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A public service of Illinois State University
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WGLT History

A service of Illinois State University, WGLT was licensed by the FCC in 1966. Then a student-run radio station, WGLT was heard only in the ISU dorms.

Over the decades support from the University and the community has allowed WGLT to become a full service public radio station, serving a central Illinois audience approaching 25,000 listeners a week and listeners all over the world at WGLT.org. An NPR member station, WGLT also offers local news and music programs as well as national programs from WNYC and APM. In addition to our main channel, WGLT offers the Highway 309 music stream.

Learn more about history using the interactive timeline below. You can also download our history as a PDF or check out Milner Library's digital collection of WGLT annual reports and program guides dating back to the 1960s.

WGLT Facts

  • WGLT is consistently ranked in the top 5 of all radio stations in McLean County in terms of audience numbers and market share. This ranking has remained in effect in spite of the doubling of radio stations serving our area since the mid-90s.
  • WGLT is licensed to Illinois State University, and has been operating as a public service of the University since 1966.
  • Our call letters stand for Gladly Learn and Teach, inspired by the Illinois State University motto: "Gladly we learn and teach".
  • The average tenure of staff at WGLT is 10 years. The combined journalism experience of the WGLT newsroom is 110 years, an average of 18 years per full-time staffer.
  • Over the decades, WGLT News has been honored with scores of regional and national awards for excellence by the Associated Press, Kaleidoscope, Public Radio News Directors, Inc and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association.
  • WGLT provides multi-platform services, including three web streams. Which means you can listen to the WGLT you want, anywhere you are, all over the world. We also offer locally produced podcasts.
  • WGLT is a local primary station for the national Emergency Alert System. This means that WGLT is the originating source of emergency information for all broadcasters and their audiences in a 5-county area.
  • WGLT alumni are employed at NPR and at numerous major market stations, both commercial and non-commercial. One of WGLT’s first program directors runs one of the leading public radio research firms in the nation.
  • As an independent public radio station, WGLT is proud that 53% of our operating budget comes from the individuals, families and businesses in the communities we serve. We rely on Illinois State University for 38% of our budget, with the remaining 9% coming from state and federal grants.