"Rockin' Radio CIL" FM Memories.......
To this day, there has never been another one like the history of one 50kw top-40 station that existed in one of the most unusual places on earth... Working class southern Illinois and the mass lemmings of Chicago area kids going to SIU....Put that together with two very dominate stations (WCIL-FM in top-40 and WDDD-FM in country) and everyone in 'Little Egypt' forgot about those St.Louis AM and FM's that grazzed our four county metro (We made that metro up and you know what? It's now an Arbitron metro!) and showing up in 14 Illinois and 1 Missouri county by county Arbitron surveys (long before their new wonderstick that blow smoke from Sikeston-Dexter-Cape and Jackson, to Mt. Vernon-Mascutah-Centraila to Harrisburg-Eldorado-Metropolis and Paducah...)

In my 30 plus years of radio, I never felt more a part of at station, its listeners, advertisers, communities and the campus of SIU, as I did with "Rockinradio" / CIL-FM... Hey? When you roomed with McCann and weekender Bill Anderle, you were always up to something!  My nearly three years as a teen jock, promotions assistant and sale rookie prepared me for the things I have done and continue to pursue... I always loved radio, but that moment in time (between '79 and '82) were by far the greatest days to be young, alive and working with guys and gals that loved the work and each other... Those late nights after working at Coo-Coo's and eating spagetti with Polack at the Italian Village....Or those untold DuMorac stories....So many things that made it fun.

CIL-FM helped me to accept myself and finally develop my jocking to higher standard...Not trying to be anyone else but me...I hear old tapes and cringe at how I sounded in the first two months, but Tony knew I would fine tune and by the fall, when all those kids got back to town, I was in my element...Sluggin' a few brews down at The Pizza King with Tommy T. and the bikers and living in Carbondale Mobile Home Park (As we loved to call it: "The International Village of the Stoned Olympians"...I loved it when I moved into Louie Paper's rental home in north side Murphysboro..).

Today, CIL-FM is a great sounding CHR station in comparison to many CHR's in larger markets..But the days of early FM top-40 were strange and in our case 'customized' to a very unusual market... I still remember that first four county book we did with Arbitron... I think we had a 26% share of listening time overall and reached just under 50% of the 12+ population in a week!  With 12 or 13 signals bearing down on those four counties and the St. Louis stations bearing down on two of the four counties, that is a feat!  Al Lentine and I had a 49 share in the evenings!   What were we doing?  If you get a 5 share these days, you're up near the top...  It was creative radio that made you keep it on.. Familiar local hits with great classic gold thrown in...And jocks that were predictably non-predictable!  You were afraid you'd miss something if you tuned to Rock 100's automation and later two live jocks...  CIL-FM wasn't the hip TAO to the SIU males, but the ladies loved it and the locals craved it!  When I did a short bouncing paycheck stint at KGMO in Cape, I was floored to hear CIL-FM played in the student center at SEMO.. It was their cult station and with the University up on the hill, they could get it in the dorms and buildings on that ridge...

I first heard CIL-FM when I was a senior in High School (Evansville Reitz)..I would tune in and "DX" FM stations with my outdoor antenna and caught the first phase of CIL-FM going full time top-40/rock...I thought I'd work there someday...When In Cape, I met Tony and we kept in touch.. Went to WVJC and Community College and kept in touch with Tony...Then a month before graduation, he offered me a 9 to midnight slot and some JamVan promotional work under Pollack....The rest is radio history...

