‘Now we have an entirely new way to connect,’ says Shaw VP and chief product officer

April 4, 2023 

The sale of eight radio stations to Shaw Local Radio was completed Monday, bringing the bundle of stations under the umbrella of the Northern Illinois newspaper group, Shaw Media. 

Shaw Local Radio’s acquisition involves WALS-FM in Oglesby; WIVQ in Spring Valley; WSTQ-FM, WSPL-AM and WYYS-FM in Streator; WGLC in Mendota, WBZG in Peru; and W253BX in Streator. 

Listeners know them better as Walls 102, Q Hit Music, Classic Hits 106, 100.9 FM Rocks, WGLC Classic Country and WSPL 98.5. 

Shaw Media, which operates daily newspapers in Crystal Lake, Joliet, Ottawa, La Salle, DeKalb, Dixon and Sterling, Illinois, purchased the stations from the family-owned Studstill Media of Peru. 

“These stations are fantastic, and now we have an entirely new way to connect with our local audience,” said J. Tom Shaw, vice president and chief product officer at Shaw Media. “As the business of local media continues to change, the combination of radio, print and digital creates incredible opportunities. It’s going to be a fun summer.” 

“The family would like to thank our listeners for allowing us in their cars, their homes, and their workplaces, ever since my older brother and his wife came to La Salle County when we purchased WGLC back in 1988,” said Cole Studstill, whose family owned and operated the radio stations. “In the years since, we’ve had the opportunity to add six more stations, and in some ways I’m sad, personally, to leave radio, which has been a part of my life since I was 9 years old. But I’m happy the people at Shaw saw fit to include our stations into their organization. We’ve been most impressed with the people at Shaw, and know they will continue to maintain, and improve on, our focus on serving the listener.” 

Studstill Media has more listeners in the Illinois Valley than any other media group, with nearly 87,000 La Salle, Bureau and Putnam county residents. 

Those listeners should not anticipate any major changes to the stations, said Shaw Media President and CEO John Rung. 

“There are no plans to change the formats,” Rung said. 

Shaw Local Radio hired Herb Cody as its vice president and market manager for the local market. Cody, who will begin in May, has a stellar career in radio, working most recently in southern Wisconsin where he served as the vice president and market manager for QueenB Radio. Cody has more than two decades of radio experience, holding positions as a consultant, radio host and account manager. 

Purchasing the family-owned Studstill Media made sense for Shaw, which has a familiar background. 

Shaw Media was founded in 1851, having the third oldest, continuously owned and operated family newspaper in the nation. It is the nation’s eighth-largest newspaper publisher with more than 300 employees, serving communities across Northern Illinois both in print and online media. 

“This move made a lot of sense for us, because these were a group of family-owned, very well-run, very well-respected radio stations, not a part of a larger entity,” Rung said. 

“The Studstill family did a great job, we’re hoping to continue their legacy and we’re going to be careful not to do anything that messes that up.” 

Shaw’s vision is to incorporate the radio stations into its media company to provide more resources to make all of its platforms stronger. 

“We wanted to get more diversification to better serve the community in the Illinois Valley, and throughout Northern Illinois,” Rung said. “It provides us with more resources and should result in improving our newspapers and improving the radio stations.”