WQUD 107.7 owner says local radio stations are struggling as layoffs sweep the industry

ERIE, ILLINOIS-- Local radio stations say they're fighting to stay alive as the nation's largest owners, iHeartMedia, announce major layoffs at stations nationwide.

Industry professionals say the radio industry is struggling to hold onto longtime listeners as younger people tune out. They say stations have to diversify if they want to remain on air.

Robert Walker owns Vintage Radio, WQUD 107.7 in Erie, Illinois.

He says radio stations everywhere are trying to reinvent themselves to compete with personalized streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music.

He once owned 36 radio stations across the U.S. Now this one little station can reach the world.

Jim Albracht always dreamt of being on the radio.

He once worked at WOC radio in the Quad Cities alongside long-time broadcaster Jim Fisher.

The nationwide iHeartMedia cuts hit close to Albracht.

He says he understands broadcasting is a business and not always a kind one.

At vintage radio 107.7, Robert Walker says he's investing in what he thinks listeners wanted years ago and still want today.

Local broadcasters need to find a way to pay for it all.

In a statement, iHeartMedia said, "We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in."

12 employees were let go.

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