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|Broadcast area||Johnstown, Pennsylvania|
|Branding||AM 1230 WCRO|
|Frequency||1230 kHZ (AM)|
|Power||1000 watts (unlimited)|
|Callsign meaning||"Something to CROw About!" (former slogan; no longer used)|
|Affiliations||Music of Your Life|
|Owner||Greater Johnstown School District|
|Webcast||Music of Your Life web site|
|Website||WCRO page on school website|
WCRO is an American radio station, operating at 1230 AM in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The station, owned by the Greater Johnstown School District, programs a nostalgia format provided by the Music of Your Life network, and simulcasts WJAC-TV's newscasts from 5 am to 7 am. WCRO broadcasts at the federally assigned frequency of 1230 kHz, with a full-time power of 1,000 watts.
WCRO has the distinction of retaining the same calls letters since first going on the air in September 1947, and that it has never had a sister FM station co-located with it.
WCRO's first owner was Century Broadcasting Corporation, headed by John Keel. John Hanssen served as the station's first general manager. The station operated then at a power of 250 watts, and was an affiliate of the ABC radio network. Studios were located at 317 Main Street in downtown Johnstown.
In March 1984, Century Broadcasting, after more than 37 years of ownership, sold WCRO to Hamilton Communications, a company headed by Robert Hamilton. Doris Lichtenfels took over as General Manager after Sandy D. Neri left to join WJAC-AM/FM, the latter being newly rechristened as WKYE "Key 95", in September 1983. Studios were then moved to 407 Main Street.
By this time, WCRO had gone into a decline, largely because of the collapse of Johnstown's lucrative coal and steel industries, resulting in a domino effect to the local retail economy. Hamilton Communications responded by selling WCRO to Tschudy Communications in August 1989.
Shortly after Tschudy's takeover, WCRO's full-time airstaff was laid off and replaced with ABC/SMN's "Starstation" adult contemporary format (known today as "Hits and Favorites") also used by neighboring stations WCCS and WOKW. Though the reduced operating costs did help the station's fortunes somewhat, a sale from then-owner Tschudy Communications was inevitable to keep the station from falling into bankruptcy.
WCRO was sold in February 1991 from Tschudy Communications to J. Richard Lee, who formed the Eagle Radio Network, making WCRO its flagship station. Lee had purchased two other AM stations north of Johnstown that had recently gone dark and their studios vacated and assets liquidated through bankruptcy proceedings. Because those stations, WNCC and WRDD, no longer had separate studio buildings or facilities of their own other than their tower sites, they became repeaters for WCRO.
WCRO and Eagle Radio Network operations then moved to 616 Main Street.
Eagle Radio operated with a format of time-brokered Christian Talk and teaching, and had been successful for about four years, until the FCC approved a series of applications for FM translators and power increases for Christian-formatted competitors on that band. Faced with the prospect of being squeezed out of business by its FM counterparts, Eagle Radio put all three stations up for sale in the mid-1990s.
WNCC and WRDD were sold in February 1997 to Vernal Enterprises of Indiana, Pennsylvania, which owned WTYM and low-powered television station WLLS-LP. A new facility for both WNCC and WRDD was built in WNCC's city of license in Northern Cambria and full-service local programming resumed on those stations.
Vernal Enterprises declined an offer to purchase WCRO, which was then sold to the Greater Johnstown School District in January 1999 for $80,000. The station then moved out of its dilapidated building on Main Street and onto the high school campus at 222 Central Avenue, with all new digital, state-of-the-art equipment. Ralph Osmolinski took over as General Manager.
Not long after WCRO's sale to Greater Johnstown School District, the station adopted Al Ham's Music of Your Life format, with local breaks being done by a student airstaff. The station is run in the manner of a commercial broadcast operation, and marketing itself as "The Voice of the Trojans" airs the district's high school football and boys' basketball games as part of its program offerings.
The station also airs University of Pittsburgh football and men's basketball, as Pitt maintains a branch campus in Johnstown. It also airs NASCAR's racing schdule, delivered by the Motor Racing Network.
WCRO is the top-rated AM station in Johnstown and has been since the school district's takeover.
- Music of your life web site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WCRO
- Radio-Locator Information on WCRO
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WCRO