Media In Peoria, IL

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Peoria is a mid-sized city in central Illinois with a population of around 115,000 residents. As the largest city in the Peoria metropolitan area, it serves as a hub for media in the region.

Peoria has a variety of local media outlets including newspapers, television stations, radio stations, magazines, and websites that provide news, information, and entertainment to residents.

Some of the major media organizations based in Peoria include:

  • Peoria Journal Star – daily newspaper
  • WEEK-TV – NBC affiliate TV station
  • WHOI – ABC affiliate TV station
  • WMBD – CBS affiliate TV station
  • WCBU – NPR affiliate radio station
  • WXCL – Talk radio station
  • Peoria Magazine – lifestyle monthly magazine
  • Peoria Public Radio – community radio station
  • The Community Word – African American focused monthly newspaper
  • Journal Star – website and mobile app

In this local guide, we’ll take a deeper look at the various media outlets serving Peoria and central Illinois.

Newspapers

Peoria Journal Star

The Peoria Journal Star is the primary daily newspaper for Peoria and surrounding communities. Published 7 days a week, it has a circulation of over 43,000 and a readership of over 129,000. The paper was formed in 1996 through the merger of two competing newspapers – the Peoria Journal and the Peoria Star. The Peoria Journal Star is owned by Lee Enterprises.

Some key details about the Peoria Journal Star:

  • Print edition published daily
  • Website at pjstar.com
  • Mobile app available
  • Print circulation of 43,000
  • 129,000 monthly readers
  • Covers Peoria city and surrounding counties
  • Owned by Lee Enterprises
  • Main office located at 1 News Plaza in Peoria

The Journal Star provides local, regional, state, and national news. Popular sections include local news, sports, business, lifestyles, and opinion. The paper has won numerous state and national awards for its reporting and photography over the years.

The Journal Star website and mobile app allow readers to access breaking news, search archives, customize news alerts, and interact through comments and social media. The website attracts approximately 500,000 unique visitors per month.

Major competitors to the Journal Star include digital news sites like Peoria Public Radio and journalism from nearby cities like the Champaign News-Gazette and the Bloomington Pantagraph. However, the Journal Star maintains the largest newsroom and circulation in the Peoria metro area.

The Community Word

The Community Word is a monthly newspaper focused on Peoria’s African American community. Published since 1987, it has a circulation of 10,000 print copies distributed throughout the region.

Some details on The Community Word:

  • Monthly publication
  • Circulation of 10,000
  • Focuses on Peoria’s African American community
  • Sections include news, business, health, education, religion, and arts/culture
  • Publisher is Nathaniel Caldwell Jr.
  • Office located at 901 W. Main St. in Peoria

The Community Word provides news and perspectives relevant to Peoria’s black residents. In addition to its monthly print edition, The Community Word has an active website and social media presence to engage readers. It frequently sponsors community events and campaigns on issues like economic development, healthcare, and education.

Television Stations

Peoria is served by 3 major local television stations affiliated with national networks. These include WHOI (ABC), WEEK (NBC), and WMBD (CBS). Here’s an overview of Peoria’s local TV channels:

WHOI (Channel 19)

  • ABC affiliate
  • Owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Studio located in East Peoria
  • Airs local news, syndicated shows, and ABC network programming
  • News team includes Danial Maloney (news anchor) and chief meteorologist Chris Yates

WHOI first went on the air in 1953 as WTVH. Notable programming includes its half-hour evening news broadcast, ABC primetime shows, and syndicated series. The station is received over-the-air, on cable and satellite providers in the market.

WEEK (Channel 25)

  • NBC affiliate
  • Owned by Quincy Media
  • Studio located in East Peoria
  • Airs local news, syndicated shows, and NBC network programming
  • News team includes Matt Sheehan (news anchor) and chief meteorologist Chris CBS affiliate Shea

WEEK has been broadcasting since 1953. Its local newscasts include morning, noon, evening, and late night broadcasts. Popular syndicated programming includes Today, Dateline and The Tonight Show. The station can be watched via antenna or pay TV services in Peoria.

WMBD (Channel 31)

  • CBS affiliate
  • Owned by Nexstar Media Group
  • Studio located in Peoria
  • Airs local news, syndicated shows, and CBS network programming
  • News team includes Matt Sheehan (news anchor) and chief meteorologist Chris Yates

WMBD first went on air in 1958 and was Peoria’s first television station. It broadcasts CBS’s primetime, daytime, late night, and sports programming.

The station produces over 25 hours of local news content each week through various newscasts. WMBD is available over-the-air and through cable/satellite providers in central Illinois.

Radio Stations

Peoria has over 15 radio stations broadcasting on the AM and FM bands, offering a diversity of music, news, talk, and sports. Here are some of the most popular stations:

WCBU 89.9 FM

  • NPR affiliate
  • Owned by Bradley University
  • News, talk, and music programming
  • Local shows like Peoria Morning and Midday Journal
  • Broadcasts from Bradley’s campus

WCBU is Peoria’s NPR station, airing nationally syndicated shows like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air alongside local programming. The station has a newsroom focused on central Illinois and also airs classical, jazz, and indie music.

