Hometown radio station demise

This is an example of a Facebook rant that should have been a blogpost. After all, I have this blog for a reason, and it’s Facebook I turn to to rant about something. {{{SIGH}}} And so, here it is.

With the recent winter storm affecting the Northeast, (I think it was unofficially named “Winter Storm Stella”) I was curious about the folks back home were dealing with it and how bad it was there. And so I was perusing some Utica (where I went to college) and Oneida (my hometown) websites and found out that last year, my hometown’s only radio station (WMCR-AM1600/FM106.3) suffered a sale to a “Contemporary Christian” broadcaster who promptly shut down the AM station. I knew the station had ended a lot of its local programming a few years ago when they had joined some conservative talk network and ran nationwide talk shows (and some local, I think), but they still ran some local stuff, like high school sports. (My knowledge is a bit skewed as I left Oneida in 2007, and only have been back a few times, each visit getting a little dose of WMCR.)

Anyway, this is sad and very annoying. This is a trend that has been going on for decades on the larger cities, stations being purchased and running national programming and abandoning local talent and locally produced shows. But the rural areas had been somewhat spared, from what I can figure out.

As I said, this is sad. WMCR was a great little radio station. They had a very eclectic music mix (for example, back-to-back Norah Jones, then Miles Davis, followed by Bobby Vinton with the Beatles coming up next, then U2 or Culture Club and Frank Sinatra. Maybe toss in Neil Diamond and Hank Williams, SR!). Not a format easily defined, except “local radio,” not programmed by suits in NYC or LA.

Local High school sports! I loved listening to WMCR back in high school hearing Oneida beat VVS and Canastota. And during the school year, on winter mornings? Those magic words, “Oneida Public and Parochial schools closed” due to snow. There was a program called “Trading Post” where listeners would call in and offer items for sale. Like an on-the-air classified ads. Funky. And then there was the daily “Happy Birthday” chorus in the early morning to local person celebrating their birthday. The chorus was some local schoolchildren (I forget who) singing “Happy Birthday,” that recording was a morning staple for years; I wouldn’t be too surprised if the members are all in nursing homes by now.

Just consider the loss to local news coverage. No more “Open Line,” local call-in show. Oneida is just a little far away from Syracuse and Utica for them to be too concerned about issues of immediate interest to the Oneida area.

Even the local newspaper lost local ownership years ago.

This just sucks. Far-distant owners couldn’t care less about issues and matters of local concern. Just give them an increase to their broadcast empires so their profits could grow!

oneida >> A radio era ended in Oneida last week…

Source: WMCR talents lament the loss of hometown coverage, station

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