1970s. (continued below)

Rick Bulger was hired in the early 1970s and enters the picture with a similar job description.  Block programming consisted of country music with local DJ "Cowboy Bill Durbin," religious, farm, and sports programming,   


Much of the automated programming included the announcers provided by IGM. They even would record special segments for the local stations and local activities but were limited by the delay of the postal service that would deliver the tape.

Sometime in 1972-73, WTIM(AM) went back to being a live operation, at least for most of the day.  The general manager was listed as Dick Jackson,  with Mike Krost as the news director and Roy Fritcher as the chief engineer. 1974, Jon Ulz was back as WTIM AM/FM general manager. Among the on-air announcers by the mid-70s were Keith Arnold, Rick Bulger, Bob McElroy, and Rick Derrick (as News Director).   

When I was hired in 1974,  the air/news/sports staff included Rick Doan, Keith Arnold, Bob McElroy, Chris Showalter, Lee Freshwater, Rick Bulger, Engineer Rob Tooley, and News Director Rick Derrick.  The salespeople were Chris Spurling and Eunice Estes. 


In 1975, Jon Ulz transferred to New Castle, Indiana, to be the general manager of WCTW/WMDH. Larry Stewart (who was from the New Castle area) was transferred to Taylorville to be the general manager of WTIM AM/FM. The Sports Director was Terry Wright, who prepared and broadcast play-by-play of the Taylorville Tornado games, while others like Keith Arnold were used for Pana Panther games(on tape delay).

In May of 1976, WTIM and WTIM-FM would once again change ownership. This time, it would involve Jon Ulz at the helm and a company he formed with Don Jones continuing to be a minor investor, along with some local investors,  and ownership now was by Delta Media, Incorporated. Jon Ulz would once again return to be the general manager of WTIM/WEEE.

1974 Holdings of

Public Service Broadcasting

WTIM 1410AM, 1kW Daytime, Taylorville, IL-purchased 1/1/1969 (ownership changed after a corporate reorganization to Delta Media-5/12/ 1976)

WTIM-FM (call letter change to WEEE in 1975) 92.7FM, 3kW, Ant 150-feet, Taylorville-purchased 1/1/1969 (ownership changed after a corporate reorganization to Delta Media-5/12/1976)

WCTW 1550AM, 250w Daytime, New Castle, IN-purchased 8/1/71 

WMDH(FM), 102.5mHz, 20kW, Ant at 240-feet, New Castle, IN-purchased 8/1/71

KFIZ 1450AM, 1kW Daytime, 250w Night, Fond du Lac, WI-purchased 10/--/72.

WVLN 740AM, 250w Daytime, Olney, IL-purchase date --/--/72 (sold to Eugene McPherson for $350,000 April 26, 1976)

WSEI(FM) 92.9FM, 50kW, Ant at 290-feet, Olney, IL-purchase date --/--/72 (sold to Eugene McPherson for $350,000 April 26, 1976)

KROS 1340AM, 1kW Daytime-250w Night, Clinton, IA-purchased 11/26/73 

KROS-FM 96.1FM, 100kW, Ant at 360-feet, Clinton, IA-purchase date 11/26/73

KWEB 1270AM, 5kW Daytime, 1kW Night, Rochester, MN-purchased 10/--/74

KNCV 101.7FM, 3kW, Ant at 46-feet, Rochester, MN-purchased 10/--/74

During my time at the station between 1974 and 1977, I remember several staff members, including Rick Doan who was in charge of operations and announcements, Rob Tooley who was the chief engineer, Enes Estes and Chris Spurling who were responsible for sales, Brent Wookey, Chris Showalter, and Mike Del Valle who were all announcers and operators, Rick Derrick, Cathy Styles, Rob O''Bryan, and  John Heck were in the news department, Lee Freshwater who was an operations manager, Mary Jones who played the organ, Millie Doughtery who was in charge of traffic and bookkeeping, Mike Wasser who was a chief engineer, Larry Williams who was also an announcer for WEEE, Dave Williamson who worked in sales, Jody Maisch who was another announcer, Augie Kronshagen who was a Pana sports announcer, and Vonny Voggetzer who worked on promotions and traffic. Additionally, there was Nancy Norris, who was responsible for traffic; Elaine Blessman who was a secretary/receptionist; Gary Shultz, who was a chief engineer, and Steve Adams, who was also an announcer.


In 1975-1976, the FM station's call letters were changed to WEEE(FM) and aired a "homemade" format of MOR standards and some contemporary hits developed by Bill VanArsdale and Lee Freshwater.

