CLEVELAND — It's the end of an era in Cleveland.
On Wednesday, the "oWOW" internet radio station announced that they will be going off the air at the beginning of October following months of struggles due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"After much consideration and weighing several factors in our industry, we recognized that continued operation of oWOW radio is no longer viable in this negative business environment," the radio station said in a press release, "Since we are not in a situation to influence the uncertainty of the future, we are unable to ride out the storm."
The station said in the release that due to the unprecedented times and the direct impact of COVID-19 on their main advertisers, they are no longer able to push through the pandemic.
"Though this past summer’s online streaming ratings on oWOW were 20 percent above last summer’s numbers, the numerous business closures prevented us from converting those numbers in a stagnant advertising market," oWOW said, "In previous years, the summer months accounted for over 50 percent of oWOW’s annual revenue."
The shutdown marks a sad end for an innovative business in Northeast Ohio.
The shutdown is personal for 3News' Monica Robins, who took over as the host of the "Naked Brunch" show on oWOW in 2018.
"Getting back into radio, and more specifically the music that I love, was a dream," Robins said, "My show was dedicated to playing your favorite classics and new indie material in a stripped-down acoustic format perfect for a Sunday morning or evening."
Robins also said that the news hits local musicians just as hard as it hit her as a host on the station.
"What was so unique about the station is that we were the ONLY place to also feature local artists trying to make a name for themselves," the WKYC Senior Health Correspondent said, "20% of our programming featured the original material from Ohio musicians you couldn't hear on other stations. That alone is a huge loss to the incredible local talent that deserves to be heard."
oWOW first began streaming in Cleveland over the internet in February of 2015.