UTICA-ROME -- A little more than two years since the "God's Country" format appeared on local airwaves, the commercial-free network has disappeared from radio stations nationwide. Locally, 93.5 WOKR/Remsen has flipped to the Christian rock "Air1" network operated by Educational Media Foundation.
Credit to radio-info.com for breaking the news of the all-but-certain demise of God's Country, described by management as a "listener-supported ... Christian Country format [that ultimately] didn't connect with enough listeners to sustain the expenses of the broadcast." GCRN will reportedly continue to stream its programming online.
Back in 2008, you might recall GCRN signed local marketing agreements (LMAs) with dozens of EMF-owned stations across the country. The LMAs allowed GCRN to get on the air, but EMF still owned the stations. Reports at the time said the LMA contracts called for GCRN to make payments to EMF, towards eventually buying out the stations completely.
Prior to the arrival of GCRN, the station had been carrying EMF's contemporary Christian "K-Love" service.
The following statement, which was posted on the network's website, explains what happened:
Dear God's Country Listeners,
It's with a heavy heart that we share the news that God's Country will be going off the air November 1st on your local station. As a listener-supported format, this Christian Country format didn't connect with enough listeners to sustain the expenses of the broadcast. We do believe that in better economic times this format of music would flourish.
Please understand that this is not a decision from the owners/producers of the God's Country format, but a business decision of the owners of your local radio station. We sincerely apologize for any dissappointment that this change will cause. Would you please pray for the staff and management of God's Country as we move forward. We're uncertain of the future, but we know Who holds tomorrow.
As a result of the change, California-based EMF already has added WOKR to its master list of Air1 affiliates. The list also includes translator W231BI, covering downtown Utica at 94.1 FM.