I returned to the station in 1977 as a program director for WEEE and a sales representative for both stations, occasionally doing an air shift if necessary.




Rick Bulger worked at WTIM in the early 1970s, leaving in 1972 then returning in 1976-77.  I remember him when I was helping out a Junior Achievement group sponsored by the station around 1971. The group would sell advertising and air commercials produced during a weekend radio show put on by the J-A group. I wasn't officially part of the group, but I supplied many of the records played during the radio show and would take them to the station. 

Rick was the announcer/DJ on duty and would operate the board for the J-A production.  He was nothing but patient and friendly in working with the group. If you've ever worked with a committee, you know how disjointed the group could be, and trying to do what the J-A students requested had to be quite a challenge for Rick.  



(picture courtesy of Rick Bulger)

How Much Did it Cost?

Advertising on WTIM/WTIM-FM was surprisingly inexpensive. Here is the station's rate card from 1971 showing the various rates for advertising. Thanks to John DeWilde for sending me this gem!

Click on the rate card to see a larger version.

WTIM/WTIM-FM 1971 Rate Card


For the first time since it was broadcast, here is a montage of WTIM AM/FM audio from the era I was a part of.   This includes a segment from WTIM-FM's beautiful music format going into the "Ovation 7 to 11" show as it was called, and the show I deejayed when I was first on the air.  The clip is from "Solid Gold Saturday Night."  

Other voices include Rob Tooley, Bob McElroy, Lee Freshwater, Jody Maish, Brent Wookey(later Keith Mason on WDNL), and the late John Ulz(the GM).  In 1976, WTIM-FM became WEEE(FM).  Yes, it includes me jocking country on WTIM(AM).   There's also a little audio that was from just after I left.


On January 1, 1977, I spent my Christmas vacation from WIU developing an automated format called "Rock n' Gold," similar to Drake-Chenault's "Solid Gold." It was comprised of hits from the late 1950s through the mid-1970s alternated with current-day "adult" hits and recurrents. A month or two later, WTIM and WEEE would air a new set of station jingles from the Tanner Company. WTIM would air the "Spirit of Philadelphia" jingle package.  I don't recall the name of the WEEE package, but it was the best choice I could make at the time with the limited quality and selection available through Tanner.


I also changed the station name to "W-3-E" to cover the ridiculous call letters of W-E-E-E. I used that on the bumper sticker shown to the upper left. 


I did my best to maintain a level of promotion with a contest involving bumper stickers and other such giveaways. So I tried to make it work around the broadcast of St. Louis Cardinal baseball games, high school sports, and even a half-hour paid religious program each morning. I heard the station being played at local businesses more than ever before, but frankly, that half-hour daily religious program at 8:30 am was challenging. The income from it was even more difficult for owners to turn down.


Larry Williams, a former employee, worked out a deal with Jon Ulz that would essentially lease the station to Larry in which he would produce a nightly progressive rock program from his home in stereo and air it from the only stereo source in the station, the IGM automation system reel to reel playback machines. Larry would sell advertising to his own client base, mainly in Springfield that aired on the station from 9 pm to 2 am each day.

Both stations from 1972-1975 used an IGM automation system that consisted of two Scully reel-to-reel playback machines, 2 random select carousels, 1 sequential carousel, 2 cart players, and a time announce player.  All of the sources were available to two separate controllers, one stereo for the FM and the other mono for the AM station.  When both stations were on the system, each station used one Scully reel to reel for music playback.  Music overlap was non-existent.  In 1975, the mono controller was removed from the system and shipped to our then-sister station in Clinton, Iowa.  Does anyone know what happened to it??


The IGM featured a "time insertion" control knob for each source.  Each source was controlled by a small clock-type motor and a cam that operated a micro switch, which would "ready up" each source depending on the hour's time.  The commercials, IDs, time announcements, and the secondary music source could be inserted to play at intervals of 05, 7.5, 10, 20, 30, or 60 minutes or by following unique clocks I, II, or III(described later)after every time the "home music source" played.  Another way to program them was something we came up with after 1976, in which we could set up "ready up" times at the designated times, such as 15, :25, :30, :40 and :50 after each hour.  It was by using a modified row in the master clock drawer, which would program certain things to happen every hour instead of random select hours.

The master clock was a drawer that pulled out from the main control unit, in which there was a "game board, similar to the battleship" with 24 rows of holes vertically, and 16 holes vertically.  The vertical holes represented the intervals :05, :7.5, :10, :15, :20, :22.5, :25, :30, :35, :37.5, :40, :45, :50, 52.5. :55and :00.  Diode pins would be inserted to instruct the system to "ready up" designated sources. 

