Strength of signal
Sports fans are happily learning the Chicago AM radio stations that concentrate on the Bears on game days -- namely WBBM-AM 780, WMVP-AM 1000, WGN-AM 720 and WSCR-AM 670 -- can be heard all the way to Memorial Stadium in Champaign. The same can't be said for favorite Chicago FM stations, most of which fade from car radios by Kankakee. Here's how to make some transitions:

  • If you're into oldies, like those played on WJMK-FM 104.3, or possibly WDRV-FM 97.1, switch the dial to WKIO-FM 92.5.

  • Country & western fans with WUSN-FM 99.5 on the dial should switch to WIXY-FM 100.3.

  • Jazz buffs with WNUA-FM 95.5 on the dial should switch to WILL-FM 90.9

  • Classic rock fans with WLUP-FM 97.9 on the dial should switch to WGKC-FM 105.9 (not to be confused with WCKG-FM 105.9 in Chicago).

  • The urban sounds of either WGCI-FM 107.5 or WBBM-FM 96.3 are best found on WQQB-FM 96.1 or WCZQ-FM 105.5.

  • Hard, alternative rock found on WKQX-FM 101.1 or WZZN-FM 94.7 can be found at WEVX-FM 95.3, WEBX-FM 93.5, or WPGU-FM 107.1.

  • Light rock found on WIND-FM 100.3 can be found at WHMS-FM 97.5.

  • And, for the three or four Bear fans who listen to NPR, be advised that WBEZ-FM's counterpart is an AM station: WILL-AM 580.

    Highway education I-57 averages close to 16,000 vehicles per day between Kankakee and Champaign according to Illinois Department of Transportation statistics.

    How busy is that? By comparison, I-88 west of Aurora to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb averages 21,000 vehicles per day.

    But I-55 south of Joliet to Illinois State University in Normal is the busiest stretch, averaging close to 24,000 vehicles per day.

    Avoiding I-57: A shortcut
    At the risk of offending those Illini fans who closely guard this secret route, here is one shortcut to Champaign (especially for fans in western and southwestern suburbs):

    Take I-55 south to Gardner. Exit at Gardner and turn left (back over the highway).

    Go right at the stop sign and right again after you have crossed the bridge.

    You are now on Campus Road, a nearly straight shot to Champaign.

    It's pretty much Campus Road all the way, though there are a few turns.