Local Sports

Miller Media Group Launches New, All-Sports Radio Station On-Air and On-Line

The Miller Media Group has launched its first all-sports radio station on-air and on-line as of January First.


"The Winner" is heard in Christian County at 96-point-5 FM, and also streamed on-line thru-out the area at THEWINNER965-DOT-COM.


Group president Randal J. Miller said that the new all-sports station features a host of national and collegiate sports, plus national and local sportstalk shows.


"The Winner" carries national sportstalk programming 24-7 from the Sports Map Radio Network.  A 2-hour local sportstalk show with Miller Media Group announcers, called "The Sports Guys", airs every Wednesday from one to 3pm.


"The Winner" is airing Chicago Bulls Basketball this winter, plus a full schedule of Big Ten Basketball, including the Big Ten Tournament.


The new station has also signed up to air all Chicago Bears football games starting this fall.


And, negotiations are underway to carry one of the Midwest's Major League Baseball teams.


Miller added that "The Winner" is a great compliment to the group's 7 other radio stations serving the Taylorville and Clinton markets.


Miller Media Group Premieres "Central Illinois Outdoors With Jared White" This Weekend

The Miller Media Group will premiere a new weekly one-hour hunting and fishing show called "Central Illinois Outdoors with Jared White" this weekend.


White is the long-time station manager at WHOW/WEZC Radio in Clinton, and local farm broadcaster for the Miller Media Group's 2 agriculture stations WHOW in Clinton and WTIM in Taylorville.


White's show will be focused on fishing, hunting, outdoor recreation, & conservation in central Illinois, primarily on the Clinton Lake and Lake Shelbyville areas.  White will provide up-to-date weekly fishing information on local lakes from professional guides.


The show will include a weekly “Celebrity Sportsman” segment, with an interview with a different noted local business owner, official, or teacher, swapping stories about their favorite outdoor activities.


"Central Illinois Outdoors" will also include weekly listener “Catch of the Week” segment, where listeners submit via the "CentralIllinoisOutdoors-dot-com" website, a picture of their best catch, favorite trophy buck, or other animal. The owner of the weekly "Catch of the Week" will also be interviewed.


But, the main content of the show will be interviews from various divisions of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources; local conservation efforts such as Pheasants Forever; highlighting youth, veteran, and disabled hunting and fishing opportunities; local high school bass fishing teams; and state and local site specific reports.  


"Central Illlinois Outdoors" will be starting this weekend on several Miller Media Group platforms.  It can be heard Saturday mornings at 10 on all of the NEWSTALK WTIM platforms on-air and on-line; Sunday mornings at 8 on all of the WHOW platforms on-air and on-line; and Sunday mornings at 8 on THE WINNER 96-5 and on-line at THEWINNER965-DOT-COM.


You can hear show the show live, hear podcasts of interviews, and access hunting and fishing information anytime by going to the show's web site, "Centralillinoisoutdoors-dot-com."


Bret Bielema Introduced As Fighting Illini Head Football Coach

The University of Illinois introduced new Head Football Coach Bret Bielema to the public earlier this afternoon. Athletic Director Josh Whitman worked fast in his hiring of Bielema and he said they went into the search not with an individual in mind, but a profile.  



Coach Bielema says that they will build the Illini football program to be successful in the long run. 



Fighting Illini play by play voice Brian Barnhart says that it was a quick move by Whitman, but feels that Coach Bielema is the right fit for where the Illini football program is right now.



You can listen to each and every Fighting Illini football and basketball game on Crusin’ 98.3 WSVZ. 


Illinois Hires Bielema As Coach To Lift Struggling Program

Bret Bielema, who led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowls before a disappointing run at Arkansas, is returning to the Big Ten Ten and his home state to coach Illinois.


The Illini hired Bielema to replace the fired Lovie Smith on Saturday, hoping he can turn around a program with nine consecutive losing seasons.


Illinois said Bielema will receive a six-year contract with an annual salary starting at $4.2 million, and begin work immediately.