Programming the IGM Automation for WEEE(FM)

The full-blown IGM system actually would consist of three clocks(we just had one).  They would be called clock I, II, and III.  We modified it by changing one of the unused rows overnight and making it work for every hour.  That allowed us to change the format and not make it uniform for each half of each hour.  Make sense??   The clocks were set to ready up 1 1/2 minutes before the actual time.  This would allow for events to air closer to when it was scheduled, such as the IDs at the top of the hour, spot sets in the mid-quarter hour, etc.


The order of the sources for each "break" was determined by the order in the source control knobs that were physically placed in the rack panel.  For example, if your break consisted of a buffer, commercials, and time announce, then the components had to be in the rack, in that order.  With a little creativity and ingenuity, this simple automation system could do some really nice things.  In fact, when I was made PD of the FM when it was WEEE(FM), I took it AC, and by switching a couple of jumpers on a circuit board, we actually had it crossfading music.  The following source was started by the preceding source's "step tone" which, on the Scully was a 22.5 cycle tone, and the usual secondary tone on the cart.  There was also no dead role on the source, so when the "step tone" was over, the tape stopped and was rescued to the next song.


The time announcement machine was a double cart machine in a drawer of the central unit, which put both carts facing each other and shared a capstan but with two separate rollers.  One cart contained the even minutes, the other the odd.  Each cart cued itself at the: 30-second mark every other minute.  If you didn't use the time announcements, they could play jingles.  These machines were obviously in constant use and always needed cleaning and maintenance.


In order to program the correct commercials to play for each commercial break, the operator would insert diode pins of varying lengths into a "battleship game-like" board with each length representing either the A carousel or the B carousel.  Each carousel would contain 24 cartridges (containing the recorded commercial on an endless loop tape cartridge).  Each cartridge could contain multiple commercials from the same advertiser that would rotate.  Generally, they would be all 30-second announcements or 60-second announcements.  There were 24 holes representing a tray that contained the commercial.   A short diode pin would represent the A carousel, and a longer pin would represent the B carousel.  An even shorter pin in a designated hole would indicate a return to the music format and the commercial set was over.

The third carousel was set up to be sequential, it was simply a single-play cart machine in which the carousel would cue to the next cart after playing the first one, and so on.  I used it to play "buffers" and would only play 4 carts in it.  One would play before each spot set
 and would consist of a brief weather forecast, or a local PSA, an hourly news brief, a station promo/jingle,  and the "Weather Watch," a sponsored complete weathercast from an outside meteorologist that ran at the: 30 positions. 


By programming it using clock "I", I had it play a station promo at :05,  ran local news brief at :15,  station promo jingle at :25, Weather Watch at :30, a local PSA at :40, and a weather brief :50.    Spot sets ran at  :17(after the news-news sponsor), :30(after the Weather Watch-sponsor spot), :40 and :50.   Time announcements ran after spot sets before a re-entry jingle at :15: 40 and :50.

One of the major problems of this system is that it didn't react that quickly.  It would completely stop if it detected more than one "step tone" going through it simultaneously.   That made it necessary to keep the tones lengths on our "home-made" music reels as short as possible, and song-to-jingle-to-song segments were risky.  Jingles had to be longer than the longest "step tone" on a music reel.  Another major problem was the 22.5-cycle tone needed on the music reels.  Most of the syndicators used 25-cycle tones, which didn't work on this one.  IGM had its own music service, and I guess it was a way to keep subscribers to their own music services.  

I used a tone generator in the mike channel of a Pioneer reel-to-reel recorder when I recorded reels.  By flipping a switch on the generator, it placed the "step tone" on the reel, the music was faded and the recorder stopped.  A record was cued on the single 
turntable, and the recorder was started about a quarter second before the song started.  In fact, we didn't even have a stereo studio, so I rewired the turntable to feed a preamp and from there used RCA inputs to the Pioneer recorder, bypassing the mono control board.   There were other stations, which I found out much later, that were using Drake-Chenault formats on IGM systems(such as WLRW).  There was a way to modify the detectable tones.  The audible 22.5 tones on the music reels were "filtered" by the automation.

The only other local stations I remember using 
IGM systems were WDZ in Decatur, WLRW in Champaign, and former WTIM/WTIM-FM sister station WMDH located in New Castle, Indiana.  WMDH was using a massive system with at least 6 reel-to-reel decks.  WDZ was using carousels to play carted music.

Overall, the IGM systems were pretty reliable, simple little automation systems.  A good engineer could modify the systems to do everything you wanted.  WDZ in Decatur probably modified one the most and actually used an IGM to "talk track" and talk up song intros in a "like live" top 40 format in the mid to late '70s!


