WNIL now broadcasting on FM station

Published 8:11 am Thursday, April 4, 2019

NILES — It only takes a moment of listening to Ric Clingaman, known on air as RC, to hear that he is a born radio announcer.

A longtime broadcaster for Niles’ WNIL, Clingaman’s smooth baritone voice can now be picked up by even more listeners after the radio station recently began broadcasting on FM.

WNIL broadcasts a variety of programs but is primarily known for keeping listeners grooving to classic hits from the 1960s up to more modern hits of the 90s. Listeners can still hear WNIL 1290 AM but can now pick it up at 107.5 FM. The station broadcasts for an approximately 20-mile radius from Niles.

Marci Taylor, the station’s general manager, said gaining Federal Communications Commission permission to use an FM translator at the beginning of March is a big deal for the business. In addition to being able to reach more potential listeners now, the development is momentous for the station.

“It’s big to us,” Taylor said. “With WNIL being here since 1956 and being the only AM here since 1956, to make that change to FM [is huge].”

Clingaman said there are other benefits, too.

“Not too many people listen to AM for music,” he said. “Why would you when you can listen to it in stereo? The quality that we are putting out there at 107.5 is the difference between night and day.”

In his near 40 years as a broadcaster at WNIL, Clingaman said he had the opportunity to interview a few memorable musicians, including Tommy James from Tommy James and the Shondells. James is known for the hit “Hanky Panky,” and he grew up in the Niles area, making it a particularly special interview to local listeners. Clingaman said that James also recorded “Hanky Panky” inside the building where the WNIL studio is located at 210 S. Phillip Road.

Listeners might also recognize Clingaman from his show “R.C. in the Morning” — a music program.

Those who enjoy Pat Benatar, Whitney Houston, Chicago and others can find their jam playing on WNIL.  For listeners, Clingaman believes this provides comfort.

“There’s not a song you wouldn’t know, if you’re 35 and over,” Clingaman said. “It’s just strictly the hits. I think that’s what makes us [unique] these days. I like to listen to a station where I recognize the song. It will keep me there.”

Listeners can also hear the popular “Swap Shop,” which is a radio auction program. The “Chamber Chat” is another program that seeks to keep residents informed about the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce. Other community leaders often broadcast information on the program.

The station known as “the voice of Niles and Buchanan” has also served a greater purpose for their community, Taylor said.

“Local radio is important because we keep them tuned in to what’s going on in the community,” Taylor said. “You don’t get that nowadays with satellite radio and Pandora. We want to keep the local feel.”

Now broadcasting on FM, Taylor said the station is eager to reach even more listeners.

To learn more about the station, visit the station’s Facebook page.