Radio station signals in new era, keeps familiar presence

For nearly 60 years, Clarion County residents have been entertained by WWCH, the sole AM-radio station in the county. However, there are a few changes in the airwaves.

“We recently took our longtime AM station 1300 and we are now airing that on an FM signal as well. We are bringing that up to modern terms,” said Kristan Hearst, who co-manages operations with her father, William.

The new FM station is at 94.1 and has been named “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest Of All Times). The old FM station, WWCR (C93), continues to operate under its adult-contemporary format.

“We are bringing some new shows on board (at 94.1); it is classic country to now,” said Hearst.

The AM station, she said, also is the last locally owned station in the county, and “all of our shows are local.”

The local connection has been built over the decades.

“We have people stopping into the studio every day,” said Hearst. “We are like a part of their family because we have been here for generations.”

WWCH has been under the same ownership since its debut. William Sheridan was company president at the time of startup, with 36 percent of the station controlled by Harriet Hearst.

Kristan Hearst, who is the family’s third generation at the station, believes listening to the station’s audience has been the key to success.

“The newer audience doesn’t listen to AM as much, but in this area where we have an older population you have quite a few people who listen to AM,” she said.

“The waves travel at different frequencies so that in some of the more remote locations in the county sometimes the FM isn’t as strong and the AM is a better service. We have listeners in Butler and on a good day outside of the state.”

She said the FM station serves a younger audience with top Billboard hits.

“The classic country format has been popular in the area for years. We have a real calling to provide that classic country,” said Hearst. “We take it back into the ’40s and ’50s. Sunday mornings feature a Blue Grass and Gospel show, so we will see how that goes.”

Listening to the audience also means Sunday morning programming that is religious in nature.

“We serve a lot of the older population who are not be able to get out,” she said.

Hearst, who moved to the area in November to help her father with the station, said she is amazed by the number of listeners that have been retained over the years.

“They rely on us for everything from the weather daily to the news. It is really something neat to be a part of,” she said.