The question is, are there any more of these out there....and are they being used??


(left): Here's an air-check from early July of 1977.  WEEE(FM) being programmed by the IGM automation system.

(right): WEEE(FM) from August of 1977.

70th anniversary

70 years and Counting...​

In 2022, WTIM celebrated its 70th Anniversary with a video produced by Miller Media, the present-day owner. 

Participating in the video were former employees, including myself.  I tell of my experience of getting hired at my first broadcast facility. 

This video was at the Taylorville Area Chamber of Commerce dinner in May 2022.

(from YouTube and Miller Media)

Moving On​

The first time I left WTIM was to return to school.  It was the fall of 1975, and I left broadcasting to finish college at Western Illinois University.  Fortunately, right before I left, I was offered to go to WTAX in Springfield after WTAX Program Director Bruce Bagg heard me.  I had to turn him down, but by the following spring of 1976, I was hired by Bruce during the summer to work a swing shift as an announcer and newsreader at WTAX.  Then, while returning to WIU in the fall and winter, I was allowed to do a talk track at WDBR for weekends and some overnights during the week.  I did that until it was too much for me to do, and I had to resign.  I was also doing a live weekend shift at WTIM/WEEE in Taylorville during the winter of 76-77.  When I finished my time at WIU, I returned as a full-time sales executive and PD of WEEE in Taylorville, as described above.

The second time I left, the reason was simply.. it was time to go.  I had some sales experience, I had some automation experience, I continued to be frustrated with programming WEEE(FM). Unfortunately, the station was operated by the AM staff, and some saw to it that it got the least amount of attention possible.  

I was trying to do a more sophisticated format, which required more detail in setting up and seeing it through.  An effort that was too much to ask for from at least one AM announcer.  I often had to return to the station between sales calls to change a music reel or get program elements to air at the correct times as required by the format.  By then, I had spent some time with WTAX/WDBR in Springfield and saw how a station should be run.  I felt pretty good about making the change when I was offered to be part of the WTAX/WDBR co-owned WDAN/WMBJ in Danville.

When I was offered to move on to what was to be WDNL in Danville, I was met with problems of finding housing in Danville.  The cost of furniture and other household items and the inability to find adequate housing in Danville made the choice of moving pretty difficult.  I felt that I had an obligation to tell WDAN/WMBJ GM Joe Jackson in person that I was going to turn the job down, so one morning I took off to go to Danville.  In listening to WEEE(FM) that morning on the way, I heard the format going totally crazy as the AM operator took another opportunity to screw it up totally. At that point, I said, "The hell with it...I'm going to Danville and take the job no matter what."



After I left in 1977, the station WEEE was operated as a contemporary station for a while but was moved to an album rock/progressive format, which attracted a small but loyal audience that the station could reach.  Many listeners were in the Springfield area, where most of the advertising income was being drawn.  


The stations were then sold to a group of Wisconsin headed in 1984.  At that time, the call letters WEEE were changed to WTJY, and the format was changed to an automated country format produced by Tanner Productions.  The ownership of the Wisconsin group was a short two years before it was sold to Marsha Linton of Edinburg.  During the Linton era, the studios were wisely moved to a downtown location, inside the former retail center, The Mini-Mall, on the square's north side.  The format of WTJY was changed back to a satellite-delivered contemporary format.  Linton sold the stations to Jim Green of Riverton, Illinois in the early '90s. 


In 1992, WTIM/WTJY was sold again. This time, WTIM was sold to Miller Media and its owner, Randy Miller.  At the same time, Green sold WTJY(FM), Taylorville's only FM station, to Midwest Media.  Midwest, which operated WMAY/WNNS in Springfield, paid a reported one million dollars, as the 92.7 frequency was able to get a power increase and permission to move the transmitter site into Sangamon County while still covering Taylorville with a city-grade signal.  It then became WQLZ(FM) in Springfield. 


I had the honor of being a part of WTIM's 50th anniversary in 2002 when I was asked back to participate in a special talk show.  The audio montage above was prepared and aired during my appearance at WTIM's 50th Anniversary. In 2017 during the station's anniversary week, I once again participated in a phone-in interview.

Check out what WTIM is doing today.

thanks to: 
FCC Reports
Broadcasting Magazine/Year Books

Miller Media and Randy Miller

Rick Bulger

Larry Williams
John DeWilde

Randy Miller

contributors to Facebook Page: Taylorville Now, Then, Forever Group

The Taylorville Breeze-Courier

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