WLS Radio picks up Illini football, basketball

University of Illinois

University of Illinois football and basketball will move to WLS 890-AM this fall under a new five-year agreement announced Monday with the Cumulus Media news/talk station.

Illini football and basketball broadcasts have been airing for more than a decade on Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. Illini basketball will continue to air on The Score through the rest of the current season.

Terms of the new deal, which runs through the 2023-24 season, were not disclosed. Sources said the University of Illinois is paying Cumulus Media to air the games.

WLS 890 AM

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this great combination — a program rich in college sports history with a station rich in radio history — serving Chicago, Illinois, and much of the lower 48 for 95 years,” Jeff Hill, vice president of sales for Cumulus Chicago, said in a statement. “We look forward to delivering high-quality game broadcasts and programming for the passionate Illini fanbase, ensuring they won’t miss a key moment of any game, home or away.”

In addition to all football and men’s basketball games, the contract calls for airing seasonal weekly coaches’ shows with Lovie Smith and Head Coach Brad Underwood.

“Our new agreement with WLS AM 890 fulfills our longstanding interest in a strong, dedicated, synergistic radio partner in the Chicago market,” Josh Whitman, director of athletics at the University of Illinois, said in a statement.

“The Chicago media market is extremely competitive, but now Fighting Illini fans throughout the Midwest can listen to each of our football and men’s basketball games on the powerful signal that WLS brings to the airwaves. We are excited about this new relationship and are grateful to WLS AM 890 for their partnership, along with our colleagues at Fighting Illini Sports Properties for brokering this promising new arrangement,” Whitman said.