The only radio station serving Patrick County, VA is signing off the air at the end of the month. Patrick County Communications’ WHEO-AM Stuart, VA posted this on its website: “Effective August 31st Patrick County Communications LLC. is planning to discontinue broadcasting operations on WHEO 1270AM. We would like to thank all of our faithful customers and listeners for their support over the years and hopefully conditions will improve and the station will be able to reopen at some future date.”
Daniel Louis has spent eight years behind the mic and his lifetime listening to the station. He tells WDBJ-TV: “The bigger FM stations, you can’t call in your birthdays to those stations you can’t get information when you call in and say, ‘what’s going on in downtown Stuart?’”
“The Heart of Patrick County” lives up to its slogan, airing local programing from preaching to several trading post shows, and local news and talk, seven days a week. That close relationship with listeners has paid off.
“Do you know how many dogs have been found through WHEO radio? Do you know how many cows and horses have been found through WHEO radio? There is going to be a lot of things missed and people aren’t going to know it until we’re off the air,” said WHEO Ad Rep Lisa Kroplin.
Employees say the ad revenue isn’t as impressive as it once was. “This is what we’re based on is advertising, this is what pays the bills, this is what pays the employees. When you go someplace and they say, ‘we can’t afford to advertise, we’re barely keeping our heads above water’, it’s really difficult,” Kroplin told WDBJ.
WHEO first signed on in 1959. The entire staff will have to find new jobs but they’re hoping their signal won’t stay silent for long. Louis believes WHEO may have a chance of reopening. “We’ve got a strong community of believers here and they pray,” he said, while adding the station needs new owners to make that happen. Until then, they’re saying goodbye for now.