He will be a guest of athletic director Josh Whitman’s when Illinois plays at Penn State on Saturday. A native of western Illinois, the 50-year-old Bielema is 97-58 in 12 years at Wisconsin and Arkansas.


“Illinois and the Big Ten is home for me, and I can’t be any more excited about the opportunity in front of me with the Fighting Illini,” Bielema said in a statement. “We want to build a program that makes Illini Nation proud and regain the passion that I’ve seen when Illinois wins.


He took over for Barry Alvarez and went 68-24 with the Badgers from 2006 to 2012 before leaving to coach the Razorbacks. He finished with a 29-34 mark at Arkansas and was fired in November 2017. He has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach in the NFL, first with the Patriots and then the New York Giants.


Whitman called Bielema a proven winner.


“In our conversations, it became clear to me that he is a lifelong learner who is continually looking to grow and improve, and he has enjoyed unrivaled mentorship from some of the game’s most distinguished coaches, including Hayden Fry, Kirk Ferentz, Bill Snyder, Barry Alvarez, and Bill Belichick – all of them current or future Hall of Famers,” Whitman said.


Bielema was defensive coordinator at Wisconsin when he replaced Alavarez and had immediate success.


He became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season when Wisconsin went 12-1 in 2006. No other Big Ten coach had won 10 in his first year.


In 2010, the Badgers beat a No. 1 team for the first time since 1981 when they knocked off Ohio State. They won the Big Ten that year, losing to TCU in the Rose Bowl, and won the first two conference championship games— and trip to the Rose Bowl that went with them — in 2011 and 2012 by beating Michigan State and Nebraska. The Badgers lost all three of those high-profile bowl games.


His move to Arkansas was surprising, ultimately unsuccessful and the legal battle over how much contract buyout money he is still owed by the school’s athletic foundation is ongoing.


In July 2018, the New England Patriots hired Bielema as a consultant to coach Bill Belichick. He became the Patriots’ defensive line coach in the 2019 season. In January, the New York Giants and new head coach Joe Judge hired Bielema as outside linebackers coach and senior assistant.


Illinois was 2-5 heading into the Penn State game.


Bielema takes over a program that most recently had a winning when it went 7-6 in 2011. The Illini won their first six games that year, lost their next six and fired Ron Zook before finishing with a victory over UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl.


Lovie Smith Out As Fighting Illini Head Coach

After 5 seasons as the Head Coach at the University of Illinois, Lovie Smith was fired yesterday by Athletic Director Josh Whitman. Brian Barnhart is the Play by Play voice for the Fighting Illini and he said that he wasn’t surprised by Whitman’s decision.



It’s all about winning football games, according to Barnhart, and while Coach Smith is a great human being and tremendous mentor he struggled to do that. 



Barnhart isn’t sure what type of coach Whitman will target.



Barnhart believes that the Illini are a good coach away from taking the program to the  next step. 



You can listen to Fighting Illini Football and Basketball games on Crusin’ 98.3 WSVZ. 


IHSA Pauses All Winter Sports

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for a special virtual meeting yesterday afternoon and provided additional guidance on winter sports. 


The IHSA Board issued guidance to pause all IHSA winter sports and activities to maintain compliance with the most recent mitigations issued by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. The Board will revisit the status of winter sports at their update discussion on Wednesday, December 2nd, and again at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, December 14th if necessary.


IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson released the following statement, “All IHSA sports and activities will cease by November 20 for what we hope is a short-term pause. Given the rising COVID-19 cases in our state and region, we support the Governor’s mitigations and believe it is imperative for everyone in the state to do their part in following them so that we can return to high school sports participation as soon as possible. The Board is sensitive to the scheduling difficulties these delays create for athletic directors and coaches. However, our experiences this summer and fall lead us to believe that setting arbitrary start dates hinders the process even more. We realize it may seem redundant, but we have to preach patience as we await more data and direction from the state.”


