CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois announced today that WLS-AM 890 is the university’s newest radio affiliate and will carry all football and men’s basketball games, as well as the seasonal coaches’ shows, through the 2023-24 season.

The five-year agreement, which officially kicks off with the 2019 football season, marks a first for the Fighting Illini and Cumulus Media-owned WLS AM 890. During football, fans will be able to catch the weekly radio show with Head Coach Lovie Smith and Head Coach Brad Underwood during men’s basketball season.

“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! 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,” said Jeff Hill, VP of Sales for Cumulus Chicago.

The Fighting Illini Sports Network now encompasses 50 radio affiliates across Illinois and in St. Louis, Mo. The affiliates and all broadcast aspects are overseen and managed by University of Illinois Athletics’ multimedia rightsholder, Fighting Illini Sports Properties.

“Our new agreement with WLS-AM 890 fulfills our longstanding interest in a strong, dedicated, synergistic radio partner in the Chicago market,” said UI Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. “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.”

For 95 years, this legendary and powerful 50,000 watt giant has informed and entertained Chicagoland and much of America. Today, that tradition continues with award winning local news wrapped around iconic and beloved personalities like Mancow Muller and John Howell, as well as national shows from Chicago native Chris Plante, talk icon Rush Limbaugh, and renowned commentator and podcaster, Ben Shapiro. For more information, visit

A leader in the radio broadcasting industry, CUMULUS MEDIA (NASDAQ: CMLS) combines high-quality local programming with iconic, nationally syndicated media, sports and entertainment brands to deliver premium content choices to the 245 million people reached each week through its 440 owned-and-operated stations broadcasting in 90 U.S. media markets (including eight of the top 10), approximately 8,000 broadcast radio stations affiliated with its Westwood One network and numerous digital channels. Together, the Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One platforms make CUMULUS MEDIA one of the few media companies that can provide advertisers with national reach and local impact. The Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One are the exclusive radio broadcast partners to some of the largest brands in sports, entertainment, news, and talk, including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, the Olympics, the GRAMMYs, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, and more. Additionally, it is the nation’s leading provider of country music and lifestyle content through its NASH brand, which serves country fans nationwide through radio programming, exclusive digital content, and live events. For more information, visit           

The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 21 varsity teams and is a charter member of both the nation’s premier league, the Big Ten Conference, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Since its inception as an athletics department in 1890, Fighting Illini teams have won 18 NCAA Championships, five football national championships and 249 Big Ten titles. Illinois has advanced to five NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Fours. University of Illinois alumni athletes have won 31 Olympic medals while competing for 17 countries in 25 Olympic Games. Notable University of Illinois athletics alumni include Pro Football Hall of Famers Harold “Red” Grange, Dick Butkus and George Halas; National Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau; and, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Jerry Colangelo and Mannie Jackson.

TICKET SALES: The Future is NOW and tickets go on sale for the 2019 Illinois football season on Wednesday, Feb. 6 with a variety of prices and options. Season tickets offer fans a guaranteed savings of 23 to 74 percent off single game ticket prices. The 2019 season features seven home games, including five B1G matchups against Nebraska, Michigan, Wisconsin, Rutgers and Northwestern. Log on to to get tickets today.