WTAX History

WTAXHistoryWTAX began in Streator, Illinois in 1923 as a project of Williams Hardware Company. The Department of Commerce distributed the call letters and some say WTAX refers to the tacks the hardware store sold.

WTAX started out with 50 watts. Today it is 1,000 watts. Jay Johnson brought WTAX to Springfield in 1930. WTAX took air in a new home on October 31st, 1930. The station was housed in the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and at the time, shared the 1210 position on the dial with WCBS.

The station later moved into the Reisch Building. On March 29, 1941, the Federal Communications Commission realigned much of the broadcast dial and WTAX moved from 1210AM to 1240AM.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editor Oliver Keller bought WTAX in 1943. WTAX moved into new studios at 710 Dirksen Parkway in 1948. Later, Shelby Harbison purchased WTAX and now it’s owned by Saga Communications. WTAX moved to its current studios on Sangamon Avenue in early 1997.

WTAX became a CBS affiliate in 1943. It was one of the first stations to participate in a national network reporting returns of the 1952 Presidential Election using the Univac computer. A year later, WTAX carried the first live broadcast of the Illinois General Assembly.

WTAX was one of the early radio stations to carry live action sports with the University of Illinois football games and coverage of the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals baseball games.

Recent Headlines

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Opponents Upset Chief Illiniwek Merchandise Still Available Online

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Assistant Athletic Director Marty Kaufmann says the items are available because there wasn't "any edict to wipe all history or tradition from our books."

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Lisa Madigan Calls for More Compassion Towards Victims of Sex Crimes

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The state's Attorney General says a shift in attitude toward victims of rape, sexual assault, and other such crimes will lead toward more of these crimes being reported.

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Arrest Made in the Murder of a Former Pleasant Plains Woman

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One suspect is in jail and another is being sought in the murder of a former Springfield area woman.

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Alleged Improprieties Force Out Two Parole Board Members

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Two members of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board have been removed in the wake of published reports of erroneous filings with the state and the federal government.

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Rauner Addresses Concerns of State’s University Presidents


The Governor was in Urbana Friday to address the concerns of nine presidents over universities in Illinois.