The IHSA Board also announced that conditioning and weight training before and after school are paused, open gyms are paused, and practices and competitions may only be conducted virtually. Outdoor workouts may be conducted in groups of 10 or less with masks and social distancing.


Player Spotlight Interviews Now Posted as Podcasts on taylorvilledailynews.com

The Miller Media Group radio stations in Taylorville, are now posting on-line as podcasts, their weekly Player Spotight interviews featuring student athletes and coaches from Taylorville, Central A&M, and Shelbyville.


Click on the icon labeled "Player Spotlight Podcasts" to the right of the masthead on taylorvilledailynews.com, to listen to any and all interviews.  


The weekly "Player Spotlight" shows continue to air Friday nights at 7.  On the NEWSTALK WTIM platforms, Taylorville Tornado players and coaches are heard, while on WMKR Genuine Country 94.3, Central A&M players and coaches are featured.  On WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3, Shelbyville player and coaches are broadcast.


The "Player Spotlight" features will continue every Friday night on each respective station at 7, and streamed live at taylorvilledailynews.com, while high school sports in Illinois is paused due to the coronavirus outbreak.


Shelbyville Rams Player Spotlight This Friday Night Now Moved to 5pm Due to Fighting Illini Pre-Game Show

The Miller Media Group has announced that its weekly Shelbyville Rams Player Spotlight program on WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3, normally heard at 7 in the evening on Friday nights thru the football season, will be heard this Friday night at 5.


The move is to allow the Fighting Illini football pre-game show to air starting at 6 on WSVZ.  The Illini play their first game of the 2020 campaign this Friday night.  All other Illini games will be played and air on WSVZ, on Saturdays.





Fighting Illini Move First Football Game to 7pm October 23; WSVZ Moving Rams Player Spotlight That Night

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini have moved their first football game of the 2020 campaign, from Saturday, October 24th, to Friday night, October 23rd, at 7pm.


WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3, the area's Fighting Illini affiliate, will air the game live.


As a result, the weekly WSVZ Shelbyville Rams "Player Spotlight" will air that night from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.  This weekly feature airs interviews from coaches and players in sports not being played this fall.


WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3 To Broadcast Fighting Illini Football Starting October 24th


Miller Media Group radio station WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3 in Shelbyville has announced it will broadcast the 9 University of Illinois Fighting Illini football games when play begins Saturday, October 24th.


The schedule calls for the team to open at Wisconsin that day, as the first of 8 regular season games.  A seeded game will be played as game 9.


WSVZ's signal serves an area that includes Shelbyville, Effingham, Taylorville, Pana, Sullivan, and Vandalia.


Governor JB Pritzker Says No To High School Fall Football

The Governor of Illinois is standing firm on no fall sports like football or volleyball this year. Governor JB Pritzker made the announcement in a press conference on Tuesday addressing fall sports. The IHSA had sent a letter to Governor Pritzker urging the Governor to let the IHSA have control of sports again and to be able to make the decision themselves. The Governor has not responded to the IHSA but did say it was a doctor decision, not his.



The Governor says it is not a political decision but a science decision.


Illinois and Minnesota are the only midwest states that are not playing fall football. The Big Ten announced on Wednesday that football would be back on October 23rd.


IHSA Sends Letter To Governor Pritzker In Reference To Fall Sports

The Illinois High School Association is working on gaining control back over the resumption of sports and activities. Over the last week, rumors have started to go online and through social media of there being protests and demonstrations in Chicago, Champaign, and Springfield in an effort to bring awareness to high school sports returning. Most states around the midwest are playing a modified fall schedule. The only state that is in the midwest that is playing football in the spring is Minnesota. 


IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson sent a letter to Governor Pritzker and Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz asking for permission for the IHSA and its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to resume control over IHSA sports and activities. Anderson says that rumors on social media are just that. Rumors. He says that there have been no discussions or timelines for resuming sports at this time. Anderson added that should he receive a good response from the Governor’s office, it could result in the IHSA looking at sports again in the fall.


