We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

WNIJ

StationAccount image

Description

Northern Public Radio's history began in 1954, when WNIU signed on the air at 10 watts. Broadcasting only a few hours each day, programming included announcements of campus events, lectures and music. In 1964, transmitting power was increased to 2,500 watts, allowing WNIU to serve DeKalb, Sycamore, and most of the rest of DeKalb County in Illinois. Programming evolved as well, to focus more on music and local news and less on campus information. In 1971 WNIU became a charter member of National Public Radio, and a tradition of bringing the best in national and international news to northern Illinois began. NPR's first major program was All Things Considered, and the network made an early name for itself by providing live coverage of the Watergate hearings. 1974 brought a significant increase in service, as the station received authority to raise its power to 50,000 watts. Classical music and jazz were programming staples, along with NPR's All Things Considered. The power increase also brought WNIU's unique programming to listeners in Rockford for the first time, although reception was spotty at best. A second service was added in 1979, as the Northern Illinois Radio Information Service (NIRIS) signed on the air. NIRIS provides the reading of daily newspapers, magazines, books and other materials for people with print impairments. NIRIS is staffed primarily by volunteers who give their time and efforts to providing this important service. In 1988, WNIU moved its transmitting tower to a site near Lindenwood, Illinois. This move provided significantly better reception to listeners in the Rockford area, and immediately provided an opportunity for more people to hear public radio's unique programming. Other changes were in process at the time, and they came to fruition in 1991. WNIJ signed on the air that year, and the programming previously provided by WNIU was split into two distinct services. WNIU became an all-classical music station, and WNIJ provided news, jazz and entertainment. That same year, two new facilities were opened. The NIU Broadcast Center, 801 North First Street in DeKalb, is a 17,000 square foot facility housing WNIJ and WNIU. It provided expanded studio space, reception areas, and offices. Riverfront Museum Park, 711 North Main Street in Rockford, now houses much of the NIRIS operation along with auxiliary studio and office space. In 1998 a significant commitment was made to news and information, as WNIJ became a news-talk station. Jazz was still played each evening. In addition, the stations "swapped frequencies," with WNIU moving to 90.5 and WNIJ to 89.5. This allowed more people to hear the NPR news programming that is the heart of Northern Public Radio's service. In 1995, Northern Public Radio received a grant from the US Department of Commerce to build "repeater" stations in LaSalle, Sterling, and Freeport. These stations were placed in these particular communities because they were previously unserved by public radio. While some listeners were able to hear WNIU, WNIJ, or stations in other locations, most were not. Northern Public Radio officially became a "network" in 1998, when WNIW in LaSalle and WNIQ in Sterling signed on the air. They were followed by WNIE in Freeport in 1999, bringing the Northern Public Radio network to five stations. Today, Northern Public Radio looks forward to new ventures that will provide even more service to listeners. This website has helpful links to National Public Radio news and a search engine called Radio Scout that allows internet searches by subject for news stories produced by public radio organizations around the country. The future will bring more forays into cyberspace. National Public Radio will soon provide programming direct to listeners via satellite. Northern Public Radio will continue to look for opportunities to provide true public service to listeners in our broadcast area. Thanks for listening!

Pieces

Piece image
Grandkids is a group from northern Illinois, who met while attending school in Urbana. They released a new album at the end of 2016, 'This Guitars'...

  • Added: Feb 07, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Seasaw is a duo from Madison, WI. They originally met while waiting tables together in Freeport. They released an album in 2016 entitled 'Too Much ...

  • Added: Feb 07, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Oshwa is a solo-project-turned-band-turned-solo-project. Alicia Walter stops by Studio A and talks about her latest album release, and her evolutio...

  • Added: Feb 07, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
La Historia has been around the Rockford scene since 2012. They recently released a full-length album, 'Low Mimetic'. They talk about putting that...

  • Added: Feb 07, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
The Lone Canary, an acoustic duo from Rockford, stops by Studio A to talk about their latest album release, and perform original songs.

  • Added: Feb 07, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Dylan Lloyd brings his soulful, heartfelt music into Studio A, performing on acoustic guitar and piano. He discusses his history working with succe...

  • Added: Feb 07, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Hey!Rabbit is a duo: Paul & Mary Cardona, from Chicago. They spent three years living in Prague, and found inspiration in the limitations that come...

  • Added: Jan 17, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Name the Moon stops by Studio A. They were recently signed to Idol Records out of TX, and release a debut album January 2017. They talk about life ...

  • Added: Jan 17, 2017
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Nick Urb, a folk-pop singer-songwriter from Detroit performs songs from his latest release, and talks about inspiration, and his successes.

  • Added: Dec 20, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Aaron Williams of the Aaron Williams Band drops by Studio A. Host Carl Nelson talks about what got Aaron started in music, as well as the differen...

  • Added: Nov 28, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
White Shape, a psychedelic rock band from Rockford brings swirling cascading sounds into Studio A. They perform a set and talk about songwriting a...

  • Added: Nov 18, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Gavin Mee, from Dublin, and Cody Lee from Chicago join forces to form the "Mee & Lee tour". They stop into WNIJ's Studio A to chat with host Carl ...

  • Added: Nov 10, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Tentacles Everywhere, a group from Rockford, IL brings a banjo, Casio keyboards, an accordion and more into Studio A to perform their unique brand ...

  • Added: Nov 07, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Minneapolis based trio The Pines performs their self-described "transcendental country" in Studio A. Expansive soundscapes and discussion about wh...

  • Added: Nov 07, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Chicago-based Piece of Cake performs songs from their debut album in Studio A. They also talk about recording the album, writing, and their histor...

  • Added: Nov 07, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Galactic Cowboy Orchestra brings their style of "Jazzgrass Art-rock" into Studio A, and talks about the history of the band, while performing songs...

  • Added: Nov 07, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Future Stuff, a talented young regional duo stop in for a session, featuring fantastic songwriting and harmonies. They discuss writing together an...

  • Added: Oct 13, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Backwoods Bunny Fight is a string band that doesn't like to be defined by genre... They bring their instruments into Studio A to perform and talk ...

  • Added: Oct 05, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
MAKS THE FOX, a band from Chicago brings their style of orchestral pop to WNIJ's Studio A. They also discuss their recent album, "From the Deer Fo...

  • Added: Sep 27, 2016
  • Length: 59:00
Piece image
Kendra Swanson, originally from Freeport, IL brings her acoustic guitar and banjo into Studio A to perform her style of original soulful folk. She...

  • Added: Sep 18, 2016
  • Length: 59:00