Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Illinois Radio: WKIO-FM Resurrected

WKIO-FM, which was a mainstay of the Champaign-Urbana, IL air waves from 1978 to 2005, returned to life Tuesday afternoon, occupying the 107.9 FM frequency that was formerly home to WUIL-FM U-rock 107.9 FM.

The new WKIO plays classic hits from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Mike Haile, general manager of WDWS-AM, WHMS-FM and now WKIO told

The station introduced its new format at 4 p.m. Tuesday by starting to play 10,000 songs in a row — without commercial interruption. First up: "Stop! In The Name of Love," the 1965 hit by The Supremes.

Fans of the old WKIO may recognize Haile's name since he was operations manager and on-air personality there before moving to WDWS and WHMS.

Mike Haile
Haile said that in rebooting the station, he looked at lots of call letters and discovered that WKIO was not being used.

Those call letters were originally chosen to reflect the "K104" brand that indicated the station's original place on the FM dial — 103.9.

After 1990, WKIO used the "Oldies 92" moniker and played music from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Listeners can expect to hear Haile a good bit on WKIO during its initial weeks — but he'll also continue to be heard as "Mike in the Morning" on WHMS-FM.

"Working at WKIO was a very positive experience for me," Haile said. "I made so many friends on and off the air. That's where I became known as 'Mike in the Morning.'"

WKIO's format differs somewhat from sister station WHMS, which plays music from a broader range of years — from the 1970s through today.

WKIO, WDWS and WHMS are owned and operated by DWS Inc., is owned by The News-Gazette, Inc.

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