I can't believe it. Sylva and Jackson County, NC's local radio station - WRGC has just been silenced! Jackson County which just this year created one of the most fabulous public libraries I've ever seen and who is growing daily with the addition of wonderful new businesses and restaurants no longer has its AM radio station, WRGC.
People who live in larger towns can't understand what it means to lose a local radio station. Since long before the 70s, WRGC was owned by Jimmie (Uncle Jimmie) Childress and operated by him and his children. The call letters are named after one of Jimmie's sons, Ronnie G. Childress, who was killed in an unfortunate accident by electrocution while working at the radio.
Sometime towards the end of the 90s, WRGC was purchased by a Georgia corporation who operated it until August 31, 2011. Listeners found out the radio station was off the air when they turned their radios on and were greeted by nothing more than static. Posted on the station's website was the corporation's "explanation". Citing economics and the inability to keep advertising revenues up, the corporation felt they had no alternative other than to silence Sylva's radio station.
This started me thinking, were advertisers reluctant to run commercials on the radio because money was tight or were they finding more viable places to advertise? Or...did the corporation just not try hard enough to work with the community?
When we still had a retail store here in Sylva, ad reps would drop in on a regular basis to sell all kinds of creative advertising packages. Sometimes it would be sponsorships for the high school football games, or supporting Toys for Tots or other charitable events. WRGC would tie community events in with advertising...the Sylva Christmas Parade, Dillsboro Luminaires Festival, the Dillsboro Arts and Music Festival. Sylva's Greening Up the Mountains Festival, etc. WRGC would then have a booth at these events and do on air promotions and interviews.
I don't know the answer. Maybe AM radio is a dinosaur, all I know is that I am going to miss being able to tune into local news and weather reports, the community calendar, Tradio and yes...even listening to local advertising. Funny, you think you can't stand listening to radio ads...until you can't hear them anymore.
It makes me sad to know that Sylva's local radio station, WRGC has been silenced.