I only regret I got city lights in my eyes and went to El Paso to a legendary station that was on its last leg and didn't stay long.. I should of stayed with CIL-FM for at least two more years.. But, much good has happend.. I started the first full time 24/7 Christian top-40 station in the US (not what is called Contemporary Christian with an Adult Contemporary feel, but a true high energy CHR that went teen at night)..Way-Fm in S.W. Florida in 1987...Way-Fm in Nashville in 1992 and in W.Palm Beach in 1994...Did the network translators and the such for them until I went to build the first full time Christian Alternative/Rock FM in Columbus, Ohio (Radio "U") in 1996... I also filled in for oldies formats in Nashville and Evansville and did some back up news/sports work when Clear Channel had a cluster in Evansville...Took off from full time media in that time to start a college soccer program at one of my alma maters and coached men for a year and women for two seasons, and now serve as the Manager of Media Partnerships for a major midwest communications company that offers: Phone service, Internet service, Digital Commercial service and the such.. They call our type of company a CLEC...All I know, the biggies like SBC and Bell South hate our guts....I also am building out three new FM's in the next couple of years in my home area of Evansville, Indiana.. Two low power FM's (one will be Christian Alternative/Rock for a local coffee house outreach and one will be for the University I taught and coached at) and one full powered non-commercial FM (that will be Christian CHR/Top-40)...I do some voice over work for high energy stuff (I just not suited for funeral home spots, yet)...I do PA annoucning for a University and do play by play and color on our internet sports/broadcasts at Evansville On-Line (www.evansville.net) ....Married for seven years with two cats and a 'gunho' wife that is amazing.. Getting to know my heros of radio via the internet and a neat site for top-40 radio buffs (www.reelradio.com) ....And look foward to returning to the air-waves on the new FM's that I am working on.. Almost four years away from jocking at least twice a week...Getting the itch, again....  "Great Googly-Moogly", it's everybody's crazy little buddy, "Skipper T. Thomas" (R.E."Skip"Spence)

Photo of me prior to shaving down to a gottee and then just prior to losing 20 pounds on the South Beach Diet and eating Rabbit food!  Oh, That's Johnny Rabbit (#1 and #3), Ron Elz of 1430/WRTH-Reel Oldies in St. Louis.. Ron was also the first GM/OM of KSHE-95 when they were one of the first true album rock stations in the nation...
From "Skipper T Thomas"  a.k.a "Skip" Spence
More coming soon!
The Group "Tora Tora" visits CIL-FM while in town for a show at the SIU Arena.  Tony Waitekus is in front, John Riley & Jerome Richey are far right.
Music Surveys
From time to time we'll feature different Rockin' Radio music surveys from the past........here's one from 1981!(courtesy of Greg Springer))
Part of the CIL-FM morning team:  L-R  Newsman Gary Hart, Morning man John Riley and Newsperson Mary Jane Dwyer.
CIL-FM's Jerome Ritchey broadcasting from the DuQuoin State Fair.
CIL-FM newsman Keith Darnay.  Keith also performed on air as "Swami Pastrami" during the Mike Chylewski show, giving out words of wisdom and advice.  Keith took that role to the furthest extent, wearing a false beard and cape while performing as "Swami" even though it was radio.  At the time, Swami Pastrami got more mail than any of the jocks.
CIL-FM's Al Lentine at a Jam Van dance.
CIL-FM's Tony Waitekus, Stevie J and Joey Helleny at the end of a St. Jude's Radiothon at the University Mall.
CIL-FM's Doctor Tommy Fever
Visiting CIL-FM is Dan Seals of the song "Bop" and half of England Dan (Seals) & John Ford Coley, along with local recording artist Gary Jones & Joe Stanley who made the local charts with many hits such as "Without You", "The Little Girl In You", "What Am I Gonna Do", "Saluki Pride" and more.
CIL-FM newsman the late Thom Thomas.  Thom also worked for WPSD-TV, and later moved to Arizona.
CIL-FM's Joe Crain interviews Ted Nugent at the DuQuoin State Fair
CIL Snapshots(courtesy of Tony Waitekus)
John Riley and Marty McKee on KBSI TV
(above)Here is CIL-FM's Rich Bird, REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin, CIL-FM's Mike Chylewski and Tony Waitekus, after a charity basketball game.  REO Speedwagon played the CIL-FM "Record Breakers" at the SIU Arena for a crowd of 3,000 the day before their concert.
(right)CIL-FM's Tony Waitekus backstage at the SIU Arena With Huey Lewis and reps from Chrysalis Records.
CIL-FM's Lee Mesersmith & Brian R. Powell.  Brian is now the Station Manager at Carbondale's WDMX.
Here is Tony Waitekus & Steve Grazanich at the Old King Coal Festival parade in West Frankfort.
Backstage at an Van Halen show at the SIU Arena is CIL-FM's Tony Waitekus, Shawnna Matthews & John Riley.
Rich Bird in the basement of CIL-FM working on one of the biggest promotions the station ever did...The Feed The Hungry Food Drive.  Here is Rich setting up food boxes.
CIL-FM newsman Gary Gibula.  Gary also played bass in the Carbondale band "Four on the Floor".
WCIL AM/FM original owner and founder Paul F. McRoy
CIL-FM's Jerry Bryant, who's "Jesus Solid Rock" show on Sunday nights was at one time sydicated to stations all over the country.