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THE BIG 870 AM/96.3 FM Newstalk WTIM Taylorville, serves as Taylorville's hometown radio station. From the moment you tune in there's stimulating talk, local news coverage, lots of great weather coverage throughout the day, and sports from the Taylorville Tornadoes and the St. Louis Cardinals to NCAA football, basketball, and NFL football.
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WTIM began as a 1000-watt daytime directional AM radio station at 1410 on the dial, signing on January 20, 1952, with studios and towers located at the end of Cherokee street just past a creek on the west side of the road. Some of the recollections of those around at the time, tell us that the station actually signed on at 4 pm that day, with a live broadcast of the Taylorville High School band playing the National Anthem. Keith Moyer built the station, and owned and operated it until the early 1960s.
WTIM moved its studios from its Cherokee street transmitter site, to the Hotel Frisina on Market Street , in 1961, and they remained there until 1978. Don Jones and Jon Ulz purchased the station in the early 60s, and Ulz and a group which included Dr. John Ferry of Taylorville and Harold Hefker of Gillespie purchased the station in the 70s.
In 1978, under Ulz's leadership, studios were moved to the present Charter Communications cable TV building at 11 Clearing Avenue in Taylorville's Industrial Park, and the transmitter site was moved to a tract on Bypass Route 48 between Cherokee and Lincoln Trail.
In 1968, WTIM-FM 92.7 signed on the air with a beautiful music format. Call letters were changed to WEEE in the early 70s, and the station later featured an album rock format, then a mainstream rock format in the 80's. In 1984, WTIM-AM and WEEE-FM were sold by the group headed by Ulz, to a Wisconsin group, which only owned it a couple of years, and then the stations were purchased by Marsha Linton (now Marsha Linton Farr). Under Lincoln 's ownership, the stations moved their studios from 11 Clearing Avenue , to the Mini-Mall building on the north side of the Taylorville square.
Linton owned the stations until the early 90's when she told them to the late Jim Green of Riverton. Green owned the stations until 1992, when WTIM was sold to its present owner, Miller Communications, Inc. and WEEE was sold to WMAY/WNNS in Springfield . The 92.7 frequency was able to get a power increase and was subsequently moved to Springfield in May 1993.
WTIM was granted a limited nighttime power (103 watts) in 1988, and that was reduced by the FCC to 63 watts in 1993. WTIM, as an AM station, had to protect other stations on 1410 on the dial, because at night, AM radio waves bounce off the ionosphere and “skip” across the country. That's why high powered “clear channel” AM radio stations, such as KMOX 1120 St. Louis and WGN 720 Chicago, are heard in over 20 states at night.
Miller Communications, Inc. secured another FM frequency in 1996 and signed on WMKR Lite Rock 94.3 to operate along with WTIM Newstalk 1410. WMKR enabled listeners outside of Taylorville to hear Taylorville sports broadcasts at night. WTIM was unable to reach outside of Taylorville at night due to its FCC-mandated 63 watts of power.
Miller Communications, Inc. wanted to give WTIM's newstalk format a better signal both daytime and nighttime, so it secured 97.3 FM and moved WTIM from 1410 AM to 97.3 FM on November 13, 1997. After 30 days of simulcasting the format on both stations, WTIM 1410 AM signed off December 12, 1997.
Miller sold the 1410 AM transmitting facility to Covenant Network of St. Louis, which returned it to air in July 1998 as a satellite-fed non-profit Catholic radio station.
Miller moved WTIM/WMKR's studios form its 1800 sq. ft space on the north side of the Taylorville square to a 3600 sq. ft. building at 918 East Park in March 2000.
Miller built a new 345-foot tower for both WTIM and WMKR in November 2001, expanding both stations' coverage by 25%. The tower, build on a hill south of Taylorville, increased WTIM's antenna height to 374 feet above average terrain, and WMKR's antenna height to 341 feet above average terrain.
WTIM moved to THE BIG 870 AM covering an area from Jacksonville to Paris and Bloomington to Effingham daytime, and moved to 96.3 FM in Christian County all the time, on August 1, 2014.
Today, Newstalk WTIM THE BIG 870 AM/96.3 FM still serves the community with local news, sports and weather as well as stimulating talk, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year as The Talk of Central Illinois, WTIM.