The letter went on to praise Governor Pritzker for attaining a low COVID-19 rate in the State. Anderson went on to say that the IHSA has no involvement with any of the protests or activities that were scheduled for the weekend. They asked for all attendees to be safe, smart, and respectful.


Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more on this story as it develops.


Here is the full response from the IHSA.

“With support from the IHSA Board of Directors, I issued a letter on September 10 to Governor Pritzker and Deputy Governor Ruiz, that seeks permission for the IHSA and its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to resume control over determining the resumption of IHSA sports and activities. However, the content of that letter has been greatly misconstrued on social media in a short amount of time.  There have been no discussions, let alone proposed timelines, for resuming any sports at this time.  Should our office receive a positive response from government officials, it could result in the IHSA reexamining its previously released season schedules, as well as postseason schedules, for the 2020-21 school year.


It is important to note that, under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, Illinois has attained one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country.  Additionally, several surrounding states have successfully conducted sports categorized as medium and high risk here in Illinois, and we believe sports and activities are safest when conducted under the IHSA safety protocols by school personnel. Those combined factors led us to issue this letter, and we will respectfully await response to it.


The IHSA is not involved in any planned protests this weekend related to high school sports. If protests occur, we encourage all attendees to be safe, smart and respectful.”



Miller Media Group Radio Stations To Air Weekly Player Spotlights Featuring Taylorville, A&M, and Shelbyville Starting August 28

With the absence of high school football play-by-play this fall, the Miller Media Group radio stations in Taylorville and Shelbyville have announced they'll produce and air Player Spotlights featuring interviews with players and coaches of sports not being played this fall, every Friday night at 7 starting August 28th.


The Player Spotlights will air on the stations that normally follow area teams. 



NEWSTALK WTIM's many platforms on AM, FM, and on-line, will air the weekly Taylorville Tornado Player Spotlight.



WMKR Genuine Country 94.3, the Voice of the Central A-and-M Raiders, will interview Raider players and coaches. 



WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3 will broadcast weekly Player Spotlights featuring players and coaches from the Shelbyville Rams fall sports' teams that aren't playing.


Each week's Player Spotlights will also be streamed on each station's streaming platform from taylorvilledailynews.com.


Teutopolis High School Joining Apollo Conference For Everything But Football In 2020-2021

A new school will be joining the Apollo Conference for this year. By vote, Teutopolis High School has been accepted into the Apollo Conference for all sports, except for football. This will be effective only for the 2020-2021 school year. This move helps ease scheduling concerns and becomes effective immediately.


Teutopolis will join current members including Taylorville, Charleston, Effingham, Lincoln, Mahomet-Seymour, Mattoon, and Mount Zion. 


According to the press release, Matt Hutchison, Taylorville Principal and President of the Apollo Conference wrote the Teutopolis Administration saying, “We look forward to the competition and sportsmanship that Teutopolis will bring to the conference.”


IESA Board Of Directors Votes To Cancel Fall Sports

The Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Board of Directors held a special meeting yesterday and voted unanimously to cancel fall sports for the 2020-21 school year and they will not be rescheduled. The sports that have been canceled are boys and girls golf, boys baseball, girls softball, and boys and girls cross-country. The Board has did not make a final decision on a girls basketball season. They will meet again in late August to make that decision.  


Lawsuit Filed Against IHSA Over COVID-19

The IHSA is facing a lawsuit today saying that the Illinois High School Association “promulgated rules beyond their authority” and violated Illinois law. Thomas Devore, who has filed multiple lawsuits against the state including Governor JB Pritzker filed the lawsuit in Montgomery County. The lawsuit says that parents have to either agree with the IHSA on their rulings or be denied the opportunity to play sports. 


The IHSA just recently filed guidance about playing sports with the virus, including wearing a facemask for all indoor activities, limiting the number of people in attendance, social distancing rules and more. 


To see the lawsuit click here:






IHSA And IDPH Announce Changes To Phase 4 Of Fall Sports; Eliminates Scrimmages

After releasing guidance on phases last week, the Illinois Department of Public Health along with the Illinois High School Association is backtracking now from guidance put out previously. Regional Radio News has learned of emails that were sent to Athletic Directors earlier today that highlighted guidelines for fall sports. 


