WBCP Radio AM-1580
A Brief Station History
WBCP 1580AM started in 1989 by the late Vernon Barkstall, Lonnie Clark and J.W. Pirtle. Three pioneers in the radio industry brought their knowledge and individual talents to a small station in the Urbana-Champaign, Illinois community. Named after each of their first initial of their last name's, Barkstall, Clark and Pirtle. WBCP is celebrated as the only African American privately owned radio station in Illinois south of Chicago. That's one out of less than 70 in the entire country! The greater Urbana-Chamapign, Illinois area consists of a population of roughly 236,647 with the inclusion of students at the University of Illinois. Urbana-Chamapign is home to the State's flagship University-The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
According to the U.S. Census, African Americans make up 16% of the population in the Champaign-Urbana area, and spend $30 milion annualy on goods and services locally. WBCP has a very diverse listening audience of African American, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Caucasian ranging in ages from 30-70.
WBCP is an Adult Urban Contemporary radio station which is also a radio affiliate for the ABC Network, the Chicago Bulls Network and the Chicago White Sox Network. AM-1580 is the only station in East Central Illinois that airs the sydicated Michael Baisden Show. We are the only station in Central Illinois that broadcasts various genres including R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Talk and Sports.
Special acknowledgment to Deb Kennedy, WBCP's first General Manager and Program Director.