WEFT Champaign 90.1FM is a listener-supported community radio station in Champaign, Illinois, founded in 1981 and owned by Prairie Air, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation. WEFT typically broadcasts 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. It has a wide range of programming, including music from a range of genres, local and nationally produced public affairs programming, live music, spoken word, and more. WEFT's mission is to be "an accessible, responsible, and responsive radio alternative, serving the diverse communities of radio listeners in East-Central Illinois".
|City||Champaign, Illinois, United States|
|Branding||WEFT Champaign 90.1FM|
|Slogan||"Community radio for East-Central Illinois"|
|Format||music, public affairs|
|Owner||Prairie Air, Inc.|
First air date
|September 26, 1981|
Call sign meaning
|Noun form of weaving|
|ERP||10,000 watts horizontal|
8,500 watts vertical
WEFT had its beginnings in 1975 as community members began work to create a new radio station. In 1980 WEFT began to broadcast on the local cable TV network and acquired studio space at 113 N. Market Street in Champaign. This location is still the WEFT operations base. On September 26, 1981 WEFT went on the air as an FM radio station broadcasting at 90.1 MHz. Initially WEFT was a less–than–1,000–watt station with the transmitter and antenna located atop a nearby hotel. In 1991 WEFT/Prairie Air Inc. purchased the building at 113 N. Market Street and within 9 years paid off the mortgage.
In 1988 WEFT acquired a 10,000–watt transmitter and new broadcast antenna designed for a new transmission site located on a hill NW of Champaign. WEFT began to broadcast in stereo at this time. This move extended the broadcast coverage area significantly with the signal reaching up to 40 miles (64 km). The 10,000–watt transmitter which had been installed in 1988 was replaced in 2008 after a lightning strike damaged the older tube–type transmitter. The current transmitter is solid state.
In addition to broadcasting at 90.1 on the FM band WEFT streams their programming live, 24 hours per day, on the internet. It streams at 128 Kbps. The FM signal reaches approximately 40 miles (64 km) to the North, West and South and about 20 miles to the east of their transmitter site. The reduced power to the east is required to avoid interference with a neighboring station located in Indiana. On demand listening of all locally produced WEFT programming is made available on the internet for two weeks after original broadcast via Radio Free America.
WEFT is operated entirely by volunteers. WEFT calls its on-air hosts Airshifters. The number of unique Airshifters hosting programs in a given week varies between 55 and 65 depending on program rotation. Training for new Airshifters is held typically twice per year. There are two lecture-based training sessions followed by two studio-based sessions. Once training is complete a new Airshifter may fill in as a substitute host and/or propose to the Programming Committee an idea for an available time slot.
Over 90% of operations funding is provided by listeners and underwriters.
Prairie Air, Inc. owns WEFT and its board of directors oversees operation of the radio station.
WEFT is a member of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
- Official website
- WEFT in the FCC's FM station database
- WEFT on Radio-Locator
- WEFT in Nielsen Audio's FM station database