UPDATE: WCAZ is now on the air! The radio station is looking for Hancock County Residents to send them information about news and community events. Visit their new website for more information: wcazradio.com
Local radio returns to Hancock County thanks to the diligent efforts of a small group of citizens. Through the leadership of Jim Nightingale, a communication focus group met for the first time on January 16, 2018, to address the issue of the local radio station going off the air. “I’ve always been involved with the farming community, and when the radio station went off the air, I immediately received several phone calls from concerned citizens. They wanted to know how we could get our radio station back and how they could help,” says Nightingale. Amy Graham, director of Carthage Community Development, facilitated several meetings after that to discuss options, investigate opportunities, and secure the expertise necessary to make informed decisions. Mike Seaver, an experienced radio man and member of the focus group, provided the necessary knowledge regarding the operations and management of a radio station.
Hancock County Economic Development (HCED) granted the communication focus group $500 to write a business plan. The group and HCED retained John Scheper of Scheper Communications, a St. Louis firm, to complete the task.
The communication focus group continued its efforts to secure investors, establish a legal entity and fulfill the elements of the business plan. Hancock County Broadcasting, LLC was set up with the following leadership: Mike Seaver, president and acting operations, programming, and engineering manager; Phil Alexander, vice president and acting sales manager; and Steve Harrell, project manager. Scheper was hired as head negotiator for acquiring a station, operating equipment, tower location, and personnel.
On July 26, 2018, Hancock County Broadcasting, LLC filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for consent to acquire WYEC and its companion FM translator W226CH from Fletcher Ford’s Virden Broadcasting. The agreed purchase price includes the donation of a significant value for the signal. Seaver states, “What a privilege it was to work with such a great group of people headed up by Jim Nightingale and Amy Graham to help bring local radio back to Hancock County. The new station will continue to be a part of the daily routine for people living and working in the area by providing news, weather, sports, and agricultural information to the citizens of Hancock County to help meet their needs.”
Following FCC approval and consummation of the transaction, Hancock County Broadcasting, LLC plans to seek FCC approval to adjust WYEC’s coverage area to include Carthage and begin broadcasting this fall. The new station will have a familiar sound and name to the loyal listeners from around Hancock County and beyond. Local news, local sports, farm reports, market updates, public service announcements, country music and more will round out the programming. A partnership with county high schools is also part of the vision for the growth and sustainability of the new radio station. Special thanks to the investors for supporting Hancock County and providing the foundation for local radio to return to the county, fulfilling the role of stewardship and taking care of the communities it serves.