WXCL 104.9 FM

  • Talk radio format
  • Owned by Alpha Media
  • Airs syndicated conservative talk shows
  • Local hosts include Drew Maxwell and Scott Robbins
  • Studio located in Peoria Heights

WXCL features nationally syndicated talk radio personalities like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Dave Ramsey as well as local Peoria-focused talk shows. Topics range from politics to finance to sports.

WPBG 93.3 FM

  • Classic hip-hop and R&B
  • Owned by Alpha Media
  • “93.3 The Beat”
  • On-air personalities like JJ Matthews and Kenya
  • Concerts and community events

WPBG plays hit music from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The radio station targets African American listeners with a mix of throwback hip-hop and R&B. The Beat is active on the Peoria events scene.

WIRL 1290 AM

  • News, sports, and talk
  • Owned by MMG Radio
  • Local news and Illinois State athletics
  • Studio located in Peoria

WIRL airs a combination of news, sports, and syndicated talk programming. It serves as the radio home for Illinois State University athletics. WIRL has been broadcasting in some form since the 1940s.

Magazines and Websites

In addition to traditional media, Peoria has a number of digital publications and magazines:

Peoria Magazine

  • Monthly lifestyle publication
  • Print circulation of 15,000
  • Website and social media channels
  • Covers local culture, arts, dining, business, and events
  • Profile stories on Peoria residents
  • Owned by Central Illinois Communications

Peoria Magazine highlights the best of the city including local restaurants, upcoming concerts, art exhibits, charitable events, and prominent community members. It offers in-depth coverage beyond daily news reports.

Peoria Public Radio

  • Online radio station and news site
  • Covers Peoria area news and politics
  • Podcasts and written articles
  • Focus on local government, education, business
  • Operated by Bradley University

Peoria Public Radio provides digital news content focused on central Illinois. It features local podcasts, newscasts, and investigative reporting on its website.

Journal Star Website

  • Website of the Peoria Journal Star newspaper
  • Breaking news, searchable archives
  • Expanded online content beyond print
  • Video, photo galleries, podcasts
  • Customizable news alerts

The Journal Star website and mobile app allow readers to access all of the paper’s reporting on multiple platforms. It provides continually updated local newscoverage online.

Media Landmarks

Some important institutions and landmarks for media in Peoria include:

  • Peoria Journal Star Building – The headquarters for Peoria’s daily newspaper located at 1 News Plaza. It houses the paper’s newsroom, printing press, circulation, advertising, and executive offices.
  • WEEK-TV Studios – The television studios for the local NBC affiliate located on Springfield Road in East Peoria. This is where the station produces its local broadcasts.
  • WMBD Studios – The television studios for the CBS affiliate located on North University Street in Peoria. WMBD films its newscasts and other local programs here.
  • WIRL Tower – The radio transmission tower for WIRL 1290 AM located off Farmington Road. At 368 feet, it is one of Peoria’s tallest structures.
  • Bradley University – The campus of Bradley University which is home to Peoria Public Radio station WCBU. The university has broadcast media facilities and programs.
  • Peoria Civic Center – This convention center and performance venue hosts events like candidate debates, concerts, and conferences covered by local media.

Local Media Personalities

Some notable on-air personalities and journalists from Peoria’s media include:

  • Matt Sheehan – Weeknight news anchor on WEEK-TV and a Peoria native. He previously worked in Huntsville, AL and Rockford, IL.
  • Danial Maloney – News anchor on WHOI and a Bradley University graduate. He’s worked at stations in Missouri and Oklahoma.
  • Chris Yates – Chief Meteorologist at WEEK-TV. He provides weather forecasts on the station’s evening newscasts.
  • Amy Brooks – Morning radio host on WPBG 93.3 FM. She’s been with the station over 15 years.
  • Dave Snell – Sports director at WMBD-TV who has covered central Illinois sports for decades. He hosts the station’s news sports segments.
  • Steve Tarter – Newspaper reporter who has written for the Journal Star since 1976 covering politics, business, and general assignments.
  • Monica Ortiz Uribe – Peoria native and reporter for NPR’s All Things Considered based in California. She got her start in public radio at WCBU.

Media Companies and Ownership

Many of Peoria’s media outlets are owned by larger parent companies that operate stations around the country:

  • Lee Enterprises – Parent company of the Peoria Journal Star newspaper. Based in Iowa, Lee owns newspapers and digital sites in 77 markets.
  • Nexstar Media Group – Parent company of WMBD-TV. Headquartered in Texas, Nexstar is the largest TV station owner in the U.S.
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group – Parent company of WHOI. Maryland-based Sinclair owns over 190 television stations nationwide.
  • Alpha Media – Parent company of radio stations WXCL and WPBG. Alpha owns over 200 radio stations in the U.S.
  • Quincy Media – Parent company of WEEK-TV. Quincy owns television stations in 16 markets across 6 states.

