ONEIDA -- A little over three months after new owner James Johnson mentioned he might be making some changes at WMCR, those changes are now official. Get ready to see the AM/FM simulcast split in two, and kiss the nightly 10pm signoff goodbye.
According to an article in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, the WMCR studio, which currently runs entirely on CDs, tapes and carts, will be going "all digital" by mid-to-late July. But that's just the foundation for several other major changes.
Johnson also tells the paper he want to split WMCR's AM/FM simulcast into two completely different stations. While there may be overlap at certain times, Johnson plans for WMCR's AM signal (1600) to focus primarily on news, local talk, local sports, and perhaps even some nationally-syndicated talk programming.
With the AM side handling talk, the FM side (106.3) will go nearly entirely all-music, aiming at the 25-54 demo. Johnson and operations manager Joel Meltzer tell the paper there will be no staffing changes as a result of the programming changes.
In addition to the changes on-air, WMCR is finally entering the Internet age, with a new station website at www.wmcronline.com. The site is already live, but very obviously not "done" yet, as evidenced by the use of very generic-looking graphics and most of the pages looking incomplete.
Last but not least, the upcoming changes include plans for WMCR to stay on the air 24 hours a day. Currently, the station signs off at 10pm every night, even though it was never required by the FCC to shut down at night.