The original update that came out announced that the IDPH and the Governor’s Office modified the Phase 4 return to play guidelines. The changes were: There cannot be any contact drills/physical contact among athletes.  All personnel must wear masks and there must be a strict 50 person limit to all indoor activities which includes spectators.


After that email was sent out, updates to what had been put out were sent in a follow-up email. It was announced that the ISBE had learned that the Governor’s office had approved the following to coincide with the earlier message: Students participating in physical activity outside while social distancing are NOT required to wear a mask. The changes to the Phase 4 guidance were to be implemented as soon as possible.  The approval of these changes was a formality as they had been directed by IDPH to implement those changes. The changes will eliminate scrimmages in sports that require physical contact such as basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling.


This story is still very fluid and developing. The IHSA was unavailable for comment. Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more as it becomes available.


Shelbyville Football Schedule Announced

The Shelbyville Football Schedule was announced. The Rams start their season at home in a non-conference matchup with the Cumberland Pirates out of Toledo. The Rams have 9 games with 2 Non-Conference matchups.  The Rams finished 3-4 in the Central Illinois Conference and 4-5 overall last year.



Aug. 28 – Cumberland, 7 PM (Non-Conference)


Sept. 4 -- @ Oblong, Hutsonville, Palestine, 7 p.m. (Non-Conference)


Sept. 11 -- Clinton, 7 p.m.


Sept. 18 -- @Tuscola, 7 p.m.


Sept. 25 -- Warrensburg-Latham, 7 p.m.


Oct. 2 -- @Meridian, 7 p.m.


Oct. 9 -- @ Sullivan-Okaw Valley/Bethany, 7 p.m.


Oct. 16 -- @St. Teresa, 7 p.m.


Oct. 23 – Central A & M, 7 p.m.


Taylorville Football Schedule Announced

The Taylorville Tornadoes Football Schedule has been tentatively released. The Tornadoes will spend their first 3 weeks on the road starting off the season at Mount Vernon before coming back home on September 18th. The Tornadoes will wrap up their regular season on October 23rd at home against Bethalto Civic Memorial. The Tornadoes finished 5-5 and 3-3 in the Apollo Conference last year. This year, the Tornadoes have 3 Non-Conference Games out of their 9 games.


Aug. 28 -- at Mount Vernon, 7 p.m. (Non-Conference)


Sept. 4 -- at Mahomet-Seymour, 7 p.m.


Sept. 11 -- at Lincoln, 7 p.m. 


Sept. 18 -- Collinsville, 7 p.m. (Non-Conference)


Sept. 25 -- Mattoon, 7 p.m.


Oct. 2 -- Mount Zion, 7 p.m.


Oct. 9 -- at Effingham, 7 p.m.


Oct. 16 -- Charleston, 7 p.m.


Oct. 23 -- Bethalto Civic Memorial, 7 p.m. (Non Conference)


IHSA Releases Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines

The Illinois High School Administration (IHSA) announced on Friday, July 3rd, that the Stage 2 Return To Play Guidelines have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The IHSA also announced that they will also now refer to the guidelines as the Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines to match the Restore Illinois plan verbiage and the Phase 1 Return To Play Guidelines that were implemented on June 5th will also now be referred to as the Phase 3 Return To Play Guidelines. These guidelines go into effect as of July 5th, 2020. 


IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said, “Safety remains at the forefront of everything that the IHSA is doing as we move into Phase 4 and beyond. We appreciate the collaborative efforts of the SMAC and IDPH in recognizing the physical, mental, and emotional benefits for our student-athletes and coaches as they progress into training in a more traditional practice setting. Our focus now shifts to continuing to work with state leadership to determine how to provide the safest environment possible for fall sports.”


