At 6:00 AM on September 15, 1954, Radio Station WINI signed on the air from studios on the second floor at 1416 Walnut Street, Murphysboro, above the Sawyer Radio and TV store. The station license was originally owned by two Kentucky men who transferred ownership to Donald Ritter, an announcer at WGGH Radio, Marion, and Evers Mick, an engineer from Kentucky. By the time the station signed on the air, the license had once again been transferred… to Midwest Broadcasting, Farmington, Missouri. A single tower was erected and the transmitter was installed near the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks north of Murphysboro.
Daily sign on was at 6:00 AM and sign off was at local sunset because of FCC rules regarding interference with other stations on the same frequency.
In 1956, Midwest Broadcasting, owned by Cecil Roberts, transferred the station license to Robert’s Daughter and son – in – law, Robert and Martha Rapp. By October 1957, the studios were moved to 1602 Elm. In 1963, a new studio building was erected at the transmitter site on Business Route 13, north of Murphysboro and all the operations were moved to that location.
In 1968, WINI was sold to Ralph Dunn, James Dunn, Marion Dunn, and Dale Adkins. At the time of the purchase, the new owners set in motion plans to expand the station’s hours. The Federal Communications Commission placed a “Freeze” on any expansion by AM radio stations, denying all attempts to expand hours or power. In 1976, the “Freeze” was lifted and WINI immediately applied for expanded hours. Four towers and a complex system were installed near the Southern Illinois Airport and on September 14, 1978, one day short of the 26th anniversary of the original sign on, the new system was placed in operation. Through state-of-the-art technology, a directional pattern using all four towers is activated at local sundown.
In 1990 WINI expanded news coverage and instituted the NEWS/TALK format In August, 2000, Dale and Nancy Adkins purchased 100% of the business from other partners.
In the spring of 2009, Southern Illinois Radio Group purchased 100% of WINI. Rebranded News Talk 1420 WINI, the station continued to serve Southern Illinois with quality programming and added Blues Hockey and University of Illinois Football and Basketball to the programming lineup.
WINI added an FM simulcast at 93.5 FM in September 2015, and on August 22, 2016 took advantage of the upgraded signal to introduce Southern Illinois to Cool 93.5. Playing hits from the late 50s to the early 80s, Cool 93.5 continues the tradition of service with hourly news updates and sports coverage including the Cardinals, Blues, and Fighting Illini.