Chicago’s WBEZ grows audience with expansion via Kankakee station

Print More

Chicago’s WBEZ-FM expands its broadcast reach Friday as it begins simulcasting on a station 60 miles to the south that it bought from a community college.

The Chicago station will start airing on WKCC in Kanakee, Ill., at 11 p.m. Friday. It paid $250,000 to acquire the station from Kankakee Community College, which announced WKCC’s sale in June. Public Media Co. represented WBEZ throughout the negotiations and business planning.

WBEZ’s Chicago signal is weak in the Kankakee area, and area listeners have been asking for better coverage, said Wendy Turner, WBEZ’s v.p. of digital and technical operations. Acquiring WKCC will expand the station’s coverage area by upwards of 200,000 people, Turner said.

WBEZ plans to change WKCC’s call letters after the FCC approves the deal, which is expected to come by early April. The new call letters would help to play down the station’s former connection to the college, and WKCC “doesn’t roll off the tongue” in a station ID, Turner said.

The full-time college employee who oversaw WKCC will not continue with the station, according to Turner, since it will not need its own studios.

Related stories from Current: