Back to full power: Millikin’s college radio station, WJMU, installs new transmitter with a larger broadcast reach

The station broadcasts at 89.5 FM across all of Macon County.


DECATUR, Ill. – After more than a year of broadcasting with a smaller reach, Millikin University’s award-winning college radio station, WJMU, is back broadcasting at 1,000 watts, effectively reaching the entirety of Macon County. 

Following a violent storm in the spring of 2023 that damaged the station’s transmitter and antenna, WJMU was initially knocked off the FM band entirely and was eventually able to return with a weaker signal several months later

A donor-funded capital campaign to replace the antenna and transmitter has been successful, and work on the new equipment was completed during summer break, with WJMU returning to the air at 89.5 FM with full power in June. 

Sam Meister
WJMU Director Sam Meister.

“The current status is that we have installed our new antenna and transmitter, which are the long-term solution. We are back broadcasting at 1,000 watts, covering most of Macon County,” WJMU Director Sam Meister said. “There was final testing and cleanup to do, but the transmitter itself was finished about June 21st.”

The previous antenna located on the top of Shilling Hall was visible from the ground, but the new tower is less intrusive to students and visitors. 

“That was one of the challenges in the project. We could put up something that was exactly what we had before, but that wouldn’t alleviate the risk of something happening like this again,” Meister said. “The decision was made that a shorter tower and a more powerful transmitter would be put in place to ensure that we were back up at our FCC broadcast specifications.”

When students return in the fall, their award-winning content will reach a much larger audience. Recently, that programming was honored at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference when Millikin student Helena Hashimoto won the Golden Microphone Award for Best Celebrity or Artist/Band Interview. Helena interviewed Janelle James, one of the stars of “Abbott Elementary,” ahead of James’ performance at Kirkland Fine Arts Center in October 2023. 

In total, the WJMU transmitter and antenna project has a cost of $110,000. While a large portion of the price has been funded, Alumni & Development is still seeking support for the project. To give a gift to WJMU's campaign, contact Alumni & Development at 217-424-6383 or email

“First and foremost, we will always be a voice and a connection between Millikin and the community. It's a major thing to have that connection be technically reinforced so that we know that's ensured for a really long time,” Meister said. “We are incredibly grateful to all our donors and I’m hoping that we can get that remaining funding in and get this all finished up.”