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WRMJ keeps it local to stay alive in struggling radio industry

Local Mercer County station says smaller is better – from local content to less employees.

ALEDO, Illinois – The Quad City iHeart Media layoffs have other local personalities concerned about the future of the industry.

“There were some veterans where I don’t know what they’re going to do,” says owner and general manager of WRMJ, John Hoscheidt.

When people tune into their radio station, they expect to hear a familiar voice.

“It’s a big part of my identity,” says WRMJ Sports Director, Jim Taylor. “I take pride in the programming we offer.”

But after almost a dozen on-air personalities with iHeartRadio were laid off, the Mercer County personalities behind WRMJ wonder what lies ahead for those behind the mic.

“You want to see the industry thrive,” says Taylor. “But unfortunately, when you hear news like that it shows that it’s not.”

Local sports and local news have kept WRMJ on the air for 40 years.  And in an office of fewer than a dozen people, everyone has more than one job – Hoscheidt says he is the general manager, on-air personality, and sells ad space - but they say keeping it smaller is better.

“We can’t compete with Pandora or Spotify or stuff like that,” says Hoscheidt. “We have to give them local flavor.”

To keep up with future technology like music streaming services, WRMJ launched an app this week. The app allows listeners to stream 102.3FM all hours of the day.

“You have to change with the time, even in a small market station like ours,” says Hoscheidt.

“There’s a concern of when the ax will drop, and unfortunately the ax dropped this week,” Taylor says.

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