While owned by large media corporations, Peoria’s local outlets focus their coverage specifically on central Illinois issues, events, and people. They employ local journalists and on-air talent dedicated to serving the local community.

Media Jobs in Peoria

Those looking to work in media in the Peoria area can find employment opportunities with a variety of organizations:

  • Peoria Journal Star – The newspaper hires reporters, editors, photographers, page designers, and advertising sales representatives. Openings are posted on Lee Enterprises’ careers page.
  • Local TV Stations – Stations like WEEK-TV, WHOI, and WMBD hire producers, on-air anchors, reporters, camera operators, editors, and behind-the-scenes production crew.
  • Local Radio Stations – Radio stations need on-air DJs and hosts, producers, sales reps, and operations staff. Experience in audio editing and broadcasting helps.
  • Bradley University – The university hires multimedia and communications professors to teach in its Journalism and Mass Communication department.
  • Marketing Firms – PR, social media, video production, and advertising agencies have openings for writers, graphic designers, account managers, and digital specialists.
  • Freelance – Many media pros in Peoria work as freelance writers, photographers, videographers, website developers and more for local clients.

Job seekers can search listings on individual company sites, local classifieds like the Journal Star, and national job boards. Having a portfolio and internship experience can help media job applicants stand out.

Media Studies in Peoria

For those interested in careers in media, Peoria has opportunities to study communications, journalism, broadcasting, and digital media:

Bradley University

  • Offers a major and minor in Journalism through the Department of Multimedia Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Students can concentrate in areas like news & editing, sports media, or emerging media.
  • Runs student newspaper The Bradley Scout and Peoria Public Radio station WCBU.

Illinois Central College

  • Communication Arts department offers an Associate’s degree and certificate programs in Radio/TV Production, Video Production, Digital Media, and Journalism.
  • Students get hands-on training in ICC’s professional TV studios and radio station WAZU.

Peoria High Schools

  • Some Peoria public high schools like Richwoods, Manual, and Peoria High offer journalism programs, newspapers, yearbooks, and broadcasting electives.
  • Great way for teens to get introduced to media fields and gain experience.

Peoria Media Highlights and Awards

Some notable achievements of Peoria media organizations over the years:

  • Peoria Journal Star
    • Received the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting in 1953 for exposing corruption in the Peoria City Council.
    • Won the APME Innovator of the Year award in 2009 for its use of social media and reader engagement.
    • Named one of Editor & Publisher magazine’s “10 Newspapers That Do It Right” in 2015.
  • WEEK-TV
    • Won multiple Regional Emmy awards for news reporting and documentary production.
    • News anchor Matt Sheehan was named Best News Anchor by the Illinois Broadcasters Association in 2018.
  • WCBU Peoria Public Radio
    • Received national Edward R. Murrow awards for Continuing Coverage and News Documentary from the RTDNA in 2020.
    • Named Illinois Public Radio Station of the Year in 2022 from the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

Peoria media have been recognized for excellence in local journalism, broadcasting, and storytelling. They continue to evolve and adopt new platforms to best serve central Illinois.

Conclusion

This guide provides an overview of the diverse media landscape in Peoria, Illinois spanning print, television, radio, and online platforms. From the daily Peoria Journal Star newspaper to community radio like WCBU to the next generation of digital startups, a wide array of media outlets serve Peoria residents with local news, information, and entertainment.

Peoria’s location as the largest city in central Illinois makes it a hub for regional media. The city’s outlets focus intently on hyperlocal coverage while also airing national content from affiliated networks and programs. Dedicated journalists, on-air personalities, technicians, and business operations staff work hard to inform and connect the audiences they serve.

For those looking to begin or advance a career in media, Peoria provides opportunities with established companies and growing startups. Aspiring communications professionals can gain valuable experience through media degrees, internships, and hands-on training in the market.

As news consumption and distribution continues to evolve, Peoria’s media organizations adapt to best reach their local audience across all platforms.

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Directions

  • Head east on E Orchard Ave toward S Powerline Rd. The destination will be on your right just past S Elder St. Look for the green house with white trim. If you reach the intersection with S Fern St, you’ve gone too far. The total drive is approximately 0.2 miles from S Powerline Rd.
  • From downtown Nampa, take 3rd St S heading south. Turn right onto E Roosevelt Ave and continue for 1.8 miles. Turn left onto S Elder St and drive 0.1 miles until you reach E Orchard Ave. Take a right onto E Orchard Ave. The green house with white trim will be on your right just after turning.
  • Take I-84 W towards Nampa. Take exit 38 for Franklin Blvd toward Nampa/Caldwell. Turn right onto Franklin Blvd and drive 3.2 miles. Turn left onto E Orchard Ave and continue for 0.9 miles. The destination is the green house with white trim on the right just past S Elder St. The total drive from I-84 is approximately 4.5 miles.