Previously only groups of 10 were allowed in Phase 3 and now groups of up to 50 will be allowed. There were other significant changes with Phase 4 including  allowing the use of sport specific equipment and competitions. Games are allowed to take place either inside or outside, but there are certain restrictions that will be in place. Multiple groups of 50 are permissible for contests held outside, but only if they’re spaced at least 30 feet apart. Indoor games, the group limit for everyone remains at 50 except for fans. Spectators are allowed, but there will be a 20 percent capacity limit for the venue that must be enforced.


To read the Phase 4 Guidelines, please click here


IHSA Awaiting Approval From IDPH For Next Step In Return To Sports Plan

The Illinois High School Association has sent off its proposal for the second phase of a return to sports plan involving fall practices and competitions.


Executive Director Craig Anderson tells Regional Radio News that things are still uncertain because they have not received approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health though the 'Stage 2' guidelines have been sent off to the IDPH for approval.



Anderson hopes to have all fall sports but the situation will likely dictate restrictions in place. He explains they are looking to receive guidance and approval for expanded training opportunities for their athletes and coaches.



Several states around Illinois have reopened their youth programs and in Iowa, their high school baseball and softball seasons are returning. Anderson keeps close tabs on how those are being operated and says he has a good working relationship with other directors to help in formulating the IHSA plans. 


IHSA Releases Guidelines For Returning For Summer Workouts

The IHSA has released guidelines for athletes starting June 6th, to participate in voluntary strength and conditioning sessions. Students will be limited to three hours of participation in a day and must meet in groups of 10 or less, including the coach and medical personnel. It is required to stay 6 feet apart during the workouts, and if that is not possible masks must be worn. Athletes are to bring their own equipment, including their own water bottle and will have their temperature checked each day.


No sports specific workouts or equipment are permitted under these policies. 





Changes Made In Central A&M, Shelbyville "Best Of" Sports Broadcasts

The Miller Media Group has made some changes in the weekly air dates and times of its "Best Of" Central A&M and Shelbyville Sports Broadcasts.


Company president Randal J. Miller said these changes were needed due to the lack of part-time personnel to run the control boards in the studios.


Starting this weekend,  the"Best Of" A&M Sports Broadcasts will air on WMKR Genuine Country 94.3 on Saturdays at a new start time of 3pm, which is a time change from its previous 1pm Saturday start.


And, the "Best Of" Shelbyville Sports Broadcasts will air on WSVZ Cruisin' 98.3 on FRIDAYS at 6pm.  This is close to broadcast start time for many of the games that WSVZ broadcast.


The "Best Of" Taylorville Sports Broadcasts will continue to air on all of NEWSTALK WTIM's platforms, Saturdays at 11am.


WSVZ 98.3 To Air "Best Of" Shelbyville Sports Broadcasts Starting This Saturday

The Miller Media Group has announced that its Shelbyville radio station WSVZ 98.3 will begin airing a "Best Of" Shelbyville Tornado football and boys basketball broadcasts from this school year, on Saturdays at 1pm starting this Saturday, April 4th.


WSVZ will also stream these "Best Of" Shelbyville games, by clicking the "Sports Streams" icon at taylorvilledailynews.com, then click the "WSVZ LISTEN LIVE" icon.


Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller said WSVZ is proud to spotlight some of this year's best Shelbyville football and basketball plays and games.


NEWSTALK WTIM To Air "Best Of" Taylorville Tornado Sports Broadcasts Starting This Saturday

The Miller Media Group has announced that all of the NEWSTALK WTIM platforms will begin airing a "Best Of" Taylorville Tornado football, boys or girls basketball broadcast from this school year, on Saturday mornings at eleven starting this Saturday, April 4th.


Those on-air platforms include the BIG 870 across Central Illinois, 96.1 FM in Christian County, 107.5 FM in Shelby County, and 107.7 FM in Moultrie County.


NEWSTALK WTIM's on-line platforms include it's "WTIM LIVE" stream on taylorvilledailynews.com, as well as on the WTIM mobile app, and Amazon Alexa.


Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller said the station is excited to highlight the great games and plays of Tornado players, during these replays of these games.


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